Indies Scope: The Last Five Years (Part 1)

To conclude Brno Daily’s retrospective of 30 years of Indies Scope, Brno’s iconic independent record label, our contributor Antony B picks the highlights of the last five years of releases. This week, we go back to 2016, 2017, and 2018. Image: Courtesy of Indies Scope.

In the last five years before the worldwide blackout imposed by the virus, before all stage lights were switched off and the whole entertainment world was frozen, the means of consuming music digitally were perfected, and there was an exponential increase in accessing music via apps, such as Spotify, Deezer, and Tidal. Artists like Billie Eilish (2017), Travis Scott and others, freshly arriving on the music marketing platforms, represented the end of that phase of evolution…

They make music as they consume it, digitally, and they quickly learned how to use and mix all the tools of music networking and social trending. The artist is closer than ever to their fanbase and the music is more diverse than ever in the listeners’ ears.

Indies scope in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

I chose three albums for those three years of music from the Brno-based label, with different styles and providing the audience with a mix of influences and melodies.

2016: “Gravitace” by Cermaque and Iamme Candlewick

The couple/musical duo of poet Jakub Čermák and songwriter Andrea Čermák Knotková left their flat in 2015 for a one-year road trip across Europe with their newborn daughter. On the road they mixed their activities, with yoga, documentary film-making, and so on.

They also worked on finding a common musical language, and composed a 13-track album while on the road. “Gravitace”, with an average song length of 3min 30, has a light pop and folk atmosphere.

The album often proposes dialogues between the two protagonists in the singing, or the slight and elegant exchange between the vocals and the instruments. The songs are generally quiet and relaxing (“Gravitace”, “Barocco”), with light electro textures and subtle arrangements (“Israel”) and together they form an album calling you to travel, to leave in order to find yourself, as one, or in this case as three.

The result is an album full of colors and inspiration, of open-minded poetry with some spikes of spiritual study (“Kmo Hayam II.”)

You can listen to the album here.

2017: “Sůl” by Budoár staré dámy

An alternative rock band composed of four members: Marta Kovářová (lead vocals, guitars), Tomáš Ergens (bass, vocals), Marek Laudát (guitar, vocals) and Ladislav Šiška (drums, percussion, vocals), with 7 albums in their back catalogue.

This release was their fifth, when the lives of the band members were changed by the arrival of kids and plans to build houses and finally settle. The vocalist, Marta, felt those life changes on a daily basis, and more precisely on her way of creating music.

An album as a new chapter opening, a 12-song CD with an average of 3 minutes.

From the first track, “Z ježatých hor”, a lot is said, increasing melodies into music explosions, rhythm and guitar omnipresent, games involving silence preceding chaos, and redundant but pleasant choruses.

The vocals, throughout the LP, are clear and folksy, sometimes aggressively melodic (“Kuře ve sněhových šatech” and “Případ”) and sometimes slow and sweet (“Jakoty”). The guitar is the main instrument in all compositions, in a ping pong game with the lyrics which define a melodic channel of pop and alternative folk songs.

“Čaj z makovic” concludes an album where the energies seems to recover and where the artistic part of the lives of the band members seems to be slowly gaining strength, and by turns regenerating, transforming (as any artist’s life should be) along its own career path…

You can listen to this album here

2018: “Black Yoga” by Ghost of You

The second album from this Brno four-piece, in the form of a heavy rock and controlled fusion album composed of 8 songs, with average length 4min 30.

Electro samples envelop melodic vocals, guitars and drums perfectly aligned to create an energetic LP, at the border of noise and lo-fi, with English lyrics and American pop rock touches.

“Black Yoga”, the destructive chaos that we all have inside, is a torrent of wild riffs and soft singing, a tasty tempest (as in track 5: “Tempest”) where all the ingredients are there in a recipe to be served in full during live gigs.

A band which knows how to jump out the studio to explode on the live stage, mixing fast and explosive rhythms and sweet and peaceful breaks (“The ark won’t come”).

This album sounds like it was made to be performed to an audience. Ghost of You have gained fame for this, with more than 300 concerts in five years. The atmospheric last song, “A Rifle And A Spoon”, provides a final touch of simplicity with windows of experimentation and different samples. With a complex overall structure, this LP provides a mix of different musical approaches, much more concrete that any ghosts could be.

You can listen to this album here.

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