Klan - Mrowisko. 1971 Poland
CD reissues: 1991 Digiton; 2005 Polskie Nagrania Muza; 2008 Metal Mind; 2014 Polskie Nagrania Muza
LP reissues: 1987 Polskie Nagrania Muza
Release details: One of only a handful of gatefold albums coming from the Eastern Bloc. It's still super thin (based on what I've read), but this kind of luxury item was typically frowned upon by the State. A nice original will go for about $50 and $75 - though usually they're in beat-to-hell condition. My introduction was the '87 reissue that I bought right around release time, originally coming out near the end of the regime, though now housed in a single sleeve. I quickly ditched this cheaply made reissue vinyl for the first CD to hit the market (1991 Digiton). The Digiton release is fine, and certainly suffices as the only copy anyone would ever need - especially considering it includes the sought after 1970 EP as bonus tracks. I had no intention of buying this album again, but I recently had a chance to source the lavish double CD on the fine Polish label Metal Mind for an attractive price. It comes with a full booklet with lyrics and extensive liner notes (mostly in Polish though). The extra CD only contains the 11+ minute EP and seems a bit wasteful (ironic isn't it?) considering both albums combined total only 50 minutes. I didn't really need to upgrade in this case. Interesting to note that the old state label "Muza" is still alive an kicking. Glad they were able to transition to Capitalism successfully it appears. I haven't seen or heard their two CD versions of the album. (Also be sure to read the comments where UMR friend Bas offers up even more CD info regarding this landmark album).
Notes: Klan, like Czechoslovakia's Flamengo, were one of the pioneers of the exploratory progressive movement beginning to emerge in the Eastern Bloc, before the authorities declared this kind of music too subversive for a healthy State. I hear music like this with a bit of sadness, always wondering what could have been for those countries left to suffer behind the Iron Curtain while the rest of Europe was being "turned on". Klan's effort is a mix of psychedelic, radical progressive, horn rock, jazz, orchestral rock, and emotional vocal pop. Fuzz bass, crazy drumming, impassioned vocals, flute, and some killer swirling organ define this amazingly mature work for the time and place. An album that should be held up as a national treasure, recorded at a time of despair and little hope.