Ako Doma - s/t. 1999 Slovakia

Sometime in 1990, not long after the fall of the Berlin Wall, I managed to slip into Bratislava (though Visa's were still mandatory, who was paying attention?). At the behest of my gracious hostess, she insisted I catch a "local" instrumental band at a municipal concert venue (juke joint?). It was what can be best described as a "dance hall" - brightly lit, smoke filled, and slightly (OK, mostly) dingy inside. The audience was made up of primarily overweight middle aged women, all wearing knee hemmed black skirts and calf high pantyhose. On stage was a heavily mustachioed gentleman wailing on the sax, while a drummer and stand-up bass player briskly kept the pace. The melodies all had a certain popular music base, some Western, mostly Central European - and all based in another lifetime. They were immensely popular with the women as they gyrated wildly on the dance floor. The men drank tall steins of beer and puffed away on pipes and cigarettes, anticipating (perhaps dreading) what was in store for them that night. For this (then) 25 year old, it was an eye-opener. I was witnessing real-time something that I personally saw disappear quickly from the landscape once freedom was attained. For an American in 1990, it was anachronistic to say the least. And I loved every minute of it.

When I first heard the sax player from Ako Doma squonking her notes out, I was immediately brought back to this event. Her playing and melody choices are primarily based in Slovakian pop folklore. Pop, as in 1950's smoky dance jazz-pop. The remainder of Ako Doma apparently spent their wasted youth snubbing their noses at the Authorities and smuggled in King Crimson's Red album, perhaps hoping that if they did get caught, at least the album title would keep them out of hot water. And to say anything further would be redundant: You now know the music of Ako Doma's debut.

It should be noted that the final track, the 22+ minute 'Hrdzavenie', is from a different era of the band (sans sax), and is more rooted in typical progressive rock themes.

Personal collection
CD: 1999 Mellow (Italy)

Last listen: 2012

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