czech it
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


[this is the sixth in a continuing series, exploring the music i discovered when travelling in europe last fall]

It seems kind of stupid to say that Nase Vec's Horky Menu is one of the best hip-hop albums I've heard this century. I mean, I don't understand any of the raps. They're in czech. I haven't even been able to find translations.

So maybe I won't say that; maybe I'll hold out for the day that I understand every word, that I can nod in time with the wit and wordplay. In the meantime, I'll say simply that Horky Menu is fucking fantastic.

It's almost seventy minutes of cool and scuffling beats, the insistent force of the raps by Drone, 2Jay, Scissal, Tafrob, Apoka, Janek, Kolpa and Dup. The scratching is great, wild and whirling, with chunks of sound that arrive like pianos to pavement. The rhymes tumble over each-other, standing in line like dominoes. Maybe it's like Talib Kweli, maybe the Cunning Linguists, maybe Tribe. Since I can't understand them, everything sounds like a gesture toward something else, a nod, but so too could it all be brilliantly original, a hoarse eastern-european birth.

Horky Menu is almost seventy minutes long. It was released in 2003. Here are three tracks.

Nase Vec - "Intro". These are the overlapping shades that open the record, folds of sound and the fading echo of a saxophone. There's a crew here, too, first one voice and then a gang, a group to nod and ruminate while DJ Opia scratches. A group to wait as things stutter to a stop - this is just an intro.

Nase Vec - "Bez Nadsazky". Dup's production is a lacework of czech folk guitar, short tumbles, then the sneering of saxophone, that friend whose sarcasm you admire. Dup and Drone synchronize their flow, a strut down a hill. They mention Fubu, that I can read in the liner-notes, but the rest is a push of words. Listening, I feel propelled despite myself, like theirs are sounds I once knew but forgot. It means something - I know it means, I'm sure of it, - but I'm left grasping at what that might be. Noumenal.

Nase Vec ft. Illuzionists - "Tisicdvestedeset". Here's DJ Opia showing off, a DJ instrumental, with DJ Nneser and DJ Chocolatic as "Scratchpart" (scratch partners?). It's all surges and diversions, a rocketburst down the road then a sudden jerking stop, people crossing the intersection, men on bikes and women in heels, bureaucrats and double-dutching kids. Entering the city-center, there's more people lingering on street-corners, cowboy hats and gangstas, all lounging under Prague's absurd architectural majesty. Conversations in back-rooms, then the traffic bursting behind them, the green-light red-light flow, everywhere, dialogue governed by it. A journey, a trip, a life.

Visit Nase Vec's website.



if anyone knows anyone at Web Nymph, Kinja,, or any of the other mp3blog amalgamators, could you please ask them to update the saidthegramophone feed to our new domain? thanks.

Posted by Sean at April 15, 2005 7:46 AM

404 x 3.

This is a frown to show my feelings about it: :-(

Posted by Tuwa at April 15, 2005 9:48 AM

whoa - thanks for the head's up. fixed!

Posted by Sean at April 15, 2005 10:08 AM

'twas my pleasure.

Posted by Tuwa at April 15, 2005 10:31 AM

i was hoping to hear your thoughts on the new okkervil album at some point sean. poor guys don't seem to be getting much attention this time around.

Posted by george at April 15, 2005 3:54 PM

Couple of my favorite bands are Czech. I dont speak czech either. Dunaj - La La Lai is a fantastic is anything by OTK

Posted by T at April 19, 2005 10:51 AM

"Naše věc" has a perfect english song "virtual soul waste" with a wonderful clip, he won a one dot zero price. Download it!!!

Posted by Anonymous at May 19, 2005 1:56 PM

"Nase vec" has a perfect english song "virtual soul waste" with a wonderful clip, he won a one dot zero price. Download it!!!

Posted by Caroline22 at May 19, 2005 1:57 PM

Hi Sean, thanx 4 great critics of the Horky menu CD...that´s fantastitc U listen to it without understanding a single word (except VirtualSoulWaste)!
We´re working on new tracks these days. For more of David Mozny´s works of art check

Posted by pawlee at June 3, 2005 5:26 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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