Breakout - Na Drugim Brzegu Tęczy (1969)
1990 Polskie Nagrania Muza SX 2391 (Discogs)
2000 Yesterday 830988022-2 (Discogs)
Original stereo mix from master tape-sourced reissues
~ThePoodleBites rip at 44.1kHz / 16bit FLAC~
It's about time for my first dive into the world of Eastern European music, and there's maybe nowhere better to start than the debut LP from Polish band Breakout. This is basically a blues-rock record, but I think there are several moves here which will also appeal strongly to psych heads, especially on spaced-out tracks like "Gdzie chcesz iść...". The sound to me is somewhere between the Savage Resurrection and Impala Syndrome, but I kinda get the impression that Breakout were mostly attempting their own thing, not being strongly influenced by any of the usual groups. There are some obvious references (The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" is directly quoted at one point in "Masz Na To Czas"), but there's also a distinct Eastern feel here which is hard to put my finger on, which to my Western-tuned ears gives this a somewhat demented quality, augmented in no small part by the high-contrast black-and-red cover artwork. Maybe there are some Hungarian minor scales sneaking in here and there, but now that I'm searching, I can't seem to find them...
Shout-out to the YouTube programmers for their recommendations algorithm turning me on to this album!
|Cover artwork for the debut Breakout LP, as scanned from a 1969 mono original pressing|
Unfortunately I haven't been able to learn a lot about this band, since most of the information out there naturally appears in Polish. There is a really cool-looking documentary on YouTube that I'd absolutely love to see a transcription of (any of my Polish friends here willing to help out?).
What I do know is that this band was originally called Blackout, and released a pop-beat LP under that moniker a couple years previous; although, the whole band noticeably improved in that time, to my tastes. Vocalist Mira Kubasińska has been compared to Grace Slick by people who have probably never ever heard another female rock vocalist. Lead guitarist Tadeusz Nalepa plays some phenomenal licks here, with lots of buzzing distortion and occasional wah. The drummer Józef Hajdasz also has impressive moments and shines on several of the better tracks. A few tracks even include quite good sax playing, which surprisingly (for me) fits the vibe quite well.
At first, it was amazing to me that this band was able to exist or flourish at all; Poland in 1969 was not what it is today. Still firmly under the thumb of the Soviet Union, communist-controlled Poland was fraught with censorship of public media, though popular music did still get through. The country would have to deal with what would become known as Czarny Czwartek (Black Thursday) the following year, with the infamous photos of Janek Wiśniewski being carried away on a door panel still being quite recognizable today, 50+ years later. Yet here is Breakout, a longhaired hippiesque group, doing their thing. Those who were around in those days remember the post-Stalinist era as "the happiest barracks," though I still wonder how different the Breakout LPs would have been if they had been released at another time or place. At any rate, they're nearly perfect as they are.
|1990 reissue: front cover...|
|... and back cover|
I wasn't going to rip this LP, since this reissue can be had super cheaply, but I had quite some trouble finding a digital version which hadn't been plagued by poor mastering decisions. The earliest CD reissue, from 1991 on the German label Digiton, was thoroughly noise-reduced and is simultaneously a bit harsh from treble boosting. The 2005 Polish remaster (also on Polskie Nagrania Muza) is all that and worse, adding extreme levels of gain to the mixture. I dropped a somewhat large sum on a circa 1999 CD reissue on the Andante label, which turned out to be a vinyl rip, but probably sounds better to some than the tape-sourced reissues purely because it wasn't massively futzed with.
Then, I found the 2000 Polish CD reissue on the Yesterday label. Finally! Here it seems is a CD with no compression/limiting -- although, there are some other issues. Firstly, the intro to track 2 seems to have had either some NR or treble-reducing EQ applied, and there is a similar "treble dropout" on track 1, but only for a moment in the right channel. I fixed both of these issues with some gentle EQ, restoring the full master-tape fidelity. The other issue is that the count-off introduction to the album's coda, "Po ten księżyc złoty," is missing. For this, a splice from vinyl is needed.
I have original mono and stereo copies, which both appear quite clean, but they are very noisy: the Polish plants must've been mixing kiełbasy in the vinyl or something back then. (I think the mono is a fold-down, by the way.) So I ordered a copy of the 1986 LP reissue, which actually turned out to be this 1990 copy (according to Discogs) when it finally appeared in the mail. But, the two appear to have the same stampers, so... Anyways, this LP made a fine source for the necessary splice: clearly from tapes, almost no pressing noise, and NO noise reduction, yay! Unfortunately, it does seem a bit bass-heavy and sounds to me like they passed the tapes through a compressor before doing the cut. This was corrected with a wee bit of EQ to make it match the (seemingly flat) Yesterday CD, where patches were applied. The transitions are undetectable.
Mira Kubasińska - vocals
Tadeusz Nalepa - electric guitar, backing vocals, harmonicaWłodzimierz Nahorny - saxophone (tr. 3, 4, 10)
Michał Muzolf - bass guitar
Józef Hajdasz - drums
Alibabki - backing vocals
Vinyl condition: M-
Dynamic Range: DR12
Track listing: (should these titles obey Normal English Capitalization Rules? Polish friends, please chime in!)
1) "Poszłabym za tobą" - 3:17
2) "Nie ukrywaj - wszystko wiem" - 2:56
3) "Na drugim brzegu tęczy" - 4:01
4) "Czy mnie jeszcze pamiętasz?" - 5:23
5) "Wołanie przez dunajec" - 2:27
6) "Masz na to czas" - 3:46
7) "Gdybyś kochał, hej!" - 3:09
8) "Powiedzieliśmy już wszystko" - 3:55
9) "Gdzie chcesz iść..." - 5:27
10) "Po ten księżyc złoty" - 0:48 **
All tracks sourced from 2000 Yesterday CD except ** intro sourced from 1990 vinyl reissue, which seems to be from tapes with no NR.
– Audio-Technica VMN40ML stylus on AT150MLx dual moving-magnet cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB direct drive professional turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– Pro-Ject Phono Box S2 Ultra preamp with dedicated Zero Zone linear power supply
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2020 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 audio editor (manual declicking, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.3 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.5.1 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)
Full YouTube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLpYV-9c2yA&list=PLhEBA51qbhIqPT1xtjW7hZqF96IcO7i_T
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Cieszyć się! :)