Friday, February 27, 2015

SBB – Nowy horyzont

   After great success of their debut album, SBB became instantly one of the most popular rock bands in Poland and soon also in other countries of Central Europe. In years 1974 and 1975 trio recorded for Polskie Nagrania material for their second album. Its title Nowy horyzont (The New Horizon) clearly shows ambitions of the band, which was familiar with various techniques of avant-garde rock styles and ready to record original creative music. In late sixties this was the best starting point for international career of the band, but in 1975 progressive rock was not as much offensive. Many eminent bands were about to get stuck in the niche and contemplate of old schemes or repeating some old ideas. In this situation SBB, one year after their debut, published first studio album full of fresh, sometimes raw sound.
   In contrast to previous recordings The New Horizon had allowed to articulate the creative personality of each musician. Józef Skrzek as leader of the band, singer and multiinstrumentalist plays bass, piano and moog synthesizer. His personality echoed in whole SBB music not only because he was the one who composed main part of recorded music. Jerzy Piotrowski was probably the most famous member of the trio, admired as virtuoso drummer, he was remembered as versatile rock drummer and his solos were the model for next generation of drummers. Antymos Apostolis played strong guitar riffs, precomposed solos and some improvisations basing on rock and jazz-rock patterns. He was competent and fast learning, probably most promising guitarist of Polish rock in seventies.

SBB – Nowy horyzont (1975)

   Program of SBB’s first studio album comprises two suites. First side is the cycle of four compositions connected by solo piano impressions. Opening tracks Curtain Raiser and A Flash are short instrumental pieces basing on ostinatos and increasingly growing tension. If these two short compositions are close to progressive rock, the third called The New Horizon is developed and complex in constructional and technical perspectives. From rhythmic point of view it has more jazz-rock features than rock patterns. Closing this cycle is a psychedelic-like narrative called A Ballad about the Five Hungry Ones with fine sound experiments by Antymos Apostolis who is playing guitar with the violin bow and distortion sound effects.
   The second side contains one composition Freedom with Us merging guitar sound experimenting, piano impressionistic harmonies contemplations and colorful drummer accompaniment. Themes are more melodious and solos more elaborate in first episode, in middle part Piotrowski pushes the rhythmic intensity with powerful energy as a background for some great trading between Apostolis and Skrzek. After short heavy fragment Skrzek plays piano impression finishing with Chopin’s Prelude E Minor Op. 28 No 4. This unequivocal gesture shows moment, which Polish rock reached in 1975. After early phase of experimenting, musicians were ready to make the first summary and open to some new frontiers. That’s what the title The New Horizon really was about. Giving with some hesitation four stars, I am sure this was significant album in the history of Polish and European progressive rock.

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