REVIEW: Beata Hlavenková breathes life for the album “Žijutě”

“Žijutě” is in many respects a much more open recording in terms of genre than we have been accustomed to so far with Beata Hlavenková. He works more with sound design and the vast majority of authorial texts have come to the fore. The result is a beautiful, intimate view of the world around us, both in joy and melancholy.

The projects Eternal Seekers and Baromantika (both with Lenka Dusilová) basically reflect the genre paths that Beata Hlavenková went through and on which she gained experience not only with improvisation. An important milestone was her last album “Sně”, on which she first introduced herself as a solo singer and outlined where her subsequent steps could go. The work on the soundtrack to the film “Zátopek” became the nipple before this year’s recording “Žijutě”. The first song from the new series “It’s still like that” later revealed what surprises we can expect on the record.

The basis was the sound design, on which Beata primarily collaborated with Patrick Karpentski, and in the mentioned pilot single with Lukáš Duchovič. The change of attitude helped to ensure that if “Snow” spoke only in hints in this respect, the inclination towards other genres is much more evident in “Life”. At the same time, it cannot be said that the novelty would be a purely pop record that leaves the jazz mushroom. This has always been the basis of Hlavenková’s creative universe and remains so, only at the first listen are the songs much more accessible, although they cannot be clearly boxed in style. This multi-genre suit suits the main actor, and she is also supported by chamber texts. All this together creates a colorful landscape painting of moods and emotions. The cementing element of the music is (as always) the unmissable trumpet playing by Oskar Török. It floats into the melodies like a precisely aimed bullet, which makes the composition special and brightens with its playfulness and ingenuity. The use of keyboard instruments or programming has increased, and although “Žijutě” is mostly a listening work, it also offers some of the driving elements. For example, the tremblingly dancing “Barefoot” (sung in Slovak) moves in decent shades of Latin influences, the dreamy “Garden” is again built on the more distinctive guitar playing and drumming skills of Tomáš Neuwerth. The opposite is a beautiful, partly a cappella piece “It’s still like that”, in which the human voice also becomes an instrument that is driven by effects and becomes a building block of melodic ornaments. There are also several guests on the album. Thom Artway sings in “It’s Still That” and in the ensuing “Sentence,” which deals with the topic of contemporary communication (not just that on social networks) and relational reality. Violinist Gabriela Vermelho unleashes the urgency of “Stitching” with her part. Vojta Nýdl with bass clarinet and vocals made the only musical poem “425 – Hello, Nights” special. Its author is Emily Dickinson, whose birthplace (Amherst, Massachusetts) Beata lived for some time during her stay in the USA. In most cases, the texts are new, authorial, often written by Hlavenková directly on the body. “Barefoot” and the introductory prelude “Oka mih” come from Martin Vedej, whose verses appeared on the previous line (“Floated”). The second mentioned piece is a look at the time spent and a symbolic link to other texts. It must be said that this lyric suits the songs. “When the snow falls” is about late autumn, the first snowflakes are related to the course of human life. “Running” could easily be a look back at “Zátopek”, he notices that we are all in a hurry, and maybe we are unnecessarily overlooking the necessary facts and moments. There has already been talk of “Jumping”, it acts as a gateway to the “It’s still like that” mentioned several times, but primarily to the final part of the collection. It consists of a pair of songs that go to the heart of human emotions. “Sovám” is a slightly enchanting almost chanson with a demonic recitative by Ota Klempíř, which honors the slow tempo of the song and indulges in its gradation. “I’m writing to you” is a touching farewell to David Stypka. The composition was created earlier and was originally intended for the film “Dukla 61”. Her message took on a much more intense message after the singer’s sudden departure. It’s a very sad farewell to loved ones.

It is a pleasure to watch where Beata Hlavenková moves in her work. As he easily views not only the music world, he absorbs new knowledge, experiences, which he then incorporates with care focused on sound detail. “Žijutě” is the most accessible work from her discography, at the same time it still retains the characteristic multi-genre, which the listener must gradually absorb and let live. Get caught.

PS: The author will not christen her latest work until Wednesday, February 2, 2022, at the Archa Theater in Prague, accompanied by her Dream Band and other guests.

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REVIEW: Beata Hlavenková breathes life for the album “Žijutě”