First published on April 29, 2011 and moved forward to highlight the new album Zahřáté Brzdy Optimismu. There hasn't been any activity from the band since 2013.
Hokr - Skvrny. 1991 private (LP)
Hokr - Hokrova Vila. 2004 private (CD-R); 2011 private (CD). Top photo is the reissue.
Hokr - Zahřáté Brzdy Optimismu. 2012 Ears & Wind (CD)
I have not heard the 1991 album to date.
At its core, Hokr are an organ based trio (whose history goes back as far as 1981) that seems to be the spiritual successor to Collegium Musicum, but put through the Elephant9 hyper amplified grinder. Additional guests on cello, tenor sax and guitar augment their sound greatly. Though primarily an instrumental album, the Czech vocals are delivered in an impassioned narrative like a cross between Pholas Dactylus, Devil Doll and Deus Ex Machina (at the higher registers). The cello gives them a slight Anekdoten feel. This is the best album from the Czech Republic since the heyday of The MCH Band, who they share some similarities with especially on the tracks with sax (minus the guitar of MCH of course). 'Mouse in a Trance' is a certified monster quality track! Hokr evolved into the also creative Poco Loco, a group I need to spend more time with obviously. Don't miss this one!
Highlights: 1. Prisel k Nam Kocour (Tomcat) (7:03); 4. Mys v Transu (Mouse in a Trance) (8:15); 6. Kdo ma Vladu nad Skvrnami Aneb Ztraceny Raj Artura Goldberga (Who Rules Over the Stains a.k.a. The Lost Paradise of Arthur Goldberg) (7:14); 7. Smutek Bejvalejch Pannen (Sorrow of the Deflowered Virgins) (6:06); 10. Blud c. 64 (Fallacy No. 64) (9:17)
As an aside, drummer Petr Cermak is a member of our Gnosis project. Yet I had no idea he was in this band until I got this CD!
----Zahřáté Brzdy Optimismu
It's been 8 years since Hokr's last album, and in between they released an album under the name Poco Loco. "Zahřáté brzdy optimismu" is closer in sound to Poco Loco than the last Hokr. The vocals have an anguished guttural quality similar to Peter Hammill (except sung in Czech), and the dense complex compositions recall the early 70s albums by Van der Graaf Generator. Sax, fuzz bass, and amplified organ lead the instrumental side of the band. This a fairly unique album overall. Perhaps only Garden Wall of Italy has a similar compositional style. Remove the metal guitars and add sax, and you have about the closest cousin you can spot. And they are distant cousins. Very distant. Highly recommended for the adventurous progressive rock listener.
Last update: August 20, 2016