Charismatic Soloist and Inventive Improviser Filip Topol. The recordings of two concerts of the Czech alternative legend, Filip Topol, serves as a memory of one of the most original personalities of the Czech music scene, released under the name Nebe je zatažený. The singer, pianist and author of several songs and lyrics spent most of his music life with his band, Psí vojáci. Filip Topol was known as an excellent improviser and a number of songs sounded different at each concert. The repertoire of his two solo concerts from the turn of the millennium therefore offers not only hits like Žiletky or Chce se mi spát, but also several surprising moments in each song and a unique atmosphere of the performance.
The set of Nebe je zatažený is being released on 3CDs and, in the digital version, only as a double album. The first album is called Sou pastýři, the second Neklidná noc. The third bonus CD includes the track V záři už nikdy netanči and mainly instrumental compositions and improvisations.
In fact, Filip Topol started as a singer behind the piano. He introduced himself to the audience for the first time on April 22, 1978, less than two months before he turned 13, at Václav Havel’s Hrádeček. The biggest part of his creative work was undoubtedly done with the band, Psí vojáci, founded shortly after. After all, he formed it for his songs or song cycles. The songs, Žiletky, Sbohem a řetěz, Chce se mi spát or Nebe je zatažený, became iconic hits for several generations. But his parallel solo performance has a logic. Not only “economical” logic but also artistic.
The recordings of the solo concerts of Filip Topol (1965-2013) open up a door to an important and distinctive form of the musician’s and poet’s world. Most of the songs are known mainly thanks to the records and concerts of Topol’s main band, Psí vojáci. But at the solo concerts, Filip Topol offered his songs in a version which he himself called “the innermost and most personal, unshielded by a collective.” All the hits presented by a forlorn author sound naturally different. Silently and loudly, soothingly and dramatically, subtly and intensely, tenderly and coarsely, resignedly and defiantly, hopelessly and hopefully, freely and densely. Often all at once. However, as convincingly as with the band. If Filip Topol needed to reach certain expressivity as an interpreter, he did it without the explosion and thrust of the band’s rhythm or other instrumental colours.
Many of the most amazing moments in the set of Nebe je zatažený offers improvised instrumental parts. Whether they are based on the theme of a particular song, from a cadence prepared in advance, from a classicist quote or from a current mood, they show yet another Filip Topol’s talent: improvisation. In addition to his talents, he never lacked erudition, which was definitely supported by his study of the keyboard instruments and Baroque music, but also the school of musical life and sense of places, situations and moods of the audience. One of Filip Topol’s organ recitals has already been published on a LP. The performance of Psí vojáci has been documented and published on several live records. The solo versions of his music and piano stage fantasies, however, are being released for the first time. The picture of one of the most interesting personalities that came out of the underground has finally gained its plasticity.