KILHETS: Kilhets (5CD metal box)
This is one of those documents I thought would never see the light of day. I first saw Kilhets in 1979 (it was their 3rd concert) in Prague, back in the days of strict control and secret police, when imagination could be expected to be treated as subversion. A vanishing rarity in the CSSR, Kilhets essentially played free improvised electric music, far from jazz, far from most anything - it was a home-grown laboratory for a new music, something the East-bloc wasn't supposed to have. With hoods and painted faces (whether part of a general alienation effect or a nominal disguise I'm not sure) three (later four) extremely talented musicians (all active more visibly in other bands) just made it up as they went along. On the continuum noise - silence all points were occupied; this was a music that came seemingly fully formed out of nowhere. What makes it doubly fascinating is that these players were not part of a fashion or a school - there was no other music like this in the CSSR, nor was there any ready public for it. Kilhets just played this way because they had to and, at least in the beginning, they also had to invent their own rules and aesthetic. In those days, concerts in the CSSR were few and far between, and each one was a special event. In 2 years Kilhets managed 8 performances, which was pretty good going, and five of them are contained here (1, 5 & 7 are missing). They are all very different and the ones I find most interesting are the first two and the fifth - which is the most conceptual and intense. The others have their moments (some may prefer them - there are even snatches of The Residents' songbook and a lot more quotes from the rock lexicon in them); they are clearly keeping on the move. However, this is not for everyone; you have to be interested or curious and ready to be bemused. That said, this is an important document and a significant piece of lost history that will need from now to be taken into account.