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Recording in Prague
On a typically miserable Prague spring day I hauled over to Jan Muchow's studio for an interview. The studio, Balance, is just off the notorious Wenceslas Square in Prague, just by the famed locus where not so many years back student Jan Palach set himself a flame for the sake of freedom.
You won't be reminded much of Russian tanks while walking the streets of Prague, where the only real enemies now are the nagging beckonings of Dunkin Donuts and KFC. But keep in mind it was only 12 years ago when the Czech Republic became independent. Culturally, they've gone an awful long way in a very short time. Political-historical lines break down sharply between generations. There is a huge gap between the experiences had by those who were 10 in 1989 and those who were 16 - today's teens have no idea what it was like back then, whilst today's 20-somethings can look back and compare. Perhaps due to their tricky historical influences, when Czechs become stars, they really become stars. If you are really good at what you do, especially if you are known in the UK and in the USA, you are golden in the eyes of the Czech media.
Jan Muchow holds a particular place heading up the small but accomplished Czech experimental electronic music scene. He starred in the movie Whispers, an award-winning Czech independent film for which he also wrote and produced music. Because of his success with his musical project Ecstasy of St Theresa, and also in the film and theater industries, Jan is always dodging TV cameras at concerts and events. Yet he's not a pop-star in the 'N Sync sense but rather as a really good experimental producer and songwriter. Yes, in a country where the President's favorite artists include the Velvet Underground and Frank Zappa, you can have experimental artists who are big pop-stars. Go figure.
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