Projekt203 is a band I didn’t know of until recently, when my friend and Rubber Axe’s editor-in-chief Rudolf turned me on to them. He knows my love of female-fronted pop acts, and suggested this band.
From what I gather online: Ondrej Pešek is the main composer of the music. Vocals are handled by the beautiful, angelic Sissi Enns.
Track by track:
Prečo Ty (Why You) – Starts out slow and powerful with a foreboding background creeping up like a fog. Sissi’s voice hits wonderfully. She takes this track into the build-up… the power gets stronger, and with this first song you get exactly what Projekt203 is: Absolute power. I love the high harmony vocal she performs behind the main vocal in the second chorus.
The way the chorus vocal is overlayed is masterful. What Ondrej has done with the music is made a foreboding, almost undanceable track – in the western sense of dance tracks. It’s a slow, horror dirge like what I would envision being on a Hammer film from the old days. This is a good way to start your journey into Projekt, if you’re up for it. What a good song, I can’t say enough about it. Struck a chord with me and reminded me that true artists still indeed exist.
Vlčia svorka (Wolf Pack) – The tempo of this song is more upbeat and fast but not in a shitty way: I mean that this song has a driving beat in addition to a dark, dingy, dirty sound, almost as if a murderer were creeping up upon an unsuspecting victim.
The verse slowly creeps up into a faster, “run the hell away from the killer” vibe. 2:30 in and it reminds me of werewolves. You have to understand I have absolutely no command of this language. I’ve not one clue what they are saying, and I don’t care. I don’t need to. Maybe this song is about werewolves stalking their human prey at night – that’s what I get from it. Seems that Ondrej may be singing backup on this track harmonizing with Enns vocal line. It really gets this kind of Middle Eastern thing going with her vocals. Very good.
Bolesť (Pain)- Oh, is that guitar I hear? The vocals lift you up in the beginning as strings swell, and bring you floating to a dark storm cloud above right before the rain floods your soul. Around the 1:10 mark we get some keys reminiscent, to me, of old stuff like Depeche Mode. That is a good thing in my mind. Vocals harmonizing with one another, slinking in and out of ecstasy like a snake. I fell in love with Sissi with the first song but I felt as if it was just puppy love… but NOW I know it’s real. The music builds to almost war march disco, if such a thing exists today? Really comes to a plateau around 2:50 or so. Favorite song so far…
Sirény (Sirens) – Electron cellphone territory here in the start. Sissi is already shining here, extremely fucking bright, like the power of the sun. It’s the sun but it’s the moon – this is extremely dark pop stuff. You may be accustomed to my reviews of light-hearted pop but don’t paint this review in the same vein: Understand this is extremely dark music that I could see being in many dark movies, etc…
I like the breakdown around 1:49. It complements what has happened so far and adds a difference to drive the song with as the (dark) angel begins to sing again. This is a dance song…for ghosts and demons.
It’s a spiritual vocal performance mixed with music made by someone who is clearly a bit off – and I mean that in a good way. Again, Sissi’s harmonies are perfect.
Zmyselná (Sensual) – Hmmm what do we have here? Reminiscent of K-Pop at the start, but quickly evolving at 30 seconds into darkness again. This music is very distinctly different from the pop I usually listen to (1980s American/English, 90s-00s Japanese, and 00s-010s Korean) and I love it!
Becomes very rock and roll at the 2 minute mark… a muted, chugging, rhythmic guitar perturbing your ears, making you suspicious of what’s to come. These songs really are masterpieces. I don’t get to hear much music like this. When it gets to the end of the song and her voice is almost alone with just some faint hints of music behind it, it’s a total ascent to a heavenly realm, lifting you up from the dark Hell the song just took you to.
Upírska vášeň (Vampyric Desire) – Back into upbeat territory, but not too much. Verse is very dancey. This is a song people could dance to, while being taken across the river Styx. There is still dread here as the song goes on after the first verse. The vocal collapses into the song and reminds me of a sped-up timelapse of a dying forest.
I’m not quite sure that’s what they’re going for here. It goes into a forceful rhythm that also makes me think of a bloody battle where no one wins. This seems to be a war march of sorts when translated from audio wave to these ears. An abrupt ending which is pretty cool.
Dokonalá (Perfect She) – Video game type sounds on this track mixed with alluring vocals by Sissi again. I swear she hasn’t missed one beat on this album yet. Usually I can find something to pick apart on something I review, but I’m seven tracks in and have enjoyed every minute. I love the way the sound alternates from left to right in the breakdown of the chorus and then it hits you with an extremely hardcore dance, robotic part which reminds me of J-Pop/Japanese Hip-hop, but the good, alternative kind, and not the overtly cutesy trash kind.
Sissi Enns is one of the better vocalists I’ve heard in pop or other styles. She is able to find a melody to sing over the bleakest of backing music. She can probably pull songs out of thin air. Many musicians can but most won’t be as pretty as what’s coming out of her.
Svetlo (The Light) – Reminds me of the start of some Korean stuff, and that is a good thing, but the melody sung over what is just basically one sound and a bass drum, takes me by surprise here.
This is produced very well. Top-tier production; extremely professional in all ways. Ahhhhh, splendid harmonies as she layers her voice. I love when singers harmonize with themselves – it’s something that, excuse these references, Rob Halford, King Diamond, and Ozzy are so good at. It’s a distinct sound that makes everything just sound better and more personal, charming, delicate.
This song fascinates me as it weaves in and out of the beauty of her harmonies, into a flighty adventurous musical quest for what seems like a sword that a dragon is hoarding amongst its gold and treasure. I had no other words…
Resistance – The 1980s have returned and the driving beat pushes us into the territory of Pat Benatar! That was the first thought I had upon listening to this song. It reminds me of her best stuff. An extremely, suspense-inducing cool duet vocals around 1:10 mark. Then we move up into major happy territory with the vocals. I was NOT expecting this tune. What the fuck? It’s kinda hard not to dance to this. I am going to get up out of the chair and just start my horrible Illinois dancing right now, and that’s why the review of this song is going to end right now…the build-up to the major chorus portion is just too much for me to handle… this is 1980s video arcade land and I can’t handle it… if you aren’t dancing by 3:30, you are a lifeless joke!
Posledné (The Last One) – Luckily for you, I am done dancing now. This song begins with vocals that remind me of a Hong Jin-Young trot number! It definitely isn’t a song in that musical vein, though. We have a staccato rhythm flowing through both speakers strangely as the disco drum pushes us forward into Pleasure Island. I’m reminded of long boat trips while listening to this song, and I don’t know why. It’s a night-time boat trip in the darkest waters ever but I get the sense that a positive uplifting vibe has now hit the shores of this album. It’s like looking toward land while on a very long boat trip, knowing that the uncertainty of the weather and the rocking motion of the sickness-inducing waves will be over before you know it. And then the song ends extremely abruptly before you get to the island…
Píšem Ti (Writing to You) – Sissi’s bewitching voice is dragging me into a delightful place. It has a graceful allure to it that I don’t find in much music today. Many singers are just imitating other western pop singers. Sissi is not doing that and instead, she is herself through and through. All the way through this I haven’t found any parts in the vocals where I can make comparisons to other artists. That is extremely hard to find as a music listener and die-hard collector.
Píšem Ti, musically, is pleasing, gorgeous, pretty… and vocally it’s these things multiplied by 100,000,000.
I find it hard to find more words to describe this song. I like the ending of it with the little bits of piano. Near perfect. Good song that will stick with me for a long time.
Pohladenie (A Caress) – It’s dance time again! Yeah, dancing with the fuckin’ devil. Don’t be confused by the overwhelming saccharine taste of this track. It is just as dark as everything before it.
The vocals here are as ideal as you can get for a “rising power” type of track such as this one. Duet harmonies again in the chorus of an almost overwhelming and dazzling quality. I’m reminded again of Depeche at parts, and even 90s American insdustrial? This song just ends itself quite fast again.
A lot of these songs, for me, could be longer – but please, Projekt – don’t listen to me when I say that! I think I am the only person left that enjoys extremely long compositions. The world loves shorter songs of the 1 to 4 minute duration variety. Please keep up what you are doing, and do not take my criticism to heart.
Rúž a vodka (Lipstick and vodka) – Vodka? Yeah, vodka! I love some vodka. Okay, I don’t love “some vodka.” I love “a lot of vodka.” In fact, I’d love to drink vodka while listening to this music on a cassette tape.
It hits really hard and then the vocals hit softly over a harsh landscape of noisy synths and a huge bass drum punching your nose in.
I especially love what happens at 1:44. The song changes direction just a little bit and the vocal layers coming in around 1:58 are stellar…
This is, for me, one of the top songs on the album. I like everything about it. And I really love vodka. So this song speaks to my heart and mind. Enticing vocal performance over sublime dance music in the back. The music here is German sounding in the Warning fashion.
I like it.
Mrazivá (Chilling) – Fourteen songs in and we get another different beat! They haven’t stepped over themselves yet; nothing sounds like another track on the album! That’s something you don’t find much in the modern world of what passes as art. 1:12 vocal… climb a bridge to despair with this melody/harmony. Industrial style music going on, reminding me of Reznor or Zombie? I wasn’t a fan of their music – they could’ve benefitted from Sissi being the vocalist!
Almost a frightening and alarming way of singing in this song. It’s gloomy and will hit you hard if you aren’t prepared. The chorus to Mrazivá might the bleakest-in-a-good-way point on this album and now I have another favorite. Public Enemy drumbeat during the last vocal that I’m sure only I picked up on. “The drummer get wicked” and they bring the fucking noise!
My Job – Engaging dance song rhythm starts this one out. The background male vocal stands out, as I wasn’t ready for it. Once again they surprise the shit out of me with this song. I was expecting a doldrum, dull ballad about how working a job sucks, and instead I get a pretty, airy, refined pop tune? It’s got the ethereal vocals but with a rare grace that wouldn’t be had in any other band’s song with the title of “My Job.” I’m struggling to find more words to this so I prepare to get up and dance. I start to dance and realize I’m alone, so I can really start breakdancing around the 3:07 mark. Wait a minute here. Stop dancing now. Is he saying “Fuck My Job”! Hahaha!
Yeah, you’re fucking right about that. Fuck everyone’s fucking job. Just goddamn dance while everything explodes and the world blows up!
Vnemy (Perceptions) – We are back in the heart of evil and darkness with this song. Reminding me of Warning mixed with Lipps Inc!
Very dark, but happy to be dark. I imagine this is the kind of song a sexy witch queen would sing right before casting a destructive spell upon her kingdom, and watching everyone burn alive into piles of smoldering cinders as she yells out the chorus. There’s no yelling here – far from it, it’s beautiful singing as usual – but the feeling I get from it is “screaming as you watch people burned by a Satanic spell cast by an Evil Witch Queen.”
Maybe I’m overthinking this. I suppose this is the gift of Sissi’s voice; the capabilities of Ondrej’s music and production.
Pure, true, art.
Už vieš to (You know it know) – I can make no comparisons to much else with this song as they have once more composed something different from the rest. Very dynamic from the loud kind of start of the music.. to the soft yet extremely INTENSE vocal skills of Sissi.
Her voice takes you into a different place than the music does. The music here is kind of “2000s Video Game” to me (which isn’t a knock against it, quite the contrary in fact) while the vocal is very unique and I love the harmonies and backups here. She really knows what she’s doing – and she’s playing with my heart! I’m completely in love with her at this point. I suppose that’s what is supposed to happen. Most singers collapse under the weight of the music when you’re dealing with techno pop stuff. The vocals always seem to take a backseat to the electronic music pouring through the speakers but in the case of Projekt203 you have exactly the opposite. The vocals are in the FRONT of this vehicle. The driver of the bus is Sissi Enns… she’s driving you right off the side of a cliff to your demise…and making you love it.
Starý obraz (Old Painting) – Spacey song here that kind of makes me think of traveling to another planet. Think about it this way. Suppose we make that first manned mission to Mars.
The first song played on that planet should be this one. It’s like a river of sadness that is backed up over a dam of happiness; a dream of hopefulness not stifled by the ever moving current.
This song, to me, sounds like man’s progress toward the conquering of space, and time. The best part about this song for me is that it clocks in at about 6 minutes, which, as hinted, could be just enough to give mankind time to reflect on the fact it has landed on Mars.
Yes, I’m sticking with the “People going to Mars” comparison here. When you’re five minutes into a song and don’t even realize it, that’s potent, strong stuff.
A strong vodka, perhaps? This song ends very forceful in its melancholic melodious stringy, brassy but not overtly, forceful energetic yet flowing slowly, sounds over a trippy beat.
Odistený granát (Grenade Released) – Try not to move during this song – that is an order. Try not to bop your head. Sissi has now taken control of the spaceship, and you can’t do anything about it.
The applied force of this deadly rhythm in combination with the virtuous, violent vortex of the vocal provides enough fuel to get to another dimension – and there’s even a siren-type laser noise in places, reassuring me that we are indeed in a spaceship right now, with our omnipotent leader Sissi at the helm, ensuring the mission is a success.
I wasn’t ready for the album to end, but it has, and I’m going to listen to it once more.
I’m not done. Buy this album now.