Home taping is killing music.
Pingvinovo potpalublje download.
Home taping is killing music.
Pingvinovo potpalublje download.
Web administrator as a consumer (take 3).
Here is a list of all the albums issued in 2018 which I’ve managed to listen to carefully. No ranking applied. Albums are listed chronologically, as they were dropping in my digital folder through illegal channels during the year. Don’t worry, I’ve already purchased few vinyls (some of them in unwanted colored edition, all of them more or less warped & pressed off-center). I bought one of them even on CD! Actually I would have bought most of them on CD for less money if it weren’t for loud / heavily compressed mastering with crushed dynamics (which for some reason, unfathomable to me, has been happening in the usually more reasonable and less trendy independent sector all these years as well). What a shame.
Superchunk – What a Time to Be Alive
Hyper enough? Oh, what a time to be alive! Any time. Short and swift barrage of concise pop-rock songs bordering on punk-rock from a super band whose albums I don’t like that much (exceptions would be their not-really-appreciated “college rock” issues: “Indoor Living” and “Come Pick Me Up” & lovely collections of early singles, b-sides and throwaway tracks). Reagan Youth! Thatcher Youth. Tito Youth. OK, in case of ex-YU the political icon wasn’t alive anymore. The youth of YU (at least some of them) were haunted by Tito’s ghost, annoying mythology of failed Communism and uncertain future.
What a Time to Be Alive
Break the Glass
Hot Snakes – Jericho Sirens
“Jericho Sirens” is a great return album by a veteran band in a long line of excellent return albums by veteran bands that happened this year. What can I say, judging on the level of kinetic energy only, these old dudes probably don’t need sports to stay fit. When it comes to guitar sound, I still love to hear guitar strings and manic strumming a bit more than powerful heavy metal riffing. Hot Snakes are experts in that field. Yahweh is angry. The sirens are giving off loud sound alarm and I don’t hear it. It’s clear that I need a doctor too.
I Need a Doctor
Death of a Sportsman
The Breeders – All Nerve
Here‘s another very nice band that never spoke to me on a personal level. I liked “Pod” when it came out and it still holds very well. That’s it. Hence I approached The Breeders’ new album as an accidental listener, without great expectations. I am glad I gave them a chance in the end. A couple of unconventional pop rock songs from “All Nerve” can really tranquilize raw nerves. There is also a cover version of “Archangels Thunderbird” from the early psychedelic repertoire of drugged-out Amon Düüll II. Geil!
Walking With a Killer
Dawn: Making an Effort
And there is also one song that I’ll dedicate to all the ghosts of this website:
Preoccupations – New Material
Being preoccupied with the past isn’t good for mental health. Neither is headless rushing into the future which has been approaching the speed of light in recent times. Fuck off, future! Disarray. Disarray. Disarray. Preoccupations dropped their original band name “Viet Cong” just like that (principle of non-attachment to win over tiresome political correctness?), adopted a new moniker and moved on. “New Material” turned out to be upgrade on previous self-titled record & a well-rounded album with lots of angular guitar playing. They have finally won me over.
The Ex – 27 Passports
For my quasi review of The Ex’s new album see the blogpost from merry month of May. I didn’t mention Andy Ex (ex Dog Faced Hermans; a great band, by the way) in there so here is an appreciation for his furious guitar playing and persistent activity. Cheers Andy.
The Messthetics – The Messthetics
“The Messthetics” is instrumental jazz-rock album that SST record label could have put out in 1987. Expertly played and nicely recorded by DC senior punk-rockers. I mean the rhythm section comes from Fugazi. However, spotlight is on lead guitarist Anthony Pirog who proved that vocals and words are not always needed. No mess to be found on this pedantic album. I’ve always loved surprises from Dischord.
The Inner Ocean
Once Upon a Time (Sonny Sharrock)
Sleep – The Sciences
Sleep woke up from marijuana induced coma, went into studio with their new drummer (and old friend from Neurosis), and recorded a new double album which could have dropped directly from the 1970s, those orange & brown tones and all. It worked out.
E – Negative Work
“Negative Work” is as good as E’s exceptional debut issued less than two years ago. The songwriting angle didn’t change one bit because there was no reason for it. E are fit and working. It surprises me that I still don’t miss bass guitar. But I missed reportedly great show in Zagreb last summer, played for two dozen people in audience.
A House Inside
The Chills – Snow Bound
Martin Phillipps’s music channeled through unstable and unlucky The Chills will always be welcomed here. On “Snow Bound” his soul-searching is matched with baroque style of songwriting. Due to slightly more complex and ornate use of keyboards, the album can sound stodgy, especially when moodiness takes over me. In that frame of mind “Snow Bound” reminds me of an album by a prog-rock band in New Wave clothes or maybe of a tribute to Split Enz clowns circa ’78. Living ain’t easy. Thank God I like keyboards a lot.
The Greatest Guide
Gnod – Chapel Perilous
“Chapel Perilous” is one more noise-rock album that underwent subtle dub sound treatment by Gnod. Clattering train of trebly sound on the collision course with near future is deafening. It hits hard. All the noiseniks of this world should get it. Turn it up, mate!
Uncle Frank Says Turn It Down
Low – Double Negative
As much as I conservatively love the beginning and the first creative peak (or rather plateau) of Low, I appreciate changes that they undertook after “Trust” to move on, straying away from the trodden path of righteousness and opting for variations in sound production since the drastic changes in songwriting are almost impossible. For what is worth, the new approaches applied to “Double Negative” brought unpleasant side effects too. It truly bugs me to hear a couple of really beautiful songs ruined on purpose with dubious choice aesthetic that mimics recent trends in POP production (= digital rubbish bin effects). Electronic demolishing of rhythm tracks on “Double Negative” sounds cheap and ugly to a pair of average rock ears but probably that was the point, to connect Low and something desperately modern like… Burial. (pardon my ignorance of digital electronic music, my capacity for consuming is limited). The overall effect isn’t on the level of Jamaican dub studio treatment which will always sound otherworldly to me. But those minimal songs on the album without distorted beat/percussion in the background, which hover and chime in the darkest digital chasm, are truly arresting. Lurid. “Double Negative” is saved by pop-art context of imminent decay. Sound imprint of a degenerative brain disease.
The Son, The Sun
Dancing and Fire
Viagra Boys – Street Worms
Thanks, The Quietus! A very good pick indeed. Viagra Boys, Swedish “scum” rock group of sorts, play post-punk influenced garage-rock with sax whose filthy echoes and mocking blare won’t reach clean-shaven and respected high cultured Swedish society but they do resonate well over here, in ex lumpenproletariat areas. Since I don’t dig death / black metal (corpses), this entertaining Swedish import of another kind will suffice for the sake of global balance. Slow learner, he is relaxed.
Down in the Basement
Just Like You
The Body – I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer
Is The Body’s music metal? Not quite, but certainly it is HEAVY. “I Have Fought Against It…” has some things in common with Low’s “Double Negative” as well. “Digital garbage” sound effects have been integral part of The Body’s work of art for some time now, perhaps even from their earliest days. Truth be told, I am not very familiar with their prolific output. On several occasions I stumbled upon a very moving recording from their already broad discography. Listening to The Body can be healing experience when applied in moderate doses. Audio homeopathy of sorts. I was deeply impressed with “I Shall Die Here” few years ago. If Low circle in limbo like moths, then these two guys reside in a truly hellish place on Earth.
The West Has Failed
The Last Form of Loving
High On Fire – Electric Messiah
Yet another return to form. High On Fire are not flogging tired horse on “Electric Messiah”. They are indeed on fire with malocchio gestures high in the air. Not all the songs are precious enough to be included on double LP, in my humble opinion, and better impression would give regular album length. In other words, I am too feeble to endure this merciless album in one listening session. HOF’s Thanatos force tramples over my Pathos. The sound formula accomplished together with Converge’s guitarist seems to be optimal solution for forward motion of High On Fire’s style of metal. But I will always return to the odd one produced by Jack Endino – “Death Is This Communion” – a firm favorite to this very day.
Spewn From the Earth
The Pallid Mask
Steps of the Ziggurat / House of Enlil
Mudhoney – Digital Garbage
“Digital Garbage” is kinda funny and sad trad rock album. It’s easier to deal with this world reading comics and listening to rock music. Digital garbage will ruin my hearing and my mind. Corporate garbage will mess with my source of income and affect my material existence. Here comes Mudhoney. (I missed the show in November ’18)
Next Mass Extinction
Portal – Ion
The trap-door that leads to big black nothingness has been unchained by Portal for almost a decade now. Just like the things in life that come when (and where) least expected, the key moment of entering a parallel universe didn’t happen in a cottage in wooded Nordic hinterlands but down under, in sun-scorched Australia. Portal’s audacious art-rock take on death metal / black metal pummeling is so good and weird that some artfags (including me) might try to claim them from metal hordes.
ESP ION AGE
Šumski – Ostrvo ledenog kita
Izvrstan povratnički album grupe Šumski za sve fanove iz Zagreba, Hrvatske, šire jugoistočne regije te za ponekog slučajnog međunarodnog slušatelja. Šumski se ipak nisu zgubili. Vrnuli su se jači i profinjeniji nego ikad prije. Sveprisutni zagrebački gitarist Franjo Glušac je novi član.
Prijatelji se sele na selo
A note for an intrigued foreign visitor:
Ostrvo ledenog kita, the long awaited new album from the incredible Šumski is out now! Described as a kaleidoscopic blend of kraut, pop, afro, psycho and comic-strip sounds from the heart of the Balkans. Check it out!
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – King Of Cowards
Over three decades of listening I’ve heard more than enough rock music based on Ramones template (updated mid-1960s US garage-rock). I am still not bored or fed up with sudden surge of bands that took Black Sabbath as a role model (but I might be soon). I am not sorry that nothing seems new or original anymore. I don’t care. Malevolent Sabbath spirit cannot be exorcised easily.
The Sea and Cake – Any Day
The sea (Adriatic Sea!) and cake for me any day. (hmmm, maybe not at the peak summer season and during winter months). I can see it clearly in my mind’s eye – a cup of good quality coffee while sitting at peace on a terrace in the sun overlooking the secluded inlet & enjoying autistic American blue-eyed soul songs by jazz-pop group The Sea and Cake. Perfect background for leisure and drifting off… Cluttered storage space I am going to leave behind… I will. It’s gonna be escapism par excellence. Any day now. Ciao.
I Should Care
27 passports almost like 27 long years or cca. 27 albums… great new CD (56 min) by The Ex flew in. It took some time for new vocalist / guitarist Arnold de Boer to fit inside well oiled band-machine. Or it could rather be that some fans needed more time to accept G. W. Sok’s departure from The Ex. His (anarcho-syndicalist poet on the dole) vocals (and word play) used to be band’s signature as much as Terrie’s sharp sounding guitar strings’ wrangling and Katherina’s style of drumming.
OK then, on “27 Passports” Arnold de Boer shines like he’s been one of super-fit The Ex veteran musicians for decades. Looking back and re-listening, “Catch My Shoe” (2010) brought along inspired energetic playing and complex songs but as an album in its entirety partly suffers from excessive length. Perhaps I slightly more prefer sax led “Y’Anbessaw Tezeta” (2012; Getachew Mekuria w / The Ex ) & “Enormous Door” (2013; The Ex & Brass Unbound). It might be too early to say definitively but “27 Passports” appears to be even better product than all of these recent The Ex issues! (although “Y’Anbessaw Tezeta” collaboration belongs to a league of its own).
Take off you old Doc Martens shoes (with slippery soles) and dance barefoot! Wait wait wait … ček ček čekaj … Teške se kiše spremaju. Kroz tvoj se prozor samo jablani vide. Nad gradom munje sijevaju. A doma nema goluba da te miluje.
Soon All Cities
Young and cocky anarchists The Ex burning music newspapers in ’86…
Listen to the Painters – listen to G.W.Sok!
A collection of tracks (recorded between 2009 and 2015) with G.W. Sok on vocals.
Two Pin Din – Listen To The Painters
Zoikle – Illusies 1
Surplus 1980 – The World’s Still Here
The And – The Heart Of Everything
L’Etrangleuse – Writer’s Blog
King Champion Sounds – Ghetto Of Eden
Action Beat – Spoonfeed Hell
Cannibales & Vahinés – No Can Do
Chapi Chapo & Les Petites Musiques De Pluie – Here We Go Again
The Bent Moustache – The Sound Of Sirens
Take a look inside The Ex Shop.
Mark E Smith, “The Year Of The Toadies”
New Musical Express, 12/1983
THIS YEAR, the group that sneers at laughing fate, broke down in a quaint place three kilometres outside Dachau for five days skint and starved escaping only through the use of a bogus credit card to get to Yugoslavia, not worth it at all despite what these leftist musicians say. (Of course gigs are packed!) Returned home to bankrupt record co. then slipped again into a more sinister one. Went abroad and developed xenophobia. Marriage saved vocalist’s neck. Attacked for tax. Spurned retrospect. future very bright, hiding retirement. Now number 6, age average 22.5.
OTHERWISE, it’s the cyclical tone of 1983 that strikes me the most. Viewed through miserable eyes, much familiarity here: Music Vaudeville still. Manned as ever by cockney musicians in disguise, supplemented by Lancashire-Scotch deserters. But there’s more to it. Loads of crafted ‘good pop’ lyrics, Serious, Pal, in their statement of non-conviction in this living desert etc. but subtly appealing to humanity in the same way as a hospital does. Nothing new, except this is of groups’ own accord! So, I have to proclaim 1983-THE YEAR OF THE TOADIES. A good laugh though was seeing all the serious/literal musicians go ‘Lite’ (in wake of lager and cigarettes) as the scrambling for market position heated up. A musical version of the GOD-JOB Interviewer hoax practiced on schools TV – i.e. declining market etc. look at so & so, he did it – this paid off to ‘those concerned.’ Competition fierce, and groups as clean and accommodating as never before! Independent labels feel secure enough to pick, choose and shove around even. Early senile fantasies of groups sure to be quenched for their staff, who’re comfy in the knowledge that the Y.T.S. of rock is the Soviet conscription-well of GB.
More disturbing was this panic hitting journalist too – semi established hacks and even their betters fighting for and adopting name scattering with redick prose, bruise purple and its insecurity. Smash Hits realise this I think.
Also funny is the proliferation of faggots in the top pop lot. I have a theory that this is due to AIDS scare, resulting in said groups having more energy derived from celibacy.
Be seeing you.
A prompting Xmas to our friends.
MARK E. SMITH (for THE FALL)
If the beginning of ’17 brought new album by Trobecove krušne peći then we can gently end the year with unexpected return (with LP album as extra surprise) of Brujači (Buzzers), led by legendary TKP bassist Mario Barišin – Bara. The current lineup consists of Zagreb’s guitarist (on hire!?) Franjo Glušac (ex Peach Pit) & drummer Viktor Krasnić who also plays in band Šumski. Glušac’s playing style evolved over the years under the influence of virtuoso/avant noise-rock guitarists and it changes the concept of original Brujači as double bass band. Bara’s bass buzzing appears in different styles from song to song but the album as a whole is well-rounded and appropriately recorded in the studio. Today’s version of Brujači gathers Zagreb rock musicians from different generations who found common language, developed interplay and successfully captured it on “Ladanje” (Dirty Old Label / Geenger Records, 2017). Will they develop it further? Since this tribute website is a small niche that bridges past times & elusive present (or postpunk decade & mature stages of long-lived resilient bands / musicians still active today), inclusion of “Ladanje” somehow fits as the album pick for December. Basslines as lifelines. Pođimo na selo…
Da li znaš?
Last year Freaks R Us (The Pop Group themselves) re-issued “For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?” (1980/2016) which was far too long out of print. They didn’t stick to the song sequence of the original album: “One Out Of Many” track is out, “We Are All Prostitutes” single is now in. I won’t miss the former much – it would have worked better as B-side material even first time around (for example “Forces of Oppression” could have been A-side of never planned single). Freaks R Us really could have included both songs and added other time period related songs for the CD issue thou. CD format easily tolerates extra minutes of music. Anyway, in many cases I liked the record industry practice (or wish of the artists) in UK which kept strong (lead) single separate from the album, as had happened with fiery “She’s Beyond Good And Evil” single & “Y” LP the year before.
For the purpose of refreshed listening experience I’ve also re-imagined this album as 8-song mini LP (cut at 45 RPM!):
A2 Blind Faith
A3 How Much Longer
A4 There Are No Spectators
B1 Forces Of Oppression
B2 Feed The Hungry
B4 Rob A Bank
A We Are All Prostitutes
B Amnesty International Report
Boys (still teenagers!) from Bristol didn’t like to be pigeonholed. They did hate word “rock” and what it had represented in their minds. With fucking passion! Were they good at it? Brilliant! Kudos. “For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?” (1980) album is as good as “Y” (1979) and as relevant today as it was almost four decades ago.
Boys Next Door (the Birthday Party), the Reactionaries (Minutemen) & perhaps Šarlo akrobata and Trobecove krušne peći from around these parts, among many other bands and music fans all around the world were in total awe!
Remind yourself of The Pop Group greatness and support the recent re-issue from Freaks R Us. Every record shop in town should have The Pop Group in stock for the sake of mental health of the dwindling new generations interested in groundbreaking and mind-blowing music. “For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?” is a cultural treasure in pop (!?) music. The tags and genre classifications are arbitrary here anyhow.
The last album “Honeymoon On Mars” (2016) ended up a victim of the studio approach in pop song-craft with too many unnecessary layers of electronic sounds, overdubs and banal samples. A step back from unexpected and decent (but symptomatically slicked) return with “Citizen Zombie”. Symbolic opposition and defiant stance would work better in live context (in studio controlled environment) in my humble opinion. I definitely like a poke of straight forward electronic tracks (e.g. “Zipperface”) but the album as a whole may be experienced as continuation of Mark Stewart’s solo albums rather than The Pop Group album. Listening to “Honeymoon On Mars” is like waiting in vain for the vital electricity of simple guitar/bass/drums setup (with a touch of electronica) to surface and rip up overbearing and predictable digital everything of everyday existence. No sweat and other body fluids on the bed sheets in the end. I wish that the sound aesthetic of this particular recording were in total opposite to the intentionally repulsive and frightening cover art. Nice effort thou. What I want I could get in concert, I guess.
For how much longer do we tolerate mass murder?
Until the bitter end. It seems.
“History doesn’t repeat itself, man always does.” – Voltaire
(via David Peace)
Well, obviously Unsane cannot be killed easily. They are like the city pest they summoned for the previous album “Wreck” (2012). Impossible to shake them off and get rid of them. And there’s no reason for that because Unsane excelled on “Sterilize”. Alongside self-titled debut (1991) and “Scattered, Smothered & Covered” (1995) this would be my favorite Unsane album.
Electric Wizard surprised me as well. I was bored with sprawling tedium of “Time to Die” (2014) and almost wrote them off. I was wrong. “Wizard Bloody Wizard” is brief and lean appearance for Electric Wizard standards, and indifferently evil as always. In the meantime I’ve also realized that I like Electric Wizard more than Sleep. I am especially fond of the second line-up with Lady Buckingham as additional guitarist.
(lately I’ve been reading the Red Riding 1974-1977-1980-1983 Quartet by David Peace, and although the background soundtrack for “1980” is comprised of Throbbing Gristle, Joy Division, A Certain Ratio, The Pop Group, Cabaret Voltaire, Whitehouse etc., these two recent bloody albums have similar impact on my twitching nerves)
We are fucked. See you in Hell.
*subject to change*
This far away ex Socialist Republic was/is situated deeper in the Balkans where Byzantine ways of singing and chanting have persevered in liturgy. Skopje, the capitol city, was hit by powerful earthquake in 1963 and rebuilt in steel and concrete. So, despite relatively sunny climate and warmhearted folk, one could find just enough Socialist gray areas even down there. Well, I can only guess. Macedonia as a land is usually (and superficially) associated with red vine, mutton, blood red poppies & jazz-rock virtuoso Vlatko Stefanovski’s band Leb i sol whose rise to fame progressed in parallel with the new wave happenings. Although Makedonija very often brings in mind sunshine too, where those rock generations really children of sun (Deca sunca) or darkness? It might seem like the majority of them were children (youth) of God: post-punk (or dark-wave or Gothic) bands that operated like mystic sects branched from Macedonian Orthodox Church – bringing religious Sunday school out of the half-secret parochial classes to the Electric Church and rock stages across the country to amplify their beliefs.
The earliest Macedonian punk and new wave bands didn’t leave official recordings behind. They probably lived fast and died too early or transformed into something else. In general, Macedonian artistic spirit of mid 1980s struck a chord with dark wave.
Since I am not that much familiar with the history of rock and pop music from Skopje and SR Macedonia, beside obvious punk rock or post-punk names (Badmingtons, Bastion, Padot na Vizantija, Mizar etc.), here’s the segment from Wikipedia as a brief overview:
The late 1970s saw the emergence of punk rock. The first punk rock band was Fol jazik, formed in Skopje in 1978. During the 1980s other notable punk groups were Saraceni and Badmingtons, both led by Vladimir Petrovski Karter. Later he switched to a more mainstream sound and formed the group Aleksandar Makedonski.
The new wave scene featured artists such as the ska group Cilindar, Usta na usta and Tokmu taka. Tokmu taka’s vocalist Ljupčo Bubo Karov from Kavadarci later became popular as an actor of the comedy TV show K-15, while Usta na usta’s member Aleksandar Prokopiev became a prominent writer. Another influential band was Bon Ton Bend with Dario Pankovski, who released many hits of new wave music.
The synthpop trio Bastion which featured Kiril Džajkovski was one of the most important 1980s acts. Another notable 1980’s act was Haos in Laos (allegedly in a sort of New Romantic style). The pop-rock group Memorija formed in 1984 was one of the most prosperous from this period. The most productive in the country was the post-punk, darkwave and gothic rock scene which included the cult bands Mizar, Arhangel and Padot na Vizantija, the latter led by Goran Trajkoski. Later he formed the neo-folk group Anastasia which became internationally acclaimed with its soundtrack for the Milčo Mančevski’s Academy Award nominated film Before the Rain.
Notable heavy metal artists were the groups Karamela and Concorde, the latter being remembered for their more radio-friendly hit “Visoki štikli i crni čorapi” (“High Heels and Black Stockings”). Its guitarist Venko Serafimov later started a successful solo career.
The very beginning (1980-83) of the dark decade in rock in Macedonia mainly remained undocumented and the scarce demo recordings seem to be lost for good.
Badmingtones (ex Fol jazik, ex Saraceni) (1983-86) fronted by ever-present punker V.P. Karter played slightly melodic punk-rock throughout the mid decade and even managed to leave a demo tape behind. Now very rare, it consists of earlier recordings done in their own studio and three tracks recorded in professional studio of RTV Skopje in 1985. Their basic punk-rock sound was enriched with electric organ on studio material.
Bastion was yet another smooth ex-YU synth pop combo: drum machine, fretless bass, synths and baby doll singing in Serbian (then known as Serbo-Croatian – the official language in Yugoslavia). The trio was formed in 1983 by Ana Kostovska (vocalist), Kiril Džajkovski (keyboards) and Ljubomir Stojsavljević (bass guitar). The author of their lyrics was the internationally acclaimed film director Milčo Mančevski, at that time a correspondent of the magazine Džuboks. He was also the film director of their music video “Hot day in Mexico”. It’s a shame that at least one single track on their only record was not sung in Macedonian. Anyhow, Bastion had smashing times turning Skopje into bright lights big city LA. I remain emotionally reserved to some degree but can understand appeal, there is some beauty in delicate fragility of Bastion’s almost minimal approach. Synth-pop fans that dig albums by Talas (BG), Videosex (LJ) or Denis & Denis (RI) should check it out. The original copies of “Bastion” (1984) issued by PGP RTB are fetching silly prices nowadays.
Energetic post punk (via Echo and the Bunnymen, U2 or Comsat Angels) of short-lived Padot na Vizantija (ex Afektiven naboj) was documented only on a couple of studio/live demo tracks scattered as appearances on three cassette releases (various artists compilations). They split up too soon and freed space for powerful gothic rock delivered by post-JNA Mizar or Mizar II. Surprisingly, Padot na Vizantija toured a bit in their short lifetime and even participated at YURM ’85 festival in Zagreb where they got excellent reviews. If they had managed to record and issue debut album in ’85 it would fit nicely in dark-wave post-punk albums series championed by this blog/site. Padot na Vizantija anthology has been issued by NE! Records this year.
Mizar II put out two critically acclaimed gothic rock (or deathrock) albums before the official end of Yugoslavia. The self-titled debut “Mizar” (1988) would be the most important record from Macedonia from the 1980s (if we put Leb i sol albums in separate category). I used to think that the sophomore effort “Свјат Dreams 1762 – 1991” (1991) was significantly inferior but now I realize that I was wrong – it has its own strong points. I can be fussy only about the clean production on both, as usually.
Aporea (aka Apokrifna realnost) self-released religiously (spiritually) themed vintage industrial tape “Na rekah vavilonskih” in 1988. The material was recorded after Padot na Vizantija had disbanded, sometime in the between the fall of ’85 and winter of ’88.
Lola V. Stain recorded two albums of ambiental music before crucial member Zlatko Origjanski joined Anastasia. The debut “Ikona” (1990) issued for an independent label from Zagreb (Blind Dog Records) is comprised of two long multi-part atmospheric instrumentals: “Makova polja” & “Rani jadi”. These two complex songs are structured from the interchangeable variations based on either bagpipes, traditional ethnic drum (tapan) or a jazzy psychedelic theme.
Anastasia started as collaboration of musicians from Padot na Vizantija, Aporea and Mizar who composed atmospheric music influenced by Macedonian folk and Byzantine church music. This lineage also represents specific artistic vision of Goran Trajkoski that had started with punk band Afektiven naboj. The first EP “Na rjekah vavilonskih” was released as 12’’ record in 1990. It was introduction of sorts for the film soundtrack “Before the Rain” that would become international hit few years later.
Arhangel was Macedonian alternative rock band formed in 1989 by Risto Vrtev (the first vocalist in original Mizar). Their debut album was recorded during last days of Yugoslavia and even pressed in Zagreb by Jugoton in 1991. However, as an active rock band, Arhangel have been more significant for post YU Macedonia.
As an exception to the “rule” and due to the scarcity of recorded Macedonian bands I’ll add Telo-nauka sovršena who were actually living far away from Skopje – they came from a small town Struga (as local punk band Afektiven naboj). I quite like material from their only official release – tape “Kadis” (1988, SKC Niš) but not so much some sound production choices. Like Mizar, Telo-nauka sovršena often sound better to me live than in studio. One can here ghosts of Joy Division [unknown pleasures] or early New Order buried in the hiss and flutter of an old cassette tape. Never heard earliest recorded material (pre “Kadis”), if it really exists in any format.
I am going to end retrospective tripping on ex YU music with this post and take a small imaginary vacation at some fancy resort on the lake of Ohrid. Seeping cold juice under a huge parasol listening to Bastion would make me good now on the verge of winter. I am kidding comrades! I need to spend some quiet time as a recluse contemplating and meditating in a remote Macedonian monastery (without holy scriptures of any kind, of course). OK, I am leaving you with Mizar, not in misery. Godspeed!
The First Two Revelations of Mizar (from a great Wikipedia entry)
Mizar (Macedonian: Мизар [miˈzar]) is a Macedonian rock band from Skopje. They achieved a status of a cult band, especially in Macedonia and across the Western Balkans.
The group is notable for its first self-titled album, as it was the first popular music in Western Balkans record in Macedonian language. The album was a major success and it is listed among the top ten rock albums ever released in Western Balkans.
Mizar was formed in 1981 in the then Socialist Republic of Macedonia. Because of the band’s avant-garde sound and image, its Christian leanings and support for Macedonian self-determination, they were viewed with certain degree of suspicion by the former authorities. Still, the group received great media attention including numerous appearances on the national television.
The band got its name after Mizar which is a guiding star for orientation of travelers in the deserts. The name was given by Panta Džambazoski.
Mizar’s musical style is post-punk, darkwave and gothic rock. Beside influences such as Joy Division for instance, Mizar also uses elements of Traditional Macedonian folklore and Byzantine music. Another main part of their music is Goran’s (both Tanevski and Trajkoski) vocals which are based on Christian church chants.
In their long history, Mizar has had 5 Revelations, all of them with different singers.
The First Revelation (Risto Vrtev)
Mizar were formed in 1981 in Skopje as an instrumental trio of Gorazd Čapovski on guitar, Valentin Žabjakin on bass and Panta Džambazoski on drums. In late 1981, Žabjakin left the band and was replaced with Ilija Stojanovski. Risto Vrtev joined on vocals soon after. In 1982, the group recorded a demo tape for Radio Skopje. They then sent this tape to Jugoslovenski Rock Moment (also known as YURM), who wrote a short but glowing review of the tape. During 1983, the band then had to break up shortly after due to the members’ mandatory army commitments.
The Second Revelation (Goran Tanevski)
In 1985, when the members of Mizar returned from the army, Čapovski attempted to form a band called Inola-X with Vrtev, but it didn’t work out. Mizar then reformed with Goran Tanevski in place of Vrtev and a new keyboardist, Slobodan Stojkov. They started to use elements of the traditional Macedonian folklore and Byzantine music blended with post-punk, darkwave and gothic rock. This phase of Mizar is known as Мизар – Второ Откровение (Mizar – The Second Revelation). Vrtev later founded Arhangel (Archangel) which was awarded as the best rock act in Macedonia during the 1990s. Arhangel inherited certain features of Mizar but with a more conventional rock approach which is why Arhangel was sometimes referred as the Rock Mizar. In 1986, the band filmed a music video for the song “Stoj”.
In 1986, the band played the “Druga godba” festival in Zagreb, but altercations within the band caused Džambazoski and Stojkov to leave the group. They were replaced by Vencislav Smakjoski and Goran Trajkovski respectively. This lineup played at Festival Omladina, with Vladimir Kaevski on keyboards, and contributed two live tracks to the festival’s compilation. These tracks are the first appearance of Mizar on record. Trajkovski would later be replaced by Sašo Krstevski, while Stojkov was replaced by Katerina Veljanovska.
In 1986 they recorded a few demos and were a support act for Laibach and Disciplina kičme on their Yugoslav tour. In 1987 they were awarded for their unique sound at the most significant rock music festival which was held in Subotica.
They released their first, self-titled album, in 1988 with the following line-up:
Goran Tanevski (vocal)
Gorazd Čapovski (guitar)
Boris Georgiev (drums) (ex. Badmingtons)
Sašo Krstevski (bass)
Katerina Veljanovska (keyboards)
The producer was Goran Lisica-Fox. Beside their own songs, the album also included a cover version of the notable Macedonian folk song Zajdi, Zajdi under the title “Златно сонце” (Golden Sun). One of the best known songs from the album is “Девојка од Бронза” (Girl made of bronze).
By 1989, the lineup had stabilised to the following:
Goran Tanevski – vocals
Gorazd Čapovski – guitar
Ilija Stojanovski – bass
Žarko Serafimovski – drums
Vladimir Kaevski – keyboards
This lineup’s first appearance on record was the Demoskop 1 compilation in late 1990, where they contributed two tracks, “Veligden” and “Glas”. Between October and December 1990, the band recorded their second album, Svjat Dreams, releasing it on 7 September 1991, the day before Macedonia split from Yugoslavia. The title of the record is inspired by the song Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics. On this album they covered the traditional song 1762 and a song written by Vrtev, the first singer of Mizar titled “Дом” (Home).
Don’t Look Back vol. VII: Skopje (1-2-ex-YU!!)
Noќ nad Makedonija (1981-90)
Početok i kraj (1983-86)
Badmingtons – Site obični luđe 
Badmingtons – Doađa sabota 
Badmingtons – Moram li jas? 
Bastion – Deca sunca 
Bastion – Mesec u šolji 
Bastion – Molitva 
Padot na Vizantija – Početok i kraj 
Padot na Vizantija – Istata sostojba 
Aporea – Dzvezdo javljajušta solnce [medieval]
Gradot e nem (1986-90)
Aporea – Na rjekah vavilonskih [ancient]
Mizar – Gradot e nem (live) 
Mizar – Stoj 
Mizar – Devojka od bronza 
Mizar – Hoden že 
Aporea – Kondak Sv. Prohoru Pčinjskomu [undated]
Telo-nauka sovršena – Grešnici 
Telo-nauka sovršena – Niz vekovi so grevovi 
Telo-nauka sovršena – Plastična zemlja 
Arhangel – Arhangel ’80 – ’89 (live) 
Telo-nauka sovršena – Son (live) 
Lola V. Stain – Makova polja 1 
Lola V. Stain – Makova polja 2 
Lola V. Stain – Rani jadi 1 
Lola V. Stain – Rani jadi 3 
Mizar – Abja mem 
Mizar – Veligden 
Telo-nauka sovršena – Nebo 
Mizar – Običen čovek 
More than two decades without a misstep in album making. If it weren’t for the unfortunate Fontana years it would be all the way from “Modern Dance” days. Impressive. Otac Ubu kaže: “I got a bit of soul. I keep it in a cage. I feed it parrot food. I keep it tame. Some days I let it fly. Then it’s a bird of prey. It hunts for blood. I let it hunt for blood. It’s not a song you want to sing along to. You don’t want to get these thoughts inside your head.”
Pere Ubu in the seventies introduced several innovations in the rock music scene. Who, according to you, at the moment is really making something new?
I am uninterested in “making something new.” I am interested in mainstream rock as the fundamental voice of the American folk experience. I am interested in exploring the narrative voice within the mainstream. Pere Ubu is mainstream rock. Justin Timberlake is weird experimental music. Robbie Williams is avant-garde. Britney Spears is constantly coming up with something new and innovative. Pere Ubu does the same old thing. “New” is a trap and a scam to dupe student-types and other naive people.
Satan is boring.
Saint Vitus – Hallow’s Victim
Saint Vitus – Prayer For The (M)asses
Saint Vitus – Mystic Lady
Trouble – Pray For The Dead
Trouble – Fear No Evil
Trouble – The Skull
(recorded 1985, issued 1990)
The Obsessed – Tombstone Highway
The Obsessed – Inner Turmoil
The Obsessed – River Of Soul