Korowa Bar (1981-83) ∗ Karlowy Vary (1983-86)
Korowa Bar were an excellent post-punk band backed by a drum-machine and fronted by vocalist Varja Orlić, a modern young woman with striking presence and androgynous voice. The band’s first singer was Milan Manojlović – Mance. Allegedly the drugs (opiates!) had a substantial role in band’s creative chemistry but they didn’t lead them towards new psychedelia that much. More than anything else, Korowa Bar / Karlowy Vary were purveyors of the new technology – digital medium. They continued at the point where Metal Urbain / Dr Mix and the Remix / Metal Boys stopped although adding less electric guitar in the mix. As Korowa Bar they would fit nicely in Leeds post-punk scene, in between other drum-box bands of note like Sisters of Mercy or (even closer) March Violets, as their Eastern European contemporary. Their earliest recording: 6-song studio Demo 1982 is also recommended for people who fancy tentative steps of the first Big Black EP or, thinking locally, late KAOS (Rijeka) and early Borghesia (Ljubljana). Viva primitive rhythm machines! A future (that never came around) belongs to analogue loyalists!
After departure of original guitarist Hrvoje Piletić – Pile, Korowa Bar transformed into Karlowy Vary. In 1984 under new moniker & with changed line-up they recorded what would have been the first album (including re-recorded KB songs) and offered it to Jugoton (record label from Zagreb). Jugoton deemed material noncommercial and morally corruptible and declined. It has been shelved since then. Korowa Bar to Karlowy Vary transition was similar to the one of their comrades from Belgrade: Katarina II to EKV. Indeed being good friends with EKV, Karlowy Vary felt at home in Belgrade as much in Zagreb. Their official debut LP (second studio album actually) “La Femme” was put out by PGP RTB in 1985. It sounds a bit dated today – it suffers form tinny digital production (of choice), accidental EKV influence & an unnecessary cover version (“Get It On”). Album mission acomplished, group fell apart in 1986. Tomo in der Muhlen (bassist / guitarist) continued to work as a studio engineer/producer and a DJ in electronica field.
Korowa Bar – Demo 1982
To ne ginemo mi
Karlowy Vary – Haotika (unreleased album, 1984)
Znam da nisam
Karlowy Vary – La Femme (PGP RTB, 1985)