Englishmen in Europe

Meninblack in Europe (revisited)

A bittersweet tribute to synth makeover and aural decline of The Stranglers. They couldn’t fall from grace anyhow.

Manifesto

Aural Sculpture Manifesto

Feline (1982-83)

It’s A Small World

All Roads Lead To Rome

Paradise

European Female

Savage Breast

Ships That Pass In The Night

Aural Sculpture (1983-85)

No Mercy

Here And There

Laughing

Let Me Down Easy

Souls

North Winds Blowing

Through the looking-glass, and what they found there…

Meninblack in USSR

Vladimir and Olga*

Vladimir and the Beast

Hot Club

Vladimir Goes to Havana

*The strange circumstances which lead to Vladimir and Olga requesting rehabilitation in a Siberian health resort as a result of stress in furthering The People’s Policies

stranglers-ljubljana-1978

Summer of ’78 – The Stranglers in Ljubljana & Zagreb

Psicopatico Party or Sick Soundtrack

Saturday night in a discotheque in Bologna, Italia.

Italo Disco d/evolution of Gaznevada? Non mi frega niente. Mi piacciono i sintetizzatori italiani.

gaznevada

Psicopatico Party (1983) Italian Records

Whispers

Fashion Crime

I.C. Love Affair

A. Perkins

Psicopatico Party

Sick Soundtrack (1980) Italian Records

1980

An important New Wave recording for Bella Italia, I’d say (as a casual retro listener / onlooker). There is only one cardinal sin – Gaznevada gave up on the mother tongue entirely on their debut album which leaves me a bit heartbroken everytime I listen to “Sick Soundtrack”. During the time of finding their own voce dadaistico, the band were trying out new sounds arriving from USA so one can hear traces of Devo, Talking Heads, Ramones, James Chance & The Contortions, Blondie etc.

Going Underground

Shock Antistatico

Pordenone UFO Attack

Japanese Girl

Now I Want To Kill You

Nevadagaz / Blue TV Set (1980)

 

A great single.

Blue TV Set

Gaznevada (1979) Harpo’s Music (tape)

The opening number “Everybody Enjoy The Reggae Music” could be an obstacle because they couldn’t pull off white reggae nor make fun of it properly. It’s simply a warming up track  for wild Gaznevada ride.  Dada punk-rock bolognese presented on this tape was already quite competent. Plus Gaznevada here sang in Italian, la lingua di popolo!

Mamma, dammi la benza!

Donna di gomma

Criminale

Teleporno TV

Nevadagaz

Viva Italia!

Don’t Look Back: Skopje (SR Macedonia)

Vol VII: Rock and Pop Music in Skopje in the 1980s

(incomplete overview)

*subject to change*

od-drugata-670x300

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.

skoplje rock fest 84 yugopapir

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.

Noќ nad Makedonija (1981-90)

The very beginning (1980-83) of the dark decade in rock in Macedonia mainly remained undocumented and the scarce demo recordings are unavailable.

Početok i kraj 1983-86

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. 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.

bastion

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.

padot

Gradot e nem (1986-90)

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.

mizar

Mizar – Mizar ‎(1988, Helidon) – the most important rock album from Macedonia

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.

lola v stain

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.

anastasia

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.

arhangel

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 end.


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 [1985]
Badmingtons – Doađa sabota [1985]
Badmingtons – Moram li jas? [1985]
Bastion – Deca sunca [1984]
Bastion – Mesec u šolji [1984]
Bastion – Molitva [1984]
Padot na Vizantija – Početok i kraj [1985]
Padot na Vizantija – Istata sostojba [1985]
Aporea – Dzvezdo javljajušta solnce [medieval]


Gradot e nem (1986-90)

Aporea – Na rjekah vavilonskih [ancient]
Mizar – Gradot e nem (live) [1987]
Mizar – Stoj [1988]
Mizar – Devojka od bronza [1988]
Mizar – Hoden že [1988]
Aporea – Kondak Sv. Prohoru Pčinjskomu [undated]
Telo-nauka sovršena – Grešnici [1988]
Telo-nauka sovršena – Niz vekovi so grevovi [1988]
Telo-nauka sovršena – Plastična zemlja [1988]
Arhangel – Arhangel ’80 – ’89 (live) [1989]
Telo-nauka sovršena – Son (live) [1989]
Lola V. Stain – Makova polja 1 [1990]
Lola V. Stain – Makova polja 2 [1990]
Lola V. Stain – Rani jadi 1 [1990]
Lola V. Stain – Rani jadi 3 [1990]
Mizar – Abja mem [1990]
Mizar – Veligden [1990]

Telo-nauka sovršena – Nebo [1990]
Mizar – Običen čovek [1990]

 

 

Don’t Look Back: Ljubljana (SR Slovenia)

Vol IV: Rock and Pop Music in Ljubljana in the 1980s (incomplete overview)

*subject to change*

Well, the story of YU punk-rock officially starts in Slovenia. Punk rock (and strange local branch of RIO) flourished in this Alpine region and encompassed the whole country due to small size of the northernmost and in some ways most progressive former Socialist Republic. The first independent music labels were situated only in Slovenia in the beginning. ‘Novi rock’ festival in Ljubljana had  similar function as YURM in Zagreb, giving chance to local talents. In addition to that Novi rock organizers were inviting interesting foreign bands from independent / underground sector and presenting them to Yugoslavian rock public. Igor Vidmar from Radio Študent had the key role in promotion of new rock music (comparable to John Peel’s radio DJ efforts in UK albeit with very modest broadcast range) in Ljubljana/Slovenia.

Ljubljana (Laibach) is a lovely small town, compared to Zagreb or Beograd. However, it was equally gray and dull as the rest, just a different shade of boredom. To an accidental passerby and stranger, like I was, it always seemed sleepy and tranquil.

— punk rock / new wave —

Who were the culprits and catalysts then? Slovenian bastards – Pankrti!

dolgcajt

a step back:

Satirical blues-rock of bearded granddads Buldožer (1975-84) that bulldozed and paved the way for critical thought in mid 1970s YU rock (if they didn’t update the sound farther than Zappa) should be mentioned as pre punk introduction note.

Prog punks ’79

Anyhow, Pankrti are proud parents (they were already students close to 25 years of age) of the first independently released punk single “Lepi in prazni” in 1978. It’s nothing to write home about today but way back it was important harbinger of the new. Heavier and typically mid pace recordings that followed sound like the first generation of punk music in general, steeped in garage rock and glam. It’s hard not to like Pankrti. They were consistent on record all the way except for the last album. These days my favorite would be 2 x 7 inch “Namesto tebe” (1981). Pankrti softened already at the time of their sophomore studio album called “Državni ljubimci” (1982). On the next one called “Rdeči album” (1984) the song arrangements became even more complex with ornamental overdubs added and as a result album is upbeat but a bit bloated too. “Pesme spravi” LP (1985) (produced by Angelic Upstarts guitarist) brought back grittier guitar sound and leaner songwriting. Mature effort “Sexpok” LP (1987) is a disappointing closer. Adio Lublana!

Other Slovenian punk primers like Lublanski psi, Berlinski zid, 92 and Buldogi straddled the thin line between old school punk-rock and original new wave.

Berlinski zid (punk-rock group w / keyboards that was developing post-punk approach in songwriting), 92 (punk-rock band with psychedelic organ reminiscent of the Stranglers; keyboards role was toned down later and new-wave elements crept in) and Buldogi (charming ska-punk kids) were included on legendary VA “Novi punk val 78-80” LP (1981) together with Pankrti and few Croatian punk bands.

Sinister punk-rockers Lublanski psi  (I like a lot their songwriting style but don’t know much about them in general) and again primary school punks Buldogi, along the second wave of wild teenage punks from other towns (Kuzle, Industbag, Šund), ended up on the subsequent various artists punk album “Lepo je…” (1982). It was released under coordination of ever-present Igor Vidmar.

At some point in 1981 happened infamous “Nazi punk affair” staged by the System and things got heated for a moment. So, when the creative energy could have really dissipated new generation of bands took over the “scene”…

— post punk —

Here comes the wave of furious post-punk bands: Otroci socializma, Laibach, O!Kult, Borghesia, d’Pravda, Via ofenziva and Čao pičke & very soon after them wild hordes of hard-core punks.

Almost all of them were refined provocateurs whether they chose to operate like an alien cultural organization (Laibach), a sharp-witted individual observer (Otroci socializma & Via ofenziva), a personal rights association (Borghesia) or a group of anarchic idealists (O!Kult).

Otroci socializma were an excellent post-punk band formed after split up of early punk band Berlinski zid. Brane Bitenc, young poet and punk, gave the band distinct individuality that easily separated them from the rest. When I better think about it he had some traits in common with M. E. Smith – stage presence, stature and diction. His sensibilities were different though. At the end (or during the second phase) Otroci socializma started to mess with plastic funk and marred their sharp minimal rock sound with bloody electronic drums in the studio (a bad zeitgeist decision in retrospect, like lazy Jet Black did in the Stranglers). I don’t mind fretless bass, it’s fine with me. Otroci socializma had two indie tapes out in circulation: “self-titled” (1982) and “Kri” (1986). Their members (drummer & bassist) were also guest musicians with Laibach in the studio. Otroci socializma allegedly recorded set of songs for never realized album on ZKP RTVL label – the finished master tapes mysteriously disappeared in transit between record companies.

otrocisoc2

Otroci socializma

Similarly focused  post-punk band (~ Gang of Four/PiL influenced) with something to say in between lines (and quite directly!) were Via ofenziva, led by another young man with tendency toward poetic expression among punks – Esad Babačić. They didn’t last long but what has been left after them is pretty cool.

viaofenziva

Via ofenziva

Via ofenziva shared split cassette release with Čao pičke, issued on independently oriented and very important Galerija ŠKUC izdaja cassette label (as was the first tape by Otroci socializma). Čao pičke were short-lived drums & bass band with 15 years old punk girl Alenka Marsenič Marsa on vocals. Their brevity and minimalism were mirrored in one minute long no-wave song sketches. After the break up Marsa continued with brilliant Tožibabe, group that moved in hard-core circles. Bass player resurfaced in jazz-rock Lolita in the second half of the 1980s.

O!Kult (from nearby satellite town Medvode) were young leaders of New Left. Early period of their activity under Crass influence was documented on anarcho-punk cassette “Razredni boj je edino gibalo zgodovine” (1983). Few years later they managed to release debut mini LP through German indie label Dossier records. On this overlooked album, divided into 4 long tracks running slightly over half an hour, O!Kult enriched minimalist post-punk with touch of funk groove and repetitive industrial elements. After demise of the band frontman Brane Zorman continued to compose music for theater and art performances.

okultjane_stravs8

O!Kult

Borghesia were early on post-punk band  with drum machine and subversive collective of multi-media artists simultaneously. At first glance, when portrayed as duo, Borghesia resembled DAF but they were not that similar musically. Borghesia were also notorious for exposing “forbidden” kinds of love, certainly existent but hardly visible during Communist era. Spiritus movens Aldo Ivančić was in addition fully involved with setting up the scene around FV Disco Club and FV Založba indie label. He recorded/produced “Zastave” LP together with Paraf. I am quite fond of Borghesia’s early recordings issued as cassettes (s/t collected early songs; “Clones” was composed of soundtracks for short video films) & debut vinyl album (mostly early material from the 1st tape) titled “Ljubav je hladnija od smrti” LP (1985). In the second half of decade they were making music that could be categorized as (lukewarm) computer generated EBM. I’ve always thought that the sound of not fully controllable analog synths & primitive DIY electronic kits ( submerged in white noise to some degree) depicts general unrest or physicality of rough sex much better than the one produced by earliest digital equipment available. Having said that, I keep “Ogolelo mesto” LP (1988) in collection – I dig dark electronic vibes a la mid 80’s Severed Heads. Borghesia’s passion and interesting ideas were present (boiling under surface) all the time but only partially realized/translated via home computers in the second half of the decade. EBM electronic movement is fine but I am going to stick with period when Borghesia mingled with postpunkers. To each his own…

borghesia

Borghesia

Laibach (Trbovlje – Ljubljana – London – world) didn’t care at all about rock’n’roll disguised as punk-rock. Their fancy was tickled by Throbbing Gristle and Kraftwerk. Instead of having strapped electric guitars on, Laibach picked best fitting hunting clothes and old uniforms, shined leather boots, oiled trumpets and horns, dusted off snare drums, trimmed their hair to perfect cow-lick… and stepped down from the small town theater stage to challenge (mock) totalitarian or oppressive system/s of this sad world.  Original singer of the band hanged himself. Few bigger scandals happened. The name was banned. The group went into exile… but Laibach prevailed in the end. Backed by bigger contract (Mute) for “Opus Dei” LP (1987), that included successful cover/hijack of Austrian white (cod!) reggae hit “Live is Life”, Laibach immersed themselves in the world of POP media manipulation and later digital electronic music / techno. Don’t know about you but I always return back to unnerving spot by kozelec for some post industrial thrill. All their early recordings are excellent up to 1986. Laibach electronic spin offs 300.000 V.K. and Keller should be mentioned as well. That 30 years later they would have a concert in North Korea of all places is really unbelievable.

laibach

Laibach

 

Enigmatic and ephemeral d’Pravda were provocative art project as much as amateurish band in between RIO and Dada post-punk. As far as I am informed they recorded set of demo songs in the summer of 1982 and soon disappeared.

— hard-core punk —

Teenage hard-core punk is usually on the margins of this website story telling but there were couple of really interesting and pretty pissed off bands in Ljubljana. Early  hard-core sampler worth hearing is  “Kaj je alternativa?” tape (Stres D. A. / U.B.R. / Odpadki Civilizacije) from 1983.  Even better overview of Slovenian aggressive punk is offered on independently released various artists record: “Hard Core Ljubljana 1985”. (U.B.R., III. kategorija, Epidemija, Odpadki civilizacije, Tožibabe)

Pioneering hard-core band U.B.R. also left behind a cult single EP record issued in Italy in 1984. All girls (post) hard-core band Tožibabe managed to put out one of a kind seven inch EP locally. Initial HC phase by melancholic Niet was released on cassette only.

In other words Ljubljana (& SR Slovenia in general) was big and well-connected punk kindergarten / youth center unlike the rest of the SFRJ (with the exception of Rijeka and perhaps Novi Sad).

— synth pop —

Ubiquitous Iztok Turk (ex Kuzle, ex Otroci socializma) among other things also formed synth-pop group called Videosex. Videosex soon overshadowed any of his previous bands being commercially quite successful. Their self-titled debut is solid all the way through thanks to bits and pieces of vintage minimal electronica. Pleasing (sometimes too pleasing) POP aspect was saved by the remarkable and seemingly innocent voice of 16 years old singer Anja Rupel. The second album “Lacrimae Christi” (1985) got quite strong side A. The best songs are reminiscent of mid period New Order.

Somewhere here I’d squeeze anomaly of Gast’r’bajtr’s (from Brežice, not Ljubljana!) Their debut LP “Ni življenja brez ljubezni” (1983), issued on then newly founded independent label Dokumentarna, offered slightly sterile sounding mix of new wave influenced funk rock with saxophone and drum machine. Gastrbajtrs were not melancholic depressives but high spirited guys and that they were preferring drum box to real drums is quite puzzling to me. They formed few spin offs: arty Demolition Group and Silver Barracudas before returning to more energetic Gastrbajtrs dance-rock format few years later. The second album “Pot v raj” (1988) brought them closer to Miladojka Youneed.

Otroci socializma II (“Kri” 1986) under the influence (Alkohol) were treading synth-pop waters (Mlačna voda) in the late night hours (Noč) too.

— RIO & jazz —

Another very important but less known group that influenced Slovenian early 1980s was RIO type of band with specific folk aspect called Begnagrad. They stirred the city’s RIO scene during their second phase of activity and over the time attracted fans of this genre of music from all over the world. Great and weird debut s/t album (1982) is very recommended!

begnagrad

Na lepem prijazni jazz-rock band, as presented on their only album, lacks a bit of forward pushing kinetic energy which was as crucial ingredient for the time of production as it is today.

SRP crowned years long career with a conceptual avant-garde album that resembles soundtrack for a theater play. Recalling RIO, Zappa (jazz-rock period) and drunken cabaret at once, I doubt that SRP sounded like that on stage in concert. Like d’Pravda they crossed paths with post-punk youth occasionally.

Quatebriga (ex Begnagrad) excluded dissonant folk elements from the mix and recorded two jazz-rock albums in mid 1980s. More straight forward “Revolution in the Zoo” LP (1985) is excellent.

Miladojka Youneed started off at the point where city’s jazz-rock predecessors like Na lepem prijazni stopped and added hard core energy.  Cutting down singing a little they left space for bleating saxophones to talk. Early jazz-punk Miladojka Youneed was awesome. Check out their first release issued on cassette only! They were simultaneously free and tight, playing eccentric combination of jazz-funk and punk. Unfortunately, the sound of debut record “Ghastly Beyond Belief” (1987) is produced too aggressively. Perhaps they strove for inhuman machine-like sound wishing to be extra repulsive. Industrial sheen of digital (~ ghastly) recording can sound terribly shrill to my jaded ears on a bad day, especially when it comes to drums. Too bad.  With the second album “Bloodylon” (1990) Miladojka Youneed moved too far inside the dance rock territory for my liking.

Otroci socializma could be main protagonists of post-punk chapter in this pretty exciting period of Ljubljana’s rock and pop history. If they had an official album realized it would be for sure put on a pedestal here. Luckily post-punk and other “underground” or “alternative” happenings have been documented through already mentioned ŠKUC izdaja & FV založba small labels. Viva Ljubljana! The three most representative records for a short and intensive retrospective trip would be:

(1) Borghesia “Ljubav je hladnija od smrti” (85) , (2) Various Artists “84” (84) & (3) Laibach s/t (85)

 

 

 

 

 


Don’t Look Back vol. IV: Ljubljana (1-2-ex-YU!!)

VA Post-punk Ljubljana (1982 – 85)

Otroci socializma – Lublana (live) (1982)

O!Kult – Molitev (live) (1982)

d’Pravda – Socijalizam (1982)

Laibach – Rdeči molk (live) (1982)

O!Kult – Mi!Mi!Mi! (live) (1982)

Laibach – Država (ver.) (1983)

Via ofenziva – Minimalni ritem (1983)

Otroci socializma – 700 usnjenih torbic (1983)

Borghesia – Divlja horda (1983)

Čao pičke – Pesem B (1983)

O!Kult – Tovariši (čigavi?) (1982)

Otroci socializma – Vojak (1983)

Via ofenziva – Proleter (1983)

Laibach – Mi kujemo bodočnost (1984)

SRP – Svuda ljudi, svuda zastave (1984)

O!Kult – Collective Consciousness (Kolektivna zavest) (1985)

download.


VA Punk (punk-rock, new wave, hard-core) Ljubljana (1978 – 85)

Pankrti – Anarhist (1978)

Lublanski psi – Anti proti (1980)

92 – Kontroliram misli (1980)

Berlinski zid – Po cestah mesta (1980)

Buldogi – To ni balet (1980)

92 – Od šestih do dveh (1980)

Berlinski zid – Revolucija (1980)

Pankrti – Gospodar (1981)

Lublanski psi – Neumni, odpisani in prazni (1981)

Buldogi – V kotu sveta (1981)

Pankrti – Za železno zaveso (1982) live

Otroci socializma – Hiše so sive (1982) live

Via ofenziva – Jugoslavija (1983) live

Pankrti – Slavni razglas (1983)

U.B.R. – Utrujenost (1983)

Stres D.A. – Domovina (1983)

Niet – Umiranje (1984)

III. kategorija – Za tebe (1985)

Odpadki civilizacije – Vojna-smrt! (1985)

U.B.R. – Zgodovino piše zmagovalec (1985)

Tožibabe – Dežuje (1985)

Pankrti – Sistem svobode (1985)

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VA Queer (synth-pop, minimal synth, EBM, industrial) Ljubljana (1983 – 87)

Borghesia – Ljubav je hladnija od smrti I (1984)

300 000 V. K. – TV generacija (1983)

Gast’r’bajtr’s – Tu mač prežr (1983)

Borghesia – Secret Affair no. 2 (1984)

Videosex – Ana (1984)

Borghesia – Noćne šetnje (1984)

300 000 Verschiedene Krawalle (V.K.) – Policijski hit (1983)

Laibach – Brat moj (1984)

Borghesia – Secret Affair no. 3 (1984)

Otroci socializma – Možgani (1985)

Videosex – Sivi dan (1985)

Otroci socializma – Moj svet (1985)

Laibach – Die Liebe (1985)

Keller – Senza amore (1986)

Borghesia – Ni upanja, ni strahu (1987)

download.


VA Jazz Ljubljana (prog, jazz-rock, avant, RIO, jazz-punk): TBA