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Sounds on repeat: Tales from the Ex Yugoslavian electronica scene of the 80s


Ex Yugoslavian electronica

the story of Rock in Opposition scene in Ljubljana and Other Novi Sad scene in Novi Sad

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“The man did not have the ability to choose their goals consciously, our goals are accidents of history.” Irvin D. Yalom

With Irvin D. Yalom’s quotation and with great curiosity I started to write for a music scene that I just discover its existence through the “a hogons industrial guide” blog. This non-academic, experimental scene was active in 1980-1989, in Yugoslavia. If I had to use a kind of a slogan to represent it to you, that would be “Anonymously, collectively and with no material evidences”, as the bibliography and discography are quite incomplete and hard to find.

That is how the story begins. Back in the 70s, the federal state of Yugoslavia, that was in the north of Balkan and in the heart of Eastern Europe, had not managed to develop a subversive underground movement, such as other communist countries like Czechoslovakia. For this reason, the arrival of punk music has found fertile ground and became the dominant youth Alternative culture. In this context, a non-punk music scene started to grow rapidly as a marginal phenomeno.

From the 60’s in Ljubljana, the Capital city of Slovenia, there was a grown tradition of Alternative culture with Rock music to gain day by day more popularity. At the same time, social movements began to be critical towards the communist authorities. As a result, in 1969, Radio Student, the first independent radio station in Yugoslavia, was established, giving shelter to the local underground music and voice to the Slovenia civil rights movement.

In the 1980s, an industrial music scene, which explored the extreme sound, started to develop and it was so huge and radical that we could say that it was similarly important as the local scene of Berlin. Sound artists and groups such as Mario Marzidovšek, Đorđe Dimitrijević, Saša Zorić, Študentsko Delavski Rock Teater V Opoziciji, Metropolie Trans etc. start their activity. Mario Marzidovšek was a real musical phenomeno, a superhero of the local scene, gained popularity also outside of the Yugoslavian borders, releasing his works privately.

Mario Marzidovshek’s Minimal Laboratorium (MML) ENG SUB

In 1984, Bojan Đorđević and Aleksandar Konjikušić, two active youngsters from Belgrade, started to run Nikad Robom label, taking action to the global DIY cassette movement, broadcasting through radio and organising independent music concerts. Nikad Robon label was active until 1992, managing to publish music by This Heat, Fred Frith, Tom Cora, Zeena Parkins (most of these releases were unofficially released) and local bands that were active at that period and expressed through Rock in Opposition scene in Ljubljana and Other Novi Sad scene in Novi Sad etc.

Other Novi Sad scene is a rather special case. Stojan Janković – painter and sculptor – started to organise events in his house, that afterwords it got the name Stole’s house, involving painters, poets, musicians. They act more as a collective than individually. The basic team was participated by Tibor Bada – graphic artist and poet, Zoran Pantelić – art historian and judoist, Béla Máriás – ethnomusicologist, Aleksandar Carić – writer and multi-instrumentalist, Miroslav Šilić – dentist and painter, László Rátgéber – basketball coach and musician. The basic cohesive fabric of the Other Novi Sad was friendship and the main purpose or raison d’etre – a fertile exchange of ideas. The total of creative activities in the Other Novi Sad scene of the 1980s can’t be narrowed to this space, nor strictly associated with the circle of people that were notably affiliated with it.

Watch that video after 46:00

From circa 1982-onwards, the activities of the Other Novi Sad scene begin to disperse across other private spaces throughout Novi Sad and thus gradually reduce the critical importance of Stole’s house. In 1983 these gatherings grew so much that a new space, cellar-gallery of Tibor Bada, was made as an occasional exhibition venue from 1984 onwards. It was quite difficult for me to find sound material or documents from the events or the performances or the groups that took place in Other Novisad scene, apart from a very small quote on this video. The group is called “Pre i posle tišine” and it sounds fabulous! Recommended material from Other Novisad could be the Tickmayer Formatio complex and CirKo Della Primavera, which they released material in Nikad Robon label and the album Ritual Nova by Boris Kovač. All of them were released after 1985 … Also later material released by Points East records by Chris Cutler.

Somewhere here my own research ends. If you find any interest for this scene you could find more information at the link above. In case you find more information or sounds from this scene I would be very grateful if you drop me a line at more_mars [at] yahoo dot gr

Good luck!

ps. Very soon we will have the opportunity to stock some very interesting LP compilations from these obscure music scene! Stay tuned!

Link: ahogonsindustrialguide.blogspot

Picture by ahogonsindustrialguide.blogspot