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Baker's Dozen

Anthems: Laibach's Favourite Albums
The Quietus , February 3rd, 2016 12:31

As the musical wing of Slovenia's NSK collective continue their tour presenting songs from The Sound Of Music, the group's Ivan Novak gets licence to pick 13 albums that inspired them prior to forming Laibach

Photograph courtesy of Eva Kosel

OK, this was an unexpected call; we were asked by the Quietus to nominate our 13 favourite albums, or simply any albums that inspired Laibach, and to talk about them. We have always tried to avoid making direct comments on other artists' and musicians' works, or to reveal what kind of music we listen to. And besides, it really is difficult to choose ten best records, artists, musicians, films... We always felt that this was below Laibach's level of discourse, below our principles and standards, first of all because there's so much good music out there and how can we really decide who is better than the other, and second – who are we to judge? And why should we give away something which is basically very 'private', especially within the context of a group such as Laibach, who per se negate the notion of individual emotions, taste and all other petty bourgeoisie substances that we are trying to erase radically within our construction of collective machine. And why would we give the key to read Laibach so easily away? Music was always important to us, it was full of substance, content and mystery and we see it as a kind labyrinth of secret knowledge, a puzzle, helping us to understand the inexplicable. And we did listen to a lot of music, very diverse, very different in genres, everything we could get hold of: pop, rock, classical, avant-garde, jazz, industrial, hip-hop, rap, folk, disco, ambient, name it. We still do and we try to follow what's going on as much as possible. But the truth is that before the internet era, in Cold War communist times, it was actually much easier to be in touch with what was really important in music than it is today.

Anyway, we were reluctant to do this list and satisfy the Quietus. Many albums which were important to Laibach are so obscure that we really don't want to talk about them. Others are so obvious, that we didn't want to talk about them either (because everybody else already did). In the end, after lots of discussion, the group gave me licence to pick 13 albums which I believe influenced us more or less all BEFORE we all met each other and before Laibach was actually conceived. Just to stress once again, this was all happening in deep communist times, in the Republic of Slovenia, then part of Tito's Yugoslavia, in a small, industrial coal-mining city of Trbovlje, with 15,000 inhabitants, in the '60s and '70s, where we grew up before Laibach was created. These are the chosen ones.

Laibach are currently on their Sound of Music tour, playing with the RTV Symphonic Orchestra at the Henry Le Boeuf Hall at BOZAR in Brussels on February 9 and heading to the Forum in London on April 12; for full details and tickets, head here and read our interview with the group about the tour here. Click on the image below to begin scrolling through Laibach's choices, which run in no particular order