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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


Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited
We'd heard about Bob Dylan before this album, with The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan and The Times They Are A-Changin'. 'Blowin' In The Wind' was constantly on the radio, everybody could sing and play guitar to some of his songs, all the young intellectuals wanted to look and sing like Dylan, but the real Dylan happened to us with Highway 61 Revisited. We didn't really understand what he was singing about, but older guys talked about him as some kind of semi-god, the voice of the generation, prophet of the critical mind, anti-war movement and everything along it. Everybody just respected him automatically. There was something political about him and something heavily controversial. And he was serious, he wasn't trying to be funny like The Beatles and other pop groups were.

For us kids, he was also interesting because he sounded as though he wasn't able to play guitar that well, neither could he sing particularly well and it sounded as though he couldn't play his always too loud harmonica so good! But he was so 'cool' and adored by sexy girls and respected by all those who were trying to look a bit more intelligent. Most of his albums were not really that well produced, but in spite of this, he sounded so mysteriously good and groovy! He opened us to American folk music history, to beatnik culture and to all other great solo artists like Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and others. In 1991, Dylan performed for the first time in Ljubljana, with a concert at a city stadium, and we could hardly recognise most of the songs performed, partly because of the bad PA and partly because of the completely bizarre arrangements. We later saw two more of Dylan's concerts in Ljubljana, and they were both much better. In 2011 the American embassy in Slovenia invited Laibach to contribute a song to a project dedicated to Bob Dylan, and we decided to do a version of 'Ballad Of A Thin Man', which features on our An Introduction To...Laibach compilation.