Friday, 13 November 2009

Laibach: Victory under the sun

As one gets older, it's natural to reflect on the development of one's character. Or the lack of both development and character, as might be the case with Lord Bassington-Bassington.

In other words: Where did it all go wrong?

In His Lordship's case, there might be a variety of turning points, such as being exposed to Lord Baden-Powell's ideas about Scouting for Boys, and its emphasis on chivalry, uniforms and rituals in the forest, at a tender age. Or the ideas of Carl G. Jung or Rudolf Steiner.

But one factor looms larger than the rest: Slovenian band Laibach.

Laibach was a nexus for so many of the young Bassington-Bassington's interests: Radical politics, music, philosophy, religion, theatre, totalitarian kitsch, history and dressing a bit differently than what the chain stores were trying to push on you.

Laibach were like a glimpse into another world, another time.

It's hard to remember these days how interesting Laibach was before the band let itself become a joke band, taking pop hits from the West and interpreting them through totalitarian kitsch. That was fun for a while, but quickly got stale.

This Slovenian documentary from the band's early days shows Laibach at their most challenging, and had a profound influence on the young Bassington-Bassington when he was able to watch it in a film club in Oslo a couple of decades ago.

If you claim to be interested in Industrial music, you need to see this film. This film will clarify one thing: Heavy metal bands with drum machines aren't Industrial. This is Industrial.

Or perhaps, in the case of one of the band's earliest hits, "Drzava" (also featured in the film), it might possibly be called something like Social Realist Disco.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6


  1. You should check out some of their later works, they are starting to leave behind the pop kitsch. Their latest grand work will hopefully be released on an album. It's a full length Wagnerian concert called Volkwagner.

    I actually met the director of Victory under the Sun in Oslo a couple of years ago. He was attending Shadowcon, tagging along with his wife Mira Furlan who was a guest. Interesting guy.

  2. Yes, I realize that Laibach are starting to get good again. I even thought their goth-metal record from years ago was one of the highlights of that genre.

    But I was in a very nostalgic mood when I dictated this post, and nothing will match the freshness and impact of early Laibach.

  3. No, of course not. Which is why I'm hoping to catch them on their anniversary tour next year which will highlight the Drzava-period songs, remixed by Juno Reactor who have come along for the ride.

    The fact that they are also collaborating on the Iron Sky soundtrack (though the movie producers refused to confirm this when I talked to them) makes this gentleman rather giddy.

  4. Wow, that sounds like fun! I'll have to catch them too, I think.

  5. This is a really great film, I had my first Laibach 12" about '85 I guees, and I saw "Victory Under The Sun" in early '90s.
    Other sides of Laibach's work has thou become the radical inspiration, besides NSK and the connection to Unpop Art, then I recommend Slavoj Zizek, who is still connected to NSK:

  6. Hildesvin: Thanks for the tip! I've seen some short films with Mr. Zizek before. I have a severe allergy towards Marxism, but Zizek is one of the more interesting examples of the species around.

  7. I generelly have a similar distance to marxism (as well as any ideology with a huge narrowminded potential!), but the struggle today is not as much a struggel between ideology, rather within ideology - refering also to conservative Phillip Blond, as seen at Den 11. Time, 3. marts 2008, program 96 at

  8. Hey, this program looks very interesting!

    I have many Conservative sympathies, just as I am in many ways a Social Democrat, but ultimately one has to realize that all man-made ideologies tend to reflect the fact that humans are flawed. Which is one of the reasons I am opposed to all totalitarianisms, as well as very skeptical of repression of unpopular viewpoints etc.

    But as you say, the struggle is also within ideologies. It's interesting to see how Conservatism develops these days.

  9. Coincidence! I was watching this movie few days ago!
    I was less than 10 years old when this film was made, and without nostalgia, I still think Laibach has not been overtaken yet and that the early 80's was the most creative period in avant-garde music.

  10. I couldn't agree more! The 1980s were to avant-garde rock what the 60s were to pure pop music. And some of the best pop made during the 80s had strong avant-garde influences, like Depeche Mode, for example.

  11. '"The Croatian trio 'SAT Stoicizmo' was founded in late 1981 and - after recording their main works in the period from 1982 to 1985 (including one personal change in late 1982} - split up in 1987. Both geographically and mentally remote from the centers of the music scene and practically nonexistent in public even in their Slavonian native country, they developed a unique style of futuristic music - too noisy and structurally complex for rock & pop, too 'musical for pure industrial, too rhythmical and physically offensive for modern classical music (musique concréte) but also too 'handmade' as compared to the later techno. The group itself regarded its both radical and extremely diversified approach as an attempt to combine the achievements of punk-rock-music with the classical concept of futuristic bruitism created by Luigi Russolo in 1913.

    check it out!

    cheers! :)

  12. Once more....

    Devil Doll is an Italian-Slovenian experimental rock band formed in 1987 by the mysterious "Mr. Doctor". The band has gained a cult following, taking influences from gothic rock, classical and Slavonic folk music, and fronted by the sprechgesang of Mr. Doctor himself. The band is notable for very lengthy epics, none under 20 minutes.


    And at the end one of the greatest punks ever --> Ivica Čuljak alias Kečer II Avet Ravnice Satan Panonski (04.06.1960. - 27.01.1992.). He wrote poetry and fiction, painted, and played in punk bands and he was a performance artist on stage. In this group we will try to represent his work and his art. He died as croatian soldier, but there's a saying "Satan Panonski is perhaps killed, but for sure NOT DEAD!"