definition of Wikipedia
Laibach, Celje Castle, July 2007
|Genres||Avant-garde, Industrial, Martial industrial, Experimental|
|Associated acts||300.000 V.K., Kazimirov Kazneni Korpus, Profili Profili|
Laibach [ˈlaɪbax] is a Slovenian avant-garde music group associated with industrial, martial, and neo-classical musical styles. Laibach formed June 1, 1980 in Trbovlje, Slovenia (then Yugoslavia). Laibach represents the music wing of the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) art collective, of which it was a founding member in 1984. The name "Laibach" is the German name for Slovenia's capital city, Ljubljana.
Laibach is known for their cover versions, which are often used to subvert the original message or intention of the song — a notable example being their version of the song "Live is Life" by Opus, an Austrian arena rock band. In this example, Laibach recorded two new interpretations of the song, which they titled Leben Heißt Leben, and Opus Dei. The first of these two interpretations was the opening song on the Laibach album Opus Dei (1987), and was sung in German. The second version, Opus Dei, was promoted as a single, and its promotional video (which used the title "Life is Life") was played extensively on American cable channel MTV. Opus Dei retained some of the original song's English lyrics, but was delivered in a musical style that left the meaning of the lyrics open to further interpretation. Whereas the original is a feel-good pop anthem, Laibach's subversive interpretation twists the melody into a triumphant, rolling military march. With the exception of the promotional video, the refrain is at one instance translated into German, giving an example of the sensitivity of its lyrics to context. Opus Dei features a cover of Queen's "One Vision" with lyrics translated into German under the title Geburt einer Nation, revealing the ambiguity of lines like "One race one hope/One real decision". In NATO (1994), Laibach also memorably re-work Europe's glam metal anthem "The Final Countdown" as a bombastic disco epic.
Other notable covers include the Beatles album Let It Be (1988) — with the exclusion of the title track — and their maxi-single Sympathy for the Devil (1988) which deconstructs the Rolling Stones song of the same name with seven different interpretations of the song.
In 2004, Laibach covered the song "Ohne Dich" by Rammstein in a significantly altered version. Unlike the solo male vocals in the Rammstein original, this cover features both male and female vocals (supplied by Laibach's Milan Fras and Mina Špiler from the band Melodrom), and the orchestral sound of the original has been supplemented — and in some sections even replaced — by a more electronic element. The lyrics of the song were also subtly altered, most noticeably in the chorus: the original version was "Ohne dich kann ich nicht sein" (roughly: "without you I cannot exist"), whereas Laibach's reworked chorus declares "Ohne mich kannst du nicht sein" (roughly: "Without me you cannot exist").
Laibach do not only reference modern musicians through reinterpretation, but also sample or reinvent older musical pieces. For example, their song "Anglia" is based on the national anthem of the United Kingdom, "God Save the Queen". This song, and other based on national anthems are released on "Volk" album, which is a collection of Laibach's versions of national anthems of such countries like United States or Russia. On this album they also made an anthem for their NSK State in Time, which is based on their song "The Great Seal" from "Opus Dei" album.
They are also currently touring with an audio-visual performance centered on Johann Sebastian Bach's Die Kunst der Fuge. Since this work has no specifications of acquired instruments and is furthermore based on mathematical principles, Laibach has argued that the music can be seen as proto-techno. Therefore, the band found Die Kunst der Fuge to be ideal for an interpretation using computers and software.
In 2009 Laibach also reworked Richard Wagner's "Overture To The Tannhäuser And The Singers' Contest At The Wartburg", "Sigfried-Idyll" and "The Ride Of The Walkyries" in collaboration with Symphonic orchestra RTV Slovenia, composed and conducted by Izidor Leitinger. Laibach's version is titled "VolksWagner".
In 2009 Laibach made a new versions of their own songs from the early 1980s such as "Brat moj", "Boji" and "Smrt za smrt".
Although primarily a musical group, Laibach has sometimes worked in other media. In their early years, especially before the founding of Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK), Laibach produced several works of visual art. A notable example was MB 84 Memorandum (1984) an image of a black cross that served as a way to advertise Laibach's appearances during a period in the 1980s when the government of Yugoslavia banned the name "Laibach". Cross imagery, and variations on the cross are apparent in many Laibach recordings and publications.
The visual imagery of Laibach's art (or 'Laibach Kunst', as it calls itself) has been described as 'radically ambiguous', An early example of this ambiguity would be the woodcut entitled 'The Thrower,' also known as Metalec ("The Metal Worker"). This work features a monochrome silhouette of a figure with a clenched fist holding a hammer. The work could be seen by its original Slovene viewers as a poster promoting industrial protest, but the poster could have also been interpreted as a symbol of industrial pride. Another aspect of this woodcut is the large typefaced word 'LAIBACH', evoking memories of the Nazi occupation of Slovenia (when the capital city was briefly known as Laibach). This piece was featured prominently during a TV interview of Laibach in 1983, during which the interviewer Jure Pengov called Laibach "enemies of the people." 
Some early Laibach albums were pure industrial, with hard industrial percussion, heavy rhythms, and roaring vocals. Later in the mid-80s, the Laibach sound became more richly layered with samples from classical music including from Gustav Holst’s The Planets. The band began their tradition of cover songs in 1987 with the album Opus Dei, where their sound was changed again.
Laibach has frequently been accused of both far left and far right political stances due to their use of uniforms and totalitarian-style aesthetics. They were also accused of being members of the neo-nationalism movement, which reincarnates modern ideas of nationalism. When confronted with such accusations, Laibach are quoted as replying with the ambiguous response "We are fascists as much as Hitler was a painter".
The members of Laibach are notorious for rarely stepping out of character. Some releases feature artwork by the Communist and early Dada artist/satirist, John Heartfield. Laibach concerts have sometimes aesthetically appeared as political rallies. When interviewed, they answer in wry manifestos, showing a paradoxical lust for, and condemnation of, authority.
Richard Wolfson wrote of the group:
|“||Laibach's method is extremely simple, effective and horribly open to misinterpretation. First of all, they absorb the mannerisms of the enemy, adopting all the seductive trappings and symbols of state power, and then they exaggerate everything to the edge of parody... Next they turn their focus to highly charged issues — the West's fear of immigrants from Eastern Europe, the power games of the EU, the analogies between Western democracy and totalitarianism.||”|
Some early material by Laibach and later neoclassical releases by the band — such as 1990's Macbeth release — were influential on certain artists within the martial music genre.
The popular German musical group Rammstein has acknowledged influence by both the aesthetic approach and material of Laibach. When members of Laibach were asked by an interviewer about Rammstein "stealing" from them, they responded that "Laibach does not believe in originality... Therefore, Rammstein could not 'steal' much from us. They simply let themselves get inspired by our work, which is absolutely a legitimate process. We are glad that they made it. In a way, they have proven once again that a good 'copy' can make more money on the market than the 'original'. Anyhow, today we share the territory: Rammstein seem to be a kind of Laibach for adolescents and Laibach are Rammstein for grown-ups" Laibach would later provide a remix for the Rammstein single "Ohne Dich".
Out on July 9, 2007 via Laibach's own label NSK are 4 releases by the Laibach side-projects 300.000 VK and Rotor. From the electronic project Rotor featuring Mina Špiler (Melodrom/Laibach) comes "Phonophobia" and "Rotorsphere" which both combine 'modern technology effects, live-experimentations, DJ-compatible rhythms and techno-industrial mayhem' as they call it. Next is 300.000 VK with two reissues, "Hard Drive : Bill Gates" and "Paracelsus", the first holding mostly hard and fast drum and bass techno. "Paracelsus" from its side has been out of print for several years since its original release on 31 October 1994.
Laibach has been the subject of several documentaries:
In 1978, Dejan Knez formed his very first band Salte Morale. Basically, Salte Morale was the first incarnation of Laibach. During summer holidays 1980 after the suggestion of Knez' father, famous Slovenian painter and artist Janez Knez, the band changed the name into Laibach. This incarnation included Dejan Knez, Srečko Bajda, Andrej Lupinc, Tomaž Hostnik and Bine Zerko. Soon after that, Knez's cousin Ivan (Jani) Novak and Milan Fras joined the band. In the first period Laibach were a quintet, but soon after that they declared that Laibach has only four members – ‘Vier Personen’. Sometimes those four members of the band were signed with their pseudonyms: Dachauer, Keller, Saliger and Eber. From the mid ‘80s until mid ‘90s the four full time members were Dejan Knez, Milan Fras, Ervin Markošek and Ivan (Jani) Novak. From time to time, some other persons, such as Oto Rimele (from Lačni Franz band), Nikola Sekulović, famous bass player from the Demolition Group, and some other musicians (such as Matej Mršnik and Roman Dečman) joined Laibach. Slovene singer and radio announcer Anja Rupel has also performed with the group.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Laibach (band)|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Laibach (band)|
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