Archive for the ‘Laibach’ Category

Cover_Blue_Angel_MarohSOUNDTRACK: LAIBACH-Sympathy for the Devil (1988).

sympathyAfter recording Let It Be, Laibach decided to tackle another sacred cow–the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.”  “Sympathy” is my favorite Rolling Stones’ songs and even so, I love this incredibly different version of that song.

The Laibach version does everything that they did to Let It Be–changing tempo, deep spoken vocals, marching beat and chanting and they do it eight times.

This is an album/EP (it’s 50 minutes long) and it features several (quite different) versions of the song as well as some recordings by Laibach side projects Dreihunderttausend Verschiedene Krawalle and Germania.

I’ve broken the track listing down by artist, although on the disc, they are interspersed a bit more which adds to the variety.

Laibach: “Sympathy for the Devil” – Done in a big bombastic style–with deep spoken words.   I love the way the horns (after the second or third verse) bring in this cool militaristic/triumphant feel.
Laibach: “Sympathy for the Devil (Time for a Change)” – This version isn’t that different.  The music is minimal–the keyboards are stripped away, although the triumphant horns seem louder and the hoo hoos seems to be more present in the mix.  There’s some wild orchestration in the middle and some very cool tubular bells at the end as well as an instrumental denouement.  I think I prefer this version.
Laibach: “Sympathy for the Devil (Dem Teufel zugeneigt)” – Features some quotes from Kennedy and is spoken in German (with sitar (!) accompaniment).  The remaining verses are done in the original deep voice.

300.000 V.K.: “Sympathy for the Devil (Anastasia)” or “Anastasia” – Sirens open this song as pianos lull us into a sense of peace before the chaos of sampled music and loud beats takes over.  Even though it has really nothing to do with “Sympathy” the “oh ohs” from the Laibach version are also sampled.
300.000 V.K.: “Sympathy for the Devil (Soul to Waste)” – Vocals slowed down even more, sounding deeper than Laibach (in fact he kind of sounds like Andre the Giant).  I’m not even sure what he’s saying in the beginning (the “Sympathy” lyrics do kick in properly at some point).  It does have the same feel as the Laibach version but faster and even more dancey.  The female backing hoo hoos are a nice lightening touch.  There’s also a rocking guitar solo.
300.000 V.K.: “Sympathy for the Devil (Soul to Waste – instrumental)” –Just an instrumental dance version of the above, probably the least interesting on the disc.  Twice as long as the non instrumental version.

Germania: “Sympathy for the Devil (Who Killed the Kennedys)” – This song opens with an interviewer asking if someone has a theory about who killed Kennedy.  The answer is a sullen no.  This interviewer pops up throughout the song repeating the questions and then asking about mixing drugs.  There are all kinds of samples buried in the mix (I hear “All You Need is Love”).  The lyrics are whispered by a female vocalist while the original Jagger vocals are played quietly behind her.  The deep male voice comes in too.  The music is kind of a discoey dance version of the Laibach bombast.
Germania: “Sympathy for the Devil (Who Killed the Kennedys – instrumental)” – Only has a little of the spoken word business–it is basically just a dance remix.

So even though these versions are all basically variations on a theme (and yes 50 minute scan get a little maddening), the variety is pretty impressive (especially since they reuse many of the parts in the different versions).  No one is going to love this version more than the original, but all these years later, I still think it’s pretty cool.

To see the original Laibach version in all its glory, check out this video which I’ve not seen before:


[READ: January 17, 2015] Blue is the Warmest Color

I was intrigued enough by Maroh’s Skandalon, that I wanted to check out her earlier book, Blue is the Warmest Color.  I had no idea that it was a really big deal or that it has been made into a movie.

This book, which was translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger, is about a woman who is sure of her sexuality until she meets a woman who changes her mind.

The book is incredibly moving and touching, and it is told in a way that gives you the (sad) end right up front, although the end is not exactly what you think it is.  It’s incredibly well done.

As the book opens up, we see that a woman is riding a bus to go to her lover’s house.  There are superimposed words from her lover’s diary which says that when the woman on the bus (Emma) reads these words, the writer will be dead.  As the first sequence ends, we read: “I love you Emma, you are my life.  Signed Clementine.”  Emma has gone to Clementine’s parents house (where Clementine was living) to retrieve the diary.  Her parents are not happy with Emma.  And they seem to blame her for Clem’s death.

The book is kind of a visualization of Clementine’s diary from when she received it on her 15th birthday until her final entry. (more…)

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wwiSOUNDTRACK: LAIBACH-Let It Be (1988).

220px-LaibachletitbeBecause Let It Be doesn’t end with The Beatles.  In 1988, Laibach, the Slovenian industrial band covered the entire Let It Be album (except for the title song).  Laibach are something of a proto-Rammstein, full of bombast and loud voices, stomping beats and despite the Slovakian heritage, a very Teutonic feel.

Opening with “Get Back,” the song is a stomping industrial march.  The lead singer (I have no idea who the members even are, as they don’t say much about themselves on the record).  I’ve always enjoyed this version, and I kind of assumed that the whole album would be similarly bombastic.

However, after the bombast of the first song, “Two of Us” opens with a crooning voice singing a long.  It’s a nice change.  The music is industrial and loud–but the keyboard riff is also cool. and different.  Most of the songs are unrecognizable as the original, but I think “Dig a Pony” may be the most unlike the original.  The chorus melody is very different and I barely recognized it.  The high notes of “because” are done in a low bass spoken word.  It’s quite a change.

“Across the Universe” is genuinely pretty with two female singers and a harpsichord.  “I Me Mine” has very similar vocals although the music is very different–with strings and stomping drums.  “Dig It” is a nonsense song on the original, but Laibach have a fun (if that’s the word) making it more of a real song with lots of shouting.  “Maggie Mae” is a folks song that The Beatles recorded.  Laibach call it “Maggie Mae” but instead record tradition German songs “Auf der Lüneburger Heide” & “Was gleicht wohl auf Erden.”

“I’ve got a Feeling” is done like a rally.  There is cheering and shouting and the lyrics are delivered in a dramatic spoken word (complete with Oh Yeahs).  The audience cheers and responds.  After nearly 4 minutes, the cheering continues, but they throw in a steel drum melody of “The Long and Winding Road” (I wondered how they would handle that pretty song).

I don’t really like the original of “1 after 909” but I like the way this one is done.  It’s very heavy and rocking with some crazy guitar solos and a refrain of “Smoke on the Water.”  “For You Blue” is transformed into an stomping synth version with the vocal melody popping up during the synth line.  After 4 minutes of the song, there’s a circus-like rendition of the melody to end the disc.

This is a vastly different rendition of the Beatles album, one that many people will find unpleasant, but I actually knew this version before the original and it will always be fun to me.  It’s also interesting how 20 years later, Rammstein would become very successful performing a very similar style of music.

[READ: February 10, 2015] The First World War A|Z

Sarah and I had recently begin watching Downton Abbey (I know, only four years late).  During the season that focuses on World War I, I realized that I was woefully ignorant about details of this war.  I’m also surprised there hasn’t been more made of its centennial–I’m sure a bigger deal was made in Britain.  At the same time, I saw this book at work and it seemed like a good way for me to fill in the gaps.

I am amused and confused that the subtitle says “from assassination to zeppelin” when in fact it is actually from “ace to zeppelin” but I guess assassination is more catchy?

Anyhow, this book was put together by the Imperial War Museum, the British Museum which was founded while the war was underway–such was the significance and unprecedented nature of the war that it was deemed worthy of having a museum while it was still going on.

This book is basically a tiny encyclopedia about the war written in a imaginable digest sized book.  It’s only 178 pages, so it is perfect for people who want to learn some details without getting terribly bogged down in the trenches (sorry) of the detail. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 16, 2013] C!rca: Wunderkammer

circa1 As part of our theater-going experience, I bought Sarah and I tickets to C!rca’s Wonderkammer show.  I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect (but we’ve has such good luck with shows that we didn’t know anything about that  I wasn’t worried).  The blurb about C!rca reads:

In this exquisite cabaret of the senses, a diva melts into a rope, balloons and bubble wrap discover their artistic souls while bodies twist and fly.  Seven performers of unbelievable ability bend the very fabric of reality.  Sexy, funny and explosive, Circa presents a breathless cocktail of new circus, cabaret and vaudeville.  Control and abandon, skill and humour, lyricism and anarchy all meld into a sinuous fugue of profound beauty.

So, you sort of think you know what you’re going to get, but in many ways that descriptions is kind of meaningless.  It may help to say that C!rca are from Australia (meaning it’s unconventional).  But really nothing prepared me for what we saw. (more…)

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