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laibach partysongs
Artist: Laibach
Title: Party Songs EP
Genre: Degenerate Pop Music / Militant Classicism
Release Date: 22nd November 2019
Label: Mute Records


Album Review

When it comes to LAIBACH nowadays, most people would recognize them as the first western band that played two shows in North Korea - despite their existence for more than three decades. What gave LAIBACH a real push for international fame in 2015 finally found its way to an album ‘The Sound of Music’, released in 2018. Surely, they wrote history on this point. With ‘Party Songs’ the band extends this creative period, containing six songs that either weren’t allowed to be performed in that version or weren’t released before. Please notice, that every time you talk about LAIBACH you have to talk about the artists’ collective rather than about some people playing as a band.

‘Honourable, Dead or Alive, When Following the Revolutionary Road’ comes in two different versions as the openers. ‘The Arduous March Version’ strives to be a kind of marching drums driven version that not only gives the attention to be dreamy aspect of the song but also to be danceable. On the other hand, the ‘Single Hearted Unity Version’ focuses on the dreamy sound and arrangement only. It waives the drums completely. The song, regardless of the version, is based on an aria of the North Korean revolutionary opera ‘Tell, O Forest’ from 1972. The shows’ hosts deleted LAIBACH’s version for the first show at the Ponghwa Theatre, because they feared that the version would be too confusing for the audience.

‘We Will Go to Mount Paektu’ is a popular North Korean song that allegedly was written under the creative direction of Kim Jong-Un. Aside of being a song about mountain hiking, it stands as patriotic symbol. Mount Paektu is the holy mountain of the current dynasty and is the mystical birth place of the Korean people around 5,000 years ago. When you listen to the track you will instantly get to know why it is a Pop song. It doesn’t miss anything that a song needs to attract the wide masses of music listeners: Catchy melodies as chorus lines, such as catchy lyrics and highly danceable instrumentation.

The other three songs on this EP are live recordings from the shows in North Korea. ‘Arirang’ was one of the hits on ‘The Sound of Music’. This one on this record was played at the Kum Song Music School, the band’s second show. The recording quality is terrifyingly low, but you don’t know what equipment was available to record in a country like North Korea. Probably it was the hall’s sound recorded with a stereo field recorder. Ultimately it is better than nothing. The song is considered to be the 600 years old unofficial national anthem of both North and South Korea. On this version the focus was on the piano and the song lyrics.

‘Honourable, Dead or Alive, When Following the Revolutionary Road’ was recorded at the Kum Song Music School in Pyongyang and, as mentioned above, not the intended version of LAIBACH. This actually performed version was arranged by the students of the music school and differs a lot from the studio recordings. LAIBACH are famous for their constant adaptations of symbols and ideological contents of several totalitarian systems and for driving those to the extreme. So, they might be used to have a political party muzzling them, out of whichever reasons this applies to this song. Maybe it is the same as with official reviews, they absolutely have to find something to boast with success. Because if you know LAIBACH and the collective’s comprehensive history you can’t find a band that would have been better suited to play and perform in a country like North Korea.

‘We Will Go to Mount Paektu’ in a ‘Live at Ponghwa Theatre, PyongYang’ version is the last song on this record and literally is the same version as the studio recording, but played live. Some vocal lines have changed their singers though, but below the line it is the same Pop hit as above.

As a conclusion you can say that ‘Party Songs’ exactly is what it was announced and meant to be: An extension of ‘The Sound of Music’. LAIBACH made history and now they surely want the western world not to forget their achievements and for sure they want to provoke us again in the next period that will come. Because the bonus given through this EP appears rather as a tip and might stand for the end of the North Korean episode. Alongside of the release the band promoted several events in November 2019 in Tel Aviv with readings, parties, exhibitions and cinematic presentations.


Tracklist

01. Honourable, Dead or Alive, When Following the Revolutionary Road - Arduous March Version
02. Honourable, Dead or Alive, When Following the Revolutionary Road - Single Hearted Unity Version
03. We Will Go to Mount Paektu
04. Arirang - Live at Kum Song Music School, Pyongyang
05. Honourable, Dead or Alive, When Following the Revolutionary Road - Live at Kum Song Music School, Pyongyang
06. We Will Go to Mount Paektu - Live at Ponghwa Theatre, Pyongyang


Line-up

Milan Fras – Vocals
Boris Benko – Vocals
Marina Mårtensson – Vocals
Ivan Novak – Synths, programming, production
Janez Gabrič – Drums
Luka Jamnik – Synths
Rok Lopatič – Synths
Igor Vicentić – Piano


Website

https://www.laibach.org / https://www.facebook.com/Laibach


Cover Picture

laibach partysongs


Rating

Music: 9.5
Sound: 9
Total: 9.3 / 10




Eli
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