martedì 25 ottobre 2016


Propelled by the jazzy post-disco sound of the hit single "Smejem se, a plakao bih", Oliver Mandić's second album is known to be one of the most popular Yugoslavian albums of 1982 (even though I can't find its sales figures anywhere). 
Among the collaborators are the celebrated session man Nenad Stefanović "Japanac" on bass and the popular singer Bebi Dol, whose ethereal backing vocals characterize the ballad "Sve je propalo" and the dreamy funk sound of "Neverne bebe".

Mandić plays the electric piano and composes seven songs out of eight.

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martedì 18 ottobre 2016

LEB I SOL - "LEB I SOL" (1978)

Leb i Sol are without a doubt the most important Macedonian band ever and, in my opinion, one of the best jazz-rock bands of the planet.
They were founded in Skopje in 1976, by electric guitar virtuoso and occasional singer Vladimir Stefanoski, keyboard player Nikola Dimuševski, bass guitarist Bodan Arsovski, and drummer Garabet Tavitijan.

Recorded in 1977 and released the following year, this debut album had sold around 25.000 copies by the end of 1979. Leb i Sol would have enjoyed real fame only years later, but this was a promising start to their career, considering that six tracks out of nine are instrumental.

Despite spending only a few days in the studio, the band did an amazing job. Every song sounds crystal-clear, the musicianship is outstanding, the melodies are rich, the rhythms diverse, and there are plenty of parts which are perfect for air soloing.

If you like progressive rock and jazz fusion this is a must have, but I would recommend it even to those who appreciate world music, because of its strong Macedonian folk influences (i.e. the odd time signature of the opening song, "Devetka").

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lunedì 10 ottobre 2016


Although he's often the object of the tabloids' attention for his public life as a celebrity rather than his artistic work, Oliver Mandić used to be one of the most important Serbian musicians back in the early Eighties.

This debut album was recorded between Belgrad and Bern, with the help of Swiss producer Peter MacTaggart. Most of the songs were arranged by session man and keyboard player Slobodan Marković, and composed by Mandić himself, who also contributed to some keyboard parts.

Mandić had already recorded a couple of relevant singles in the late Seventies, but it was only thanks to this LP that he earned universal appraise. To promote it, they recorded a beautiful, futuristic TV special, titled "Beograd noću", where Mandić had the possibility to present his ambiguous and sexually provocative persona. 

"Probaj me" is a superbly played album. With the help of a high tech record production and a bunch of great songs, it became a classic of Yugoslavian pop-rock.
If you like funk-and-fusion influenced albums of that era, you really can't miss this one. Oliver Mandić ranks up there with Japan's Tatsuro Yamashita and Italy's Pino Daniele.

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sabato 1 ottobre 2016


Prljavo Kazalište were founded in Zagreb at the end of the Seventies by guitar player Jasenko Houra and singer Davorin Bogović.

This is their second album, which marked a departure from the raw punk sound of their eponymous debut, embracing post-punk, new wave, power pop, dub, ska, harmonized vocals, and alienated atmospheres. 
It was recorded in Milan, Italy, and produced by Ivan "Piko" Stančić, one of the most important producers in the history of Yugoslavian music (Grupa 220, Idoli, Aerodrom, Film, Električni Orgazam, Psihomodo Pop, and many others).

"Crno bijeli svijet" sold 200.000 copies in its first year of release, establishing Prljavo Kazalište as one of the most popular bands of the nation. Brilliant ska numbers such as the title track and "Mi plešemo" are among the biggest hits of that era, but my favourite is probably the frantic "Neki moji prijatelji", with its beautiful liquid guitars.

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mercoledì 31 agosto 2016


Bajaga i Instruktori were founded in Belgrade by Momčilo Bajagić "Bajaga" after he left hard rock quintet Riblja Čorba, where he played the guitar. Luckily, Instruktori proved to be much more interesting than his old band. 

This is their fourth and most accomplished work. As far as I know, it is also the best selling album in the history of Yugoslavian music, with around 700.000 copies sold before the start of the war (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Despite its enormous popularity, it doesn't sound trivial at all. On the contrary, it is a refined, beautiful anthology of songs which encompass post-punk epicness ("Tišina"), local folk tradition ("Verujem, ne verujem"), psychedelic synth pop ("Plavi safir"), mysterious ballads ("Ruski voz"), and funny calypso numbers ("Život je nekad siv nekad žut").

It's exciting how it goes from silly refrains to suffocating atmospheres in the space of one song. A must hear for anyone who loves Eighties rock music.

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