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Laibach’s opening act: a man chopping wood with an axe
03.17.2017
08:40 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Laibach
NSK


 
“The earliest Laibach texts suggested a degree of deindividualization and subordination so total and absolute as to make even the North Korean system seem lax and individualistic,” Alexei Monroe wrote in his 2005 study of Laibach and NSK, Interrogation Machine. They can’t be accused of watering it down. A decade after Monroe published his book, when Laibach became the first Western group ever to perform in North Korea, state censors made them cut their set by half.

I used to think the most inspired use of the opening-act slot had been Wire booking the Ex-Lion Tamers to play all of their debut, Pink Flag, so they wouldn’t have to. But I now believe Laibach did it best. Warming up the crowd at some of Laibach’s mid-eighties shows was a man chopping wood with an axe.

(Not “competitive woodchopping.” One person chopping wood is not a sport, just necessary labor.)
 

via Laibach WTC
 
The laibach.org bio confirms that on their first UK tour, the group “bemus[ed] audiences by using antlers, flags, and a man chopping wood on their stage.” Monroe places the woodchopper in the context of the other alienating “effects” Laibach creates before their shows, and of their pseudo-totalitarian iconography:

Before Laibach take the stage, some form of introductory effect is used to build an atmosphere—for instance, the playing of some German Schlager songs or Strauss waltzes. In earlier times, however, far more elaborate and conceptual effects were used to prepare the audience for Laibach. One particularly alarming method was to play tapes of barking dogs or loud noise. The turning of powerful lights on the audience (a technique pioneered by Throbbing Gristle) and the sounds created a threatening, interrogatory atmosphere intended to destabilize and excite the audience, instilling anticipation and a sense of approaching menace. At other shows Laibach were preceded by a uniformed figure chopping wood on stage. This had archaic-völkisch associations, and perpetuated the NSK axe motif (from Heartfield and the NSK logo).

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Buy membership in Laibach for $10,000
05.01.2015
08:50 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Laibach
NSK


 
With the slogan “A CHICKEN IN EVERY POT AND LAIBACH IN EVERY CITY,” Laibach recently launched a crowdfunding campaign for its planned tour of the US in May and June. It will be Laibach’s first trip to the US since 2008, and the group’s first proper North American tour since 2004.

In exchange for pledges, they’re offering Laibach-brand soap, armbands, cigarette cases, ties, ringtones, posters, and all the other perquisites of the of the Laibach way of life—the manner, let’s face it, to which you have become accustomed. For $300, you can meet the band at one of the shows; for $3,000, you get to spend three days in Ljubljana hanging with Laibach; and for $10,000, you can purchase an honorary membership in the group. Better yet, buy all of these things and give them to me.
 

 
If you have any interest in Laibach at all, take a look at the packages on offer. I can guarantee that you won’t find a more enlightening FAQ on any crowdfunding page:

Why does God not exist?

- Because God is God and he does not need to exist to prove this!

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Become a citizen of Laibach’s global state
09.23.2014
10:21 am

Topics:
Music
Politics

Tags:
Laibach
NSK


 
Wasn’t the nation-state supposed to have withered and died by now? Weren’t we supposed to be a merry crew of free and autonomous subjects, all pursuing our personal dreams with similar but slightly different songs in our hearts, rather than a graying herd of bigoted, suburban, debt-burdened, government-ID-clutching suckers?

Friends, it’s 2014: time to turn in your driver’s licenses and demand something better. For citizens of the universe who are committed to interplanetary cooperation, there’s always the Hawkwind passport, but for earthbound internationalists, there’s never been a better time to join the NSK State. As the world’s first global polity, the NSK State is a “state in time” that “denies the principles of (limited) territory as well as the principle of national borders.” And anyone can apply for an NSK State passporteven you!
 

IRWIN billboard, London, 2012
 
The NSK State emerged from the Neue Slowenische Kunst (“New Slovenian Art”) collective, which had been formed in 1984 by the band Laibach, the visual artists’ group IRWIN, the performance group Scipion Nasice Sisters Theater (now Noordung), and the design group New Collectivism. In 1992, the same year that Yugoslavia dissolved and Slovenia was admitted to the United Nations, these groups founded their own transnational state, “a utopian formation which has no physical territory and which is not to be identified with any existing national state.” (According to this fascinating article about the sudden demand for NSK passports that arose in Nigeria in 2006, the NSK State “was conceived as almost the opposite of the new Republic of Slovenia.”)
 

The NSK State passport
 
As of this writing, bearers of this handsome document are actually entitled to like zero of the rights and privileges that accrue to citizens of regular, border-determined countries, so if you have any of those, you might want to hold onto them. Among other important disclaimers to keep in mind: “Ownership of this passport shall not constitute membership in the NSK organisation” and “the NSK State passport is not a legally valid document.” The good news is, the passport’s a steal at €24; the bad news is that unless one of the state’s temporary embassies or consulates is coming to a physical location near you, you’ll have to send cash in a registered letter or pay for a bank transfer to Slovenia to get one.

Laibach released Spectre, its first album of the decade, earlier this year.

For more information about the NSK State, see its official website and YouTube channel.
 

Laibach’s video for “Drzava” (“The State”)

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment