“The hills are alive, with the sound of music, with songs they have sung, for a thousand years”
LAIBACH have announced details of their eagerly awaited album, The Sound of Music, out on Mute on 23 November 2018 on vinyl, CD and digitally.
Listen to the opening track, a classic Laibachian interpretation of ‘The Sound of Music’
The Sound of Music was conceived when Laibach were infamously invited to perform in North Korea in 2015. The band performed several songs from the 1965 film’s soundtrack at the concert in Pyongyang, chosen by Laibach as it’s a well-known and beloved film in the DPRK and often used by schoolchildren to learn English. Laibach are joined by Boris Benko (Silence) and Marina Mårtensson on vocals and the album gives the Laibach treatment to tracks such as ‘My Favorite Things’, ‘Edelweiss’, ‘Do-Re-Mi’ and ‘Maria’, here reworked as ‘Maria / Korea’ (“How do you solve a problem like Maria / Korea?”).
While the majority of the tracks on the album are from the film, the band also included ‘Arirang’, an interpretation of a traditional Korean folk song considered the unofficial national anthem of both North and South Korea (and released recently to mark the historic summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un), as well as their own workout of the Gayageum, a traditional Korean zither-like string instrument performed by students from the Kum Song Music School in Pyongyang and a recording of the band’s “welcome” speech to Korea from Mr. Ryu from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Committee for Cultural Relations.
Laibach’s groundbreaking performance in North Korea was documented by director, artist and cultural diplomat, Morten Traavik in the film Liberation Day (described by MOJO as “a humorous, disturbing, illuminating and sometimes moving immersion into an anomalous communist mirror-world …”) which is out now via iTunes following its screening for Storyville on BBC4.
The album was recorded and produced in Ljubljana, Slovenia and in Pyongyang, DPRK and represents another successful collaboration between Laibach and Silence (Primož Hladnik and Boris Benko), who previously co-created Laibach’s 2006 Volk album.
The cover was created by Valnoir, who has previously collaborated with Laibach and oversaw visuals across the band’s North Korean project. Valnoir explains, “Laibach and NSK have been without any doubt the most influential artists in my career. And since I was in charge of most of the visual elements for Laibach’s North Korean project, it was both logical and easy for me to dive into this fantastic and monumental project!”
The band will open the Steirischer Herbst festival in Austria with the live premiere of The Sound of Music on 20 September. The performance will feature a string sextet and children’s choir, and a member of Laibach will DJ in a club in the middle of a mountain in the city of Graz later that evening. On the 21 September Ivo Salinger (aka Ivan Novak) will be in conversation with the director of the festival. Ahead of then, the band will perform in Ljubljana with a Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra and have confirmed two dates in Russia in October, further dates to be added – full details at here
7 Sep – Ljubljana, Križanke SI – Laibach with Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra
20 Sep – Graz, Steirischer Herbst festival AT – premiere of The Sound of Music + DJ set
9 Oct – St Petersburg, Opera Club RU – Also Sprach Zarathustra & The Sound of Music
11 Oct – Moscow, Glav Club RU – Also Sprach Zarathustra & The Sound of Music
THE SOUND OF MUSIC TRACKLISTING
The Sound of Music
Climb Ev’ry Mountain
Sixteen Going On Seventeen
So Long, Farewell
Maria / Korea
The Sound of Gayageum
Over 35 years on from their genesis in the then-Yugoslavian industrial town Trbovlje, Laibach are still the most internationally acclaimed band to have come out of the former Communist countries of Eastern and Central Europe. Founded in the death year of the country’s founding father Tito, and rising to fame as Yugoslavia steered towards self-destruction, Laibach can make you think, dance and march to the same music.