Akina Nakamori – Fushigi (1986)

After a month laying low due to restrictions on some platforms, we’re back! You probably are seeing some reposts and more will come along the way, these are actually all-time bests of the ‘IM’ so don’t miss it, ok? Moving along our Top 5 entries since 2014, having Akiko’s and Slađana’s posts already listed, its time for our third entry, and it is a very singular one; a brief but dashing turning point that was not well comprehended by its main audience ergo the (almost) failure of the sales and single-digit weeks at the radio-charts.

Debuting on the production control, with only 21 years old, rising as the artist of the year and a complex idea in terms of sound, 不思議 remains one of the greatest albums of an era by an underestimated singer, performer, and actress. We’ll be only commencing on Akina’s bio, so please attend to the rest on future entries, though today’s are the REAL deal for us.

楽しんでください!

Let’s go to our artist:

Early Idol Years

Nakamori Akina (中森明菜), born July 13, 1965, in Kiyose, Tokyo, Japan, is a multiple award-winning Japanese pop singer and actress who debuted in early 1982. She is the face of the idol era of the 80s alongside Seiko Matsuda (her supposed rival) with hits such as the extraordinary “Kazari Janai No Yo Namida Wa” and world-wide hit “Desire”.

As a singer, Nakamori came to be known for her mature yet rebellious style and powerhouse vocals, but also for her ever-changing image both visually and musically as opposed to the (very) conservative J-Pop scene. She is also known as “tragedy queen” for most of her serious or sad tone songs unlike the happy and carefree sound of pop music.

Desire ‘Frenzy’

She was highly successful from her debut to 1989 when she attempted suicide after a failed romance with Masahiko Kondo, with the scandalous involvement of Seiko Matsuda as the third part and mostly to stress induced by the tabloid media. Even though she has never regained the same success, she has still managed to carry on a steady career.

Today Nakamori has built her image more like a cover artist with her Utahime cover albums, also with the award-winning Enka one and recently a comeback with unedited studio material being Fixer (2015) and Cage (2017) her last cover one. With a career almost as long as 30 years, and millions of records sold she has explored many different music genres including pop, rock, R&B, jazz, folk, blues, enka, and Latin music. (!)

Let’s go to our album:

Pioneer Private 1989

In 1986, at 21, Nakamori matured in her singing style, choice of songs and partnership over its musical arrangements. The first single of that year, “Desire (Jōnetsu)” proved to be one of the highlights in Nakamori’s career, this was awarded at the Record Taisho Grand Prize at the 28th Japan Record Awards, her second in a row, in an unprecedented achievement at the time, stating Akina’s as the #1 artist of Japan that year. (!)

Then she released Fushigi, an experimental album that is considered to be one of her most artistic works ever. Inspired by Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, this conceptual album differed from her previous works with a more mysterious and eerie sound both music and vocal-wise. On the album, Nakamori sang more dramatically and her vocals were also mixed into the background. This unusual mixing caused some confusion among consumers and some actually contacted the retailers thinking the record was defective.

Fushigi Promo

Despite the riskiness of trying something so avant-garde the album still reached #1 and sold over 464,000 copies. By the cover, you can tell something is darkling about everything and sure there is! After hearing it for the first time, I was sure there was something wrong with the files and had to download them again and again until I realize how magnificent the proposition was. The dark and gothic beauty of the entire project oddly caught me and how good it is to be able to feel this. Now the ‘IM’ is proudly presenting this to you all, come check this unique experience and also watch some terrific live renditions between 1986, 1987 and 2003, it is a joy to see her perform!

The ‘IM’ highlights are マリオネット (Marionette) and Teen-Age Blue.

Tracks Include:

A1 Back Door Night

A2 ニュー·ジェネレーション (New Generation)

Lyrics By: 竹花いち子

A3 Labyrinth

Chorus: Katsumi Fujikura

A4 マリオネット (Marionette)

Lyrics By, Music By: 安岡孝章

A5 幻惑されて (Genwaku Sarete)

Chorus: Minako Yoshida

B1 ガラスの心 (Glass No Kokoro)

Arranged By: 井上鑑

Bass: Chiharu Mikuzuki

Drums: Hideo Yamaki

Guitar: Tsuyoshi Kon

Keyboards: Akira Inoue

B2 Teen-Age Blue

Chorus: Etsuko Yamakawa, Kiyoshi Hiyama

Keyboards: Satoshi Nakamura

Keyboards, Chorus: Kazuo Shiina

B3 燠火 (Okibi)

Arranged By (Brass): 椎名和夫

Drums: Anton Fier

Keyboards: Haruo Togashi, Minako Yoshida

Saxophone: Jake H. Concepcion

B4 Wait For Me

Lyrics By: Show

B5 Mushroom Dance

Chorus: Keiko Aso

Music By: 井上ケン一

Musicians

Arranged By: Eurox (tracks: A1 to A5, B4, B5), Kazuo Shiina (tracks: B2, B3)

Bass: Haruo Okano (tracks: A1 to A5, B4, B5)

Chorus: Anri Sekine, Eve, Haruo Okano, Isamu Hasegawa, Yoshimi Niikura

Guitar: Tsutomu Kurihara (tracks: A1 to A5, B4, B5)

Keyboards: Anri Sekine (tracks: A1 to A5, B4, B5)

Lyrics By: 麻生圭子 (tracks: A1, A3), 吉田美奈子 (tracks: A5, B2, B3),

Sandii (tracks: B1, B5)

Music By: Eurox (tracks: A1 to A3, A5), 久保田真箏 (tracks: B1, B5),

吉田美奈子 (tracks: B2, B3)

Trumpet: Shin Kuzuhara (tracks: B3, B4)

Violin: Anri Sekine (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A5, B4)

Credits

Design (Cover): Yasuo Mochida

Directed By: Katsumi Fujikura

Engineer: Hiroyuki Satoh, Motonari Matsumoto, Yasu Itohbrass, Mr. Kenmochi

Photography By: Kazunori Tsukada

Producer: Akina Nakamori

Remix, Mastered By: Nobuo Ishizaki

Management: Fusanori Nakoh, Hiroyasu Chinone

Companies

Phonographic Copyright: Warner-Pioneer Corporation

Made By: Warner-Pioneer Corporation

Recorded At: Sedic Studio, Sound Inn Studio, Freedom Studio, Sound Atelier,

Cherry Island Studio and Music Inn Studio

Mixed At: Sedic Studio and Warner-Pioneer Studio

Mastered At: Warner-Pioneer Studio

Reprise Records ‎– L-12595 – 1986.08.11

Cage’s Persona – 2017

Slađana Milošević and Neutral Design – Neutralni Design (1983)

All right, continuing with the aforementioned Top 5 records (since our departure) this one also fits in this relation, a very very sick New Wave entry with a talented and flamboyant artist who broke all standards back in the day and still are, either performing, writing, modeling or producing she maintains herself as one of the greatest personas of former SFR Yugoslavia, Serbia and even expanding her horizons all over Europe and America.

This is a killer LP, and we will only start off with, so more will come eventually, shall we?

Let’s go to our artist:

Aleksandra “Slađana” Milošević Hagadone (born 1955 October 3 in Belgrade, PR Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia), better known as Slađana Milošević. Her talent for music became very apparent at an early age, so she started education in classical music at the age of five, playing the piano. A few years later, her interest turned to study the violin. Eventually, she embraced rock and the bass guitar performing in school and recording at the age of 15. (!)

Sasha Subota Orchestra – 1976

From then on, her interests had shifted towards various artistic expressions such as acting, playing music and dancing in the fringe theatres and experimental movies. She acted in Belgrade’s Ex Art Theatre, Atelje 212 Theatre and in Academic Kino Club Krsmanović. In 1976, she toured the Soviet Union as a soloist in the Sasha Subota Orchestra, where she had recorded a compilation of World Hits and a single Mikado for Soviet label Melodiya.

Being in constant discordance with the restrictive regime and the media, despite all the efforts, she could not release a solo record in her homeland for many years. Thus, she invests her funds and finally manages to produce and release the first single in 1977.

An Ordinary Gal – 1977

Unexpectedly, it had achieved immediate success hitting No. 1 on the charts. Milošević’s provocative first song “Au, Au” caused many controversial reactions inside the regime. However, her creative potential, persistence, and consistency of ideas had won over. She influenced younger musicians and other less courageous, to follow her bold path.

From then on, every song she had released hit the top of the charts: “Au, Au” (1977), Simpatija” (1978), “Sexy Dama”(1978), then “Amsterdam”, and “Očigledno Nije Mi Svejedno”, off her first and highly-rated LP Gorim Od Želje Da Ubijem Noć from 1979. Milošević’s fame spread throughout the entire region and the surrounding countries. For instance, at midnight, the Hungarian audience celebrated with Alexandra an arrival of the New Year 1979, through her one-hour performance on National TV, Budapest.

Gorim Od Želje Da Ubijem Noć Tour

In 1982, she embarked with her band on a national Yugoslav tour with English rockabilly legends Matchbox. In 1983, she started a band “Neutral Design” in Munich, Germany and released a self-titled album. Musicians in this project collaborated with bands known worldwide such as Santana and Nina Hagen Band. Songs off of this LP were broadcast and sold in West Germany, Sweden, Yugoslavia, and other European countries.

A single “Das Licht von Kairo / Miki, Miki” released in Yugoslavia, became a mega-hit.

Therefore she would only ascend with a myriad of prizes, world tours, and a 1988 LP. Slađana eventually moves on to different countries, expands her professional acting, waning her solo acts in the 90s releasing her last album in 2000, Animal Tested.

Neutral Design Era

Let’s go to our album:

With an incredible variation of rhythms and influences, this is her most mature and lasting album, for a certain period I heard it repeatedly for months, something that grows inside you, a perfect photograph of what was the effervescent beginning of the ’80s.

Being the chameleon she always was, soon Slađana would follow a more Pop direction in ’84 and walk the paths of Jazz on her subsequent album.

Contemporary of Nina Hagen and Bebi Doll in the exotic, provocative and singular aesthetics senses she remains one of the greatest stars of her country and beyond!

1984

The ‘IM’ highlights are Klown I Smrt, a dark-reggae with a wall of synths and Nad Tobom Anđeli Imaju Moć a soothing cyclotomic ballad.

Tracks Include:

A1 Das Licht Von Kairo (Svletla Kaira)
Lyrics By M. Bajagić
Music By, Arranged By P. Labontie

A2 New York
Arranged By S. Milošević
Guitar (Solo) Rudolf Gast
Lyrics By D. Đurić
Music By B. Werber

A3 Hey, Little Boy
Written-By Slađana Milošević

A4 Klovn I Smrt
Arranged By S. Milošević
Lyrics By M. Bajagić
Music By B. Werber

B1 Miki, Miki
Saxophone (Solo) Mića Marković
Written-By Slađana Milošević

B2 Neko Je Tu (Sa Mnom U Sobi)
Arranged By S. Milošević
Lyrics By M. Bajagić
Music By B. Werber

B3 Nad Tobom Anđeli Imaju Moć
Written By Slađana Milošević

B4 Ja Sam Neka Čudna Vrsta
Lyrics By M. Tadić
Music By, Lyrics By, Arranged By S. Milošević

Musicians

Bass: Pit Zaepernick
Drum Programming, Synthesizer (Prophet 5), Organ (Hammond B3): Attila Terry
Guitar, Drum Programming, Effects: Bruce Werber
Producer, Vocals, Guitar, Drum Programming, Effects: Alexandra Sladjana M.
Synthesizer (Roland V, Yamaha): Alex Grunwald
Synthesizer (Roland, Korg), Programmed By (Synthesizer): Florian Anwander

Credits

Design: Gordan Škondrić
Mixed By: Uli Rudolf
Photography: Ljubo Trifunović
Recorded By: Cristian Leibi

Notes

Jugoton ‎– LSY-63185

Recorded at Western Studio, Munich, Germany.
Mixed at Aquarius Studio, Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

Nowadays

Izabela Trojanowska ‎– Układy (1982)

Today’s artist does not have an extensive musical career, but as it always here on the IM’ it is worth checking it out! Due to political problems at the height of its popularity she was forced to leave Poland only to return after 7 years, close to the fall of the USSR. Also a talented actress Izabela remains today as an active performer, with a 2016 latest release.

Let’s go to our artist:

Izabela Ludwika Trojanowska (born Izabela Ludwika Schütz; 22 April 1955) is a Polish singer and film actress, she first appeared in a short-running 1979 TV series Strachy and subsequently played the title role in the feature film Carmilla. She rose to fame in 1980 with the hits “Tyle Samo Prawd Ile Kłamstw” and “Wszystko Czego Dziś Chcę”, the latter performed to a big success at the National Festival of Polish Song in Opole, accompanied by the legendary Polish rock band Budka Suflera. In a meteoric rise up Trojanowska became one of the most popular singers of the early 1980s in Poland.

Izabela, The Actress in 1979

At the very beginning of this decade, Izabela established trends in music. As an artist, she traveled the world, watching her peers live abroad. In the stores, on the shelves, however, there were only vinegar, and potatoes with kefir given to eat. She wanted to sing about what was bad in the country, what really hurt Poles. Soon, she became the enemy number one for power and a hero for society. With an androgynous look, backed up by an astounding band and acid lyricists Izabela started her upswing with Romuald Lipko, Budka Suflera’s leader. He composed eight tracks for her debut album, simply entitled Iza and released in 1981. The record was ordered in a record circulation of nearly one million copies, however, due to technical reasons, only 50,000 were sold on the market copies and a cassette tape. However, the singles promoting her spread over 300,000 copies (!!)

Who Loves Iza?

The same year Trojanowska teamed up with another rock band, Stalowy Bagaż, with whom she recorded an EP and performed at the Opole Festival. Their performance drew controversies as she was wearing a red tie on stage, typical for the outfit of the members of Union of Polish Youth (ZMP). The organization accused her of desecrating the symbol of the Union as its performance of ‘Song of the Brick’ caused that Solidarity also turned away from her. After the scandal broke out she began being persecuted by the authorities.

By early 1982, Izabela finished recording her second LP, Układy. The album showcased a rockier sound and spawned hits “Brylanty” and “Karmazynowa Noc” with more than 100.000 copies sold. Later that year, she paired with Tadeusz Nalepa for the album Pożegnalny Cyrk (released commercially in 1993), whose politically charged lyrics strongly criticized martial law in Poland. That record was withdrawn by the censorship office. Burned by Solidarity, persecuted by the authorities she emigrated in 1983.

The Star in 1982

In the following decades, Izabela only released 5 records being Na Skos the latter and also it’s best, placing the good old rock n roll ahead of more Pop-English oriented songs.

Izabela stated: ‘At the beginning of the crazy and wonderful eighties together with Romuald Lipko and Andrzej Mogielnicki we were able to prepare a repertoire that electrified people. Then there was a lot of electricity in the air… Then came the next records … I am always happy to come back to singing, even after a long break. I take it as seriously as I do acting, maybe even more frightened… One thing I know: I would never want someone to say that I am the best singer among actresses and the best actress among singers.’

Let’s go to our album:

‘Na Skos’ Cover

Everyone seems to forget this second album always recurring to the first one Iza to talk about her but here in the IM we go deeper! This one is a fav of mine, with a strong post-punk and synth-pop feelings, showcasing how things were more liberal in countries such as Poland and Yugoslavia, at least in musical terms as we know it. Chodź Usłysz!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Obejdzie Się Bez Łez and Nic Naprawdę

Tracks Include:

A1 Układy
Backing Vocals: Bogdan Gajkowski / Guitar: Aleksander Mrożek

A2 Obejdzie Się Bez Łez
Backing Vocals: Jan Borysewicz

A3 Mało Siebie Znam

A4 Brylanty

B1 Karmazynowa Noc

B2 Daj Boże Daj
Backing Vocals: Bogdan Gajkowski

B3 Nic Naprawdę

B4 Obce Dni
Guitar: Aleksander Mrożek

B5 Układy
Guitar: Aleksander Mrożek

Credits
Bass: Wojciech Bruślik
Drums: Andrzej Dylewski
Guitar, Guitar (Solo): Jan Borysewicz
Keyboards: Janusz Grzywacz
Lyrics By: A. Mogielnicki

Music By: A. Mrożek (tracks: A1, B4), B. Gajkowski (tracks: A4, B3), J. Borysewicz (tracks: A2), W. Bruślik (tracks: B2), W. Trzciński (tracks: A3, B1)

Arranged By: A. Mrożek (tracks: A1, B4, B5), B. Gajkowski (tracks: A4, B3), J. Borysewicz (tracks: A2, A3, B1, B2), W. Bruślik (tracks: B2)

Engineer: J. Mastykarz
Engineer (Assistant): W. Żywioł

Notes
Recorded at Studio Nagrań ZPR Teatru STU, Kraków 1982. Tonpress ‎– SX-T 12

Solidarność Rally

Akiko Yano (矢野顕子) ‎– There Must Be Love (愛がなくちゃね。) [1982]

Simple and direct this is one of the Top 5 albums that I’ve been listening to nonstop since our departure in 2014, a wild collaboration between Akiko, YMO and David Sylvian’s Japan. East + West = Gemstone! There will be more Akiko’s albums throughout our trip, she is a VERY special composer, singer, and performer that is still rocking on so this is just the beginning. This LP is a fav of the Blog so get ready…

Let’s go to our artist:

Akiko Yano (3 February 1955) was born in Tokyo and raised in Aomori, Japan. She began playing piano at the young age of three (!) and demonstrated promising talent. When she was only fifteen, Akiko moved to Tokyo on her own and entered into Aoyama Gakuin High School where she pursued her musical career. She later began performing in jazz clubs where her masterful skill at the piano brought her popularity among other musicians. Akiko joined a band with roots in Tin Pan Alley.

Nihon Shōjo

Akiko recorded her debut album, Japanese Girl, primarily in Los Angeles with Lowell George and Little Feat. When it was released in 1976 many reputed her to be a “girl with a musical wonder.” She then began collaborating with Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO).
They continued to play on her next recording projects and invited Akiko to join them on two of their worldwide tours. Akiko expanded her musical collaborations with YMO on her subsequent LP releases, she continued to release LPs joined by Japan and Pat Metheny and has performed on albums by Thomas Dolby and other artists.

YMO Tour

In 1990 Akiko relocated to New York where she collaborated and toured with some of the world’s most renowned musicians including The Chieftains, Toninho Horta and Jeff Bova on his project The Hammonds. August 2007 marked her second debut as yanokami a pop unit with Rei Harakami, an electronic musician and sought-after producer.

To date, Akiko has released more than 30 (!) original albums, being Welcome to Jupiter her last in 2015, latter ones such Soft Landing are reissues or even Live records.

Let’s go to our album:

1982 Promo

The following text is taken from Jansen Photography Blog, so I will take a short extract from it, thank you for the Infos and photos!

‘In 1978 YMO performed as Yano’s back-up band for a Japanese tour, and at this time she became romantically involved with Sakamoto, following the breakup of her marriage. Although at the time this wasn’t noted in the press, once YMO became famous the story was spread across the papers, something that Akiko further highlighted herself by including clippings from the tabloid reports in a tour program. In 1979 Akiko became a support member of YMO; taking a break in early 1980 when she gave birth to daughter Miu Sakamoto, before returning for the second YMO world tour.

Japan the band first became aware of Akiko Yano because Japanese fans gave the group mixtapes of music they thought they would like. At that time, they did not know that there was a connection between YMO and Akiko. This soon changed when Japan attended a YMO concert and was introduced backstage. David Sylvian, Sakamoto and Yano started to exchange letters, something referred to in the song “David” released later in the 80s.

Japan

For her 1981 tour, Akiko recruited Masami Tsuchiya as a guitar player, and he went on to play on her album “Tadaima”. Both artists came to London in early 1982 and booked time at Air Studios, Masami to record “Rice Music” and Akiko “Ai Ga Nakucha Ne”.

Akiko specifically chose to work with Japan members and to record at Air because of “Tin Drum”; she liked the clarity of sound and the feel of the album, and wanted that for her own recording. To that end, not only did Akiko recruit the Japan members, but she employed Steve Nye and David Rhodes for the duration of the recording.

The producing role would be performed by fiancé Ryuichi as the couple would marry before the album was released in 1982.06.25.’

Akiko Yano + Ryuichi Sakamoto

So finally let us drink the waters from a synth-pop masterpiece with multiple touches you will hardly find it in any Western release!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Onnatachiyo Otokotachiyo and Donnatokimo Donnatokimo Donnatokimo.

Tracks Include:

Side A うし (Ushi – Cattle)

A1 愛がなくちゃね (Ai Ga Nakucha Ne – There Must be Love)

A2 悲しくてやりきれない (Kanashikute Yarikirenai – Unbearable Sadness)

A3 What’s Got In Your Eyes?

A4 おいしい生活 (Oishii Seikatsu – Small Time Crooks)

A5 みちでバッタリ (Michi De Battari – I Ran Straight on the Road)

Side B ぞう (Zō – Elephant)

B1 女たちよ 男たちよ (Onnatachiyo Otokotachiyo – About Women and Men)

B2 あいするひとよ (Aisuru Hitoyo – Overnight Love)

B3 Sleep On My Baby

B4 Another Wedding Song

B5 どんなときも どんなときも どんなときも (Donnatokimo Donnatokimo Donnatokimo – Anytime, Anytime, Anytime)

B6 Good Night

All songs and lyrics by Akiko Yano

Except for A2 by Kazuhiko Kato & Hachiro Sato / A5 by Yuji Takahashi & Masafumi Oka.

Credits

Arranged By: Akiko Yano, Ryuichi Sakamoto
Bass: Haruomi Hosono, Mick Karn
Drums: Steve Jansen, Yukihiro Takahashi
Guitar: David Rhodes, Kenji Omura, Robbie Mackintosh
Keyboards: Akiko Yano, Ryuichi Sakamoto

Engineer: Shinichi Tanaka, Steve Nye

Mixed By – Steve Nye

Co-producer: Ryuichi Sakamoto

Producer – Akiko Yano

This album was recorded in London with members of Yellow Magic Orchestra and Japan.

Nowadays

Katarina II – Katarina II (1984)

capaAfter the quintessential Belgrade new wave band of the early ’80s, Šarlo Akrobata, hit the rocks, the trio essentially splintered in two directions. Bass player Dušan Kojić went on to form Disciplina Kičme, where he continued to experiment with various musical influences, while the more lyrical, poetic of the two, vocalist/guitar player Milan Mladenović, opted to form Katarina II. Named as such, the band which later reached starry (in local terms) heights under Ekatarina Velika moniker released only this album, which quickly became a cult favorite in old Yugoslavia.

The New Wave music scene emerged at the end of the ’70s, it was especially advocated by the music magazines Polet from Zagreb and Džuboks from Belgrade, and by the TV show Rokenroler, which was famous for its artistic music videos.

Šarlo Akrobata
Šarlo Akrobata

Important bands of the Yugoslav new wave are Šarlo Akrobata, Idoli, Prljavo Kazalište, Azra, Električni Orgazam, Aerodrom, Atomsko Skoloniste, Laboratorija Zvuka, Lačni Franz, Gu Gu, Hazard, Moulin Rouge, and many others. (!)

Let’s go to our artist:

Ekatarina Velika (Catherine the Great, also called EKV) was a rock group from Belgrade, Serbia. During its existence, EKV built up a devoted following that greatly intensified and expanded after the death of its frontman Milan Mladenović in 1994, which caused the band to dissolve. The group’s core consisted of singer and guitarist Milan Mladenović, keyboardist Margita Stefanović and bassist Bojan Pečar.

Initially named Katarina II, was formed in February 1982 following the breakup of Šarlo Akrobata, Katarina II’s self-titled debut album finally came out in 1984.

Magazine Issue
Magazine Issue

After the release the group fell apart due to artistic differences, guitarist Gagi Mihajlović claimed rights to the Katarina II name, then, the remaining members settled on Ekatarina Velika. In 1985, EKV released their debut album, Ekatarina Velika, the Lp is characterized by an energetic sound and Milan’s hermetic, introspective, and metaphorical lyrics. 1986 follow up album S Vetrom Uz Lice proved to be the breakthrough album that turned them into bona fide stars!

The hits included ‘Budi Sam Na Ulici’ and ‘Ti Si Sav Moj Bol’, in addition to wider mainstream acceptance, S Vetrom Uz Lice also got some lukewarm reviews from critics complaining it sounded too much like Simple Minds and The Mission (sic).

80's Promo
80’s Promo

In 1987 the band recorded and released Ljubav, it displayed a more guitar-oriented, polished sound, partly because of new producer Theodore Yanni. It also showed the first signs of Milan’s depressive lyrics, as exemplified by song ‘Tonemo’; the band confirmed their newfound star status with two consecutive sold-out shows at Belgrade’s Hala Pionir sports arena. The 1989 album Samo Par Godina Za Nas wasn’t received well by the critics, though it does feature the song Par Godina Za Nas which was voted the best (ex) Yugoslavian rock song in 2006 by Serbian Radios!

In the ’90s the band released albums irregularly due to band changes and the political situation in Yugoslavia. Dum Dum (1991) and Neko Nas Posmatra (1993) were released but the band slowly fell apart. Milan Mladenović was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August and died on November 5, 1994, at the age of 36.

Margita Stefanović (RIP)
Margita Stefanović

Bassist Bojan Pečar died in London on October 13, 1998, aged 37, as a result of a heart attack. Early drummers Ivan ‘Vd’ Vdović passed away in 1992 and Dušan Dejanović died from AIDS on November 16, 2000. Keyboard player and vocalist Margita Stefanović died on September 18, 2002, drug abuse was rumored (never confirmed) to be the cause, she was 43 and the last of the original line up left. (RIP all of them)

Let’s go to our album:

The band had started the recording of the album in Beograd but due to various problems, it was finally recorded for the Slovenian label ZKP RTLJ (RTV Ljubljana). The album producer was Đorđe Petrović, and guest stars were Mario Čelik (congas) and Jurij Novoselić (saxophone) from the (famous) Croatian new wave band Film.

Initially pressed in mere 3,000 copies, Katarina II is a spirited debut effort, torn somewhere between the new wave aesthetic and polished rock sound which became the hallmark of Ekatarina Velika. Essentially, there are two main vibes to discern on this album, Milan Mladenović’s songs are more progressive in its approach, like ‘Jesen’, ‘Geto’ and ‘Aut’, contrasting with the songs written by Dragan Mihajlović, ‘Vrt’, ‘Platforme’ and ‘Treba Da Se Čisti’, which retain the structure and faux-mysticism of the previous movement (Idoli and Šarlo Akrobata).

Back Cover
Back Cover

Slotted in between is a beautiful little ballad ‘Kad Krenem Ka’, written and sang by Margita, as well as a cheery pop number ‘Radostan Dan’. Overall, it all makes for a well-rounded package, with a couple of classics (Geto and Jesen) and eclipsed influences such as Talking Heads. An absolutely essential listen, Sretan Put!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Radostan Dan and Ja Znam.

Tracks Include:

A1 Aut

A2 Vrt

A3 Platforme

A4 Radostan Dan

A5 Geto

B1 Treba da Se Čisti 1

B2 Ja Znam

B3 Kad Krenem Ka

B4 Treba da Se Čisti 2

B5 Jesen

Credits

  • Bass: Bojan Pečar
  • Drums, Percussion: Ivan Vdović
  • Guitar: Dragomir Mihailović
  • Guitar, Vocals: Milan Mladenović
  • Keyboards, Vocals: Margita Stefanović
  • Congas (Featuring): Mario Čelik
  • Music, Arranged: Katarina II
  • Photography: Aleksandar Knežević, Ivan Pešić, Srđan Vejvoda
  • Design: Margita
  • Producer, Recorded: Đorđe Petrović

Recorded at studio Akvarius, Beograd, end of December, 1983.

ZKP RTVL ‎– LD 0954

Uvac Canyon
Uvac Canyon