Laibach: The Whistleblowers

The Provocative Slovenian Industrial Group Return With a Visual Manifesto

Taken from Laibach’s uncategorizable forthcoming album Spectre, the rousing synth-pop of “The Whistleblowers” is inspired by provocateurs such as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, continuing the band’s long-established critique of power and political freedoms. “They predicted the downfall of Yugoslavia through their music,” says Norwegian director Morten Traavik of his most recent collaborators. “Now they’re back in sync with what’s happening.” Formed in 1980 in Trbovlje, Slovenia, Laibach started the Neue Slowenische Kunst art movement, which eventually became a ‘virtual country’ complete with its own passport, amassing a vast collective body of work that was showcased at London’s Tate Modern in 2012. The nostalgic and utopian feel of today's song is matched by a video that stars a group of young athletes from Riga, Latvia. “It was shot using a one-of-a-kind LOMO camera lens from the Soviet Union,” says Traavik. “This resulted in this extreme widescreen format, much like a three-stripe national flag with the video as the middle stripe.” The director’s 2012 clip of a North Korean accordion band performing A-Ha's “Take On Me” shared the group’s playful exploration of patriotism and nationhood, while accruing two million YouTube views: “We felt straight away that this is a Laibach-kinda person,” say the band.

Spectre is Out March 3 on Mute.

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Conversations (1)

  • eqobKING
    this iz superb. so much commitment.

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    ON REPLAY

    Lucy McRae: Swallowable Parfum

    The Artist’s Vivid Film Explores the Possibilities of Scent and Biologically-Enhanced Beauty

    “We are living in an era of no rules; technology is corrupting nature’s ballot, forcing us to redefine our bodies’ limitations and boundaries,” says Lucy McRae, the skin-fixated artist and filmmaker whose cosmetic predictions are the subject of today’s film, Swallowable Parfum. “I have no doubt that we will be eating cosmetics and using color-changing skin technology. The fashion and pharmaceuticals market will merge, as fashion and technology is doing now.” Developed with synthetic biologist Sheref Mansy, the project explores the utopian possibility of a consumed capsule that synthesizes with the body to create a biologically enhanced scent. Individual to each wearer and reacting to stress, exercise or sexual arousal, McRae’s prototype provokes debate about the future of the body as a platform for technology. Below, the London-based artist, a former ballerina and member of the Philips Design’s “far-future” research program, shares her views on wild ideas and sexy scents.

    Are you for or against genetically enhanced beauty? 
    Lucy McRae: I get a huge kick out of dreaming up these ideas, absent of limitations, that allow people to imagine possibility and choose if they would want it or not. I'm telling speculative stories underpinned by the tools of science fiction and technology to render a world that’s believable.

    What are the different base notes for stressed, pumped and sexy? 
    LM: Stressed–the scent of an infinite horizon; pumped–the smell of an explosion in reverse; sexy–the aroma of brushing past a stranger.

    What inspired the choreography? 
    LM: Dancer Rachel Coulson has this incredible ability to reach shapes with her body that are beyond human. The choreography aims to simulate weightlessness, an underwater body moving within a particle atmosphere that is foetal, fluid, surrendering the body to science and technology. 

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  • MOST LOVED IN MUSIC
    MOST LOVED IN MUSIC

    Forest Swords: Thor’s Stone

    An Intense Metamorphosis Marks the British Producer’s Latest Bass-Heavy Effort

    “There was a moment around 3am when I felt a pure sense of all the elements coming together perfectly,” recalls Dave Ma of shooting the video to Forest Swords’ atmospheric track, “Thor’s Stone.” Filmed overnight in the industrial outskirts of downtown Los Angeles, the promo stars Madrid dancer Guzman Rosado. “I made him dance repeatedly for about eight hours through the night,” says Ma. “There was no one for miles around, just Forest Swords echoing out of a boom box.” The director has made videos for Foals and The Horrors, and his effort for Australian electro duo Flight Facilities’ “Claire de Lune” was shortlisted for the NOWNESS and Le Book’s CONNECTIONS showcase in Paris earlier this year. Today’s collaboration was born after Ma approached the man behind Forest Swords, Matthew Barnes, to describe the vision of a figure coming to life and struggling to gain control over his body that the music inspired in him. The dark and sensuous result marks an incredible few months for the Northwest England-based solo artist, following the widespread acclaim that has garlanded his second album Engravings, recorded over 18 painstaking months. “I’m a perfectionist,” says Barnes of the process. “I spend a long time working on one sound or texture to make sure it's exactly how I want it. It’s like tweaking a key in a door, and then suddenly it unlocks.”

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