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MARKO BRECELJ

RIO/Avant-Prog • Yugoslavia


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Marko Brecelj picture
Marko Brecelj biography
Marko Brecelj was born 1951 in Sarajevo. A failed student of physics at Ljubljana University and composer of film/music with a Golden Palm award. Played violin in the band KRIK with whom he performed at Subotica Youth Festival in 1973/74. In 1974 Brecelj recorded solo debut LP "Cocktail" which included singer-songwriter style of avant-garde blues-based songs accompanied with orchestral arrangements by Bojan Adamic. In this period he joined SEDEM SVETLOBNIH LET who were soon to change name into BULDOZER. In 1975 with his band BULDOZER made quite a big draft in former Yugoslavia concerning the term rock-music.

After leaving BULDOZER in 1979, with later groups - ZLATNI ZUBI (Golden teeth), MARJANOV CUDNI ZAJEC (Marjan's Strange Rabbit), BELI CRNCI (White Negroes), JAVNA VAJA (Official Exercise) managed to stay "under the ground". He built an image of a cynical, unexpected and extravagant-prone performer who used to appear on stage in a wheelchair, burn his hair and beard, make acrobatics and tell hilarious and funny jokes in front of audience bursting in laugh.

During the 1980s his noteworthy releases included EP "Parada" in 1981 and LP "Svinjam dijamante" with the group MARJANOV CUDNI ZAJEC in 1985. With the band STRELNIKOFF he recorded an album in 1994, which included several covers of old BULDOZER songs. He is living in Kopar, Slovenia, where he was the director of "Mladinski kulturni centar" (Youth Cultural Centre). This is where many young creative rock bands were given opportunities to perform. In recent years he has been active in politics as the president of NGO "Drustvo prijateljev zmernega napredka" (The Society of Friends of Moderate Progress") and as candidate for the mayor's office in Kopar.

Brecelj's music can be described as singer/songwriter style (vocal and guitar) with avant-garde approach. His lyrics are bitter, cynical and full of humour and social commentary. One can imagine a cross between Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Krautrock, punk and RIO. Essential albums for listening are "Cocktail" (1974) and "Svinjam dijamante" (1985).

by Sead S. Fetahagic



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
A unique Avant Prog singer/songwriter, close to Zappa and RIO.



Discography:
Cocktail, studio album (1974)
Duo Zlatni zubi - Kranj, 22.12.1980 (with Ivan Volaric-Feo), live bootleg (1980)
Parada, studio EP (1981)
Svinjam d...
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MARKO BRECELJ discography


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MARKO BRECELJ top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 6 ratings
Cocktail
1974
5.00 | 2 ratings
Svinjam dijamante (with Marjanov Cudni Zajec)
1985
3.00 | 1 ratings
Desant na Rt Dobre nade (with Javna Vaja)
1986
3.00 | 1 ratings
Moje krave molznice (with Ales Jost and JAVNA DVAJA)
1991
0.00 | 0 ratings
Strelnikoff & Marko Brecelj: Hojladrija * Svinjarija * Diareja * Gonoreja
1994

MARKO BRECELJ Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MARKO BRECELJ Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MARKO BRECELJ Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MARKO BRECELJ Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Dusa In Jaz
1974
3.10 | 2 ratings
Parada
1981

MARKO BRECELJ Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Moje krave molznice (with Ales Jost and JAVNA DVAJA) by BRECELJ, MARKO album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Moje krave molznice (with Ales Jost and JAVNA DVAJA)
Marko Brecelj RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Seyo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars "My Milkin' Cows", as the title reads in English, is a recapitulation of old Brecelj's songs. There are four songs taken from debut album "Cocktail", three songs from "Svinjam diamante", six songs from "Desant na Rt Dobre nade" and "Parada" from the self-titled EP. However, this is not a standard compilation because all the tracks are re-recorded during the sessions in DID Kopar studio in 1988-89 and finally released by Helidon in 1991.

This time the backing "band" was called JAVNA DVAJA, but actually it was a duo consisting of Brecelj and bassist/producer Ales Jost, plus a handful of session players. Among these the most important parts had Primoz Schmidt on saxophone and Matjaz Sekne on viola.

It is interesting to hear slightly different and mostly acoustic versions of the tracks from "Cocktail" and "Svinjam", while songs previously recorded for "Desant" tape are better performed on this release. The only new song is "Radojka" - a nice folk song with lead viola weeping. This is a nice collection even for casual folk and singer/songwriters listeners and may serve as an introduction to the crazy, non-conformist world of this vanguard Slovene artist.

PERSONAL RATING: 3/5

P.A. RATING: 3/5

 Desant na Rt Dobre nade (with Javna Vaja) by BRECELJ, MARKO album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Desant na Rt Dobre nade (with Javna Vaja)
Marko Brecelj RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Seyo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars This curious collection of songs was recorded in March 1987 at different locations (Ljubljana, Sarajevo, Kopar) except from the closing track "Tastol" which was recorded in May 1986.

"Paratroop Raid on the Cape of Good Hope" is a low-fi, underground release par excellence - printed on cassette in 600 copies only. According to some sources, it is allegedly the poorest sold music release in ex-Yugoslavia of all times! Brecelj himself once admitted he found out that only 8 (eight) persons had actually bought this tape! This is already enough astonishment for Guinness World records...

The red cover of the cassette, evoking the radical leftist/punk attitude, presents Brecelj's backing band called JAVNA VAJA. The musicians' roles are described in the communist/military rank manner, so Brecelj is ranked as "corporal", saxophonist Primoz Schmidt as "private first class", while Primoz Jeza and Vasja Ocvirk as "members of the Central Committee". Knowing that one of Brecelj's cynicism's main target was JNA (Yugoslav Army) and the Communist establishment of SFR Yugoslavia it is less surprising to see this anarchistic mockery on the cover.

As far as it concerns the music, it is quite hermetic and obscure, mostly simple acoustic songs made mainly to support the avant-garde lyrics of Brecelj. If you don't understand what the heck is he singing about, there is little chance you would be attracted to music alone. It is a difficult listen, production is virtually non-existent and the final product is somewhere between home-taped lo-fi underground of the post-punk 1980s and the early recordings of THE RESIDENTS or FAUST minus their experimentation. Therefore, "Desant" is mostly interesting for collectors of odds and ends.

At the end of the final track Brecelj spells out the recording details and pronounces his colleague Boris Bele (a fellow member of BULDOZER and current chief editor of Helidon label) acquitted of any responsibility for this deed. Enough said?

PERSONAL RATING: 2,5/5

P.A. RATING: 3/5

 Svinjam dijamante (with Marjanov Cudni Zajec) by BRECELJ, MARKO album cover Studio Album, 1985
5.00 | 2 ratings

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Svinjam dijamante (with Marjanov Cudni Zajec)
Marko Brecelj RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Seyo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars During the 1980s Marko Brecelj led an unconventional career of a solo artist. He used to play minimalist one-man show performances, accompanied by guitar or violin, with hilarious poetry recitals and stage acrobatics (burning his hair, singing from a wheelchair...). In 1985 he assembled a short- lived band (or rather: a project) called MARJANOV ČUDNI ZAJEC (Marjan's Strange Rabbit) who recorded a minor avant-rock masterpiece under the indicative title "Svinjam diamante" (Diamonds Before Swine). Album went unnoticed on the Yugoslav market due to poor distribution and obviously deliberate underground Lo-Fi approach.

Brecelj's twisted sense of humour and absurd lyrics is best heard in the short miniaturist sketches performed live in front of small audience constantly bursting out in laugh. The opener "Vrba" (The Willow) contains nonsense quasi-translation mix of Slovene and German lines, while "Midnight" is a straightforward finger showed to the class of "Tovarisi" (that is "the Comrades" - the Communist party aristocracy) backed by the sounds of pigs squeak and jazzy piano! "Beli Črnci" (The White Negroes) shows the band capable of delivering a true "a capella" in the vein of Negro spirituals, but still with a sort of distant echo of Zappa's doo-wop workings.

Along with Brecelj (described on the album cover as "the former rock star"), his long-time associate singer/songwriter Ivan Volarič Feo is also present and both were actually credited as "guests" on the album. Strange indeed, but when you start listening to other compositions, MARJANOV ČUDNI ZAJEC shows very good musical competencies, much greater than is commonly the case for usual backing bands. The members were: Leon Ukmar-guitar, Zlatko Basič-bass, Taljub Lapajne-guitar, Robert Vatovec-keyboards and Marjan Medvesćak-drums (the bandleader from the title?).

Music is full of unusual and odd rhythm patterns provided by scratchy guitars, leading bass lines and occasional synths. Brecelj's voice is funny, exaggerated, aggressive, satirical, mocking, gentle, and cool all from one moment to another. Comparison with Frank Zappa cannot be avoided, but this music is related to many different styles - avant-gardist RIO approach, especially in strong political overtones like in "Jen, dva, tri" (One, Two, Three) satirising the JNA - Yugoslav People's Army - everyday life of involuntary soldiers, post-punk guitar and bass riffs as in "Ali slisite" (But Listen) and "Drugi, tretji" (The Second, The third), BULDOZER-like psychedelia with disturbing vocals and jazz-manner played bass and piano in "Mamici za 1. November" (Dedicated to My Mama for 1st November), or spacey beat with odd time signature in "Jesenje haljine" (The Autumn Robes) invoking certain elements from Krautrock or even "Planet Gong" universe. "Svuda ljudi, svuda zastave" (People and Flags Everywhere) with its keyboards and synth flushes is even close to progressive rock. "Sexy Disco Hit" is one of Brecelj's best songs, in which Zappa meets TALKING HEADS or PERE UBU, having one of the most fervent spits into the face of popular dance culture. And it is really seducing, hypnotic, danceable and funky!

"Majmuni" (The Monkeys) is the electric version of the angst-filled protest song against Yugoslav rock dinosaurs BIJELO DUGME, previously recorded on the acoustic EP "Parada" in 1981. "Stonesi spoznajo moje stare starse" is previously unreleased old acoustic track in a folksy singer/songwriter style, presumably written in 1970s. The same version appears on the CD re-release of debut album "Cocktail".

This fine, excellent, funny, serious, obnoxious, ridiculing, mesmerising piece of unconventional rock music ends on another absurd poetry note in the closing 20 seconds "Smrt" - "Death is without colour, taste or smell/Death does not have acid-base reaction/Death is an isolator/Death does not show any signs of life"!

Wow! What to say - if you are into avant-garde music, poetry or art in general, get this album!

PERSONAL RATING: 4,5/5

P.A. RATING: 5/5

 Parada by BRECELJ, MARKO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1981
3.10 | 2 ratings

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Parada
Marko Brecelj RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Seyo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Marko Brecelj left BULDOZER in 1979 after the release of their mini-LP soundtrack "Zivi bili pa vidjeli". The best moment of that record was his proclamatory shout "Novo vrijeme" (New Era) which announced the imminent New Wave rock scene in Yugoslavia. On the wave of commercial success and creative peak of that movement Brecelj in the midst of the New Wave boom during 1981 releases an ultimate punk EP with three songs. But, what a "punk" this was.... A protest-style singer/songwriter playing acoustic guitar using a typical punkish 2-chord structure and rhythm! Amazing! Acoustic punk! Almost like early Bob Dylan...

"Parada" (The Parade) presents a mockery of the Communist militarist establishment's urge to organise occasional parades with marching youth and soldiers. "Majmuni: Uspomena Bjelom Dupetu" (The Monkeys: In Memory of the White Arse), which can also be read as "In Memory of Bijelo Dugme", is a cynical message to the most popular Yugoslav rock band BIJELO DUGME, seen as "dinosaurs" of the music charts. "Trotoari" (Sidewalks) is a short vignette of urban alienation.

These three songs lasting around 5 minutes in total are somehow a sort of minimalist punk suite, having almost the same chords and rhythm throughout. The EP is now a rarity, but if you get the CD "Cocktail" issue of 1996 you'll also get these 3 songs as bonus. Unfortunately, the language barrier is major obstacle for non-South Slav listeners.

PERSONAL RATING: 3,5/5

P.A. RATING: 3/5

 Cocktail by BRECELJ, MARKO album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.00 | 6 ratings

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Cocktail
Marko Brecelj RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Seyo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Cocktail" is debut album of the Slovenian avant-garde artist Marko Brecelj. It was recorded and released in 1974, a year before his famous debut with BULDOZER's "Pljuni istini u oči" hit the music scene in Yugoslavia. In order to understand Brecelj's highly unusual and unconventional music solo career "Cocktail" serves as indispensable introduction.

If you only look at the cover image you may not notice at first sight, but it is a white laboratory mouse stirred up in a cocktail glass! This is already very unusual design for the period in which this all happens. Actually I would say it is perhaps the first "provocative" art statements if we speak about record sleeves of "pop music" in Yugoslavia.

Especially it was not conventional for a participant in the famous popular music Youth Festival Subotica where Brecelj appeared in 1974 and got a prize for his performance of "Dusa in jaz". Furthermore, the album was awarded with "Sedam sekretara SKOJ-a", an official prize given by the Communist youth organisation in SFR Yugoslavia! That would reveal some interesting info about the ideological nature of Yugoslav communism, but let's stick with music.

Musically, "Cocktail" is an interesting and unexpected mixture of big band/swing jazz, acoustic folk blues and pop music (Schlager) informed by cabaret humour. Majority of songs are arranged and backed by "The Dance Jazz Orchestra" of Radio Television Ljubljana, conducted by renowned film music composer Bojan Adamič. He has contributed to more than 150 films and TV shows during his career. Thus, what we have here is an avant-garde songwriter whose alternative lyrical and musical ideas are packed together with a festival-orchestral form. Speaking in worldwide terms, can you imagine the early 70s Tom Waits making a record with an orchestra conducted by John Williams or Enio Morricone? If you can, then you may have a picture of what this album sounds like.

Right from the start, "Same prave stvari" (Only the Right Things) introduces rich orchestral arrangements led by solo clarinet and Brecelj singing in a jazz-crooner style. "Črni Peter" (Black Peter) has a strong comedy pop feel with its silly brass and Alpine/polka odd time signature.

The following three tracks are pure blues. "Skandal v Rdečem baru" (The Red Bar Scandal) has got lot of "boozy" atmosphere of Tom Waits' albums from the same period, with gentle tones of acoustic guitar, Hammond organ and trumpets. "Hiskar rogač" is an electrified blues in the vein of John Mayall or Chicago Blues style, with leading harmonica chords and combined acoustic and electric guitars. It is the only track without Bojan Adamič's arrangements - here the band 7 SVETLOBNIH LET is backing Brecelj and we can witness the early incarnation of what would soon to become BULDOZER. Guitar solo by Uros Lovsin is particularly indicative of his future contributions on "Pljuni istini u oči". Minimalist acoustic blues "Pozar" (Fire) stresses the singer/songwriter potentials of Brecelj and closes with the sound of fire alarm.

The next three songs are bringing again a laid-back "lounge" style. It is particularly evident on minor hit "Dusa in jaz" (issued also as 7" single) and "Časopis" (The Magazine), while "Alojz valček" breaks in with folk and humoresque parts in time stamp, nice flute and funny fade-out with Brecelj spelling out the lines "stara plosča... stara plosča..." (old vinyl... old vinyl...) - thus mocking the odd time signature and emulating the sound of a pick-up skipping the grooves. The closing number "Gozd" announces strange psychedelic atmosphere with minimalist sounds of the chimes and acoustic guitar. There is a spooky feeling that reminds me of Syd Barrett's solo works.

It may seem that the album's main flaw is exactly in what its title suggests - a mix of different styles, ideas and arrangements. In the hands of a less gifted or confirmed author it may lead to quite inconsistent and under-developed piece of art. Not in the case of Marko Brecelj! His genius is big enough to make even from seemingly unfocused material an excellent album that opens up and offers to the listener more with every repeated listen.

It must be said that this is yet another shamelessly overlooked LP from the Yugoslavian 1970s discography. Luckily, it has been re-issued on CD by Nika label in 1996, including 7 bonus tracks: all three songs from the 1981 EP "Parada", b-side of "Dusa in jaz" single "Tri zenske", and 3 more previously unreleased tracks. This is good opportunity to (re)discover this fine album.

PERSONAL RATING: 4,5/5

P.A. RATING: 4/5

Thanks to seyo for the artist addition.

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