"A beautiful and deeply charged reworking of fourteen national anthems, with Laibach's stentorian vocals augmented by gorgeous sounds from the Slovenian duo Silence, whose Boris Benko sings like a Mitteleuropean Billy Mackenzie." The Quietus
"... A beautiful, profound, engaging album ... encourages repeated listening in a way previous Laibach records do not." MOJO
"... It is that subtlety, humility almost, that marks Volk as a masterful stroke, the likes of which Laibach may never again achieve." PopMatters
"... Serious contender for this year’s best album." Virus!
"... Superbly realised." The Guardian
"Volk is a true masterpiece and this is mostly thanks to the impressive productional work of Silence." Gothtronic
Laibach devised the concept for their 12th studio album, Volk, during their extensive 2004 - 2005 WAT world tour. The band, renowned for its harsh, industrial sound and relentless, straight-kick beats, was ready to enter uncharted territory. Apart from the concept of the album - the re-interpretation of national anthems - the band’s idea was to reveal the mainstream potential of an otherwise profoundly subversive, underground act and focus on what was usually hidden: the subtle, fragile side of Laibach. Needless to say, finding songwriters / producers capable of bringing this bold idea to life without damaging Laibach’s integrity and alienating the band’s vast fan base was a delicate task.
Meritorious for the release of the Maison des rendez-vous soundtrack on TehNika in 2003, Laibach’s Ivan Novak brought Silence’s subsequent work on Vain, a Tribute to a Ghost and Veronika to the attention of other Laibach members. Soon afterwards, Silence were given the unique opportunity to write and produce for one of the most remarkable bands in the world.
During the following eight months, Silence composed and produced thirteen tracks under Laibach's supervision: Germania, America, Anglia, Rossiya, Francia, Italia, Espańa, Yisra’el, Türkiye, Zhonghuá, Nippon, Slovania and Vaticanae. The lyrics were written at a later stage by Laibach. All of these tracks - except Nippon and Vaticanae - were recorded and produced (with the exception of Milan Fras' vocals, recorded at the NSK Studio) in Silence's private production facility, the Daily Girl Studio in Ljubljana. Silence recorded most of the vocalists (the children choir in Rossiya, Mina Spiler, Brina Vogelnik - Saje, Elvira Hasanagic and Nagisa Moritoki) and instrumentalists (Miha Dovzan, Luka Jamnik and Peter Dekleva) that appear on the album. The grand piano, strings and five other vocalists (Seaming To, Zed Mehmet, Maria Awa, Yolanda Grant-Thompson and Artie Fischel) were recorded during the final stages of production at various facilities: Studio Metro (Ljubljana), Metropolis (London) and The Instrument (London).
Hladnik's engagement - he was responsible for the album's piano and string arrangements - resulted in what is arguably his best work so far. This becomes apparent while listening to Nippon, a complex acoustic track performed by a 40-piece string orchestra and piano soloist. Some might recall it from the Key Silence promotional concert in Cankarjev dom, where Nippon was first performed. Hladnik also wrote the arrangement for Vaticanae - a track that marks Silence's first encounter with a remarkable instrument: the church organ.
Benko, responsible for programming and vocal arrangements, appears as guest vocalist on seven tracks (Germania, America, Anglia, Francia, Nippon, Espańa and Slovania). He also appears as backing vocalist on three of the remaining tracks (Francia, Rossiya and Vaticanae). On Volk, Benko mainly experimented with extensive vocal layering (numerous overlapping vocal lines sung by an individual vocalist), thus achieving elaborate and distinguishable vocals.
Post-production and mix were done by Paul Walton a.k.a. P-dub (Goldfrapp, Björk, Massive Attack) and Laibach at The Instrument. The album was mastered by Tom Meyer at Master & Servant (Hamburg).
Watch the videos for Anglia, Slovania, Rossiya and Turkiye
For additional information, see: Photos
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