In the last edition of IndieRE in 2021, we look back at some of the more prominent music releases of Slovenia’s alternative music scene. The first three releases that we present stem from Radio Študent’s own record label ZARŠ (Založba Radia Študent), and their authors are as follows: singer-songwriter Ujma, experimental pop duo Lovekovski and alternative folk band M.U.G. Trio. We also spoke with Neža Dobrovoljc from Lovekovski about their self-titled release. Later on, we put forth various releases from other labels or self-released albums by experimental project Million Ear, trap-pop boyband .travnik (with an additional interview with Jure Meglič from the band), hyperpop compilation Iskra Delta: Onboarding Soundscapes (which was released as part of the 34th Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts with the International Centre of Graphic Arts) and autotune pixie msn_gf, before we conclude by presenting the local depressioncore band named In Heaven.
We are starting with singer-songwriter Vasja Onič - Ujma. His debut LP, which is titled The Hereafter, was published by ZARŠ in September. Ujma’s music conjures up a dark and melancholic atmosphere. Some songs are composed only with a guitar and others have some more groovy electronic vibes. He is expressing a time of depression which he struggled with while making this album. There are also few collaborations on vocals: with Ajdova Deklica and Lariette Bloom.
Next we are moving to experimental pop sounds from Lovekovski. The duo, consisting of two queer musicians, producers and artists Niki Lapkovski on vocals and guitar and Než Dobrovoljc on synthesiser and backvocals, released their self-titled debut album in December at ZARŠ. The album explores themes faced by contemporary feminist and queer comunities. It is a humorous rebellion against patriarchal heterosexual culture and its prejudice, and it shows us that we can bulit a more open society
M.U.G. Trio is a formation that gets its name from the first names of its members: Marko Brdnik, Uroš Rakovec and Gašper Peršl. They are all experienced musicians from ethno, jazz and avantgarde traditions. Thinker is a contemplative record that is focused both on the contemporary socio-political climate of Slovenia, but also allows optimism to shine through.
Million Ear is an experimental duo consisting of jazz guitarist Filippos Glinavos and pianist Rok Zalokar, who present their second album Hauntological. We can recognise some elements of noise, electronic and jazz, and conceptually, the music from Hauntologicalseems to never be present, but is rather always deferred to what just was or what will be.
Next up, we’re presenting a young alternative band called .travnik. More a boyband than a hip hop group, they mix a pop sound with emo rap and hip hop on their debut Pubeci ne jočejo. They are from Maribor, which is the second largest city in Slovenia, but somewhat deprived of alternative cultural events and production in comparison with Ljubljana. They also sing and rap in their local dialect, which contributes to their cultural importance.
This year the 34th Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts that was held at the International Centre of Graphic Arts. It incorporated a rich, forward thinking electronic music programme in collaboration with young and creative collective Nimaš Izbire. As part of the biennale, they also released a various artists compilation Iskra Delta: Onboarding Soundscapes that contains music by various Slovenian and international upcoming alternative hyperpop artists and producers.
And to conclude, we present the deathcore, trap, lo-fi metal band In Heaven. They introduced themselves with their debut LP, Calling It Hell Would Have Been Kind in March, and they already upgraded their sound on the EP they released in September, titled Greatness.
Songs in running order:
1. UJMA – SUBMISIJA JE MAMILO (The Hereafter, ZARŠ, 2021)
2. UJMA – DEAD AROUND THE EYES (The Hereafter, ZARŠ, 2021)
3. LOVEKOVSKI – MIRUJEM (Lovekovski, ZARŠ, 2021)
4. LOVEKOVSKI – ROJSTNDAN (Lovekovski, ZARŠ, 2021)
5. M.U.G. TRIO – AT ELEVEN (Thinker, ZARŠ, 2021)
6. MILLION EAR – BUT NEVER LONELY (Hauntological, self-released, 2021)
7. .TRAVNIK – HOPES UP (Pubeci ne jočejo, self-released, 2021)
8. .TRAVNIK – LUNA (Pubeci ne jočejo, self-released, 2021)
9. MSN_GF – PRVIČ VEM (Iskra Delta: Onboarding Soundscapes, self-released, 2021)
10. IN HEAVEN – SLOW SUICIDE (Greatness EP, self-released, 2021)
Produced by Radio Študent from Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Prepared by Ula Kranjc Kušlan and Marko Miočić. Sound mixing by Timotheos Ananiadis. Announced by Ula Kranjc Kušlan and Marko Miočić.