The British press declared them the most dangerous group in the world. While on tour in America, a New York radio station introduced them as the group that abolishes states and creates new ones. They were even banned in Yugoslavia for several years by an official decree. In some parts of Europe their performances still evoke fear and because of ideological threats, they were already refused entry into the U.S. Nevertheless they have had four major tours across the North American continent, and have long lost count of the number of tours across Europe. Since its beginnings in 1980, the group has had nearly 1,000 concerts worldwide and sold over a million albums. The famous Bavarian radio station Zündfunk/Bayerischer Rundfunk placed Laibach on the map of the most important bands and artists in the history of pop music. The acclaimed British music magazine THE WIRE ranked their appearance in the Trbovlje thermoelectric power station in 1990 among the “60 concerts that shook the world”. An international selection of leading music critics from around the world placed their album Opus Dei (the release of which in 1987 a militant Catholic organization of the same name attempted to legally ban) among the top 1000 important albums of all time. The December 2009 issue of the influential British magazine Classic Rock recognized Opus Dei as one of the top five industrial rock albums of all times. On the other hand, their LAIBACHKUNSTDERFUGE show in London’s Bush Hall was chosen as one of the ten best art events of 2009 by Artforum critic Catherine Wood.
The group has recorded and released more than twenty albums, including 14 studio releases. They are the subject of films and doctoral dissertations, the preeminent scientific research publisher MIT Press in Boston published Interrogation Machine by Alexei Monroe. The group’s work has influenced many other major groups around the globe, including the portentous German giants Rammstein.
Laibach was established in 1980 in Trbovlje, an industrial-coal mining town in Slovenia (in the then Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia). The group has played in some of the world’s most renowned venues such as Tate Modern, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Roundhouse in London; The James A. Doolittle Theatre LA; The Palace Chicago; The Kitchen, The Palladium, The Town Hall and The Limelight in New York; The Toronto Opera House; Das Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg; Die Volksbühne, Loft and Berghein in Berlin; Central Theater in Leipzig; Marmorkirken and National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen; Lucerna Prague; Moderna Museet Stockholm; Uppsala Konzert Kongres Hall, Storan Theatre in Gothenburg; Filharmonia Łodzka Arthur Rubinstein in Łodz; Tivoli, Križanke, Cankarjev Dom and Philharmonic Hall in Ljubljana; the Bosnian National Theatre and the Olympic Hall Zetra in Sarajevo; the Roman Amphitheater in Pula; the Arena in Belgrade; etc. Laibach has also played at many festivals such as LIFT, the LA Festival of Art, the New York Seminar of Music, the Wiener Festwoche, the Zagreb Biennale of New Music, BITEF in Belgrade, etc.
The group has created music for 15 theatre productions and participated in the following projects and productions: Baptism Under Triglav (NSK/Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre, Cankarjev Dom), No Fire Escape In Hell (Michael Clark and Company), Macbeth (Shakespeare/Wilfried Minks, Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hamburg), Noordung Prayer Machine (Noordung Cosmokinetic Cabinet, SNG Opera Ljubljana), etc. Laibach’s music has also been used in some popular films (Spiderman 1, Blair Witch Project, Iron Sky), and in the TV series Alias. Laibach has also performed with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and RTV Ljubljana Symphonic Orchestra.
Several documentary and full-length movies and videos have been made about Laibach. Some of the important ones are:
- Pobjeda pod suncem (Victory Under the Sun), directed by Goran Gajic, 1978
- Bravo/Laibach – A Film From Slovenia, directed by Peter Vezjak and Daniel Landin, 1992
- Prerokbe ognja (Predictions of Fire), directed by Michael Benson, 1995
- Divided States of America, directed by Saso Podgorsek, 2006
In 1984, Laibach co-founded the NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst) guerrilla art collective – a union of a three groups (Laibach, Irwin, Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre), and a number of subgroups, working in different mediums; Neue Slowenische Kunst ceased to exist in 1992 when it mutated into a virtual State in Time.
Laibach has been featured in several books, the most important being the NSK Monography, published in 1992 by AMOK Press in USA and Graficki zavod Hrvatske (Graphic Association of Croatia) and Alexei Monroe’s Interrogation Machine (MIT Press, Boston, 2005), with a preface written by the world famous Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek.
Laibach works as a collective and lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The membership of the core of the group is anonymous, but the line of the group’s collaborators is extensive. From 1986 the group’s record company is Mute from London.
RESPONSIBLE AGENT: JAMES MACLEAN