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Beograd

Beograd Originally formed as a trio - masterminded by Dejan Stanisavljević accompanied by brothers Milan and Ljubodrag Bubalo, names of rather obscure nature if you're willing to remember them for musical contributions to which there are quite many in fact. If you dig up your ex-Yu record collection a bit, you'll find it a surprise for their drum machines left a remarkable trail - 'Siđi do reke' ('Down by the river') by 'U škripcu' ('Dire Straits' is supposed to be the direct translation of this band's name but nothing to do with Mark Knopfler's megarocks), or Šizika' ('Crazy Girl') by Laki pingvini ('The Easy Penguins') stand a powerful testimony to Ex-Yugoslavian pop archives...

In addition to their melody, 'Beograd' were the alternative to mainstream listeners but that didn't stop the crowds from immediate liking of the group. A discrete visual of their debut single 'TV/Sanjaš li u boji?' ('Do You Dream In Colour?, Jugoton, 1982) adds sensitive matter just for the flavour (very Factory-esque at the time) - fragile but intelligent at avoiding clichés of placing a band photo on the cover. That might have affected any greater impact on the charts or creating a stronger image in public but in itself, the single was more of an experiment - addressing mass-consumerist irony suggested by its minimalist, child-like delivered op-art graphics. Traces or The Normal, early John Foxx or Tuxedomoon also make a welcome hint at Beograd's micro-electronics. A single swallowed by time and its rare share or copies (supposedly around 500 copies were made available) are matters of pure luck to any willing collector.

Like many before them, Beograd grew up building their musical personalities in various standard line-ups before settling on electronics as suitable option. Citing Foxx and early Human League as influence, Beograd started recording demos - of which the earliest in existence date prior to their first official single-release, from around 1981-82 period. While some of the critics dismissed them as necessary novelty, Beograd weren't faceless immitators - adding their own socio-political flavour to synthetics, the group successfully competed with abroad's finest of electro-pop examples. Taking their name in almost-Laibach fashion to comment on former federation's leading capital as an example of urban decay and loss of individuality, 'Beograd' (Slavic for 'Belgrade') remains a question unanswered - the taste of anxiety, lirically expressed in songs like 'Japan (Made In East)', 'Modni kroj' ('Fashion Cut'), 'Kontrolori' ('Controllers'), 'Beg' ('The Escape'), 'Soba' ('The Room'), 'Mrak' ('Darkness'), 'Ulice su nocas...' ('Tonight, the Streets are...'), and, of course, 'Opasne igre' ('Dangerous Games').

Additional chemistry stood solid ground teaming up with innovative producer Aleksandar Sasa Habic (also known for his legendary work with new wave groups 'Dorian Gray', 'Luna' or the above mentioned 'U škripcu' and 'Laki Pingvini').

The debut album of 'Remek-Depo' (an altered phrase from the term of 'remek djelo' which means 'a masterpiece', here addressing a word 'deposit'), was released in 1983. Despite its time gap of over 20 years, the album still sounds years ahead from now - simple songs yet complex, sound-mature (adding trumpet, sax, timpani or piano solos) departing from the early naive expression... Here was also a trap that struck many of their contemporaries - synthesizer as the ultimate weapon against 'Rock' serving its multitude of possibilities to compete on 'Rock' level just the same - appetites grew stronger, taking many avant-pop enthusiasts down the lane - among them, Bebi Dol or 'Denis & Denis' as perfect examples, stretching out into the mainstream, losing primary essence, destroying foundations laid with excellent albums like 'Čuvaj se!' ('Take Care!') or smash-hit singles like 'Rudi'...

'Beograd' recognised the danger and left their contribution intact - which, despite its small body of work, remains significant in terms of influence for THE electronic pop to come. Trying out briefly through other electro-pop representatives - Dejan Stanisavljevic with subversive electro-funk unit 'Du-Du-A' (for years now appearing internationally as 'Do-Do-Ah'), while the Bubalo brothers had a short-living hip-hop project called 'Hajmo!' ('Let's Go!) - 'Beograd' went their separate ways... although the name resurfaced from time to time later in the 80s, fronted by Dejan from the original line-up, marking slight change in direction towards funk (two of the recordings circling around at the time were 'Belgrade Beat' and 'Mracni predmet zelja' ('Dark Matters of Desire'). Dejan now records under Nat King Kong moniker.

And as for the single and the debut album, may they remain a testament - their small attempt at urban dream come true.

Thanks to Solist (with great thanks to Alen B.)
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