Sunday, October 11, 2009

Umrijeti za strojem

'Umrijeti za strojem' is a manifesto conceived sometime around 2001, but didn't come to fruition until late 2006, adopting the name, very possibly from a Lars Von Trier movie 'Dancer in the Dark'. Its translation is not that easy though - the phrase is a combination of references judging modern society under constant automation. Using simple chords or no chords at all, UZS is dedicated to musical simplicity, often in its abrasive form. During one of these very early recording sessions around 2002, Narrow did three cuts in their native language - covering songs by Beograd, Dorian Gray and Paraf, all ex-Yugoslavian cult new wave groups. These were merely sketches for something in the near future - the song 'Opasne igre' ('Dangerous Games') was a tiny arty-in-joke, a high-speed dubbing variant while 'Odlazak' ('Departure') and 'Kuća' ('The House') were more significant in searching for the right structure and eventually inspired something later to be called 'Umrijeti za strojem', writing and releasing own material. The choice of not to sing in English for this occasion was further encouraged by the work of other electronic pop contemporaries - Monofonik, Ilegalne emocije, Etui Etui Soniczoil or VIS Lollobrigida among others. In 2005, during a stay on the Debris Files' forum, UZS got into discussion with other people, among them the Underbottom Records' representative Pacija, who initiated the Paraf electro-pop tribute; the idea was so appealing two others - aforementioned Monofonik, and Format A:3 from Novi Sad, also provided their excellent visions of Paraf originals - the songs 'Kao rane trešnje' ('Early Cherry Blossoms'), 'Želim biti vojnik' ('I Want To Be a Soldier') and 'Ružan San' ('A Bad Dream'). At first, UZS provided a number of visual proposals, using Paraf memorabilia to express the social struggle of their times. However, after a brief response among forum's members, the initiative was put on ice, due to Underbottom's elsewhere activities in the electronic music field. UZS musical contribution in the wake of tribute's proposal came slightly later, after the debut 3" single - 'Strana A' ('Side A', UZS1Rp). The latter is a study on Alzheimer desease, most notably amnesia as one of its more expressive symptoms, a melancholic but energetic synth-pop tune. Two additional numbers - the instrumental 'Varijacija na temu B' ('Variation Theme B') and eventually 'Jednostavno' ('So Simple'), the latter also featuring a line 'Umrijeti za strojem', struck minor popularity with tiny group of close friends and acquaintants. Both - 'Urban Music' and 'Borderline Music' radio programmes occasionally included 'Jednostavno' in their playlists. In early 2007, encouraged to continue with minimal structures, UZS finally appeared with two Paraf covers - 'Napunjeno vrijeme' ('Filling Time') and 'Odlazak' ('Departure'), both recorded in The Room early in 2007 and were kindly mastered by Konrad Medvedov (who also provided an archive footage video for 'Jednostavno'), now available as an independent release, a 3" CD 'Spomenik Parafu' ('Monument to Paraf', UZS2p) - the title originally suggested for Underbottom's compilation project. UZS performed these two songs in front of a tiny audience, as part of the combined live gig in Palach club in Rijeka, December 2007. In early 2008 due to Punk's 30th anniversary, Paraf performed a brilliant reunion concert in Zagreb - for this occasion UZS collected all of the cover attempts so far (including those by Monofonik and Format A:3) and issued a special package as a giveaway-only to the members of both Paraf's line-ups.


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