Album Review
by SashaS

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'Trans Slovenia Express Vol. 2'
Various: 'Trans Slovenia Express Vol. 2'
‘Trans Slovenia Express Vol. 2’: electro-pioneers reshaped

The original ‘Trans Slovenia Express’ was issued back in 1994 and showcased the Slovenian talent to the world. Eleven years later it is time to update on the Slovenian music scene: some of the names are new, some are old and go back as far as the main inspiration here.

‘Trans Slovenia Express Vol. 2’ includes versions of Kraftwerk songs by Slovenian artists, and a 12-inch vinyl only, featuring Laibach, Torul, Alenia and Moob, was released a week ago [18 July].

‘TSEV2’ is a collection of fourteen remakes of songs by the first and still major mainstream electronic band, Kraftwerk - the godfathers of the genre. Entitled to recollect the Krautrocker’s classic ‘Trans Europe Express’ album (1977), this time Kraftwerk classics are reinterpreted by artists from Slovenia, a small nation in the heart of Europe, bordering Italy and Austria among other countries.

Laibach, the oldest artists here and forever naming Kraftwerk as their major influence, open the album but it is not a straight remake. Loosely based on Laibach's own song, ‘Brother of Mine’, it is arranged as though Kraftwerk have remixed it for a very cool techno-pop ditty.

Following them is a pop duo called ‘Silence’ who chose UK singer Anne Clark (Sleeper in Metropolis) to sing guest vocals on ‘Hall of Mirrors’. [Lara-B does a rock-up version of the song, ten tracks later.] Siddharta get tougher on ‘The Robots’; they are the biggest domestic stadia selling-out rock act who have recently signed a deal with Ministry of Sound (as their first ever rock band!).

The Stroj (pronounced Stroy and meaning - Machine) are a crew of metal percussionists in the best tradition of Test Department or early Einsturzende Neubauten - so ‘Metal On Metal’ appears like an ideal choice for them. Octex [‘Computer Love’] and Moob [‘Telephone Call’] are two laptop artists who came up with very inventive minimal/dub/click-house versions that ought to cause riots in clubs.

There is old-skool electro version of Turil on ‘It‘s More Fun To Compute’ as well as trancier take by Sequan [‘Metropolis’ - there is a second rendition by O.S.T.] and iTurk [‘Sex Object’, featuring Maya], Alenia's tech-house version of ‘Home Computer’. Rozmarinke, a popular all-girl string quartet, did a remake of ‘Radioactivity’ with added electronic instruments and vocals courtesy of the Silence’s lead singer. ‘Mitternacht’ by BAST is the only song here to visit the pre-‘Autobahn’-era Kraftwerk.

All tracks are previously unreleased/exclusive to this album and as much a homage as different views of the Kraftwerkian meisterwerk.


‘Trans Slovenia Express Vol. 2’ is released 25 July 2005 by Mute