Before the online world made getting music such a simple process (and I am referring to actually paying for it, not file-sharing), finding Laibach product could be rather difficult. Even in a store like Tower, who prided themselves on carrying deep catalog, it was often difficult to find much in the Laibach section. Consequently, there is a fair amount of their material which I have always coveted. An Introduction To... is quite clearly a sampler, and it does its job admirably.
In 1993 I saw Laibach for the first and (so far) only time, and it was a pretty great show. The “opening” was a screening of their film Laibach: A Film From Slovenia (1993), then they performed. At the time, I was writing for a local bi-weekly magazine, and wanted to review the concert. I’ll never forget my editor’s response, “I hate them.” I just started laughing, and asked him why. He never gave me a straight answer, just something along the lines of “I just don’t like ‘em.”
Thinking about it later, it was pretty clear that he took their whole “storm-trooper” imagery literally, and really thought they were pro-fascists or something. Well, they never break character, but come on! I mean, it is sort of a unique form of protest, but that was Laibach. Look, I could see a Poison fan not really understanding what they were all about, but this was a guy who was smart, had good taste in music, and also happened to be editing the main Seattle music magazine at the time the world was worshipping our grunge bands. I still cannot believe that the whole point of Laibach sailed right over his head.
I still sound bitter. Well, I got over it, but that is my little gripe because I never did get to publicly express my admiration of Laibach. I never even bothered to write the review, because I knew that it would not be published. So, nearly 20 years later, here is my opportunity to publicly state my allegiance to Laibach.
The earliest tracks on the set are from their 1987 Opus Dei album. The band have not lost their special touch, as the new recordings of “Warm Lederhaut” and “Ballad of a Thin Man” prove. If Laibach are one of those bands that you have heard of, but have never actually heard, I can think of no better place to begin. Congratulations to Mute for an excellent series with these An Introduction To... collections, they offer a marvelous opportunity for the curious to get their feet wet. Based on the quality of this Laibach set, they are off to a terrific start.