Bturn #002 podcast: DJ Brka

Another time travel killer from Slobodan Brkic a.k.a DJ Brka, Belgrade’s expert on forgotten Eastern European pop gems, now in an exclusive Bturn edition of obscure classics from the Yugoslav disco-pop-rock vaults. Along with track-by-track explanations by the man himself.

DJ Brka, balearic mode.

Brka claims his “only real contribution to the international art of DJing was to discover a bunch of forgotten tunes from the former Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe and present them in a series of mixes entitled East of Cosmic” [available at tropicalcomputersystem.com and lovefingers.org]. He is a master of digging out those deeply buried treasures, or sometimes discarded artificial products that acquire new meanings with the passage of time, or if you prefer, an aura. As you might expect, the second Bturn podcast is not a classic beat mix. In Brka’s own words, “it’s more of a ‘sarcastic study masters’ stream of forgotten and less forgotten tunes from the Yugoslav disco pop rock vaults.”

And indeed, the vaults are shaking! Thanks, man.

Bturn #002 podcast mix – DJ Brka (Serbia) by bturn

Tracklist:
(explanations by DJ Brka)

1. Oliver Mandic – Suma
The session kicks off with Oliver Mandic’s experiment in musique concrete. It’s the B side of “Ljuljaj me nezno” 7’’ single for PGP RTB. Oliver is a madman but also the most talented composer every to emerge from the Balkans.

2. Neda Ukraden – Ljubav me cudno dira
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of Giorgio Moroder in the world of dance music. Neda’s tune is a direct tribute to Dona Summer’s classic “I Feel Love” (read: rip-off). It seems a bit unfair that Sanja Ilic signed this tune but I never had much respect for him (and Marina Tucakovic, who wrote the lyrics). If you want to explore this stream, you should also check Zdenka Kovacicek’s Elektra (produced by mighty Igor Savin).

3. Fadil Toskic – Vracam se kuci / 4. COD -Moja mala na popravni pala (edit)
Fadil Toskic and COD are representing the Bosnian disco rock sound. It’s an acquired taste, to say the least. Fadil is contemplating the return to his old love, while the singer of COD is lamenting over the fact that his (underage) girlfriend flunked the grade (because they were “kissing” too much) and can’t go to the sea side with him. So wrong, so brilliant!

5.Faktor – Nezni Dumi
Faktor is a Bulgarian disco rock band from the early 80’s. If you are really into quality Bulgarian sounds, check the mighty FSB (and skip Faktor).

6. Cvrcak i mravi – Ako neces ti hoce druge tri
“Ako neces ti hoce druge tri” is a funky take by the Novi Sad band Crvcak i mravi on the folk classic by Meho Puzic. Enough said.

7. Ipe Ivandic – Vatra
Ipe Ivandic was a legendary drummer of Bijelo Dugme. Vatra comes from his solo 7’’ single, which gathered all the original members of Bijelo Dugme (probably the best single Goran Bregovic ever played on). Ipe is also one of the most tragic figures of the Yugoslav rock scene. He lived the rock’n’roll, he was arrested for drugs, he did his time, he jumped from the widow of Belgrade’s Metropol hotel at the outbrak of the war in Bosnia. RIP Ipe, true rock’n'rolla’!

8. Sezai Bajazitov Dragan – Todor sa svojim magarcem (edit)
Sezai Bajazitov Dragan is a funky Macedonian Albanian guitar player. “Todor sa svojim magarcem” comes from his “Orient Exsspres Disco Sound” LP (yes, he got the spelling wrong). I really love the beats on this tune, so I extended them a bit… and I really think that Aca Lukas would kill for a guitar player like Sezai.

9. Predmestje – Karikatura / 10. Misa Blam – Dobro jutro
Predmestje (Slovenia) and Misa Blam (Serbia) were modern jazz legends in the former Yugoslavia (Misa even more so). A couple of serious tunes in the mix… for a change.

11. Meta Sekcija – Fly By JAT
Meta sekcija was the first band of Boris Kovac, legendary sax player from Novi Sad, Serbia. I’m still not sure if he got the cash from JAT (Yugoslav Air Transport) to do this tune or was he just amazed by JAT’s new DC 10 (which he might have taken directly from Belgrade to New York back in the 80s).

12. More – Aerodrom
More’s “Aerodrom” (Airport) continues the fascination with air transport of Yugoslav bands. Seriously, the first LP of the Split-based band More is a classic today, which needs to be revisited for excellent jazz moments (and mega classic acoustic-guitar-school-trip-tune: More, more). The second album is also a killer!

13. DAG – I na kraju zvuk
DAG represents the best of the 70’s Belgrade acoustic scene, which is probably my favourite genre from the former Yugoslavia (yes, I do think that new wave was shite… but that’s beside the point). Amazing musicianship, coupled with a complete absence of commercial pretentions, is what makes their LP Secanja from 1974 a stone cold classic today.

14. Kosseleksioni – Krahet e vetemis
Kosseleksioni was the representative of the Radio Television Pristina at the Yugoslav TV festival in Opatija in 1980. I guess that the punks sitting in the first row (probably from Rijeka), as you can see at this astonishing YouTube clip, were not as impressed with the band as I am today.

15. Dusan Prelevic – Hocu da pamtis
Dusan Prelevic was representing the Radio Television Belgrade at the same festival. It’s hard to imagine today that Prele shared the same stage with the Kosovo Albanian band. Still, Prele used to be very cool before he went all crazy in the 90s, along with his friend Oliver Mandic, who composed this amazing soul classic “Hocu da pamtis”.

((I would like to thank Dejan Gavrilovic (DJ Funky Junky), Borko Bojovic (Yugo Vinyl), Lou Benny (Dorcol) and Djurdjica Cingel (Internet) for turning me to some of these tunes and Zeljko Kerleta (Cosmic Sounds), Nebojsa Atanackovic (Balanso) and Vladimir Ivkovic (Desolat) for eternal inspiration.))

*Check out DJ Brka’s most recent East of Cosmic edition of mixes for German digger’s association iCrates, the Australian radio show Noise in My Head, the Poor Relatives crew in Romania and Tim Sweeney’s Beats in Space radio show in New York