Friday, December 21, 2012

Tomaž Hostnik (1961-1982), 30 years after...

december 21st 1982 - december 21st 2012

"Tomaž Hostnik continues to be a source of fascination even amongst those who have only recently discovered the music of Laibach. Given the length of Laibach's existence, it is all the more remarkable for someone whose spell in the group was brief and was long gone before the band was known outside Yugoslavia. However his importance to Laibach is significant and the band would have been quite different without the imput of Tomaž.

Born in the town of Medvode in 1961, about 8 km to the northwest of Ljubljana. Formed Laibach with Dejan Knez along with a group of friends from Trbovlje and guided by Dejan's artist father Janez. Laibach was created in Janez's Trbovlje studio, who also had an important influence in the creation of the band and its work. However Tomaž was very much the leader of Laibach with a forceful, dynamic personality and had been attending a college that prepared Slovenia's political elite. He completely dominated in interviews and had a huge presence, intellectually and physically. His ideas and designs have continued to shape Laibach to this day and it's no surprise that his presence is soon felt by those interested in the work of Laibach.

The year 1982 saw a dramatic increase in activity from Laibach as members finished their military service; performing their first concert in January 12th at the FV 112/15 Club in Ljubljana. Other concerts soon followed including the New Rock Festival at Krizanke where Laibach stole the show, so much so that the band appearing after Laibach were reluctant to take to the stage fearing their performance would be very much an anticlimax. Laibach's impact was immense; their slot opened with a women reading a provocative letter concerning Laibach's use of their name, rousing the fury of some members of the audience, even more so when Tomaž appears in military uniform resulting in a number of projectiles being thrown with one smashing into and cutting his chin. Tomaž stood defiantly as Laibach launched their set with a tremendous and powerful rendition of Cari Amici Soldati.

The last performance with Laibach was on 11th December 1982 in Zagreb, shortly later through the effects of serious depression he committed suicide on December 21st. He was buried on December 23rd in Zale cemetery. Igor Vidmar on his radio show created and broadcasted Smrt Tomaza Hostnik on 2nd of January 1983; the piece created from Apologia Laibach read by Tomaž shortly before his death with Ohm Sweet Ohm by Kraftwerk (one of his favourite bands) playing in the background."

The Great Sower

You searched for yourself in vulgarity
and prayer, lurked like a beast
at the Revelation. Now you have
purified yourself and I
gained faith in you.

Strange are the paths amongst the haystacks,
surrounded by rustling grasslands and fields,
where the corn turns yellow -
fresh blood dripping into to a field of gold.
We searched for you in the woods and meadows
at full moon with our women and dogs.
We searched for you all night and all day.
We never found you, but the quest
was not in vain.

Everything the earth offers this autumn,
is strangely warm
and you reveal yorself faithfully -
the wind lifts the horizon and in it
glows the last glitter of wheat.

You sprayed your seeds so far,
that we men turned in anguish
towards the sun, and the dogs slaughtered each other,
while the women hid their faces in their palms.

Through the green branches glitters
the golden luster, like fiery coals
love burns through death.

The soil is still alive at the core,
your will - a plow of fire.
Like a tireless God you procreate,
with a scorched back you step along the furrow,
and a mighty waterfall of seeds falls from your hand.

You are a forester!
It is written on your forehead.

A blade of steel from your coffin springs.

(The poem is dedicated to memory of Tomaž Hostnik on the fifth
anniversary of his death. "Hostnik" means "forester" in English.)

Apologia Laibach

Since when, sons of truth, are you the brothers of night?
What colours your hands with the redness of blood?

The explosion in the night is the flower of woe,
nothing can be justified by it.
The altar cannot be destroyed,
the altar of lies, that multiplies shapes.

The spotless picture, the painless lights,
the only harbours of the terrible night.

We are the children of the spirit and the brothers of strength,
whose promises are not fulfilled.
We are the black ghosts of this world,
we sing the mad image of woe.

The explanation is the whip and you bleed:

Break the mirror of the world for the hundredth time,
all your efforts are in vain. 
We have overcome the night:
our debt has been paid
and the light is ours.

(Written in 1982 by Tomaž Hostnik shortly before his death, led some to read it as a suicide note. The song features in the NSK production Krst Pod Triglavom-Baptism, also features in the compilation Slovenska Akropola.) 

Tomaž Hostnik performed with Laibach for the last time at the Mosa Pijade Hall in Zagreb on December 11th 1982. The concert was investigated by the Zagreb police and army officers, and shortly later on December 21st Tomaž was found hanged. This is recording of his last appearance... memoriam...


Anonymous said...

vaistinu, nek mu je večna slava, zadužio nas je ko niko.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a well written and informing description. Certainly there is much depth in all this story, a kind of depth which possibly emerged in many of Laibachs early songs or exhibitions. Very interesting and informative. Again, thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Thank you, it gives depth and substance to Laibach. Thank you.

Unknown said...

I have been a fan of Laibach since 1996. I am from San Antonio, Texas. 38 years of age. Thank you for the details of Tomaz.

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