This self-titled debut album by “Macedonian electropop sensation” Bastion will bring you back to life.
Recorded in ’83, and originally released a year later on the state-owned PGP-RTBA, it’s the sole document of the short-lived but immensely fruitful collaboration between singer-actress Ana Kostovska, composer and musician Kiril Džajkovski, bassist Ljubomir Stojsavljević and film director Milčo Mančevski. It’s also arguably (what you wanna argue?) THE key record of the Yugoslav new wave, and certainly among its most sought-after - original copies routinely change hands for £100+ today.
This remastered reissue comes from new London label ACC, an outgrowth of Flora Pitrolo’s A Colder Consciousness radio show, with new cover art capturing the band in their pomp - the chain-smoking, monochrome, casually dissident ideal of young eastern bloc glamour; Poor But Sexy incarnate.
At first we found Bastion too much: too fast, too bright, too boisterous (its breakneck synth-pop seriously makes even the most manic hi-NRG sound chopped n screwed). It took the recent spell of miserable sub-zero weather for it to click…listening while trudging through the snow, whipped by Easterly winds, the Yugo quartet's hyper-caffeinated exuberance suddenly made perfect sense: this is a record so vibrant, with such a theatrical, escapist intensity (with Kostovska’s astonishing, acrobatic vocals compressing a whole world of passion, pain and mysticism into purest bubblegum), it could melt the hardest ice And clearly, given the political/cultural circumstances it was born into, it is nothing if not a work of RESISTANCE. Sure, it has some icy moments of its own: the dark electronic vistas of ‘Deca Sunca’ and ‘Mesec u Soliji’ comfortably out-scowl the gravest old wave, but more often than not Bastion eschew post-punk’s typical studied dejection in favour of light, speed, optimism. And we all need a bit of that.