Block Out (band)

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Block Out
Blockout2007.JPG
Block Out performing live on Nisomnia festival in 2007
Background information
Also known as Ad Hoc, Blok Aut, BO
Origin Belgrade, Serbia
Genres Alternative rock, grunge, doom metal, neo-psychedelia, art rock
Years active 1990 – present
Labels Take It Or Leave It, ITMM, Metropolis Records, Multimedia Records, Long Play
Associated acts Indijanci, Ništa Ali Logopedi, Ruž, Satan Panonski
Members see the members section

Block Out is an alternative rock band from Belgrade, Serbia. Their musical style is a combination of artistic alternative rock, punk rock, doom metal and psychedelic rock. The band was one of the few representatives of grunge music in Serbia.

History[edit]

Formation and early career (1990-1993)[edit]

The band Ad Hoc was formed in late 1990 by Milutin Jovančić "Mita" (vocals), Dragan Majstorović "Trle" (bass guitar), Danilo Pavićević (guitar), Vladan Lazarević (guitar), and Dejan Dimitrijević (drums). Due to the existence of another band under the same name, they decided to change their name. The band chose the name from at the time very popular computer game, Block Out. The slang meaning of the phrase refers to the moment before losing consciousness, which the band members found amusing.[1] During 1991, Lazarević left Block Out and moved to live in Netherlands and Nikola Vranjković joined the band as a new guitarist, soon becoming the central creative core of the band. Before his return to Belgrade he lived for four years in Russia and worked with many groups, including the band Besiders, which consisted of experienced Russian musicians.[1] On his return to Yugoslavia, Vranjković did a tour with the band Ruž, and, along with Voja Vijatov performed with Satan Panonski.

At the beginning of the Yugoslav Wars, the band moved to London. They performed at the clubs Sick of Rock and Robby's, at Finsbury Park and at the University Centre, where they performed songs with lyrics in English. Also, they achieved the opportunity to release a single, but it never happened due to the fact the band were forced to return to Yugoslavia. On their return to Belgrade, in 1992, Block Out released their first recordings on the tape-only release Live KST, Akademija, released in 1993, which consisted of live material performed in the Belgrade rock clubs KST and Akademija in 1991 and 1992. The band, beside Jovančić, Vranjković and Majstorović, now featured the drummer Miljko Radonjić.

Nikola Vranjković-led era (1994-2013)[edit]

In 1994, Block Out released their debut album Crno, belo i srebrno (Black, White and Silver). The first half of the album consisted of Block Out's earliest hard rock-oriented tracks, and the second part of darker songs written by Vranjković. In the songs like the ironically titled "Rođendanska pesma" ("Birthday Song"), Vranjković's poetic lyrics deal with depression, hopelessness and misery caused by the crisis, war and total degradation of society in Serbia and the former Yugoslavia. At that time, inspired by various diverse bands such as Soundgarden, Pink Floyd, Slayer, Discharge and some older Serbian bands as Ekatarina Velika and Luna, under Vranjković's songwriting the early hard rock concept of Block Out started to move towards a darker, heavier atmosphere and sound. The band would go further in this direction on the following releases. The album was promoted on their first independent concert, held at Belgrade's SKC, featuring guest appearances by Aleksandar Balać on guitar and Leontina Vukomanović and Madame Piano on backing vocals. The album was pronounced the best rock record of the year 1996 according to the Belgrade town assembly.[1]

In early 1996, revolted by the current situation in Serbia, the band recorded the track "Leto na Adi" ("Summer on Ada), which, due to the lack of space on the album, was not released on their second album, but appeared as a bonus track for the 2001 reissue of Crno, belo i srebrno. During 1996, the band's second album Godina sirotinjske zabave (The Year of Poverty Amusement) was released and featured the material written by Vranjković during the six years of the band existence. As the members of the band said, the main themes on this album were closely related to the end of socialism. On the album, as new members, appeared Aleksandar Balać on bass and a former Ništa Ali Logopedi member Dragoljub Marković became the new keyboardist. The album was produced by Aleksandar Radosavljević and as guests appeared Danilo Pavićević (guitar), Miša Savić (keyboard), and Nebojša Zulfikaprašić (guitar).

In 1998, Radosavljević produced the band's third album San koji srećan sanjaš sam (A Dream You Are Dreaming Alone Happy), with which Block Out established a unique version of artistic rock. On this album the band captured a quite depressing picture of the reality of life in Serbia. This album was proclaimed as the best Serbian rock album of 1998 by some of the critics, but also as one of the all-time best albums in Serbian rock. Meanwhile, video clips for Block Out's songs, created by singer Jovančić, started to became one more symbol of Block Out's originality.[1] As guests on the album appeared Nebojša Zulfikaprašić (guitar), Orthodox Celts member Dejan Lalić (mandolin), Eyesburn frontman Nemanja Kojić (trombone), Srđan Sretenović (violincello), and others.

The band performance at the Belgrade's SKC on September 11, 1999, was recorded and released in 2001 on the double CD/triple musical cassette release Između dva zla (Between Two Evils). The following year, Vranjković released his poetry book Zaovdeilizaponeti (Forhereorfortake). The book included his poems as well as all his lyrics written for Block Out. In addition to the book came his solo CD of the same title, characterized by calmer, minimalistic and acoustic music, but still in the vein of Block Out's unique melancholic atmosphere.[1]

Milutin Jovančić "Mita" performing with Block Out at the 2012 Exit Festival

In 2002, the band appeared on the Milan Mladenović tribute album Kao da je bilo nekad... Posvećeno Milanu Mladenoviću (Like It Happened Someday... Dedicated to Milan Mladenović), with the cover of the Ekatarina Velika track "Soba" ("Room").[2] On February, 2003 the band entered the studio, starting to work on the album under the working title Nema više lakih protivnika (No More Easy Opponents').[1] In the meantime, Marković left the band and was replaced by Dejan Hasečić, former Speed Limit and Slaves member.

On April 2004, the band released their fourth album entitled Ako imaš s kim i gde (If You Have With Whom And Where). The album was produced by Vranjković, and featured twelve new songs all written by Vranjković. As guests on the album appeared Ana Đokić (synthesizer), Nemanja Popović (backing vocals), Darko Marković (guitar) and Dušan Živanović (percussion). On December 2005, the band performed at the Belgrade Youth Center, and the performance was recorded for the DVD, released in 2007. Block Out DVD, beside the performance, featured music videos recorded during the band's career.[3] The following year, the band appeared on the Pankrti tribute album, Pankrti 06, with the cover version of the song "Volkovi" ("Wolves").[4] In 2007, the band performed as an opening act for Kaiser Chiefs.[3] At the same time, the band started writing new material, and some of the new songs, "Fotelja" ("Armchair"), "Nikad (Dve hiljade i kusur godina)" ("Never (Two Thousand And Something Years)") and "Sve što mogu reći" ("All I Can Say"), were performed live during 2008 and 2009.

In 2011, the band released the CD single "Beograd spava" ("Belgrade is Sleeping"), a cover of the U Škripcu song. The Block Out cover featured a recording of writer Miloš Crnjanski reading his poem "Lament nad Beogradom" ("Lament over Belgrade"). The CD featured the edited version of the song and a promotional video for the track.[5] On June 9, 2012 Block Out performed, alongside Marilyn Manson, Mizar, Laibach and Dirty Vegas, at IQ Festival, held in Belgrade Arena.[6] On June 30, the band performed on the last evening of the first Belgrade Calling festival.[7] In October 2012, the band released the single "Prokletije Live".[8] In February 2013, the band released the single "Nikad (Dve hiljade i kusur godina)" ("Never (Two Thousand and Something Years)").[9]

Vranjković's departure and after (2013-present)[edit]

On September 1, 2013, the band had their last performance with Nikola Vranjković on one-day festival Jelen časti Niš (Jelen Gives to Niš), where they performed alongside Van Gogh and Bajaga i Instruktori.[10] Several days after the festival, Jovančić, through his official Facebook profile, stated that Vranjković, author of all Block Out songs of the last almost 20 years, is no longer a member of Block Out.[11] Vranjković's departure saw mixed reactions by the fans, with some expressing support to the band and others expressing doubt the band will keep the quality without Vranjković's songwriting.[12]

Block Out continued their activity, however, not performing songs written by Vranjković on concerts.[13] In mid-December, the band released the single "Reka" ("River"),[13] which featured Riblja Čorba frontman Bora Đorđević on backing vocals,[14] and on December 21 had their first performance without Vranjković, on a concert in Belgrade club Sioux. The concert was co-headlined by the band Popečitelji, with Block Out performance featuring Bora Đorđević as guest.[14] During the same month, Jovančić stated that the band is working on other new songs with producer Oliver Jovanović.[13]

Legacy[edit]

In 2000, the song "Manastir" ("Monastery") was polled No.100 on Rock Express Top 100 Yugoslav Rock Songs of All Times list.[15]

Members[edit]

Current members

  • Milutin Jovančić "Mita" – vocals (1990–present)
  • Miljko Radonjić – drums (1992–present)
  • Aleksandar Balać "Lale" – bass guitar (1996–present)
  • Dejan Hasečić – keyboards, guitar (2003–present)

Former members

  • Vladan Lazarević – guitar (1990–1991)
  • Dejan Dimitrijević – drums (1990–1992)
  • Danilo Pavićević – guitar (1990–1993)
  • Dragan Majstorović – bass guitar (1990–1995)
  • Dragoljub Marković – keyboards (1996–2003)
  • Nikola Vranjković – guitar, vocals (1991–2013)

Discography[edit]

Main article: Block Out discography

Studio albums

References[edit]

External links[edit]