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When I, since 1988, periodically travelled to Yugoslavia, I tried to get to know the country´s Rock music. In 1989 I discovered both LPs of the Belgrade group "Tako" (This way). They played symphonic progressive Rock on a surprisingly high level. I could not feel that it was a Yugoslav band, because the quality of the sound of their mostly instrumental music reminded me more of "Pink Floyd". In 1978 four excellent musicians recorded the LP "Tako", which sounded very "international" and contained carefully arranged compositions on a, for Yugoslavia, untypical "sound-carpet". Especially the second side manifested a wide spectrum of ideas and abilities. In 1980 followed "U vreći za spavanje" (In the sleeping bag). The group presented their complex compositions even more serious and matured, this time absolutely instrumental with an outstandingly mixed sound. During the years I bought as many Yugoslav second hand LPs as I could, in spite of the constantly rising prices, and started to offer them to a surprised collector´s public in Western Europe. Tako belonged, like Igra Staklenih Perli, to the circle of bands receiving the best critics and their albums became worldwide demanded collector´s items.
Sometime I tried to find those people (mainly in Belgrade) who in the Seventies had played the music I like the most. So I also got the telephone number of Dušan "Dule" Ćućuz, whom I told that I was looking for any information about his band "Tako". He invited me home, where I was warmly and friendly received by him and his family. Dule told me some things I already knew, but related me also a lot of new stuff about Rock in Yugoslavia, because he played since the late Sixties. He showed me also some cardboard boxes remaining from the Tako time ...
We stayed in contact, because I often travelled to Belgrade. We met every couple of months and developed a lax friendship which became deeper in the spring of 1992. In the meantime I wasn´t alone any more with my love for the Yugoslav Rock; people asked me quite frequently for some albums like the "mind-blowing" first Igra Staklenih Perli LP. My contacts to Belgrade musicians spread and I had collected more or less the complete Yugoslav Rock production up to 1980, to which I myself listened a lot. So the idea to reissue some of them in Germany developed slowly.
The biggest problem were the mastertracks, because I didn´t want ot work with some crackling original records as a base. So in 1991 the label started with Igra Staklenih Perli´s unpublished cassette-recordings. When in spring 1992 this as exciting as partly also enervating cooperation started to stagnate, I remembered Dule´s boxes and visited him once again. We came quickly to the point and Dule opened those boxes: the tape of the first album was missing except for one additional song, and the master of "U vreći za spavanje" included eight instead of six tracks. Dule checked the tape and explained to me that it was common to record more songs than those who were needed for an LP – production ... I became curious, of course, and we wanted to test that tape. So at the 1st of May we went together with the former guitar player Miroslav Dukić to the Studio "Akademija" (in the cellar of the Academy of Arts) where Miroslav worked, and listened to the tape. It didn´t have any defects, the "bonus tracks" fitted into the whole record and the sound filled me with enthusiasm. The cooperation between Tako and Kalemegdan Disk had begun: constructive and full of confidence - we could just rely on each other.
As a first step we had to find out which "Tako" recordings still existed. Dule told me about a concert in the "Studio M" of Radio Novi Sad that was completely recorded. Besides this we didn´t yet have the mastertape of the first album. Anyway, Dule promised to work on it.
In the middle of May, Dule and I looked through all slides and photos about Tako to choose material for two foldout covers. We agreed with Moma Rajin, designer and editor of the Belgrade Rock magazine "Ritam", that he would design the artwork for both records. At the 20th of May, Dule and I travelled to Novi Sad to have a look which recordings still existed in the archives of the radio-station. With the first album we were lucky: they found the tapes of all tracks, even of "Druga strana mene" (The other side of me) which was missing at the beginning. But the concert tape was erased. The negotiations began, at the end we could buy the original tape, the radio copied the recordings for their own use and Dule signed a regular contract which the radio´s lawyer quickly typed himself: 3 copies for us and 3 copies for Radio Novi Sad.
At the same time slides, flourishes and text-parts developed at Moma´s place into two complete covers (in only three days). "U vreći za spavanje" succeeded, the inner side of the first album was a failure and its back side had a lot of atmosphere, but technically only a poor quality. My girlfriend Vesna and I agreed with Moma for a new inner side that should be sent to us somehow and we prepared our journey to Germany.
At the 25th of May, a new problem arose: Dule and Miroslav suddenly didn´t want to give away their mastertapes and insisted on a foil cut in Yugoslavia. I was frightened, because I knew that it was not possible to get a high-graded foil in Belgrade and we also didn´t have any more time. Again negotiations about the mastertapes, but at least we understood each other. I wanted the best possible quality and Dule and Miroslav shrinked back from giving away the most valuable thing from their musician´s period. Who knows how it would have ended, if I had not got the support from the Yugoslav side: a bottle of "rakija" (brandy) pushed back Miroslav´s and especially Dule´s scruples that far that I finally could persuade them ...
At the beginning of June, Vesna and I overworked the mastertapes, together with our sound technician Michael Carstens. We were both satisfied with the result, also with our first studio experience. Because of a lack of money we had to wait for the next step until October - to cut the foils in Wilfried Zahn´s studio in Northern Germany.
The following period of the preparation of both Tako LPs, together with Igra Staklenih Perli productions, became quite troublesome and exceeded our financial possibilities. Problems about the "U vreći za spavanje" pressing matrix and the "Tako" cover lasted for months and an end was not in sight. In September we finally printed the covers, after Moma had sent a new inner side for the cover and Scharaf Girges had helped us with a new back side. A short time later the records were pressed; but then health problems forced me to interrupt the whole project for three more months.
Now - in January 1994 - we wish you pleasant moments with the music of the group Tako and with their atmosphere. It´s only a pity that we could not meet Djordje Ilijin, because he lives in America for a couple of years. Djordje, a highly talented musician on several instruments, was maybe the most creative Tako member. In 1983 he recorded the solo album "Zabranjeno prisluškivanje" (Eavesdropping forbidden), on which he played all instruments himself except drums.
Written 1994 by Thomas Werner, translated by Vesna Jakovljević.
Published 1994 as insert of the Kalemegdan Disk LP KD 005 Tako: U vreći za spavanje.