The first band of Nikola Vitkovic [under pseudonym Webb]
was NEW HOPE, formed around 1987 with Danijel Miloševic. It existed
four years and managed not to make a single song, but countless electronic experimental
recordings. After splitting of New Hope in 1991, Nikola
aka Webb got his first propper synth [KORG Poly-800] and joined
Ramper's Ghetto Blaster, industrial noise band with 2 bass guitars and a
drum machine. Meanwhile, he also made many ambient electro demo
tapes at home.
After disbandment of RGB in 1992, Nikola started playing with
STARR, bassist of RGB [also of Boba Fett, Groovy Chikadee and URGH!
fame] under simple title
STARR & WEBB
the link]. They made a modest
success with two songs hitting B92 demo chart at #2, but split before any
releases [someday, this material might get released after all, with some new tracks]. Constant
increase of depression tortured Nikola because he knew he'll never succeed with
any avantgarde band in Serbia, where only dance-folk was popular at the
time and where no music label valued originality.
Anyway, after a few hobby collaborations with NIŠTA and BAOBAB [minimal
jazz band of his chemistry proffessor from primary school], Nikola
continued his solo work untill 1994, still under pseudonym of
Webb. That work gave birth to WATERCOLOUR, a band with N. Kostoski
[a.k.a. Mr Deltoid] and Strle. Perhaps it was the material and cultural
disaster of Watercolour's surroundings that made their music so
minimal, low-fi, and focused on emotions. They played several private
concerts at their home parties, but radio stations didn't want to play
such obscure songs at the time when techno euphoria was rising. The
band didn't really care - it developed even more radical
minimalism and finally changed the name to
ALONE, this time
without Strle as a member.
Some recordings from that period of "progressive
primitivism" were later included as bonuses on various CD-Rs. In early
1996 N. Kostoski is leaving, and since than, Nikola has been working mostly
on his own under name ALONE, rarely aided by other musicians.
Inspired by films such
as STALKER and ALTERED STATES, and comics such as Moebius' 'Sur
l'étoile', Alone made music about other worlds. Alone sings about
places outside our history, and tries to present each song as a strange
picture. That's why its minimalistic sound was more influenced by
minimalistic styles in visual arts [for example, by seccession
or soc-realism] than by music.
During 1997 and 1998, Alone produced three self released tape/CD-R albums:
["VICTIM OF STYLISATION" recorded live in concert with MMC ],
HER PEACE [recorded in CYBERfART 's studio] and RECI SU
started to play public concerts, and within a year, it held 3
concerts in Belgrade, 2 in Slovenia, 1 in Novi Sad and 1 in Pancevo [on
In 1999 he released two sideproject CD-Rs: 'VODILJA'
by ALONE IN HEAVEN which was very dark minimalistic ambiental electro and ALONE AGAINST THE
WORLD, which might be the first serbian neofolk project [also released on "Who Killed The Crow" serbian gothic compilation in 2002].
Since april 2000, sickened by private problems and 'Webb'
pseudonym, Nikola quit Alone for about two years.
In 2002, Nikola established his little home studio "Vitebsk
1920". At first, he used it to produce his friends' bands
WAVEFORM [band of Aleksandar Zec of LFO radioshow] and CUE [with
Aleksandar Kandic aka Ligaya], occasionally remixing bands such as
MARGITAjeMRTVA and BLAME.
But he also returned to Alone, almost four years after its last
previous recording. Although still minimal and raw, new Alone
material was sometimes marked by advanced, hi-tec sound and
production. On album 'ANALIZA' [2003.] Alone stood up
against the eclectic synthesis in popular music of globalised world, by
trying to re-discover the innitial sensation of hearing and discovering
electronic music during childhood.
Next two tape albums returned to ALONE IN HEAVEN
. 'ATANOR' [2002.] was concieved
as a diary about alchemist's instrispective journey inward, and
was an attempt to create suprematistic music, a music without substance
form. In the meantime, Nikola and D.J.Zlaya established
COLD TRINITY -
an organisation for promoting electro-industrial music in Belgrade.
Their main focus was on young serbian bands worth hearing. Since 2002,
COLD TRINITY organised concerts, festivals, CD-R releases, newsletters,
radioshows etc. In 2004 Nikola and Tamara Dinic started
an electropunk band
which gave quite successful output through music releases and
concerts during 8 years of existence.
Next Alone album, entitled 'AEON WAVE', has been patiently programmed since
2003 and finally released in 2007. It is a science-fiction monodrama of
the last living cell of the biosphere, which tries to reproduce itself in
vain. Its death gives soil only for some new, unknown
and utterly alien life to appear. In spring 2009 TREUE UM TREUE
label in Germany released a
limited vinyl LP compilation of Alone's opus entitled 'FOSSILIZED IN CONCRETE',
presenting for the first time Alone's music to wider public [check the
links section for several reviews]. In the meantime, Nikola was joined
by Igor Petrušić [ex PRESOVANE GLAVE, RASPAD SISTEMA, LIPS etc] as lead
vocal for Alone, and started to work on a minimalistic album with no
drum patterns nor sequencers, only 10 fingers on yamaha DX11 keyboard.
unfortunately, before that material was recorded or presented live, the
keyboard suffered memory loss and all the sound patches were lost
forever, and with them the whole minimalistic album. Around the same
time another hamburg based label ECHOPLAY decided to press Alone into vinyl and released a 7" single 'AN UNREAD NOTE" , which accompanied Alone's 'poppy' album 'SPOMENIK NEZNANOM UMETNIKU', released on NACIONALNA ASOCIJACIJA ZA UMETNOST I KULTURU
- another diy label started by Nikola. Year 2012 also marked Alone's
first bigger live exposure outside Serbia, when it took part in Balkan
Pirates tour promoting the documentary 'On the quest for Beograd underground'
and played for the first time to audiences in Wien, Paris,
Berlin, Hamburg, Zagreb etc. Some of the recordings from this tour were
put on 'LIVE 2012' CDr album. Few years later, Nikola used some traces
of the lost DX11 album, reconstructed them into new tracks. And after a
couple more collaborations with Draginja Marić [inspired by the musical
legacy of Sandra / Cretu], the whole new album got born. It's title is COAST and it was released on vinyl by SPIELZEUG MUZAK
in france, a wonderful little intimate synth label. COAST is the album
of lullabyes, it's the most calm and foggy Alone album, milky and warm,
but also sharp and sterile as Alone always is.
occassional / additional members of Alone:
[during recording of 'HER PEACE']
Andrej of Kalynda [short
time around 1996]
Aleksandar Zec of Data... [live drumming during 2009]
Draginja Marić [vocals, lyrics, keyboard]
and many other friends... Of course, not forgetting Nikola K and Strle who were there in the very beginning!