In the golden era of pop music in Yugoslavia, Split had a special place. The Adriatic Sea, nearing Italian radio stations and the famous San Remo music festival that influenced almost everything, from fashion, lifestyle to music. It's local counterpart was The Split Pop Music Festival since the 1960s, international at first and lasting even till now. Our hero was in the organizational leadership at the end of the 1990s and attracted much public disapproval while selecting the tunes for the competition: he resolutely refused to include what he considered old-fashion songs. Nenad Vilović fiercely wanted the Split Festival and music scene to modernize, in order to appeal to the younger audiences and to reach the charts and dance-floors. As the sound of the time regarding his requirements was predominately electronic, the ‘traditionalists’ hated him
It was not the first time Nenad Vilović (often under the names ST or Nenad Vilović & Grupa ST) clashed with the keepers of tradition. Long before he managed Split Festival, many of his songs and productions won the awards of the popular vote and became high-selling singles. However, critics smashed his efforts, calling him a commercial sell-out and even the local term was forged especially for him: ‘čekićanje’ and ‘kovačija’, meaning ‘hammering’ and ‘blacksmithing’ of the songs that introduced 4/4 beat. It was Vilović’s love of dance culture and disco, catchy melodies and fun lyrics that his opponents and critics took as a final proof that this guy is making empty and shallow pop music.
Nenad Vilović has enjoyed quite of success; produced, composed and arranged for numerous artists and himself as well; been in several groups starting the legendary Mladi Batali and released singles and LPs for some of the largest companies in Yugoslavia: Jugoton, PGP RTB and Diskoton. But, as he jokingly said when we first met him in his studio: I was all ‘kovačija’, they said! Then he played us the main theme of an album that was shelved for a staggering 37 years, luscious and layered synth-prog piece called “Introduction to The Prism”. Amazing! The tape was played once in the 80s to a local music critic who said “oh, you can make quality music!”, but it was still rejected by a major labels for being “too experimental”.
The studio master is here presented in its entirety; no track was replaced or changed its side or order. This is how it was imagined to be released in 1985, when Nenad Vilović played all instruments, produced, composed, arranged, recorded and even sang on the whole thing. However the title “Prizma” may suggest, this is not a structuralist concept album, but a conceptual use of his studio, instruments and musical knowledge. It mixes the ethnic, electronic, geographical and ambient roots of the crowned festival producer, hit-maker and fast-skilled studio musician who spent all of his money on new machines and his musical progress.