At the end of their first decade, it
seemed as though Einstürzende Neubauten (Collapsing New
Buildings) had finished their merry job of destruction: they
had already sang about God shooting Himself and witnessed the downfall
of the Berlin Wall; what could possibly present a further challenge?
Themselves, of course.
First came the destruction of many
things people took for granted about the band. The expectations
of harsh metallic dissonance had to contend with the juxtaposition
of orchestrated strings in pieces such as Wüste (Ballet
version), composed for the Canadian dance company La La La
Human Steps. The previously strict adherence to the German language
dissolved into a profusion of tongues, as Japanese and French and
Latin all found their expression within the context of the same
project. This polyglot tendency became one of the pervasive themes
of the Tabula Rasa triptych, consisting of the album Tabula Rasa
and the EPs Interim and Malediction.
Not satisfied with the already theatrical
nature of their concerts and site-specific performances, Einstürzende
Neubauten pushed the collective boundaries of music and theater
when they joined stage designer Erich Wonda for Das Auge des Taifun
(The Eye of the Typhoon). Making its stately procession
around the imperial Ringstrasse in Vienna, the moving stage incorporated
elements such as artificial snowstorms and huskies on conveyer belts,
while the band disported themselves in a space that resembled a
bomber cockpit. The 45 minutes of this performance was later reduced
proportionally to become the 15 minutes of Headcleaner..
Continuing in a theatrical vein, Einstürzende
Neubauten set up shop at the Academy of Art in East Berlin, and
wrote and performed music for a play called Faust:: Mein Brustkorb:
Mein Helm, written by Werner Schwab and co-starring Blixa Bargeld
as Mephisto. Although (or despite the fact that) no deals with the
devil were struck, the band started disintegrating: Marc Chung left
at the end of the play due to increasing business demands, and soon
after, F. M. Einheit exited in the midst of work on the next album.
Keyboardist Roland Wolf, a longtime friend of the band and in the
process of becoming a new member to replace those leaving, died
abruptly in a car accident.
We will become what we are: and/Ende
neu. Stripped down to the core configuration of some 15 years
prior and forced to reinvent themselves in the absence of new materials
to smash, Blixa Bargeld, N.U. Unruh and Alex Hacke found themselves
literally scrutinizing the innards of the name Einstürzende
Neubauten for the title track of their next album, Ende Neu, and
the anthem for a regrouped and revived band, towards a future as
great as New York, and more beautiful than the sun.
Chiaroscuro is the art of contrasting
light and shadow in a painting to provide an appearance of depth
in a two dimensional picture. For their 20th anniversary, Einstürzende
Neubauten turns their explorations to the complex interdependence
between silence and music in Silence is Sexy, a sentiment at appears
contradictory at first glance to their raucous beginnings. Surveying
the latest works of construction in the center of unified Berlin,
Blixa Bargeld simultaneously looks forward and echoes the name of
the band, finding the new buildings destined to be future
ruins, material for the next layer.
Having mastered the art of noise and
silence and every nuanced shade in between, where might Einstürzende
Neubauten continue for the next layer?
|Für wen sind die Blumen?
|Ende Neu (live)
|Blume (french version)
|Three Thoughts (Devils Sect)
|Scampi alla Carlina
|Alles was irgendwie nützt (live)
|Anrufe in Abwesenheit
|Architektur ist Geiselnahme
|Wüste (Ballet version)
|Der leere Raum
|Was ist ist (extended version)
|I wish this would be your colour (live)
|Installation nr. 1 (John is mixing)
|Silence is sexy