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Old 08-08-2009, 01:27 AM   #1
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Talking Einstürzende Neubauten: The Noisiest Band In Music


Einstürzende Neubauten 1980 to present day

1980 (the beginning)

Einstürzende Neubauten was formed 1980 in Berlin as a part of the Die Geniale Dilletanten, a dadaistic musical movement that had as a common goal to break down all musical conventions. Einstürzende also gained recognition because of their use of metal plates, electric drills, metal cutters and circle saws as instruments.

On April 1, 1980, Einstürzende Neubauten made their first appearance in the Moon Club in Berlin. The first setup contained Blixa Bargeld (Christian Emmerich, born 12 jan 1959, Berlin), N.U. Unruh (Andrew Chudy, born in New York 9 jun 1957), Beate Bartel and Gudrun Gut

The two female members, Bartel and Gut,had been active through the punk wave and left the band after a short period of performing and founded Mania D.

Einstürzende Neubauten (translated "collapsing" or "imploding new buildings") didn´t do any over night success, but they were talked of. When the new built German Congress Center collapsed just a few days before the opening ceremony and just a few days after the release of their first single, the talk got a new dimension.

Einstürzende Neubauten's logo (a symbol of human with a circle in the head) is an ancient Toltec cave drawing.

Musically they have created a new form of "urban story blues" with a very physically intensive and organic sound, much due to their habit to record the source instead of sample and process sounds digitally. The lyrics are often centered on themes like modern foundering and extreme psychologic states such as love or depression.

Stahlmusik was recorded live to tape in a pillar of the Stadtautobahn Bridge in West Berlin on June 1, 1980, and was released on cassette in October via Blixa Bargeld's "Eisengrau" shop, where the earliest incarnations of the band would often rehearse. Musically, the sound of the album is more conventional than the band's next "album", Kollaps, mainly because percussionist N.U. Unruh had not yet abandoned his drum-kit for the miscellaneous scrap metal of later releases


In 1981 the percussionist F.M. Einheit (Frank Martin Strauss, born 18 Dec 1958 in Dortmund) were persuaded by Blixa and N.U. to join Einstürzende Neubauten after an Abwärts concert on a tavern next to the former concentration camp Dachau.

F.M. had formed the punk group Abwärts (roughly translated "Downwards") in Hamburg a few years earlier, in which he played everything that gave noice (tapes, radios etc). As F.M is something of an electronic and musical genius with an history through, among others, Palais Schaumburg, a legendary avant-garde group found by Holger Hiller in 1980, he broadened the sound and the possibilitys of the group as he joined.

They released their first LP Kollaps 1981 (English: "Collapse"), a mixture of rough punk rock tunes and industrial noises. The industrial noises were obtained from self-made music machines, electronics, and found objects such as metal plates. The live performances with FM Einheit in the 1980s, which became legendary, included lots of metal banging and destruction on stage

With this setting they recorded their first LP "Kollaps". On their first German tour together with Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandöh and Sprung Aus Den Wolken, Marc Chung (born in Leeds 3 jun 1957), the bass player of Abwärts joined the group.

Alexander von Borsig (Alexander Hacke, Berlin 11 oct 1965) joined the group in 1982. He was at the time only 16 years old, but had been sound technician to Einstürzende for some time as well as a good friend


In 1983, Einstürzende Neubauten recorded their second album Zeichnungen des Patienten O. T. (English: "Drawings of Patient O.T."). The title came from a 1974 book by Leo Navratil, describing the drawings of Oswald Tschirtner an international breakthrough among the critics.

They also created quite some fuzz with a line of spectacular ("terroristic and death-despising") concerts.

Also in 1983, Bargeld joined the band The Birthday Party (featuring Nick Cave and Mick Harvey) as a guitarist. The group was disbanded shortly after, but Bargeld became a long-time member of one of the bands that sprang from The Birthday Party - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (again featuring Nick Cave and Mick Harvey).

Bargeld remained a full-time member of two bands, Einstürzende Neubauten and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, until 2003, when he quit the Bad Seeds in order to focus on Einstürzende Neubauten.

With the following album, "1/2 Mensch" they got their great breakthrough (though not commercially). It was the first of their albums that had a clear musical structure. Blixa´s lyrics had also become clearer and more precise. On the title track they worked together with Nikkolai Weidemann to compose a choral work. Their concerts also became less like riots.


The band's next album, Halber Mensch ("Half Man") in 1985, may be seen as a developmental breakthrough. Musical structure became more evident, and Bargeld's lyrics and, especially, his singing changed. He moved from shouted words and phrases toward organized, poetic melodies.

The band played a show in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to kick off their third North American tour. The performance was sponsored by the German Goethe Institute as part of the German contribution to Expo 86. Also scheduled to appear were Test Dept and Skinny Puppy, though not everyone was able to play.

On the tour, the group's experimental and improvised live performance style occasionally caused difficulties with venue management and law enforcement. A performance at The Palladium in Manhattan ended 30 minutes into the set after an improvised pyrotechnics display. The band ignited a small amount of paint thinner in metal pans, and panicked management stopped the performance and cleared the venue.

The one-hour film Halber Mensch (1986) by Sōgo Ishii documents Einstürzende Neubauten's visit to Japan in 1985.

Fourth Album Fünf auf der nach oben offenen Richterskala ("Five on the open-ended Richterscale") in 1987 showed yet another side of the group.

More worked-through and constructed than ever, consisting of atmospheric songs with far more instrumental shiftings than before. Some critics saw this as Blixa had drawn a bit of The Bad Seeds into the Neubauten.

Fünf auf der nach oben offenen Richterskala was a success in both the United States and Japan.

Although, Blixa is not the only one engaged in another group beside Einstürzende Neubauten. In fact, N.U. Unruh is the only member who is not.

F.M. Einheit have played with a lot of more or less permanent settings among the years, producing records for among others KMFDM, Die Krupps and PIG (ex KMFDM). He also restarted Abwärts in 1988, where he is a full time member and started doing recordings in his own name at the same time. He also has his solo project Stein together with Ulrike Haage and have recently recorded with Caspar Brötzmann.

Alexander Hacke joined Crime and the City Solution when Rowland S. Howard left that group in 1988 (as Birthday Party split in 1983, the group became two; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Crime and the City Solution. Both groups have common members and were at times accused to sound the same way. They are both signed to Mute records and are oftened named in the same breath). Alex has also acted as a producer and a session musician in different constellations.

Marc Chung formed Freibank, the Einstürzende Neubauten publishing company when background tapes and sound from their records started to appear frequently on other artist´s records. He also hands the economic aspects of the group.

N.U. Unruh are though engaged in a loose collaboration with the Survival Research Laboratory, an American performance group that build mighty bizarre machinery and blow them up in spectacular ways during their performances.

In 1987 Einsürzende Neubauten performed the music for the theatre play "Andi" on Deutches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg.
This was an excellent opportunity for the German scandal press to introduce Einstürzende Neubauten to a broader public, as they did. Earplugs were given to the theatre public.

Though this, after the premiere, Einstürzende had to give encores. This was a new step for Einstürzende, into the "fine", established culture. They have since written music for a handful of radio-theatre and theatre plays, ballets and dance academies (not always without confrontations, as the group often is considered as sensationalistic amateurs by the more established cultural society). Mufti is the Neubauten-member most engaged in theatre.

In 1989 the fifth album Haus der Lüge ("House of the Lie") was also a success in the United States and Japan.
It marked a new point of direction, already hinted with Fünf auf nach..., but never clearly stated. With stricter rythmics, even clearer musical directories and more political lyrics it gave a sharper profile for the group and made them more accessible to a wider public.
This strength was further manifested on a following world tour.


In 1990 Einstürzende Neubauten signed with the record company Mute. The sublabel EGO was formed 1991. This sublabel only releases different side projects by Einstürzende and its members.

The first release on this sublabel were in 1991, the band tried something completely new, recording the soundtrack for East German playwright Heiner Müller's play Die Hamletmaschine ("The Hamlet Machine") for East German radio Rundfunk der DDR. where Blixa perform Hamlet and Neubauten present the soundtrack

The band image of Einstürzende Neubauten changed: Blixa Bargeld, formerly wearing punk/industrial style clothes, appeared at the live concerts in a suit.

1991 also saw the release of the double album, a best-of and rarities album, Strategies Against Architecture II. This collection included a musical setting of Heiner Müller's piece "Bildbeschreibung" ("Explosion of a Memory" or "Description of a Picture" in English).

In Vienna, May 1992, Einstürzende Neubauten performed at The Academy of Fine Arts' 300th anniversary in a show by Erich Wonder, Das Auge des Taifun ("The eye of the typhoon").

The next album Tabula Rasa (1993) was an important turning point in the band's history, their music becoming softer and containing more electronic sounds. Martin Munsch, a Factory QC mastering engineer for the album's final mass duplication in New Jersey, commented on the production as being one of their most insidious to date.

Tabula Rasa was the first album where Einstürzende Neubauten performed any songs on another language than German. The album was a very well produced further development of the former "Haus der Lüge". They also presented some of their works for the "LaLaLa" dance academie.

Mark Chung left the band in 1994 after recording Faustmusik, and made a career in the music industry. F.M. Einheit, who contributed much to the music and sound of the band, left the band a short time later in 1995, during the recording of the Ende Neu album, at least partially because of a conflict with Bargeld. The last Einstürzende Neubauten track Einheit worked on was "Was ist ist". Roland Wolf replaced them on bass guitar and keyboards only a short time before tragically dying in a car accident in 1995.


A short time later, the band released the album Ende Neu ("Ending New") in 1996. The album title is an example of word-play on the band's own name (i.e. "Einstürzende Neubauten"). Every trace of the early days nihilistic Einstürzende are refreshed to a living Neubauten. This development has taken place without any loss of strength or originality. "Stella Maris", a duet with Blixa and Meret Becker Hacke's then-wife, is one of the most lyrical moments ever produced by the group.

An Instrument!


Singer Meret Becker - became quite famous; a world tour followed the release. During this time, Jochen Arbeit and Rudi Moser (both members of Die Haut) joined the band: Arbeit on guitar, and Moser on drums, with Hacke switching to bass guitar. This line-up, accompanied by Ash Wednesday on keyboards for live concerts, has held ever since.

In 1997, the album Ende Neu Remixes was released, which featured remixes of the songs from Ende Neu by artists such as Barry Adamson and Pan Sonic.


Live at "Tollhaus" in Karlsruhe, May 2000: Alexander Hacke (left) and Blixa Bargeld (right)

From March 27 to May 23, 2000, Einstürzende Neubauten celebrated their 20th birthday with a "20th anniversary tour", playing in the Columbiahalle, Berlin on their exact birthday, April 1, and released the album Silence Is Sexy, followed by a world tour. 2001 also saw the release of another double best-of and rarities album, Strategies Against Architecture III.

Since 2001, Einstürzende Neubauten albums and web projects have been partially produced and supported by Bargeld's wife Erin Zhu, who also serves as webmaster of the official Einstürzende Neubauten website.


In 2002, Einstürzende Neubauten began work on a new album without the backing of a record label, relying instead upon fan ("supporter") participation in an experiment of a type of Street Performer Protocol combined with an internet community and touches of the patronage system. An exclusive Supporter Album No. 1, and the Airplane Miniatures EP following, were made available in 2003.

Bargeld left Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in 2003. In order to go on tour, the band reneged on the idea of creating a supporter-only album, and cooperated with Mute Records to go on tour and release Perpetuum Mobile in 2004. Air sounds, such as blowing the plastic pipes with an air compressor, were greatly explored and used for this album: the working title of the album was, for a long while, Luftveränderung ("Change of air").

The live shows of the Perpetuum Mobile Tour were recorded by the band's sound engineers, then burned on CDRs with individual pictures of each show taken by Danielle de Picciotto and sold directly after the concerts to the visitors; numerous "official" live albums were created during this tour as a result. Unfortunately, these live albums include some cuts and errors.

In November 2004, the band went on a mini-tour, which included a supporters-only performance at Berlin's Palast der Republik. The performance was filmed and coordinated by Danielle de Picciotto and Ian Williamson and was released on the exclusive supporter's DVD at the end of Phase II.


The band also started a new project called Musterhaus in early 2005. The first CD Anarchitektur was sent out in May 2005, and was also available for download to Musterhaus subscribers. The Musterhaus project was a "line of releases intended to give the band an outlet for more experimental impulses and exploration." Musterhaus albums were released roughly every 3 months.

The second Musterhaus CD Unglaublicher Laerm ("Incredible noise") was finished on August 15, and shipped out (as well as posted for download) shortly after.

Phase II of the Neubauten Supporter's project finished in August 2005, and the official site was taken down on September 20. The supporter album Grundstück ("Floor-piece") and DVD (containing footage from the November 2004 Grundstück performance in Berlin) was shipped in early October 2005.

Musterhaus #3 Solo Bassfeder ("Solo bass-spring"), released December 8, is a collection of bass spring compositions by the individual members of Einstürzende Neubauten.


Phase III of the Supporter's project started on February 10. On February 25, the fourth part of the Musterhaus series, called Redux Orchestra versus Einstürzende Neubauten was completed. One of the new additions to Phase III started in March 2006 was a piece-by-piece album called Jewels, finally finished in August 2007.

Danielle de PicciottoAlexander Hacke´s wife and long time companion releases the DVD documentary "Einstürzende Neubauten - On tour with neubauten.org" which describes the supporter project in detail ,having interviewed international supporters during the Perpetuum Mobile tour in 2004.

Musterhaus #5 Kassetten ("Cassettes"), finished May 15 with release scheduled for May 31. At the same time, Alles was irgendwie nützt ("Everything of any use"), an album that had been in the work since Phase 2, were completed. The album consists of rare live tracks, handpicked by 6 supporters of Phase 2 and mixed by Boris Wilsdorf. This was quickly followed by Musterhaus #6 Klaviermusik ("Piano music"), released on August 31.

In October, Neubauten released a public DVD, the recording made at Palast der Republik.

Musterhaus #7 Stimmen Reste ("Voice Remainders") was released on December 2, consisting of vocal experiments, vocal recordings, and manipulations of voice recordings, enriched with leftover instrumental tracks made with polystyrene, electronic pulses, hammond organ, bass guitar, and metal percussion.


It was announced on the band's website that they would be undertaking a "small (mostly) UK tour" in April 2007, playing in Hannover on April 22 beforehand. Musterhaus #8 Weingeister ("Wine spirits") was released on April 6, forming the final instalment of the Musterhaus series. The band also filmed a video for "Nagorny Karabach".

A new commercial album was made available later in the year, the first release since 2004's Perpetuum Mobile. The new album, Alles wieder offen ("All open again"), was released on October 19, 2007 without the backing of a label, a move the band had intended to make with Perpetuum Mobile. Fans who were part of the paid EN community at neubauten.org received access to an album with the same tracks plus a number of extra songs, and an optional DVD about the making of the album.

The band spent the first half of 2008 touring for their new album, and played 32 dates in 19 European countries.


Facts and Rumours

# Blixa Bargeld has worked as a grave digger and as a garbage man, two very well payed jobs in Berlin. He also owned a little store for cassettes and second hand things called Eisengrau.

# For a short period Blixa sung in a punk band before Einstürzende. He mentions this as "just a bunch of kids that wanted me to sing because the way I looked. The only thing which came out of this was that I started singing".

# The primitive man with a sunwheel head that has been Einstürzendes symbol and logotype since the first LP is said to be found at Stonehenge. Other, maybe more reliable, sources say that the band made up this logo themselves.

# The first place they used for rehearsals was a small room within a highway bridge in the outcasts of West-Berlin. Its location was kept as a secret and friends coming to visit were blindfolded. Within the room a candle was always lit to indicate the amount of oxygene.

# Einstürzende´s main inspiration is music they don´t like. When exposed, they listen carefully, analyzes, deconstruct...and react.

# The back cover shot on the first album is a parody on the back cover shot on Pink Floyd´s classical "Umma Gumma"- double album.

# On an early concert in Oslo, Norway, they left the stage by drilling a hole in the wall, through which they escaped.

# After their first German tour in 1981, they refused to play in Western Germany until 1985.

# Nick Cave and The Birthday Party saw a short piece of an Einstürznde show in Dutch television as they toured Holland. They were impressed and became friends with EN. Shortly thereafter they abandoned London and moved to Berlin.

# Other groups have followed the trail where Neubauten were stalkers. Australian SPK renewed their sound and incooperated a big portion of metal junk, Foetus added portions of tortured metal into his songs and brittish Test Dept. started their career 1981 with metal-only instrumentation. Although none of these groups had the same chaotic and anarchistic attitude towards their deed as their gurus.

# The Halber Mensch-tour were the first tour when they left the pneumatic drills at home. They started the set with "Zerstörte Zelle"

# In USA they made a performance together with the Survival Research Laboratorys in the Mojave desert.

# "How Long" (re-titled "Subterranean World") also appears on Anita Lane's album "Dirty Pearl" in 1993. This release also features EN involvement on the tracks "Blume" (as taken from EN's "Tabula Rasa"), "Picture of Mary" (with Bargeld playing guitar), "Stories of Your Dreams" (guitars by Alex Hacke), and "A Prison In The Desert". This last track is taken from the soundtrack to "Ghost...of the civil dead".

# Performing live in Göteborg, Sweden, they threw molotov cocktails at the public.

# The "Concerto for Voices and Machinery" were performed at the Institution of Contemporary Art in London early 1984. On this legendary occasion Einstürzende Neubauten (without Blixa) were aided by Stevø of Some Bizzare, Frank Tovey (a.k.a. Fad Gadget) and Genesis P-Orridge.
The aim was to incoorperate the sounds performed by the performers into an orchestral arrangement. The instrumentation were made up by concrete mixers, electric saws, acetylene torhes and generators.

Something went wrong and a large piece of the stage were destroyed and the ICA staff forced the concerto to a quick end, but 30 or so hardcore fans refused to leave the hall. The performers later told: "After the breakdown, we decided to try and get below the stage. We´d heard that there were tunnels from (nearby subway station) Whitehall and the Palace running underneath the stage and had half the aim of getting to them. But the stage was reinforced. We decided to stop when it looked like someone might get hurt."



Einstürzende Neubauten Music and Videos

Last edited by runlikehell; 08-08-2009 at 01:31 AM.
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