By: Eric G.
When a band like Einsturzende Neubauten (Collapsing New Buildings) puts out a new record it evokes a conflicting string of emotions similar to when a legendary director has a new film. The excitement for the new product is overshadowed by a sense of dread that it may not live up to its creator’s name. The consuming public is always waiting for artists to stumble or dry up, and when your reputation precedes you with nothing but accolades the pressure is intensified. Thus, Einsturzende Neubauten’s new record is subject to such scrutiny.
In 1993 the band released Tabula Rasa, which literally signified a new course after almost two decades of challenging pre-industrial compositional noise. Einsturzende Neubauten made its name clanging any piece of machinery that would make a sound and blended it with simple, almost barbaric song structures. The band’s tour de force in 1989, Haus Der Luege, was a cacophony of sonic terror with leader Blixa Bargeld’s tortured vocals and F.M. Einheit’s wall of sound percussion.
Tabula Rasa saw the band enter the world of traditional song form with grace. The album dealt with the reunification of Germany, and the band’s infamous metallic racket complemented the surprisingly melodic music as opposed to driving it. With Ende Neu, Einsturzende Neubauten follows Tabula Rasa’s blueprint in that it carries on with the emphasis on song structure while the industrial baggage clinks and clanks in the background. Bargeld’s vocals range from evil chants to impassioned singing at times resembling Peter Gabriel, especially on “The Garden”: “You will find me if you want me in the garden unless it’s pouring down with rain.”
“Ende Neu”, the title track, explores the band’s complex musical journey through a complex musical structure wherein every verse loses a bar on a sliding scale from seven to one and then repeats. The song was written on the band’s sixteenth anniversary in 1996, and plays on the idea of false starts and fake beginnings (Ending New). Eighteen years on, Einsturzende Neubauten is still creating music as subversive and uncompromising as it was in the beginning- only the tools have changed.