Sunday, November 30, 2008

Einstürzende Neubauten - Strategies against Architecture '81

Discarded metal being hit, drilled, heated, manipulated. Junkyard scraps submitted to harsh treatments. Circuit bending and primitive electronics. Guitar and bass abused and mangled. This is fucking Industrial. If you can't handle it, go back to VNV Nation. These fuckers used goggles to protect their eyes from the debris, not as a ridiculous dancefloor accessory. They once drilled a hole in the wall in one of their shows and left the venue through it. They destroyed the floor of the ICA trying to find an underground secret tunnel that linked it to Buckingham Palace. They recorded themselves digging huge holes in the Autobahn. As one does. A thing of beauty.

"Einsturzende's first compilation album summed up all that was brilliant and thrilling about the young band, who perhaps more than anyone else encapsulated exactly what "industrial" consisted of -- honest-to-goodness mechanistic pummeling and musique concrete remade for a newer generation. Selections from Schwarz and Kollaps feature, along with single-only cuts and various live performances as well, giving a striking picture of the group's varying approaches. Bargeld's rasped, whispered vocals and sudden screams crawl with threat and dread in a consciously dramatic but never overtly hammy fashion, while the rough rhythms and harsh clattering which serves as a bed for his delivery touches on everything from free jazz to minimal Krautrock rhythms. That the volume often gets amped to its absolute highest is only to be expected, but silence and space between sound matters just as much, especially on a slew of songs toward the end. Guitars and bass appear more often than might be expected, but the way they're played is something else entirely, muddied deep in the mix or roaring as undifferentiated noise stabbing in here and there. It's also interesting to hear the earlier version of the band in contrast with the later, when a slightly more formal rock presentation took the fore. Given that on the recordings here the group consisted mostly of percussionists beating on metal and whatever else was to hand, it's little wonder things sound even more aggressive. Maybe for some this will only sound like the backing music on a Sprockets sketch, but the impact on any number of sound terrorists then and since from this album can't be measured. " - Ned Raggett


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