Einsturzende Neubauten CD review [Mute]

Music Reviews
Einsturzende Neubauten CD review [Mute]
Feb 10, 2004, 02:58


Einsturzende Neubauten has been confronting a perplexing challenge for many years now. Initially, they avoided orthodox instrumentation and explored and exploited the musical potential of diverse types of machinery, found objects and diverse substances with a decided bias towards junk. Moreover, their means dictated their methodology regarding songwriting. There was not much melodic range per gadget, hunk or pile/puddle so extended rhythmic and harmonic lines had to be produced via collage and/or montage of the various sounds generated with a tendency to build upon the foundation of a simple pulse or drone. The resulting music was startling, innovative and actually pretty catchy, in a severe sorta way. As the group incorporated more and more conventional instruments, ala guitars and keyboards, they seemed to stray from these compositional principles and lose their way for a number of years and recordings. Sure, there was still plenty of fine music, but it didn't always have the ring of the unique and visionary, or of that overwhelming visceral kick of the unit's first few outings.

Perpetuum Mobile finds Neubauten making use of traditional musical instruments and non-traditional materials in canny tandem to devastating effect. The key is that the basic inspiration for each number comes from the unorthodox materials at hand while the proper instruments are used primarily as glue to hold the noises together, as shading or to inject a tuneful undercurrent. Songs like “Ich gehe jetzt” proceed from tones produced by blowing through a series of plastic tubes didgeridoo style and Blixa Bargeld's keyboards just add a gentle background drone to connect them. On the title track the metal percussion dictates the structural ethos and bass guitar arpeggios echo that, adding a layer of melodic content and creating a delicious tension with the steely beats. And so on.

Possibly for the first time in their long and distinguished career, Neubauten has integrated their unique writing style with “normal” instrumentation perfectly and to stunning effect. [Mute]

-Howard Wuelfing

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