A kinder, gentler Neubauten? “Nein,” as the Germans would put it. Einsturzende Neubauten announce who they are in their fourth decade as a group in no uncertain terms with “Perpetuum Mobile.” It is the opening track of Strategies Against Architecture IV 2002 – 2010. The song is of a piece with their previous anarchic works. To borrow a phrase from Neil Diamond, it is a beautiful noise.
The name Einsturzende Neubauten roughly translates into English as “collapsing new buildings.” The most extreme example of this aesthetic is probably their first album, Kollapse. I always thought that the eight-minute title song should have been the soundtrack to the final scene in Fight Club, when Ed Norton actually collapses the buildings.
Of course on September 11, 2001 that type of daydream became all too real and was hideous. Even Neubauten took a pause. Mostly their music has mellowed a bit. But Strategies Against Architecture IV 2002-2010 contains some fascinating material. In so many ways, this collection seems to be a return to their beginnings.
I do not mean to imply that their famous use of power drills and sheet metal are back. Leader Blixa Bargeld has evolved a bit from his previous stance as the most provocative musician on the planet. There is much more structure to tracks such as “Ein Leichtes Leises Sauseln” and “Ein Leichtes Sauseln” (don’t ask me to translate). The cacophonous fun of Neubauten is present as well. For sheer SPK, John Coltrane, and Metal Machine Music type raucousness, try “Wenn Dann,” and Unvollstandigkeit,”
This is a nice collection. For those of us who were disappointed with Tabula Rasa (1993), and may have even dismissed them as a band, Strategies Against Architecture IV is a revelation. Bargeld and company have not gotten soft in any way. This is a wonderful glimpse of how Neubauten spent the past decade.