Old school industrial music
. Not this sample
-laden rock that NIN
and company give us, but jackhammers
live on stage with Blixa Bargeld
shouting in German
. Highly intelligent lyrics, not the clichéd angst
that is the hallmark of "industrial" in the late 90s.
The band was formed on April Fool's Day 1980 in West Berlin to "make music from diverse appliances". The original band members were Blixa Bargeld, N.U. Unruh, F.M. Einheit, Alexander Hacke and Mark Chung. As you can gather from names that translate to "Biro Cash" and "F. M. Unit" these are not all the original names. Their music has however become more easily approachable over the years, but still makes use of non-traditional and self-constructed instruments. Mark Chung and F.M. Einheit left the band after Tabula Rasa (1993), and Jochen Arbeit and Rudi Moser joined in 1997.
The band's name is a marvellously compact poetical phrase and does not translate easily into English. "Imploding new buildings" is the main meaning. However "Einsteurtzende" is "Imploding" as an adjective not a verb - i.e. new buildings that are busy collapsing, falling down. But "Neubauten" is not just new buildings in general, it can also refer to a specific style of architecture, faceless concrete monoliths. "Down with modern architecture" is another reading.
Their titles often reference buildings, architecture and destruction as well as love, philosophy, time and history.
When asked not to make all their music in German, they have responded with lyrics in French, Japanese and Latin (Ubique Media Demon), and even the odd bit of English (The Interimlovers), though Ende neu, their 2001 release, has more English.
The music is generally thought to have gotten good (i.e. just as noisy, but more musically coherent) from Halber Mensch, and continued at it's peak through the next two albums, Fünf auf der nach oben offenen Richterskala and Tabula Rasa. The next album Tabula Rasa was comparatively softer in its approach, but in my opinion even finer.
Blixa Bargeld was also a member of Nick Cave's band, The Bad Seeds, for many years, but has retired from this band by 2004.
After 2000, the band has been working on new material without the backing of a record label, relying on internet community and supporter funding, using a kind of Street Performer Protocol. Supporter Album #1 was sent to supporters in 2003, and Perpetuum Mobile was released on Mute in 2004.
Notable Eps from Tabula Rasa
Sources: Wikipedia, my ears, etc.