Einstürzende Neubauten’s 29th Year in sonic art

Former Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds sideman Blixa Bargeld has fronted the Alt. Industrial – Experimental noise machine Einstürzende Neubauten for 29 years as of April 1, 2009. It’s a good time to acknowledge Blixa’s unique musical contributions and celebrate him as a pioneer in his field.  This week, we will feature various interviews with Nick and Blixa, and consider the impact of Blixa Bargeld’s art/musical vision on The Birthday Party’s Nick Cave (they met in 1982) and how his joining forces with Nick brought the Bad Seeds into being.

Here is a video sample of EN, just a drop in the bucket but they are among my favorites.   The power of EN live is best experienced with good quality headphones. Also, the range and nuances of Blixa Bargeld’s  vocals are difficult to appreciate any other way. Blixa’s mature voice has a deep, velvety timbre that is both hypnotic and sensual. But his vocal delivery employs an arsenal of sounds: whispers, screams, yelps, howls, roars, yips, tongue-clicks, cheek-smacking, and the famous purr.  My advice is to watch, listen, and experience it.

Zebulon (from Tabula Rasa, 1993) – 20th Anniversary Concert
Live at Columbiahalle, Berlin April 1, 2000 [Purrs @2.41, does the Mating Call @2.56]

Tx to Malin242

View more under the page cut…

Beauty/Die Befindlichkeit des Landes – 20th Anniversary Concert
Live at Columbiahalle, Berlin April 1, 2000 [Beauty; then Blixa’s hymn to Berlin]

Einstürzende Neubauten – Haus der Lüge + Epilogue (1989) (live)
This is a favorite for camera angle and lighting — and the sheer power of the the band.

tx to waramy2

Einstürzende Neubauten – Ein Stuhl in der Hölle (live) (Moers Jazz Festival, June 2, 1990)
A beloved performance, only 2 songs recorded by German TV.  It’s worth mentioning that Blixa played the day before, on June 1, in Brixton, UK, with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.  Then Moers the next day, in Germany.  He played PinkPop Festival in NL on June 4th.  Wow: 2 bands, 3 gigs, in 3 countries, in 4 days.

tx to CircusofHeaven

Einsturzende Neubauten: Letztes Biest (am Himmel) (w/interview)
[From Seele Brennt Documentary Christian Beetz and Brigit Herdlitschke]
This clips show several versions of Letztes Biest as performed by the band over 15 years. It is a perfect time to end, for Blixa himself will bid you adieu from EN’s 20th anniversary show.  

tx to ShiAkaShi

Happy 29th Year Anniversary to Blixa Bargeld and Einstürzende Neubauten!
April 1, 1980 – April 1, 2009

7 thoughts on “Einstürzende Neubauten’s 29th Year in sonic art

  1. I found this in my files — great to read it on the eve of EN’s 29th year anniversary.

    9:30 Club
    Decadent art scene, neighborhood hangout, hardcore-punk sweatbox, and alternative-rock crucible—the 9:30 Club has lived many lives in its 15 years.
    By Mark Jenkins
    Dec. 15 – 21, 1995 (Vol. 15, #50)

    Like any other rock bar, the 9:30 Club hadnights where a mediocre band played, its fans drank beer and cheered, and everyone went home unaltered. And then there was the evening, in 1984, when German proto-industrial ensemble Einsturzende Neubauten made its Washington debut.

    Someone had broken the front door of the building, some drunk from happy hour,” remembers original 9:30 Club manager Dody DiSanto (then Dody Bowers). “He was so out of control that he was [occupying] two of the staff,” she says. “And I was going to owe the building $1,000, $2,000 for a new door.

    “It was snowing, a freak snowstorm, but somehow 300, 400 people had gotten there to see Neubauten. I called the cops, and they said they couldn’t get there. They asked, “Do you have some rope?’ and I said, “Why?’ They suggested we tie [the drunk] up!

    “Then the phone rings and it’s a friend of mine from L.A. I say, “I can’t talk now, I’ve got Neubauten,’ and she says, “Oh, they’re great. I just saw them here and they set the stage on fire.’ ”

    Neubauten’s manager demanded to get paid in advance, but the suddenly fire-conscious DiSanto countered that she’d pay them after the gig—and only if they didn’t set anything ablaze. Then she spotted the guy who provided food and drinks for the dressing room putting out lines of cleanser on a platter for the band. “Apparently they’d been abusing him. He said, “They said they wanted powder. I’ll give them powder!’ ”

    After DiSanto stopped her employee from presenting this poisonous treat to her German guests, some cops finally appeared. “They told me to rifle [the drunk’s] wallet, “because that’s the only money you’re gonna get.’ This is a D.C. cop!” Meanwhile, emissaries from inside the club were informing her about the progress of the set, which was being performed largely with construction tools: “He’s got a jackhammer applied to the column that’s holding up the club!”

    Those who didn’t bear responsibility for managing the chaos remember a simpler, if no less powerful, experience. “The first Neubauten show blew my mind,” says musician and Fifth Column Records General Manager Jared Hendrickson, who worked at the 9:30 Club from 1983 to 1990. “That was one of the top five shows that changed how I perceived music.”

    “It certainly was quite an experience to see Einstürzende Neubauten the first time they played there,” seconds Howard Wuelfing, a Columbia Records publicist who viewed the club from both sides of the stage as a member of such bands as the Slickee Boys and the Nurses and as rock critic for the Washington Post and his own local music ‘zine, Descenes. “I’d never seen anything like it, and in a small space like that it was very powerful. It was quite a pleasant shock.”

    Surprisingly, even DiSanto doesn’t disagree. “There were people pressed up against the stage, and there was all this metal reflected, and the audience was shining,” she recalls, based on seeing the video of the set made that night. “And it was a great show.”

    BMO – opening band for EN @9:30 club

    In March 1984, the band played a now-notorious show at the 930 club with Einsturzende Neubauten. The show was marred from the start by an unprecedented blizzard which delayed even the soundcheck until 10pm. Also, Einsturzende Neubauten had asked to use BMO’s instruments. Einsturzende played a wild set, which included setting the stage on fire and taking a jackhammer to the 930’s famous center-stage column; but a visibly wasted Blixa also started wrecking BMO’s instruments. Einsturzende fled town, claiming they had no money to pay for the damage. Moral of the story, obvious in hindsight: never lend your instruments to German industrial bands that make music by banging on things!

  2. SoFar, love the editing in Letztes Biest, as well. It is not chronological, which makes for an interesting edit. Love the ending, “Gooooood Night.” He blows a kiss. ADORE THAT MAN!

    Azbest, yeah, that’s for Ghosts of the Civil Dead, from 1988, and director John Hillcoat is the young blonde guy sitting at Blixa’s feet. A favorite interview. I know it by heart. I have laughed myself sick more times than I can count from it, and adore the numerous Blix-isms. He fits quite a few into an 8 minute interview. Beyond adorable. 🙂

    “Ghosts of the Civil Servants…” 😀

  3. >>Wow: 2 bands, 3 gigs, in 3 countries, in 4 days.<> This clips show several versions of Letztes Biest as performed by the band over 15 years. <<

    I love how this is edited. There’s a clip (Southbank Show, I think) like this of Nick performing the Mercy Seat. It, too, is magnificent… I’d make one of West Country Girl, or Henry Lee, but my video editing software has expired. Still, something to consider, eh?

  4. Thanks, Joe! You went to Copenhagen? A dear friend of mine wanted to go but she wasn’t able to make it. She lives in Munich and the day he performed there she had to leave for a family vacation in Spain. I try not to bring it up … as you can imagine!

    BTW: your vids are not bad at all. I appreciate any chance to get a glimpse of the wonderful Blixa. 🙂

  5. Great fixes 😀

    I saw Blixa yesterday doing Rede/Speech, and it was absolutely fantastic. I’ve uploaded two (crappy quality) vids from the show to youtube:

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