Einsturzende Neubauten life and biography

Einsturzende Neubauten picture, image, poster

Einsturzende Neubauten biography

Date of birth : -
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Berlin, Germany
Nationality : German
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2012-04-30
Credited as : industrial band, Drawings of Patient O. T., the Kings of Industrial Rock

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Einstürzende Neubauten is a German industrial band, originally from West Berlin, formed in 1980. The group currently comprises Blixa Bargeld (lead vocals, guitar, keyboard), Alexander Hacke (bass, guitar, vocals), N.U. Unruh (custom-made instruments, percussion, vocals), Jochen Arbeit (guitar and vocals), and Rudolf Moser (custom-built instruments, percussion, and vocals).

Since 1980, German rock band Einsturzende Neu- bauten--in English, "collapsing new buildings"--has been reinventing music by destroying all preconceived ideas of what music is and by redefining the beauty of sound. Their music has the undeniable ability to vibrate every particle of the listener's being, the goal being to make the listener feel absolutely alive. Besides guitars, their musical arsenal includes power drills, shopping carts, oil drums, broken glass, and sheet metal. The sounds Einsturzende Neubauten pioneered became known to a wide audience when the popular British dance band Depeche Mode used them in their 1984 hit "People Are People."

In the 1980s Einsturzende Neubauten's frontman, Blixa Bargeld--a former gravedigger, bartender, and theater manager who appropriated his first name from a brand of German ballpoint pen--predicted that "the entire pop culture would change while we (Einsturzende Neubauten) would remain the same, and the day would come when our 'noise' would sound like their new 'music.'" His prediction was not too far off, evidenced by the popularity in the 1990s of what has come to be known as "industrial" music. By the mid-1990s, in fact, Einsturzende Neubauten's music seemed much tamer, due in part to the "noisification" of mainstream music, and also to the natural growth and change that is part of the band's creative process.

As Bargeld told Kenneth Laddish of Mondo 2000: "When we are at our best, our sounds form sentences as surely as words, which reinforces on another level what we are trying to express. The idea of using sound, stepping away from notes--add to this the quality of what the instrument actually is: this is burning oil. Put in a certain context, you compose a sentence dealing with burning oil."

Einsturzende Neubauten stared out as a four-piece ensemble comprised of Bargeld, N. U. Unruh, Beate Batel, and Grudrun Gut. For those who missed the quartet's historic first show, Bargeld sold tapes of it in his second-hand store, Eisengrau (Iron Grey). The week after Einsturzende Neubauten formed, the Berlin Kongresshalle collapsed. The band viewed this as a perfect propaganda opportunity and took it as a good omen.

Another German band, Abwarts, of which Bargeld and Unruh were fans, featured F. M. "Mufti" Einheit and Mark Chung, who both eventually became members of Einsturzende Neubauten. As a trio, Bargeld, Unruh, and Einheit released their first LP, 1981's Kollaps. This was actually a follow-up to the previous lineup's successful single "Fur den Untergang" and the "Kalte Sterne" double-pack 7-inch single. Shortly thereafter, Chung formally joined the group. In 1983 16-year-old Alexander Von Borsig, known as Alexander Hacke, who was involved with many strange musical projects and had performed with Einsturzende Neubauten sporadically, began to play with them on a more regular basis.

Soon after the release of Kollaps, Einsturzende Neubauten became favorites of the British press and in 1983 released their first album in the United Kingdom, Drawings of Patient O. T. Although some felt it lacked the primitive intensity of their first release, most felt Patient O. T. had more texture and direction. The sound seemed more stripped down but better structured. The band had torn themselves down and moved on to yet another stage of their evolution.
The following year Einsturzende Neubauten released Strategies Against Architecture on the Mute label and 2X4 on ROIR. Strategies is a compilation of five tracks from Kollaps, two from Kalte Sterne, the B-side of the "Fur den Untergang" single, and previously unreleased works, some of them live. The cassette-only 2X4, contains live performances recorded in Europe from 1980-1983.

In 1984 Einsturzende Neubauten began appearing at special-event "site-specific" performances. One of the more notorious of these took place in California's Mojave desert on March 4, 1984. Fans who attended the show were brought to the site on a chartered bus caravan. While refrigerators and other appliances loaded with explosives were detonated for their enjoyment, courtesy of Mark Pauline and Survival Research Laboratories, Einsturzende Neubauten filled the desert air with their music in an unforgettable symphony of apocalyptic sights and sounds.

The band's indoor shows had also become quite notorious. Fire had become a regular part of their program. But at one Los Angeles performance, an onstage fire got out of control and completely burned the props for the second half of the show. The same night, vibrations from the power drill used onstage caused plaster to fall off the ceiling and onto some record company executives who were eating dinner a floor below.

Soon promoters were forced to turn down opportunities to mount Einsturzende Neubauten shows; insurance companies had begun to refuse to cover the venues at which Einsturzende eubauten was booked. The band rectified this untenable situation by toning down the more "explosive" and uncontrollable elements of their live show. By the mid-1990s, their shows were more restrained; they needed only brandish the drill or empty water out of a gasoline can to raise the tension level and get a strong audience reaction.

Displaying their creative compositional techniques by employing grand piano, bizarre dance beats, and their trademark thunder, the band released Halber Mensch in 1985. The a cappella title track sounded like part of an avant-garde opera. Then, Einsturzende Neubauten disbanded for a year. In 1987 they reformed and released Funf auf der Nach Oben Richterskala, perhaps their quietest release, one that left many of their fans confused, waiting for the thunder that never emerged from this album. The thunder returned, however, with 1989's Haus der Luge and reappeared again on Strategien gegen Architektur II in 1991. And after yet another prolonged hiatus, 1993 saw the release of the highly acclaimed Tabula Rasa triptych, which contains the pieces "Blume" and "Wuste," originally composed for the avant-garde Canadian dance troupe La La La Human Steps.

The music of Einsturzende Neubauten has been called everything from "junk rock" to "industrial." The musicians themselves have been labeled "aural terrorists" and "musical mutants," as well as "the Kings of Industrial Rock." Bargeld has termed their efforts "hardcore New Age," while Einheit once classified them as "contemporary German folk music." Bargeld explained the philosophy behind the music to Klaus Maeck in his book Hor Mit Schmerzen! (Listen With Pain!), asserting, "Einsturzende Neubauten ... is a positive sound, possibly the most positive sound of all. Old objects, meanings, buildings and music get destroyed, all traces of the past are abandoned: only out of destruction can something really new be created."

In November 2004, the band went on a mini-tour, which included a supporters-only performance at Berlin's Palast der Republik. The performance was filmed and coordinated by Danielle de Picciotto and Ian Williamson and was released on the exclusive supporter's DVD at the end of Phase II.The band also started a new project called Musterhaus in early 2005. The first CD Anarchitektur was sent out in May 2005, and was also available for download to Musterhaus subscribers. The Musterhaus project was a "line of releases intended to give the band an outlet for more experimental impulses and exploration." Musterhaus albums were released roughly every 3 months.

The new album, Alles wieder offen ("All open again"), was released on October 19, 2007 without the backing of a label, a move the band had intended to make with Perpetuum Mobile. Fans who were part of the paid EN community at neubauten.org received access to an album with the same tracks plus a number of extra songs, and an optional DVD about the making of the album. The band also filmed a video for "Nagorny Karabach". They spent the first half of 2008 touring for the album, playing 32 dates in 19 European countries.

Einstürzende Neubauten celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2010 with a tour through Europe. An American leg was also planned, however on November 29, 2010 the band announced the cancellation of all their U.S. dates due to visa scheduling problems.Silence Is Sexy was reissued on July 1, 2011.

-Blixa Bargeld: lead vocals, guitar, keyboards. (real name: Christian Emmerich, original member)
-Alexander Hacke: bass, guitar, vocals (also known as Alexander von Borsig, since 1980)
-N.U. Unruh: special built instruments, percussion, vocals (real name: Andrew Chudy, original member)
-Jochen Arbeit: guitar, vocals (since 1997)
-Rudolf Moser: special built instruments, percussion, vocals (since 1997)

Studio albums:
-Stahlmusik (1980)
-Kollaps (1981)
-Zeichnungen des Patienten O. T. (1983)
-Halber Mensch (1985)
-Fünf auf der nach oben offenen Richterskala (1987)
-Haus der Lüge (1989)
-Tabula Rasa (1993)
-Ende Neu (1996)
-Silence Is Sexy (2000)
-Perpetuum Mobile (2004)
-Alles wieder offen (2007)

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