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Einstürzende Neubauten
Ende Neu
Mute (dist. Rough Trade / Our Choice)

Einstürzende Neubauten are the second most importand band coming from Germany (right after the ever prominent Kraftwerk). Their 1996 album Ende Neu is a document of the recent transformation in the group. In fact, the title Transformer was considered for the album, but the final version describes even better the situation: Ende for the end of line-up stable for more than ten years and the nearly fatal crisis in the band, and Neu for a new beginning.

This album is the most accessible of all Einstürzende Neubauten releases to date, an enjoyable listen even for the unprepared listener. The opener Was ist ist is a straight guitar rocker, built around interchangeable pseudo-political phrases where central expressions were left blank or filled with unintelligible chaos. Stella Maris, also on the accompanying single, is Neubauten's blatant attempt to write a commercial pop song. It was co-written by Meret Becker, wife of the band's guitarist Alex Hacke, who helped main writer Blixa Bargeld to overcome his writer's block. Her approach is obviously quite different, so that the song lacks the usual disharmonic elements, the word plays, the experimentation of any other Neubauten song. Die Explosion im Festspielhaus is yet another soft song, but more dynamic and experimental. Installation No.1 is a very monotonous rudimentary song with little text that sounds like techno with mechanical instead of electronic instruments. Another true to form techno track is NNNAAAMMM (New No New Age Advanced Ambient Motor Music Machine), a 11 minute track based on recordings of various motors and machines pitched to a homogeneous disco-like rhythm. The moving title track Ende Neu shows where the band is standing today. The music is combining their experimental instruments such as plastic canisters and amplified wires with a conventional string arrangement, the lyrics are a stocktaking of their career. The Garden is made out of a single line of text (with some variations) stolen from a conversation and a haunting string accompaniment. The final song Der Schacht von Babel resembles their folk elements with ist rhythm provided by footstomps.

The vinyl version of the album adds a bonus track that can also be found on the Stella Maris single called Bili Rubin. According to the band this is their 'easy listening' track. The initial CD edition comes with CD ROM material: studio footage, a video, and some additional information. However, PC users repeatedly reported difficulties in accessing these files.

Copyright © 1996 Lucky Locke e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Einstürzende Neubauten article/review: Silence is Sexy.

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