Einstürzende Neubauten is 30.
The legendary German experimental band ("Collapsing New Buildings
") is known for its use of homemade instruments assembled from found industrial materials.1979: Blixa Bargeld
(Hans Christian Emmerich) and N.U. Unruh
(Andrew Chudy) begin improvising together, sharing space with an assortment of friends who convened around the clothing/design store Eisengrau (including Gudrun Gut
, who went on to her own notable solo career). This early exploratory line-up recorded one cassette, N-Dih / Blixa / Susä
, before solidifying into Einstürzende Neubauten on 1 April 1980 with a performance at the Berlin club Moon.
Foreshadowing their frustratingly dense discography
, the first line-up (Bargeld, Unruh, Gut, and Beate Bartel) record a handful of cassette releases and one 7" single (Für Den Untergang/Tan-Ze-Dub
) before Gut and Bartel leave to focus on their own group, Mania D
. Unruh and Bargeld continue on their own, recording the Stahlmusik
cassette and video (1
) on two separate occasions inside the Stadtautobahn Bridge in Berlin.
The group - now rounded out by Mark Chung and F.M. Einheit - issue the Kalte Sterne
EP and its "official" debut album, Kollaps
. (Live 1981
"[Kollaps] was made from a range of instruments carefully beaten together from mostly stolen construction site, scrap yard and do-it-yourself supplies, consisting of steel parts, barrels, drills, hammers, saws and an untuned electric guitar."
- Neubauten.org biography
The group signs to Stevo
's legendary Some Bizzare
record label. With unruly teenage fan Alexander Hacke now officially allowed to join the band, this line-up of EN would remain intact until December 1994.
"We all said that the world was going to end in 1984. And until 1984 we were completely convinced of this."
- Alexander Hacke, 2005
Zeichnungen des Patienten O.T.
is released in November 1983. Named for the schizophrenic artist Oswald Tschirtner
, the album is considered more musical by degrees than its predecessor. O.T.
is also their first album released in America. Key tracks: Vanadium-i-Ching
Blixa Bargeld also begins playing guitar with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
in 1983, a position he would hold until 2003.
Two months after the release of O.T., the first volume
of their Strategies Against Architecture
series appears on the influential British record label Mute, collecting live tracks and singles from 1980-1983. They tour the United States in March, where their semi-controlled chaos is met with some concern
The album Halber Mensch
is released. On a second U.S. tour, they play a flatbed truck
in Denver, Colorado. While in Japan, they film the Halber Mensch full-length video
with director Sogo Ishii
. (YT: 0
) The album is released in October, the film in November. Key album tracks: Yü-Gung
, Seele Brennt
(Note: some obvious video link overlaps with the Ishii film.)
The band continues touring. They are kicked out of the Palladium in New York for lighting a pan of paint thinner onstage and play a (seemingly
show in Seattle
"That was a terrible show. Terrible. The equipment did not work. The sound did not work. And yet every person from Seattle I meet thinks this concert changed their life. It's highly hilarious."
- Blixa Bargeld, 2000
Desperate for cash, EN spends most of the year providing live accompaniment for the play Andi
(dir. Peter Zadek) in Hamburg. "We sold ourselves for this,
" Bargeld says. (More on Andi.
) The (comparatively) subdued and atmospheric album Fünf auf der nach oben offenen Richterskala
is released mid-year. Key tracks: Ich Bin's
and a cover of Lee Hazlewood's Morning Dew
The band records the soundtrack for Heiner Müller's radio play Bildbeschreibung
... and a jingle for Jordache
1989: Haus der Lüge
is released in September. Key tracks: Feurio!
, Haus der Lüge
, Der Kuss
. The band's December 21 concert in East Berlin is documented by Uli M. Schueppel for his film Von Wegen
Einstürzende Neubauten celebrates its 10th anniversary. The soundtrack for another Müller play, Die Hamletmaschine
, is recorded with Bargeld as Hamlet and former member Gudrun Gut as Ophelia. The band records a track (Three Thoughts
) for dance troupe La La La Human Steps
, who also worked with David Bowie, Skinny Puppy, and Frank Zappa. They leave Some Bizzare and file a suit for back-royalties.
The group's second Strategies Against Architecture
compilation is released on Mute. La La La Human Steps debut their show, "Infante, c'est Destroy
", featuring more new music from Neubauten and others.
EN signs with Daniel Miller's Mute Records
and plays a single one-song show inside a mobile glass palace on a ring road in Vienna for the 300th anniversary of the Academy of Fine Arts
The triptych of Tabula Rasa
is released. Key tracks: Die Interimsliebenden
. The band is invited to open for U2's Zoo TV tour and makes it through three songs on the first night
. In October, the band collaborates with video artist Nam June Paik on Video Opera.
Director Werner Schwab writes the play Faust: Mein Brustkorb, Mein Helm
, scored by Neubauten. Blixa Bargeld plays Mephisto. Mark Chung leaves the band after thirteen years to work at Sony Music and to run the band's publishing arm, Freibank
Chung's replacement, Roland Wolf
, dies in a car accident. FM Einheit walks out of the band
after fourteen years.
1996: Ende Neu
and its companion single Stella Maris
are released. Key tracks: Was Ist Ist
, Stella Maris
Jochen Arbeit and Rudy Moser (Die Haut
) join the band (Ash Wednesday is a touring fifth member). Blixa Bargeld publishes Headcleaner
, a book of collected texts and lyrics.
The band tours (relatively) quietly.
The band patents
. Silence is Sexy
is released, considered by many their best album in years. Key tracks: Sabrina
, Silence is Sexy
2001: Strategies Against Architecture III
(1991-2001) and the soundtrack to Hubertus Siegert's Berlin Babylon
(featuring prototypes and diversions of Silence material) are released.
The band launches Neubauten.org
and its "Supporters Project
", by which fans can contribute artistically and financially to future projects through a series of subscription-only interactive webcasts.
2003: Supporters Album #1
is released in September. Phase II of Neubauten.org begins in August.
The album Perpetuum Mobile
is released in February via Mute. Contains several reworked tracks from Supporters Album #1. Key tracks: Perpetuum Mobile
, Youme & Meyou
, Dead Friends (Around the Corner)
. The band releases CD-Rs of almost every date on their world tour. In October and November, they record Grundstück
with a choir of 100 Neubauten.org fans/supporters. On November 4, they film a special concert at the Palast der Republik
in Berlin, which is scheduled to be demolished after the show.
25th Anniversary. The band launches its eight-volume Musterhaus
series, which "give[s] an outlet to the creative aspects of the band that are more experimental, challenging, and less likely to fit into song/album format of their regular releases
." Neubauten.org Phase II ends in August. The Liebeslieder
documentary DVD is released by K7. (YT playlist
The 2004 Palast der Republik
show is issued on DVD. The band begins releasing new mp3s, one per month, as "jewels." Some Bizzare releases "unauthorized" reissues of Neubauten's early work. The band counters by releasing its own editions on its Potomak
The final supporter-driven album, Alles Wieder Offen
, is issued in two versions: one for supporters and one for the common market. Key tracks: Nagorny Karabach
, Weil Weil Weil
, Alles Wieder Offen
. Neubauten.org Phase III ends in October.
The fifteen "jewels" are compiled into a single release
for widespread distribution, along with a 40-minute documentary.
30th anniversary. The group is celebrating with an international tour
(including their first U.S. dates since 2004), with two dates per city: one devoted to a traditional concert, the other to an evening of experimental and "off-brand" material.
(Re)sources: From the Archives
| Seele Brennt