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EINSTUERZENDE NEUBAUTEN - BIOGRAPHY Print E-mail

ImageEinstürzende Neubauten was formed 1980 in Berlin as a part of the Die Geniale Dilletanten, a dadaistic musical movement that had as a common goal to break down all musical conventions. Einstürzende also gained recognition because of their use of metal plates, electric drills, metal cutters and circle saws as instruments.

Musically they have created a new form of "urban story blues" with a very physically intensive and organic sound, much due to their habit to record the source instead of sample and process sounds digitally. The lyrics are often centered on themes like modern foundering and extreme psychologic states such as love or depression.

The first setup contained Blixa Bargeld (Christian Emmerich, born 12 jan 1959, Berlin), N.U. Unruh (Andrew Chudy, born in New York 9 jun 1957), Gudrun Gut and Beate Bartel. The two girls had been active through the punk wave and were founders of the group Mania D. that rehearsed in what was at the time the basement of Blixa´s home (later they formed Malaria and Matador, see the Links site). Gudrun and Beate left the group shortly after.

Einstürzende Neubauten (translated "collapsing" or "imploding new buildings") didn´t do any over night success, but they were talked of. When the new built German Congress Center collapsed just a few days before the opening ceremony and just a few days after the release of their first single, the talk got a new dimension.

In 1981 F.M. Einheit (Frank Martin Strauss, born 18 Dec 1958 in Dortmund) were persuaded by Blixa and N.U. to join Einstürzende Neubauten after an Abwärts concert on a tavern next to the former concentration camp Dachau.
F.M. had formed the punk group Abwärts (roughly translated "Downwards") in Hamburg a few years earlier, in which he played everything that gave noice (tapes, radios etc). As F.M is something of an electronic and musical genius with an history through, among others, Palais Schaumburg, a legendary avant-garde group found by Holger Hiller in 1980, he broadened the sound and the possibilitys of the group as he joined.

With this setting they recorded their first LP Kollaps. On their first German tour together with Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandöh and Sprung Aus Den Wolken, Marc Chung (born in Leeds 3 jun 1957), the bass player of Abwärts joined the group.

Alexander von Borsig (Alexander Hacke, Berlin 11 oct 1965) joined the group in 1982. He was at the time only 16 years old, but had been sound technician to Einstürzende for some time as well as a good friend

Einstürzende Neubauten got an international breakthrough among the critics in 1983 with their second album, Zeichnungen des Patienten O.T.. They also created quite some fuzz with a line of spectacular ("terroristic and death-despising") concerts.

The same year Blixa Bargeld joined Nick Cave´s group The Bad Seeds as a full time member.

With the following album, 1/2 Mensch they got their great breakthrough (though not commercially). It was the first of their albums that had a clear musical structure. Blixa´s lyrics had also become clearer and more precise. On the title track they worked together with Nikkolai Weidemann to compose a choral work. Their concerts also became less like riots.

In 1987 Einsürzende Neubauten performed the music for the theatre play "Andi" on Deutches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. This was an excellent opportunity for the German scandal press to introduce Einstürzende Neubauten to a broader public, as they did. Earplugs were given to the theatre public. Though this, after the premiere, Einstürzende had to give encores. This was a new step for Einstürzende, into the "fine", established culture. They have since written music for a handful of radio-theatre and theatre plays, ballets and dance academies (not always without confrontations, as the group often is considered as sensationalistic amateurs by the more established cultural society). Mufti is the Neubauten-member most engaged in theatre.

Later that year their fourth album, Fünf auf nach oben offenen Richterskala, showed yet another side of the group. More worked-through and constructed than ever, consisting of atmospheric songs with far more instrumental shiftings than before. Some critics saw this as Blixa had drawn a bit of The Bad Seeds into the Neubauten.

Although, Blixa is not the only one engaged in another group beside Einstürzende Neubauten. In fact, N.U. Unruh is the only member who is not.

F.M. Einheit have played with a lot of more or less permanent settings among the years, producing records for among others KMFDM, Die Krupps and PIG (ex KMFDM). He also restarted Abwärts in 1988, where he is a full time member and started doing recordings in his own name at the same time. He also has his solo project Stein together with Ulrike Haage and have recently recorded with Caspar Brötzmann.

Alexander Hacke joined Crime and the City Solution when Rowland S. Howard left that group in 1988 (as Birthday Party split in 1983, the group became two; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Crime and the City Solution. Both groups have common members and were at times accused to sound the same way. They are both signed to Mute records and are oftened named in the same breath). Alex has also acted as a producer and a session musician in different constellations.

Marc Chung formed Freibank, the Einstürzende Neubauten publishing company when background tapes and sound from their records started to appear frequently on other artist´s records. He also hands the economic aspects of the group.

N.U. Unruh are though engaged in a loose collaboration with the Survival Research Laboratory, an American performance group that build mighty bizarre machinery and blow them up in spectacular ways during their performances.

In 1989 the fifth album Haus der Lüge marked a new point of direction, already hinted with Fünf auf nach..., but never clearly stated. With stricter rythmics, even clearer musical directories and more political lyrics it gave a sharper profile for the group and made them more accessible to a wider public.
This strength was further manifested on a following world tour.

In 1990 Einstürzende Neubauten signed with the record company Mute. The sublabel EGO was formed 1991. This sublabel only releases different side projects by Einstürzende and its members. The first release on this sublabel were "Die Hamletmachine", a radio play made for the GDR radio where Blixa perform Hamlet and Neubauten present the soundtrack.

The next album Tabula Rasa was the first album where Einstürzende Neubauten performed any songs on another language than German. The album was a very well produced further development of the former "Haus der Lüge". They also presented some of their works for the "LaLaLa" dance academie.

Their most recent piece of work, Ende Neu, is a less pretentious work, though maybe even stronger. Every trace of the early days nihilistic Einstürzende are refreshed to a living Neubauten. This development has taken place witout any loss of strength or originality. "Stella Maris", a duet with Blixa and Meret Becker is one of the most lyrical moments ever produced by the group.  

Special thanks to Henrik Brautaset Aronsen

 

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