Friday, December 02, 2005

It Is Not The Actual Finding Of The Shoes That Is Important

Einsturzende Neubauten – Grundstueck

For the last few years Einsturzende Neubauten have been trying a new distribution model for their music. Their most dedicated fans sign up online and pay a moderately steep fee, in exchange they get to view live footage of their concerts and the recording process via webcasts as they work on their new album. Plus they also get a special supporters only album in advance of the new CD. The money raised from this is used to pay for the creation of the new record so they can produce an album without being attached to a recording label.

Grundstueck is the second supporters album released under this scheme. The first supporters album turned out to be a bit of a let down, with most of it's material being replicated on the following publicly released album, but they promised to do better this time.

Firstly they included a DVD containing live footage of a special performance at the Palast Der Republik (a Neubauten due to be Einsturzende-d) where they set up a large number of unusual percussive instruments, involving industrial machinery and even the building itself. They also invited their supporters to form a backing choir which they used in some clever and creative ways. It's a pretty cool concert, and is much more interesting than most live DVDs because of Neubauten's unique musical style.

Some of the DVD tracks are replicated on the audio CD, but that's OK as they work pretty well in that context too. The band have moved away from the more accessible style of their recent releases Silence is Sexy and Perpetuum Mobile, and back to their more experimental roots. The live tracks are mostly hypnotic percussive tracks in unusual meters, with the exception of Vox Populi, in which the band lead the choir in a haunting wordless vocal piece, interrupted by random stabs of noise.

The remaining songs are more song-like and have proper lyrics. They sound a little b-side like and don't fit together quite as well as a proper album should but are still solid efforts from a damn fine band. The highlight is the opening track Good Morning Everybody, which uses cut up vocal samples in a raucous wake up call in many different languages. The album closer Tagelang Weiss is a meditative track about addiction (as near as I can tell anyway) with Blixa murmuring his lyrics over a subdued drum and bass line. Plus you've just got to give them points for a song called Wo Sind Meine Schuhe? (Where are my shoes?)

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