Sunday, June 22, 2008

Einstürzende Neubauten, KOLLAPS

Zick-Zack, 1981; reissued by several companies over the years; available, but may be a different version than the one detailed here

13 tracks, 34:44; version with bonus track and STAHLDUBVERSIONS: 23 tracks, 56:01

Einstürzende Neubauten are pretty much a legend at this point. Taking "industrial music" to its most logical extreme, Neubauten (on here the trio of Blixa Bargeld, F.M. Einheit, and N.U. Unruh) used junk percussion, power tools, and extremely distorted guitars and bass to create a divine cacophony. KOLLAPS is widely acknowledged as their purest effort, and I agree. Very few tracks have a typical structure, or a melody for that matter. Instead you get mostly short (four minutes or less) tracks, combining the tools (no pun intended) of Neubauten's trade in bizarre and unusual forms. The main exception to length is the title track, which is over eight minutes in length and mostly revolves around a repetitive guitar mantra, punctuated by feedback and either a bass or a bass drum (it's never easy to tell what instrument is making what sound in Neubauten's music). "Tanz Debil" opens with Bargeld's impassioned yelping over some particularly nasty feedback, which then turns into a rhythmic storm of banged metal springs and whirring machine sounds. "Negativ Nein" features just the sound of water (rhythmically played water; you have to hear it to understand) and Bargeld's demented shrieks, repeating "negativ nein" in every conceivable variation. The shorter tracks like "Hirnsage" (all distorted guitar and Bargeld), "Vorm Krieg", and "Draußen ist Feindlich" are even LESS traditional in structure. This entire album STILL sounds as strange as it must have been when first released; if anything, the developments in noise and industrial since have shown just how right Neubauten got it the first time around. The version I have includes a nice bonus track called "Schieß Euch Ins Blut" that would have fit in nicely on KOLLAPS. The main bonus is the STAHLDUBVERSIONS tacked on at the end. Originally released on cassette (which curiously had the same program on both sides), these are nine instrumental dub versions of tracks from KOLLAPS. While some don't really add much ("Sado-Masodub" is basically the isolated rhythm track from "Tanz Debil"), others are truly interesting and bold experiments in combining Neubauten's approach with dub sound effects. It's a delightful addition. If you dig this, the compilation KALTE STERNE comes highly recommended; it's a collection of Neubauten's earliest recordings, and it's very much like KOLLAPS in sound and style.

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