einsturzende neubauten – music review

Einsturzende Neubauten – The Jewels
released by Potomak on 26 May 2008
data : 15 tracks . 44:20  run time plus 40:00 video . www.neubauten.org

reviewed by : Paul Morin

genre : Industrial/Experimental

packaging : 40 page booklet with explanatory notes by Blixa Bargeld. Text in English and German with English translation of lyrics.

content : In any approach to art (be it music, painting, or poetry) there are two extremes of the creative process. On the one side, the artist is working within the established forms, trying to “perfect” the discipline. On the other end, the artist is trying to invent new forms and simultaneously obliterate the established ones. Order on the one side, Chaos on the other. Most artists fall somewhere between the two, favoring technique over originality (such as pop song writers) or vice-versa. Einsturzende Neubauten have long been the champions of Chaos, of the destructive personality that collapses new buildings to create new ones, veering as close to the edge of pure noise as possible without falling into the abyss. But what happens when the creators need inspiration? When you’ve seen and done it all before?

On “The Jewels”, Neubauten created a system of cards, each containing short instructions for the performers to follow on a given song. The musicians drew a card, two, three, or four, depending on how much instruction they felt they needed, and made up the rules of the game as they went along. Examples of the instructions included “wire/ two words/ memorable” and “fruit/ gently/ muted/ major”. The members then frantically set about their rehearsal space, gathering materials. Each song was written and recorded very quickly, part of the “game”, and the results are more often than not very interesting and original, this is after all, Neubauten. But this isn’t to say that Neubauten has given up on everything they have accomplished, flashes of their past few albums, which seem to favor a more traditional, structured approach to song-writing, go hand in hand with the anarchistic metal crashes and splashes of old. The method simply gives a new trick for old dogs.

The CD comes with a 40 minute Quicktime video (in German) which shows how the different members went about interpreting the cards they were given. It is great to look at the creative process of this band, it is often more important than the finished product itself, and getting into the heads of the various members to see how they create is intriguing and inspiring.

recommended tracks : Maygar Energia, Am I only Jesus

grade : B (music : B . lyrics : B . recording quality : A)

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