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Einstürzende Neubauten

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June 8 2017, 8pm

Forum Karlin

Tickets: GoOut
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Around  1980,  many  young, creative people  perceived  the  exceptional political  situation in West Berlin as normal; and one in which it also seemed that anything was possible. When Blixa Bargeld was asked whether he would perform at the “Moon” club on April 1, 1980, he agreed, dreamt up the band Einstürzende Neubauten, and then called a couple of friends. The band’s first lineup consisted of those musicians, who happened to be free that night: Blixa Bargeld, Gudrun Gut, N. U. Unruh and Beate Bartel. In 1981, Blixa Bargeld, N. U. Unruh and FM Einheit recorded an “inaudible” LP in a recording studio: Kollaps is a frontal attack on conventional listening habits of that time, which the mainstream had made deaf. For lack of money (among other reasons), the band’s range of instruments consisted of “found” and self-­‐built objects made of  sheet steel, drills, hammers, a “non-­‐voice” that plucked a text out of shreds of  German  words and  professional  studio  equipment,  which  was  consistently  used  despite  their  real attitudes toward technical modifications.

Through this approach, the construct Einstürzende Neubauten has become one of the few German bands to produce genuine, international impulses and they have had an inspirational  effect  on  numerous  other  bands  and  art  genres,  spanning  from  dance theater, to the fine arts, to film – from Christoph Schlingensief to Quentin Tarrantino … As  a  result,  in  1982  they  were  invited  ad  hoc  to  documenta  7  in  Kassel  and  in  1986  as the German contribution to the Biennale de Paris, as well as to the EXPO in Vancouver, Canada. Numerous productions and extensive concert tours over the last 36 years have followed; most recently an Australian tour in 2013.

Their original and radical redefinition of the concept of music has brought about inevitable and quite welcome collaborations – like those with Peter Zadek (Andi, Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hamburg, 1987) and Werner Schwab (Faust… in 1994), or even  earlier  during  the  band’s  tour  of  Japan  in  1985,  the  film  ½  Mensch  with  the Japanese director Sogho Iishi. Including songs from an album of the same name, the film was recorded in an empty factory building in Tokyo with a Butoh dance ensemble (with its German premiere at the Berlinale in 1986).

However, a collaboration with Germany’s most influential postwar dramatist, Heiner Müller  (Bildbeschreibung,  1988,  Hamletmaschine,  1990),  was  particularly  significant. One of the legendary site-­‐specific performances – which have become a constant  side focus  of  the  Einstürzende  Neubauten  –  was  created  with  Müller’s   dramaturgical collaboration, at Erich Wonder’s invitation. Im Auge des Taifun took  place in 1992 to mark the 300th anniversary of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, sending sonic waves of music out into that city’s Ringstraße from a modified glass truck pulled by huskies. The  beginning  of  this  performance  most  certainly  represented  a  recording  by  Blixa Bargeld and Andrew Unruh, made without an audience: “Stahlmusik – aufgenommen in einer Autobahnbrücke am 1.6.1980” (Stahlmusik – recorded under an autobahn bridge on Jan. 6, 1980). The performance of “Concerto for Voice and Machinery” in 1984 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London made such a lasting impression that Jo Mitchell reenacted it in 2007 in a reconstructed performance. Further site-­‐specific performances took place in the Mojave Desert (also in 1984);  “Im Goldenen Saal der Zeppelintribüne” (1986, at the former Nazi party rally  grounds  in Nuremberg); and Fiat Lingotto (1989, at the old Fiat works in Turin). In 2004, shortly before its demolition, the Einstürzende Neubauten allowed music to sound through the former GDR’s already gutted “Palast der Republik,” integrating a chorus of 100 voices. During  the  100th  anniversary  of  John  Cage’s  death  in  2012,  the  Einstürzenden Neubauten were invited to participate in two important exhibitions paying tribute to the composer. Video clips of the band were shown in “A House Full of Music” at the Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt and in the HMKV’s award-­‐winning exhibition “Sounds  like Silence” at Dortmunder U. Blixa Bargeld also wrote a catalogue essay in honor of  John Cage for the Akademie der Künste in Berlin.