Now that I have a new, extraordinary favorite I wish to share some of my thoughts concerning this experience. Here is a list of things I have learned to enjoy about Einstürzende Neubauten (EN) in a very short time. EN is an enjoyable band even thought it has little to do with traditional pop or rock music. It is a band for those moments when you want something completely different... Now, the things I love about Einstürzende Neubauten.
1. The Original Sound
Ever thought about the possibility of using random objects as musical instruments? Einstürzende Neubauten has always been known for custom-made instruments that are a big part of the band's sound. Throughout its career EN's sound has been composed of unique instruments made out of scrap metal, pipes, machinery, and tools - they even have an airplane turbine! Yeah, that sounds like a way to be recognized as avant-garde, doesn't it? But remember: if you want to start with something easier, try the newer EN material first. Leave the drilling machines and squalling Blixa Bargeld for a later time.
2. The Drums
I have always been a sucker for wild rhythms. I enjoy many kinds of drum playing styles and although I often stick to music that doesn't emphasize the drum section all that much, grandiose, ultra-energetic (non-electronic!) drums make me drool. When I started to get into Einstürzende Neubauten, one of the things that caught my ear were those intense drumming elements. It sounded so wild, like real African drumming. Einstürzende Neubauten also uses a lot of strange, wonderful things as percussion, such as pipes, canisters and barrels resulting in a sound different from almost any other drum kit in the world.
Well... Now you might just tell me start listening to music that only has drums in it. I love grandiose rock drums, jazz drum solos, and many other things, but I don't think I would be kept very interested for long with only the sound of drums. Another thing is that I have always preferred non-electronic drums, meaning drum sounds that were played by a real person by banging a drum or another drummable object. All in all, I want my music with both good rhythms and other instruments, with various sounds.
3. The Unexpectedness
Whenever I listen to Einstürzende Neubauten (especially those songs that I haven't listened much yet) I feel like anything could happen. There seems to be no way to know what will come next. And when the unexpected happens, you enjoy it. Then another wonderful phenomenon strikes in – that is listening to a song that you recognize having heard before.
I have always thought that the secret behind music is repetition and getting familiar with the stuff you hear. You can't easily embrace music that sounds strange and unfamiliar. Everyone needs time to adjust to music – that is why I don't recommend rejecting anything you haven't listend to properly and preferably several times.
4. The Dark Aesthetics
The gotchic aspects of Einstürzende Neubauten can be heard almost everywhere in the band's music. Especially in Neubauten's early material the industrial sound is the obvious gothic element but a certain darkness tends to be present everywhere in the band's music. Dark ambient sounds are obvious in EN's 90s and 00s material. I also like to describe some of the newer material as industrial - sounds created with metallic objects (other than the usual cymbals) are industrial to me.
5. The Nuances
Music benefits a lot from strong nuances. It is not to say that nuances are an absolute necessity but they tend to be a great asset. EN uses nuances so effectively that they probably couldn't be used in a broader scale. With the music varying from minimalism and even total silence to infernal noise Einstürzende Neubauten will fill your senses with the extremeties and everything in between.
6. Making interesting music with little emphasis on melody
Based on what I have found out about the band, Einstürzende Neubauten is more interested in sounds and, yes, even the verbal side of its music than melodies. Still, probably most of EN's songs have melodies – quite good ones, as a matter of fact. One of the band's strongest sides is making interesting music without those obvious, catchy pop melodies that I have grown so accustomed to. Sometimes I feel like some EN songs have too simple or monotonous melodies but... you get used to even those if you keep an open mind, perhaps even learn to see the melodic simplicity as a means of expressing something different.
Now, I can make a new statement about the most important thing in music. That is not necessarily melodies! Sound variation can be seen as an even more fundamental part of music, and the concept of sound variation does contain melodies as well. Of course any sound variation is not automatically good enough. The sound variation must be satisfactory to the listener or else it sounds for example bland or too complex.
From this perspective you can actually see that Einstürzende Neubauten just happened to cross paths with me when I was in a suitable state of mind: ready to learn to love new ways of musical expression. It could have been some other band as well... Or maybe not. There are so many special positive characters in EN's music.
7. The Persistence
Einstürzende Neubauten is currently on its 30th anniversary tour. 30 years is a good age for any band, especially for the ones that still have plenty of creativity left at that point. EN is currently unsigned but has operated as a self-releasing band for several years now, gathering supporters and giving out exclusive material to the supporting fans.
8. The Language
German is a great language, although not known for absolute beauty. However, if you think about it, softly pronounced German sounds a lot like French. German is also a good choice if you want to be particularly emphatic... I studied German in high school for two years and enjoyed it a great deal, but I don't understand German much.. It should be noted, though, that EN keeps changing the singing language in many songs. There are parts of songs or entire songs in English and French, even something in Spanish, I think.
9. The Artistic Versatility
Einstürzende Neubauten has never been limited to just performing music. There have been projects concerning film and theater and the live gigs have even been said to include elements from performance art. If I am not mistaken, everyone in the current line-up has released solo material. For instance, Blixa Bargeld is an author, actor and spoken word artist – some people have reported him being quite a stand-up comedian. He has also recorded an album of Bertolt Brecht's poetry.
10. The Inspiration
As a pioneer of industrial music and an icon of experimental/avantgarde music, EN has inspired numerous other music makers with crazy, inventive, revolutionary ideas. EN's music is just as enjoyable as it is difficult to categorize. After being exposed to EN's music for only about a week I started feeling like I should try to make music of my own in EN style!
To cut a long story short, I really like this band and the fact that there is sort of an intriguing battle between different aesthetical views going on in my head right now. In many ways I have already accepted these new musical beauty standards as my own. It's good to broaden the horizons. I feel like a winner.