Review Summary: a perky old-school industrial classic
The first song on Haus Der Luge (House of the Lie) alternates between spoken word segments by vocalist Blixa Bargeld and harsh, noisy freak-outs. If the simple brilliance of this tracks does not make you smile from ear-to-ear or laugh hysterically, this album is not for you. Einstürzende Neubauten pushes the industrial humor developed by bands like Throbbing Gristle to new creative peaks; taking a genre of music only meant to offend and confuse people into even more ***ed up territories. Yet, the music is surprisingly tragic, strangely moving, and is an experience that can only be called 'artistic'.
Einstürzende Neubauten (Collapsing New-Buildings), is a German industrial band formed in 1980. The band uses custom built instruments that are mainly built out of scrap metal and construction equipment. The band sometimes incorporates traditional instruments, like guitars or drums, but are either altered or played in unconventional ways. Haus Der Luge shows Neubauten embracing more conventional musical styles into the music, but it also shows the band at their most creative and versatile. The second track, Feurio!
, is probably the most surprising piece of music Neubauten had made at this point in their career, because it could be considered by many to be a 'normal' song. The track is basically a late 80's dance tune, but with Neubauten's metal-against-metal flourishes.
Haus Der Luge benefits greatly from being spastic, never allowing the listener to predict what is around the corner. Neubaten's traditional junkyard percussion can be expected, but the band had added many more elements to their music by this time. In its short 35 minute run time, Haus Der Luge gives spoken work pieces, dark post punk tunes, and immense experimental movements, as well as more creativity and originality than most bands could ever hope to achieve. Due to the album's short run time, Einstürzende Neubauten avoids over-indulging, making this album the easiest entry point for those looking to get into this very inaccessible genre.
Like every other Einstürzende Neubauten album, Blixa Bargeld's vocals are the cornerstone of the band sound. Never has a band had a vocalist that fits so well with its persona. Bargeld delivers wild rambling, calm spoken word segments, and mournful shrieks that were praised by Nick Cave as "a sound you would expect to hear from strangled cats or dying children." Lyrically, this album is very strong. Even through a translation filter the lyrics remain unique, visual, and with a witty style of dark humor throughout. Stand out moments include the lyrics in Ein Stuhl in der Holle
that are done in style of a drunken folk song and the title track that elegantly describes a series of insane patients like exhibits at a museum.
The massive, multipart, Fiat Lux
deserves mention as it shows how easily Einstürzende Neubauten can transform noise into something enthralling and memorable. The song starts out in ballad-like fashion with the sounds of flies buzzing, but soon collapses into brilliant ambience. The second movement has out-of-tune guitar chords and humming over samples of rioting and speeches. The track's arrangement is simple, but it is effective at getting under the listener's skin. This movement is one most successful uses of noise in Neubauten's career and crashes directly into the radically different, percussion heavy movements of Maifestspiele and Hirnlogo.
Considering the album's cover and the fact that it is composed with mostly junk yard equipment, Haus Der Luge is enjoyed best with a bit of humor. However, Einstürzende Neubauten maintains such a high level of attention to detail in their compositions that they become so much more than just a novelty act. Einstürzende Neubauten shows that creativity should be the main driving force in music and do so by never repeating or copying a style. Yes, this is industrial music, it can still be used to offend the general public; but for us that are initiated, this is high art.