Einsturzende Neubauten
Rampen


3.9
excellent

Review

by DadKungFu STAFF
April 14th, 2024 | 10 replies


Release Date: 04/05/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not just great for a late-career effort, but a great Neubauten album overall

Butoh, as a dance form, is perhaps most notoriously characterized by its grotesquery, its emphasis on contortion, death, mutilation, and mockery of convention. Dancers twist their faces into expressions of agony while twisting limbs into unnatural shapes, bodies are painted white in a gesture of self-effacement, elements of farce or sadomasochism often make an appearance, all driven less by technique and choreography than by a pure impulse, an energy and spontaneity drawn from a desire for self-expression without self-consciousness. It’s small wonder that this dance form found its way into the video performance of Einsturzende Neubauten’s magnum opus Halber Mensch. A band that was still only begrudgingly accepting musical convention, still letting much of its expression derive from fluid, murky plunges into an auditory violence that seemed to let the music happen to the performers, rather than voicing any technique or conscious intent, voiced through tormented scrap and tortured vocal chords, music made through crippled means and crippled instruments.

With that guiding sense that there was something outside of intent and form that guided the music, the band gradually refined their sense of atmospherics and gradually paired down the sense of violence in their sound, while always drawing on the elemental, the visceral and the authentic. Now, so far removed from those razor-sharp, crazy-eyed screeds of the late 80s, further still from those dadaist nightmares that attacked all form and order way back in their primordial stage, Rampen sees Neubauten drawing from the nausea and tension-drenched days of Silence is Sexy, their spiky mania long tempered into the brooding gaze into the night that has been their forté for years now. There’s still that spirit of the grotesque somewhere in there, but now channeled through a more refined and introspective lens than in the early days, a lens that gives as much respect to space as to clutter, to silence as to cacophony.

Where Alles in Alle felt like it was merely good for a band in its twilight, an album that was enjoyable enough, but easy to let go of, Rampen sees Blixa and his crew revitalized, rejuvenated, as comfortable in their ownership of tension and release as they are in their own skins. The pared-back clangor of their improvised percussion section feels less like the sound of Western Civilization collapsing all around in an ecstatic frenzy, and more the little sounds that draw one into those dark nights of the soul, the tap of a cigarette on glass, the buzz of a half-working fluorescent light, the trickle of water down a broken drainpipe. It’s all told in the language of tension, a neverending push and pull of tautness and slackness, Blixa’s voice at turns languid and weary, or breathless and paranoid as the band flickers and pulses around him. It’s as arresting, as thrilling as they’ve been since Alles Wieder Offen, and it’s all done in language that’s very familiar to anyone who appreciates this band.

There are those moments, here and there, when patience isn’t quite rewarded, when Before I Go whispers with a minimalism that’s merely flat rather than stark, when Planet Umbra slinks along oh-so-smoothly in its gentle sleaze into not much of anything, little things in the middle section that don’t rankle so much as feel underdeveloped. The package as a whole however, those moments when the Pit of Language returns intoned into the drone and choir of Tar & Feathers, those moments where all of the haunted brilliance of Neubauten are on full display again, that same soul that made the subterranean abscesses of the bloated, dying West its echo chamber and forced it to confront itself. Aus Den Zeiten and Ich Wees Nich, two tracks that feature some of the most virtuosic uses of tension I’ve heard in years as the clang and pulse build and build over Bargeld’s whispered invective are the most immediate, and the most frightening Neubauten has sounded in a long time. Forty years on, the experiments are over, the results are in, the dance is now choreographed, and Einsturzende Neubauten have once again crept out of the shadows to perform it, in a guise that is wiser and maybe friendlier now, yet no less alive, and no less true than it was when it made its amorphous contortions in the gutted factories and half-lit squats of the past.



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user ratings (20)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2024


4878 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Avoid using "cacophony" in an industrial review challenge: failed

Sharenge
April 14th 2024


5191 Comments


man I really need to start making moves on this discog got a lot of ablums left to get around to

think the problem was I never really digested the ones I already got lol (think Kollaps been the standout so far though)

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2024


4878 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Check everything they made in the 80s it's pure gold I'm not biased I only have one tattoo of this band's logo

kkarron
April 14th 2024


1390 Comments


gonna take a night with a bottle of whiskey to listen to this and stare at the wall alone as Daddy Blixa would want me to

gabba
April 14th 2024


1047 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent review, cheers!

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2024


4878 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

thanks gabba, had fun writing it

gabba
April 14th 2024


1047 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Their logo is the only option for me if I’ll ever have a tattoo, have been toying with the idea for a while, but I’m a Coward (put your knife in me).

Egarran
April 14th 2024


34097 Comments


Amazing review, I might actually listen.

kildare
April 15th 2024


280 Comments


I'm a little too fixated on melody and (regular) rhythm to appreciate their earlier work, but this one sounds interesting so far.

"amazing review": Totally. The prose of the concluding sentence reads like the end of a classical symphony sounds -- with a perfect/authentic cadence. Don't know if Dad or Einsturzende Neubauten does and/or would approve of the "classical" analogy, but it sounds like the latter has at least partially embraced musical conventions, so hopefully that's not the insult it might've been in the early 80's!

asanisimasa
April 15th 2024


164 Comments


Cannot wait to listen to this later! I forgot it was coming!



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