There can hardly be another German band from the 80s and 90s that had such an immense cultural impact as Einstuerzende Neubauten. Their innovative sound sculptures spoke a totally new language and, still today, influence the genres that followed. With an armory of jackhammers, drills, chainsaws, junk metal percussion sculptures, tapes and amplified guitar noise, they became the most formidable live spectacle this side of total warfare. Yet, as the dust settles, the restless musical intelligence releasing and then choreographing the apparent chaos becomes clear. Much more than a spectacle of disaster and ruin, Neubauten’s great and various noises eroticize de-sanitized and dead zones of contemporary life. Indeed, Einstuerzende Neubauten write Liebeslieder – love songs – in the true sense, emotionally accurate songs to get lost and found in.
The documentary ”Liebeslieder”, first released on !K7 in 1993, is the first of its kind. Commissioned by the German WDR TV’s architecture division, it charts their beginnings in a hole beneath an Autobahn flyover in Berlin, where guiding spirit Blixa Bargeld and NU Unruh made music by hurtling themselves at its metal walls. It takes you through the early Untergang years, when they picked up momentum – and members FM Einheit, Alex Hacke and Mark Chung – through a seemingly perverse celebration of collapse and decline. Using interviews, concert material and often rare film footage, Liebeslieder plots their spreading influence around the world, their blitzes on moribund British and American music scenes, and their outings as teen idols in Tokyo. Their theatre work with Peter Zadek, Heiner Mueller, Japanese Butoh dancers, Erich Wonder and La La Human Steps demonstrates how far they dissolved the barriers separating music, performance and visual arts, Liebeslieder also includes concert footage from their 1993 tour and, in full, their first ever video clips ”Interim” and ”Blume”.
After Einstuerzende Neubauten, everything else is silence.