Halber Mensch (Thirsty Ear Recordings)
by Karl Geising
So why are we reviewing discs that are ten years old? Anyone who has actually tried to get copies of these discs knows the answer. Thirsty Ear has domestically issued four recordings by Foetus and Einsturzende Neubauten previously available only used or as imports. Your days of mailing a fistful of cash to some schmo in Europe are over.
Hole was the album that released Foetus onto a jaded and predictable post-punk world. Using electronic percussion, sheet metal, and pop culture destruction, Jim Thirwell produced an album as humorous as it was self-destructively nihilistic. Nail explored the extremes that Hole hinted at, with classical samples, jarring noises of scraping metal and human pain, and guitar blasts. Using themes of fascism, misogyny, and torture, he created a cacophonous symphony of personal destruction. Originally released in 1985, it stands in this reviewer’s mind as the best recording produced in the twentieth century.
Einsturzende Neubauten was the first band to abuse industrial machinery as a means of producing music. Whereas the earliest industrial acts were content to merely make random noises, Neubauten used the sounds themselves as themes, incorporating them into structures rarely found outside of academic twentieth-century classical music. Drawings of Patient O.T. was named after the artwork of a schizophrenic in a mental asylum; one drawing became their logo. Halber Mensch was more conceptual, using structure and randomness as compositional tools. Both are worth your money.