Liebeslieder (Studio K7/MVD)
by Lex Marburger
It means “Love Songs.” The video that showed up in my mailbox (dated 1993 but I get the feeling it’s only now being offered in the U.S.), is a collection of live and other footage of Einstürzende Neubauten, and if you stop and think about it, why the hell else would a bunch of guys devote twenty years of their life to making gut-wrenching noise if they didn’t love it? OK, maybe I’m being a little unfair… EN has certainly mellowed with age. Their last album, Silence Is Sexy, has almost no noise whatsoever (not to say they didn’t make noises – they’ve always made musical sounds with unconventional, “noisy” instruments, they just aren’t very loud this go around). But as any neophyte industrial music freak should know (and I mean should know, there’ll be a quiz when you get to the club), EN made their mark as anarchic musicians, destroying the nature and structure of music.
What’s nice about this video is that it captures almost the entire EN evolution (up to 1993’s Tabula Rasa) through on-stage performances (well, “stage” is used pretty loosely here, it covers everything from the Autobahn to the Mojave Desert), interspersed with band interviews. You should know that Liebslieder in general focuses on the more chaotic songs in EN’s arsenal: “Der Tod ist ein Dandy,” “Armenia,” etc. Although EN has plenty of driving percussive rhythm tracks, not many are featured on this video. Pick up the Halber Mensch video for those tunes. So what you get here is 100 minutes of screeching sonic assault, from a duet underneath a German motorway to a fully orchestrated (heh) symphony of destruction in Japan. It can be a little hard to take, but that’s the point.
One side note, and it’s more about me than the band… I’ve been listening to EN for almost a decade now, though I’ve only been able to see them live twice. Those experiences, along with this video, have changed my perception of the band. Rather than singer Blixa Bargeld being the deranged spawn of angels and devils mating that he sounds like on record, he’s kind of a fop. And the rest of them are pretty goofy, too. No matter how terrifying the music may sound, you just gotta laugh when you see this skinny guy in a mullet and leather bondage pants prance around the stage, shrieking in German. At least, I do. Aw, hell, the music is fucking great.