Lament album cover
Lament

Einstürzende Neubauten

2014
BMG

Commissioned by Belgian city Diksmuide, as a remembrance of the fall of the city to Germany in WWI, Lament is one of the most idiosyncratic, and oddly moving, works in the Neubauten canon. It was conceived as a performance, and in some ways the subsequent album can only work as a shadow of Lament’s primary form, but it’s still incredibly compelling. Intensively researched, it’s particularly significant for placing Neubauten’s lexicon in service to broader narratives. The opening “Kriegmaschinerie” is one of their most radiant noise works, a deep gurgle of metallic shriek that evokes “Das Schaben” (from three decades previous), while “Der 1. Weltkrieg (Percussion Version)” is a lengthy, intricate rhythmic excursion. The three-part title suite is devastating, shifting from a wordless choral composition to Pärt-like strings that ghost original recordings of prisoners of war. The power of Lament is in the way the music is so intimately connected to the stories being explored, which are addressed with compassion, but not sentimentality, by the group.

Jon Dale

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