Silence Is Sexy
With a new line-up fully settled in – Jochen Arbeit (guitar) and Rudi Moser (drums) now joining lifers Blixa Bargeld, Alexander Hacke and N. U. Unruh – Silence Is Sexy zooms in on new intensities and intimacies. It’s surprising, at first blush, to hear such a muted Neubauten, on songs like the opening “Sabrina” and “Silence Is Sexy,” but quickly enough, Silence Is Sexy becomes expansive, cinematic; when things do work up into a lather, like the piston percussion of “Zampano,” their disruptive force helps articulate the clarity and restraint of the rest of the album. It all pivots, seemingly, around the gorgeous “Die Befindlichkeit Des Landes” (“The Condition of the Country”), channelling ghostly Marlene Dietrich into the song, as Bargeld sings of “mela-mela-melancholia… Nothing but future ruins.” The psychogeographic core of the album becomes clear, here – a disappearing former Berlin, receding into the past.
– Jon Dale
One might expect the members of Einstürzende Neubauten to regard silence as the enemy, but the title of their eighth studio album accurately reflects its contents: it’s one of their quietest and most beautiful releases, an accessible(ish) starting point for the new listener. On the title piece, frontman Blixa Bargeld can be heard taking deep drags on a cigarette between verses, the burning tobacco crackling directly into an incredibly close microphone. (This is one of the all-time headphone albums.) Of course, it’s not all quiet; there are plenty of roaring eruptions and clanging junkyard percussion attacks, though some of the anarchy of the old days is gone since their primary metal-sculpting wizard, F.M. Einheit, left after 1996’s Ende Neu. A surprising number of tracks here have a pulsing techno thump, and Bargeld delivers a lot of lyrics in English.