Style: Dark Ambient, Industrial, Experimental Rock.
Similar artists: Revolting Cocks, Pigface, KMFDM.
Recording year: Thirsty Ear Recording, 1987.
Along with Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle, Germany's Einstürzende Neubauten ("collapsing new buildings") helped pioneer industrial music with an avant-garde mix of white-noise guitar drones, vocals verging on the unlistenable at times, and a clanging, rhythmic din produced by a percussion section consisting of construction materials, power tools, and various metal objects. Einstürzende Neubauten was founded by vocalist/guitarist Blixa Bargeld and percussionist/American expatriate N.U. Unruh in Berlin as a performance art collective; their early activities included a seemingly inexplicable half-naked appearance on the Berlin autobahn, where the duo spent some time beating on the sides of a hole in an overpass. The group's early lineup also included percussionists Beate Bartel and Gudrun Gut, plus contributor and sound engineer Alexander Van Borsig
Einstürzende Neubauten's earliest recordings are mostly unstructured, free-form noise issued on various cassettes and singles, including their first single "Fuer den Untergang," the 1981 EP Schwarz, and the 1982 album Kollaps. Some of these recordings are compiled on the Strategies Against Architecture '80-'83 collection, with live shows on the cassette-only 2x4. Bartel and Gut were replaced by ex-Abwräts member F.M. Einheit (who served as Neubauten's chief machinery operator) in 1983, when guitarist and electronics expert Alexander Hacke and Abwräts bassist Mark Chung also joined. A tour of England opening for the Birthday Party resulted in a contract with Some Bizarre Records, which released the slightly more structured Zeichnungen des Patienten O.T., as well as consternation from club owners and journalists over Neubauten's stage demolitions and frequent ensuing violence.
Like watching a stalker cleverly follow its prey for miles, only to watch it shy away just short of lodging a knife into the back of the followed, Fünf Auf der Nach Oben Offenen Richterskala (Five on the Open-Ended Richter-Scale) is Einstürzende Neubauten at their unsettling, gripping, and tension-ridden best. It was also the group's most subdued and measured work to that point, organic dark ambient that rarely utilized the chaos and cacaphony for which they had become known. You expect the big release during the closer, "Kein Bestandteil Sein," but you don't get it.
Fields Of Haze... Underground for all.