Blixa Bargeld’s band of merry men, Einstürzende Neubauten, return with their new album Alles in Allem, which translates to All in All. It’s the experimental German band’s 12th album in a career that’s lasted 40 years. It’s also the band’s first proper studio album in 12 years. It comes as standard vinyl and CD editions or as a deluxe box set including vinyl and CD, a 164 page book and an exclusive multimedia CD.
Vinyl LP £27.99 5195991
LP on Potomak.
- Shipping cost: £3.35 ?
CD £16.49 5195992
CD on Potomak.
- Shipping cost: £1.05 ?
Limited Vinyl LP box set £91.99 5196001
Limited edition deluxe box set on Potomak. Contains the CD and vinyl of the standard album plus a 164-page book with hand-written notes from Blixa Bargeld and an additional multi-media CD exclusive to the box.
- Limited edition
The temptation is always there to compare Einstürzende Neubauten to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Bandleader Blixa Bargeld’s long involvement with Cave’s group had a profound effect on the approach of both acts, narrowing the gap between Cave’s Old Testament balladry and Neubauten’s ferocious rhythmic industrialism. Though Bargeld hasn’t been a member of The Bad Seeds for well over a decade now, the bond between the bands remains strong.
‘Alles In Allem’ is the first album that Einstürzende Neubauten have released since Cave’s 2013 album ‘Push The Sky Away’, and one wonders, when listening to this, if ‘Alles In Allem’ is Bargeld’s response to that record. Of course, there are still plenty of things about these tracks that are distinctly Neubauten - while their sound has pickled with age, this isn’t a band you mistake for anyone else. Janky, loping rhythms are coaxed from ersatz pieces of percussion while gutted electronic tones scratch and saw away at the edges of songs.
However, there is also the same sense of retreat here, of stepping back to observe rather than flinging oneself headlong into the maelstrom, that was a key component of ‘Push The Sky Away’. Where Bargeld once screeched and screamed, here he mutters, coos, sighs, an echo of the dissolve into air one heard on Cave’s ‘Jubilee Street’ and ‘Water’s Edge’.
The feeling extends to lyrics that seem to detail a Berlin beneath Berlin, a dark city moving in the shadows and sewers of the modern town. This theme is introduced early on by the mangling of the city’s name on opening track ‘Ten Grand Goldie’, and throughout the record Bargeld spins shadowy nocturnal tales from local districts - Wedding, Tempelhof, the Landwehrkanal. The music largely rumbles in the lines too, the same sense of watery, junk-strewn enervation that one heard on Neubauten records like ‘Perpetuum Mobile’ hanging thick. ‘Möbliertes Lied’, for instance, broods with the beatific intensity of Bargeld’s old pal Wim Wenders.
However, sometimes the underbelly does rise up, the banks of the Spree threatening to burst. ‘Wedding’ swells to a cacophony, managing to pull back just before the levy breaks; ‘Am Landwehrkanal’ is a sloshed and strangely moving oompah sung as the narrator looks out over the storied waterway; ‘Grazer Damm’, if a little long, is a hugely evocative mood piece. Then there’s centrepiece and highlight ‘Zivilisatorisches Missgeschick’, where grinding walls of noise rip periodically through an atmosphere that hums pregnantly, like an electricity generator. One wonders if these caustic sluices of noise are Neubauten dredging up the urban wastes of the old Berlin, a scorched Earth that Neubauten chronicled sonically on their unrelenting early records, in order to reassert themselves upon the gentrified city of 2020 - as if they’re saying that, for all the sanitisation that’s occurred since the wall came down, Berlin's dark energy is innate.
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