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Palast der Republik (Live)

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Album Review

Einstürzende Neubauten's 81-minute or so concert on November 4, 2004, taped in Berlin at the former Parliament building, Palast der Republik, is an amazing sound-and-vision documentary that is beautifully packaged in a red cardboard DVD case with plenty of credit information and some excellent photography. The band is as obscure as their name is difficult to pronounce, but their mission, attitude, and penchant for industrial sounds is captured here as Blixa Bargeld's vision is described with narration over the performance art. The DVD is put together very logically with easy-to-click icons that lead to all sorts of treasures, including delightful chimes that play over the menu. The encore performances of "Die Befindlichkeit des Landes" and "Redukt" are super, as is a very intriguing movie trailer that tells the story of the destruction of the Palast der Republik. The group's united front and mix of sound and visuals should be more popular worldwide, and this event, with full-length band commentary in both German and English, would be a dynamite PBS special. Along with the exploration of sound and the backdrop of a building that is about to be demolished are effective camera shots from a variety of angles. The quick cuts are necessary to capture the multiple activities and act as a sort of visual complement to the clatter or the drone (or both) that these creative artists unleash to the pleasure of the very appreciative crowd. The huge chorus of voices is not your familiar London Bach Choir that accompanied the Rolling Stones on "You Can't Always Get What You Want." This 100-member collection of vocal sound comes off like the alien creatures in Donald Sutherland's version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, not as screechy, perhaps a mellow banshee that supplements the metallic industrial sound that is this group's forte. Though not for everyone outside the fan base, this project is guaranteed to please those who are looking for some serious avant-garde music performed with deep passion.


Formed: 01 April 1980 in Berlin, Germany

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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 were founded by vocalist/guitarist Blixa Bargeld and percussionist/American expatriate N.U. Unruh...
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