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Einsturzende Neubauten | Strategies Against Architecture III | 1991 2001 | review | noise | rock | Lollipop

Einstürzende Neubauten

Strategies Against Architecture III: 1991-2001 (Mute)
by Lex Marburger

A best of compilation, this album neatly etches a third triptych in the saga of Einstürzende Neubauten. Long past the days of joyous nihilism, travelling on beyond the realm of twisted steel pop, Strategies Against Architecture III compiles the German experimentalist's music from 1991 to 2001, essentially from Tabula Rasa to Silence is Sexy, including B-sides, live takes, and remixes. OK, that's enough for those who know the band. For the rest of you? This is the period most of you could probably handle. The klanging Krauts started in 1980 by attempting to destroy music, much like the punks of yore. But EN did it by abandoning traditional instruments in favor of jackhammers, petrol bombs, drills, and other "industrial" items (hmmm... industrial. Rings a bell?). The intention? Nothing new can be built until the old structures are destroyed (examples can be found on Strategies Against Architecture I). After a few years of that, they began re(de)constructing musical styles, rather than the entirety of music itself. Beats became something that could be followed. Basslines became, well, melodic in a sense. You can review these documents on Strategies Against Architecture II.

So, what then? Less noise, more melody, actual harmony, hushed tones... This, then, seemed to be the point of all the chaos. A quiet, serene place to let music grow of its own accord, unfettered by conventions of theory, style, or correctness. Granted, Strategies Against Architecture III has its loud parts too. There's nothing to say that noise has no place for EN anymore. Certainly, some songs absolutely require the chaos of old. But, in the end, EN has produced a double CD of quiet yet disturbing music. You shouldn't assume that because the volume is low, the sounds are necessarily relaxing. On the contrary, the hushed tones create a tension, a longing for release that's every bit as powerful as slamming the side of a water tower with a sledgehammer. It will be fun to see how their new musical baby will go through its adolescence in the next 10 years...

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