20 years Einstuerzende Neubauten. Not just a reason to celebrate, but reason enough for a cinematic backwards look into Germany’s most existing band since Can and Kraftwerk. Birgit Herdlitschke and Christian Beetz journeyed into the past in order to trace and review the history of this notorious Berlin band.
The beginning: West-Berlin, April 1980. A walled-in city, a myth, a musical stronghold. Between death strip and decaying houses, dark underground clubs and squats, it is a drunken, partied, music existence. Inside a concrete cylindar, under a freeway bridge, Blixa Bargeld, 21, and Andrew Unruh,22, hit iron bars against the hard concrete material, while screaming: „It is war in the towns!“ („Es ist Krieg in den Staedten!“). It is experimental music, shrill, irritating urban noise, rythms of drills and noisy objects alongside slogans of destruction. Sounds never before considered as music: daily tools, electric drills, jack hammers, found objects, pieces of metal, wood and aluminium, percussion created by banging fists against chests and stones thrown aginst objects all combined together with Blixa’s uniquely vocalized German lyrics: A completely new soundtrack for the punk and dilletante apocalyptic Berlin in the 1980‘s was thus born, and was in total contrast to the „New German Wave“, the very popular easy listening music movement at this time.
Their first album, „Kollaps“ (recorded in only ten days without any producer), rocked the Berlin of the 80‘s music scene. The film shows video material of this period and let the band narrate their own history. Very personal backward looks of Blixa Bargeld, N.U. Unruh, F.M. „Mufti“ Einheit, Alexander „von Borsig“ Hacke and Marc Chung, combined with very unusual, partly private filmmaterial create a new, intimate insight view on the most radical german band of the 80‘s. Beside you can listen to: The exentric british labelboss Stevo ( who took the Neubauten 1983 in London under contract), his musical companion for many years Nick Cave and his former tourmanager Jessamy Calkin and Jaeki Hildisch. In the middle of the 90‘s bassist and financial head Marc Chung, then the „Klangwerker“ F.M. Einheit dropp off ,while the band’s continuous ascent invaded foreign countries and inspired such authors and directors as Heiner Mueller, Peter Zadek and Werner Schwab. The band nearly breaks up, had she always been an astonishing balanced construct of five extrem characters.