20 Years of Einsturzende Neubauten—20 Years of Desire: Listen With Pain | Chicago Reader

20 Years of Einsturzende Neubauten—20 Years of Desire: Listen With Pain

This fawning 2000 video documentary by Christian Beetz and Birgit Herdlitschke traces the bizarre career trajectory of Germany's pioneering industrial band Einsturzende Neubauten, interspersing recent interviews with performance footage that spans the group's 20-year history. Their name translates as “collapsing new buildings,” and when they began in 1980, flailing away at heaps of scrap metal, they seemed intent on destroying civilization (or at least pop music). But before long they happily accepted the embrace of Germany's cultural elite, a transformation the video glosses over. Beetz and Herdlitschke also fail to place the group's music in any context, ignoring both contemporaneous artists like England's Test Department and the Neubauten's significance in birthing industrial rock. The most revealing moment comes at the end; asked in 1982 if the band could ever appeal to a broad audience, leader Blixa Bargeld replies, “Eventually the public will have changed to the point where we will make music for it.” Subsequent developments in pop would give this quote its prophetic bite, but you'd never guess it from the video. 59 min.

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