Einstürzende Neubauten have announced that their new album, Lament, is due out 24th November and it’ll be a “concept album based on a live performance and installation commissioned by the Flemish city of Diksmuide, Belgium to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War in 1914.”
We’re told that “LAMENT embodies founding member Blixa Bargeld’s theory that the First World War never ended.”
“War is not something that appears and disappears. War is something that is always there. It sometimes moves and it sometimes doesn’t move. It doesn’t break out like the plague. It’s there.” – Blixa Bargeld
From the press release about Lament…
“A studio recreation of a composition primarily designed to be performed live, rather than an official new Einstürzende Neubauten LP, LAMENT will be premiered on 8th November in it’s entirety as part of the World War I commemoration events taking place in Diksmuide, which was one of the first places where the war took place 100 years ago. More information can be found here.
“In LAMENT, Einstürzende Neubauten’s instrumentation, which consists of self-built metal constructions, voice, objets trouvés and innovative technology, is expanded to include a string ensemble; while Neubauten founding member Andrew Unruh’s gigantic instruments and noise-generating devices evoke the filth and terror of an industrialized 20th century world at war with itself.
“A complex cycle of original and cover songs and performance pieces based on or extracted directly from historical records, LAMENT integrates research material sourced from academic, state, music hall and Internet archives. In constructing LAMENT, an array of pre-existing and newly composed material was brought into play: the band’s Frankenstein-like re-imagining of a national anthem once partly shared by many participants of the war, including Germany, the UK, and Canada; two pre-jazz age war songs from a marching band nicknamed The Harlem Hellfighters, which led the US’s first ever African American regiment into battle; two settings for texts by the mysterious Belgian writer Paul van den Broeck; a re-enactment of an early 1920’s cabaret style piece by the even more obscure German writer and performer Joseph Plaut, which tells the history of World War One through the medium of an music hall animal mimic; and, finally, an interpretation of Marlene Dietrich’s German rendition of Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All The Flowers Gone”. The three part title piece, “Lament”, incorporates a mass of historic wax cylinder recordings made by linguists in German WWI prison camps of POW’s reciting the biblical parable of The Prodigal Son in their own languages, some now extinct, over a drastically slowed down recording of a motet based on the same story by 16th century Flemish composer Jacob Clemens non Papa, who lived and died in Diksmuide.
“LAMENT embodies founding member Blixa Bargeld’s theory that the First World War never ended — the interwar and postwar periods being essentially pauses for breath as the great military powers carried on their conflicts in faraway wars fought by proxies. While investigating the background to LAMENT, Bargeld came to the conclusion that:
“The Second World War is nothing but the elongation of the first one… As a child of the post Second World War era, and the resulting division of Germany and Berlin, I’m of course hugely influenced in my upbringing about the results of that.”
“That issues fought over by the world’s imperial powers a century ago remain unresolved, made the project that much more vivid to Einstürzende Neubauten, a group that has been manically dancing along the unstable fault lines of 20th century history ever since they formed in the Western sector of the then divided city of Berlin back in 1980.
Following on from the premiere of LAMENT in Diksmuide on the 8th of November, Einstürzende Neubauten will embark on a 16 date European tour, which will include a performance of LAMENT on 19th November at Koko in London. Full tour dates can be found here: neubauten.org/live.