It’s a fairly long story as to the exact circumstance, but a couple of years ago on a rainy winter day in Tasmania I found myself as the only passenger in a shuttle bus when just when we were about to depart, the door opened and three constituents of the Einstürzende Neubauten entered the vehicle.
While their World War I themed concept album Lament and its live incarnation was part of the conversation and with each member elaborating on their respective solo projects and other extracurricular engagements, there was no vestige or plans of recording new Neubauten material.
Needless to say that I was looking forward to Alles in Allem once word spread about the possibility of a new album in twelve years.
After a first spin, Alles in Allem proves to be an immensely enjoyable and effortless surprisingly melodic tour de force, thematically cantered around the theme of German’s capital and hometown of the band, i.e. Berlin.
Musically, Neubauten’s idiosyncratic layered soundscapes can be found compositionally soundly embedded and carried by their trademarked use of custom-made percussive sounds, around which Blixa Bargeld’s refined, velvety baritone and heartfelt delivery meanders around string and lush synth arrangements, while at all times anchoring the deliberately disorienting sonic fragmentations.
Alles in Allem is a fascinating album as it channels the DNA of what Neubauten has been known for for four decades, i.e. a conglomerate fuelled by a genuine interest in experimentalism, yet still manages to surprise without having to retreat to dissonance or being forcefully avant-gardist and modernist.
This is the refined version of Einstürzende Neubauten where less is more, contemplation reigns supreme, punctuated by melancholy, sorrow and tranquillity that is explored through Blixa’s evocative, ambiguous Dadaist prose.
While they have certainly become tamer and more accessible, there is something reassuring in a band of Einstürzende Neubauten’s calibre and iconic status to consistently evolve and create compulsively otherworldly music that provides a calming, codeine like consoling sonic blanket.
8.0 / 10
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