I often reference Einstürzende Neubauten when writing about noise-based music. It’s a somewhat dated reference, but then, I too am somewhat dated.
Neubauten’s combination of traditional and homemade instruments with tools, scraps of metal and much more produced a glorious racket. The band’s colourful history includes an abbreviated performance at London’s ICA in 1984. Members went to work in a manner not anticipated by the hall’s management – drilling and jackhammering the stage. They were done in 20 minutes.
The band has featured a range of members over the years, and is still a going concern. Its last release landed in 2014. But those early years were their most consequential. At a time when industrial music was best known for synths and beats-per-minute counts, Neubaten, Test Dept. and others showed us how organic the form could be.
Fast forward to 1988, when founding member Alexander Hacke connects for the first time with Danielle de Picciotto, a New Yorker who landed in Berlin a year earlier and helped launch the Love Parade.
The two would marry eventually, and set about working together on a variety of projects. They went vegan, gave up alcohol and smoking and turned to yoga and meditation. In 2016, they produced what they described as a “meditation soundtrack” called UNITY.
JOY is a second installment, featuring American hardcore vets Vincent Signorelli (Unsane) and Eric Hubel (Glenn Branca). These 10 pieces incorporate a long list of tools sure to interest old Neubauten fans.
Hubel collects stringed instruments from Africa and India. Signorelli uses the staircase in his Mexican home as a drum kit. de Picciotto plays the hurdy gurdy, auto harp and violin. Hacke sings overtop recorded gongs, bow chime and the bass register of an accordion.