LAMENT: the album
The album version of LAMENT should be heard as a studio reconstruction of a work primarily designed to be performed live, rather than an official new Einstürzende Neubauten LP proper.
In truth, the piece can only be fully realised, as well as best experienced, in its physical embodiment, performed on or by founding member Andrew Unruh’s gigantic instruments and noise generating devices that visually evoke the horrors the work describes or embeds in the sounds they conjure from the filth and terror of the industrialised 20th century world at war with itself.
But in fulfilling what at first appears to be a surprise commission for such a formidable longtime outsider group, Einstürzende Neubauten transformed the earthy, idiosyncratic contents they mined from academic, state, music hall and internet archives with the help of their two researchers into a richly complex cycle of original and cover songs and performance pieces.
The music often originated in LAMENT’s storytelling needs, be it in terms of sounds used or compositions structured along First World War flow charts or scored from calendars of the involvement of the 20 plus countries embroiled in it. The way LAMENT plays off pre-existing and composed materials, pieces clipped together from historical records next to direct cover interpretations, or indeed their Frankenstein like construction of an ur-anthem/national hymn delivers a differently angled history of the war.
Finally, LAMENT opens Bargeld’s case that the First World War never ended – the interwar and postwar periods being essentially pauses for breath as the great military powers carry on their conflict at some remove in faraway wars fought by proxy.