Rare or Unreleased 41: Einstürzende Schlaf

Wer schläft, verpasst!
Gudrun Gut/Beate Bartel
Einstürzende Neubauten: «3 Supporter Exclusives» [.zip]
  1. Tagelang Weiß
  2. Ein Sommerliche Installation
  3. Insomnia
Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, the Birthday Party, King Khan, Peaches, Team Plastique, HTRK, Anton Newcombe... The list of artists connected with Berlin is way out wicked, but none are ambassadors of the city—its history, politics, social psychology and of course architecture—more than the native Einstürzende Neubauten. For someone who's scarcely been to the city (or not at all), listening to Blixa Bargeld's mapping of the psycho-geographical cityscape reads almost like Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities—dizzying and hyperreal—and has allowed listeners to virtually sightsee the city on sleepless nights (such as this) going on 22 years now…

When they started out, the Neubauten were bratty anarchopunks on speed, operating in what was then West Berlin—an isolated island cut off not only from East Berlin, but from Germany and the world at large, and symbolically at the centre of the impending nuclear apocalypse the Cold War propaganda machines constantly threatened with. So much so that the young members of the Neubauten didn't expect to grow very old, and instead embarked on sleepless amphetamine-fuelled days & nights to the point of hallucination (Blixa Bargeld and Nick Cave infamously waging a «war against sleep»). After all, sleep is the cousin of death, and that would come soon enough. Besides, «he who sleeps, misses out!»

But sleep deprivation needn't be self-inflicted, as yours truly should know. And on maddening occasions such as these—when you're an insomniac even in your dreams—what better way to spend your frustrated hours than listening to someone who knows what they're talking about? Who does with sleeplessness what he does with an entire city:
Insomnia at new moon
Imprisoned in circular reasoning
In long familiar confusions
No newly supplied conclusions
Logged in and locked up
Repeated and rehashed
Unable to sleep
Unable to stop
On an empty night of the new moon
So much,
It's all much too much
To sleep, much too much

The thoughts make their nightly round
I've never hunted them down
And they continue their same old rant
About all the things I have lost
About keys, innocence, good friends
About prospects, account balances
Some of which only in passing
Much, much, much dark stuff
Too much
To sleep, much too much
To dream, much too much

Insomnia at new moon
By my own hand—hardly any relief
Nothing helps, at least not for long
In this stifling summer night
The homeless thoughts keep dancing around
No clarity in this state of affairs
A knockout is not within my power
It's missing
'Til morning not much longer
To sleep, much too much
To dream, much too much
To dream, much too much

(«Insomnia», Blixa Bargeld)
Which brings us to today's batch of rare music. As this toilet guppy can't sleep, and because I'm soon off to Berlin, I thought I'd post these rarities by the Neubauten, released during their now dismantled «Supporter Project» (go here for a quick recap), which lasted from about 2003 until 2008, and spawned the release of three albums available to the general public, two to «supporters» only, and eight (if you count the related Musterhaus project) to subscribers. Add to these various exclusive mp3 downloads, and you have a considerable amount of out-of-circulation goodies.

These three tracks are just a few; lullabies to turn to whenever sleep eludes you—dreamlike gems so atypical of the common conception of the Neubauten as noise-mongering brutes, but not of the Neubauten itself: «Tagelang Weiß» is from 2005's supporter-only CD, Grundstück. «Ein Sommerliche Installation» was an exclusive mp3 download during «Phase 1» of the Supporter Project (and an early version of «Boreas», to be found on Perpetuum Mobile). «Insomnia» was released on Supporter Album #1 in 2003.

Now I'm going to give sleep one more go before I give up. To dream of Berlin.

(If you like what you hear, these highly recommended, same-period albums are available to buy:

Perpetuum Mobile
Alles Wieder Offen
The Jewels)

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