Rare or Unreleased 46: Einstürzende Sonntag

Einstürzende Neubauten: «Die Wellen» (Klaviermusik version) [mp3]

The ultimate goal of Toilet Guppies is to exhaust its creator's collection of worthwhile rarities until at last he can stop posting, leaving the blog to sink or float on this interweb-thingy, music too good to disappear hopefully still only a Google and a click away. Looking at the dwindling list of rarities on my computer, it seems I've reached the tail-end of this blog's existence, so the random mp3s to be posted onwards might appear to be leftovers, but let me assure you that quality control is as strict as ever(!).

Today is Sunday, which means I have to post music that's either calm or melancholy. Hence one of the greatest songs to be made available on this blog: Einstürzende Neubauten's initial, acoustic version of Alles Wieder Offen opener «Die Wellen», recorded for the band's Musterhaus series in 2006. Blixa Bargeld is accompanied by classical composer and pianist Ari Benjamin Meyers.

The lyrics showcase how Bargeld writes like none other in music, scientific conundrums becoming metaphors for something that's hard to define or understand, but which seems intensely existential—an impression only strengthened by Bargeld's increasingly impassioned delivery and Meyers' insistent, urgent piano hammering. This time around Bargeld's subject matter is Homo Sapiens' old nemesis, impermanence. The never-ending movement of waves—these entities in concept only that cannot even be distinguished from one another (for where does one wave end and the other begin?)—is the perfect image of unstoppable, irreversible change, wind never resting, water never still, nothing ever the same even for an instant. There aren't any «instants», everything a continual flow. This is the famous root of suffering, although Buddhists forget that it's also the root of pleasure. But for now, is the thing you desire staying, or what?!
What should I do with you, waves, you who can never decide
whether you’re the first or the last?
You think you can define the coast with your constant wish-wash,
grind it down with your coming and going.
And yet no one knows how long the coastline really is,
where land stops, where land begins, and you’re forever changing
the line, length, lay, with the moon and unpredictable.

Consistent alone is your inconsistency.

Ultimately victorious since, as so often evoked, this wears away
the stones, grinds the sand down as fine as needed for
hourglasses and egg-timers, as required for calibrating time,
for telling the difference between hard and soft.

Victorious also because, never tiring, you win the contest who of us
will be the first to fall asleep, or you, being the ocean still,
because you never sleep.

Although colourless yourself, you seem blue
when the sky is gently mirrored on your surface, the ideal course
for being strolled upon by the carpenter’s son, the most changeable element.

And inversely, when you are wild and loud and your breakers thunder,
I listen between the peaks of your rollers, and from the highest waves,
from breaking spume, a thousand voices break away, mine,
yesterday’s ones that I didn’t know, that otherwise just whisper,
and all the others too, and in their midst the Nazarene.
Over and over again those stupendous five final words:
Why have you left me?

I hold my own, shout at each single wave:
Are you staying?
Are you staying?
Are you staying, or what?

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