One of the most psychotic albums I own . . .
waldo jeffers | Locust, PA | 11/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I discovered this album in an independent record store only three or four days after I first heard Einsturzende Neubauten through Napster. It was the only EN album that they had, so I picked it up pretty quickly.
I was somewhat apprehensive about the first listen, not knowing exactly what to expect. The only EN album I had heard so far was "Ende Neu," which, from most reviews I read, appears to be markedly more mellow than anything else that the band recorded prior. "Kollaps" was generally reported as the noisiest, most unlistenable of their recordings, so when I realized that "Kalte Sterne" predated that CD, I prepared myself for a very trying experience.
In some ways it is very trying. A friend of mine said that he got visions of a Nazi concentration camp in his head from listening to this, that it was the soundtrack to starvation and totalitarian beatings.
I, however, have really learned to appreciate almost every song on here. Some of them have pretty catchy rock beats ("Zuckendes Fleish") while others have more of an industrial techno sound ("Pygmaeen") and some defy classification altogether ("Schwarz," "Durstiges Tier").
Every track is intense. On "13 Loecher (Leben ist illegal)," a power drill is used as an instrument. On "Bakterien fuer eure Seele," probably my favorite track, a pounding drum beat is intermixed with psychotic screaming and the crunchiest, most minimal of guitar attacks, while still remaining mellow and quiet in parts. On "Schwarz," Blixa Bargeld mumbles his way through must of the lyrics (accompanied by a keyboard drone and some random mechanical drums) before letting loose some incredibly disturbing howls. "Durstiges Tier" is beyond my ability to describe. "Aufrecht gehen" has drums that are dizzyingly psychedelic and thick. "Thirsty Animal" may have English lyrics, but its no comfort when they're screamed at you (a watery scream diluted by distortion) by a woman, accompanied by ear-aching drums and a repetitive acoustic guitar riff that seems to parody the conventions of rock music.
In short, I found lots to like on "Kalte Sterne," despite the warning on the back that "the sound-quality varies from track to track." It's much more mellow than I expected; its noisy but the noise is used effectively. The melodies are there if you choose to look for them. And the vocals are some of the most impressive I've ever heard in music."
Luigi Russolo would have been proud...
Joseph scott irving 3rd | Stoneville, N.C. | 12/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"LUIGI RUSSOLO is the author of the manifesto called 'THE ART OF NOISES' (see my review elsewhere on Amazon). In his writings he described music as noise and noise as music. He also built his own instruments to make sounds he could not get from existing instruments. Einsturzende Neubauten are the first group I heard who took Russoli's themes to heart and made them their own. They were not the only ones to do this, but I will argue that few groups went to the limits that Neubauten was willing to explore. ALthough these recordings (which include many rare or almost forgotten performances, including a collaboration with Lydia Lunch) don't quite show what Neubauten was truly capable of as a sound/music/noise entity, they certainly show that good things were not far away. These recordings would lead to masterpieces such as 1985's 'Halber Mensch' and 2004's perpetuum mobile'. Buy 'Kalte Sterne' and enjoy the almost innocent explorations that are being made by a group that was on it's way to becoming a force of nature!"
You are now entering paranoid domain
filterite | Dublin, Ireland | 08/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On this release of early tracks from around Kollaps era Neubauten what's interesting is that it is nowhere near as noisy as Kollaps. Not even close. Granted it's still your standard Neubauten from that era - harsh, abrasive, aggressive and at times creepy. But it's nowhere near brain meltdown as Kollaps.
The tracks however do tend to creep and crawl under your skin. It's almost like you were being locked in a room with while being poisoned with gas that's filling up the room in a cloud. Tracks such as Zuckendes Fleisch ( German for "Twitching Meat") and Bakterien Fuer Eure Seele ( Bacteria For Your Soul ) are prime examples of that. The two last tracks Thirsty Animal and Durstiges Tier should viewed as one of the same since they both mean the same thing. To me it's almost like a soundtrack to a chemical nuclear explosion and the lyrics by Lydia Lunch describe the gruesomeness of the survival of what's left of the inhabitants. I never said it was cheery stuff!
If you are new to Neubauten you would be well off starting with later records. The Strategies compilations are ideal and essential purchases and give you a taste of Neubauten.....leave this one until a little later unless you're a hardened pro at noise records. Then just step inside....."