By Michael Murray
2004 should have been the year of Germanyís industrial music pioneers Einsturzende Neubauten.
It was the year their trailblazing album Perpetuum Mobile was released. So what went wrong?
History got in the way. Or rather, their history.
Their history stakes their claim on dissonance, on stadium stage-wrecking concerts using road drills, industrial machinery and off cuts, on clanging, banging, headache sounds.
But anyone who heard 1980ís STAHLVERSION, a live recording of rhythmic beats and drumming on the metal casing of an autobahn overpass, will attest to greater things to come.
Ok, it took a long time to come: things had to be done first. But in 2004 the fruits of those earlier plantings bloomed, and bloomed wonderfully. This was a classic album, in every sense of the word.
And not so unprepared for: the earlier two albums, Ende Neu of 2001, and Silence Is Sexy of 2003, lay out new, more generally accessible areas of harmonics and melodies to be explored.
Perpetuum Mobile is at some levels a collaboration between the band and fans: pieces were put out on net pages for dedicated fans to respond to, suggest what worked, what could happen next.
This resulted in a still industry-heavy sound, but one capable of greater subtlety and harmony.
The title-piece an extended exploration of our continually more mobile lifestyle, and its changes and effects on the ways we live and view the world. Still utilising industrial machinery: air compressors, plastic tubes, amplified steel wire, also coming to the fore is greater use of electronic loops, standard guitar and organ.
The piece goes through a number of dramatic tonal shifts, sustained by the same driving rhythm throughout.
And the more accessible Dead friends (Around the corner), although no doubt alienating some of the bandís older fans, could not have done better to win more mainstream airplay.
The overall tone is experiment tempered by maturity: industry and melody. And it works.
So where were all the buying public?