Around 1980, many young, creative people perceived the exceptional political situation in West Berlin as normal; and one in which it also seemed that anything was possible.
When Blixa Bargeld was asked whether he would perform at the “Moon” club on April 1, 1980, he agreed, dreamt up the band EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN, and then called a couple of friends. The band’s first line up consisted of those musicians, who happened to be free that night: Blixa Bargeld, Gudrun Gut, N. U. Unruh and Beate Bartel.
In 1981, Blixa Bargeld, N. U. Unruh and FM Einheit recorded an “inaudible” LP in a recording studio: Kollaps is a frontal attack on conventional listening habits of that time, which the mainstream had made deaf. For lack of money (among other reasons), the band’s range of instruments consisted of “found” and self‐built objects made of sheet steel, drills, hammers, a "non‐voice" that plucked a text out of shreds of German words and professional studio equipment, which was consistently used despite their real attitudes toward technical modifications.
Through this approach, the construct EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN has become one of the few German bands to produce genuine, international impulses and they have had an inspirational effect on numerous other bands and art genres, spanning from dance theater, to the fine arts, to film – from Christoph Schlingensief to Quentin Tarrantino.
As a result they were invited ad hoc in 1982 to documenta 7 in Kassel and in 1986 as the German contribution to the Biennale de Paris, as well as to the EXPO in Vancouver, Canada.
Numerous productions and extensive concert tours have followed over the years.
Their original and radical redefinition of the concept of music has brought about inevitable and quite welcome collaborations like those with the Japanese director Sogho Iishi who recorded the film “1/2 Mensch” during the band’s tour of Japan in 1985 in an empty factory building in Tokyo with a Butoh dance ensemble including songs from their album of the same name. (German premiere at the Berlinale in 1986), with Peter Zadek (Andi, Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hamburg, 1987), as well as Werner Schwab (“Faust... “, Hans Otto Theater, Postdam, 1994).
However, a collaboration with Germany’s most influential postwar dramatist, Heiner Müller (Bildbeschreibung, 1988, Hamletmaschine, 1990), was particularly significant. One of the legendary site‐specific performances – which have become a constant side focus of the EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN – was created with Müller’s dramaturgical collaboration, at Erich Wonder’s invitation. Im Auge des Taifun took place in 1992 to mark the 300th anniversary of the “Academy of Fine Arts Vienna”, sending sonic waves of music out into that city’s Ringstraße from a modified glass truck pulled by huskies.
The performance of “Concerto for Voice and Machinery” in 1984 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London made such a lasting impression that Jo Mitchell reenacted it in 2007 in a reconstructed performance
In 1994 Mark Chung und F.M. Einheit left the band, Jochen Arbeit und Rudolf Moser joined and complemented in 1997, at Live performances amended by Ash Wednesday, until 2013, followed by Felix Gebhard since 2014.
In the first decade of the new millennium EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN was the first and only band worldwide to make use of the Internet so successfully and productively, to assemble its fans and group its activities. Accordingly, beginning in 2002, the EINSTÜRZENDEN NEUBAUTEN organised their official website into an epicenter of musical activity – the likes of which has not been seen before. Entire album productions were financed in three stages through a subscription model based on so‐called “Supporters” which makes the band to inventors of the nowadays common „Crowfunding“.
During the 100th anniversary of John Cage’s death in 2012, the EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN were invited to participate in two important exhibitions paying tribute to the composer. Video clips of the band were shown in “A House Full of Music” at the Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt and in the HMKV’s award‐winning exhibition “Sounds like Silence” at Dortmunder U. Blixa Bargeld also wrote a catalogue essay in honor of John Cage for the Akademie der Künste in Berlin.
In 2014, recognition is focused on the EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN themselves through an international, worldwide touring exhibition GENIALE DILLETANTEN on the “German art of 1980s”, organized by the Goethe Institute.
Invited by the region of Flanders, Belgium EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN developed a new, exceptional composition, called “LAMENT”. The band produced a musical work on the outbreak of World War I 100 years ago, which had its premiere performance in Diksmuide, Belgium on November 8, 2014. This musical event was part of the GoneWest artistic commemoration programme in the province of West Flanders. in remembrance of the Fall of Diksmuide. The historic commemoration of the fall of Diksmuide combined with the intense and profound musical composition by EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN was for sure an unforgetable and unique contemporary performance in a distinctive setting and one of the most important musical events of the year.
Live –performances and same named album received worldwide higly recognition and appreciation by fans and critics as well. Due to the major success EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN have been again invited to perform LAMENT at Flanders in 2018, this time to mark the end of World War I.
In 2016 the band`s first ever „Greatest Hits“‐album was released, which contents a cross section of more than 35 years band‐oeuvre.
EINSÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN will continue to search further on their eternal quest for that still undiscovered sound.