The Life You Give: Blixa Bargeld *1959

A powerfully influential figure in experimental and avant-garde rock, Blixa Bargeld is best known as one of the founders of the pioneering industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten, as well as for his work with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

Blixa Bargeld was born Christian Emmerich in the Friedenau quarter of Berlin, Germany on January 12, 1959. His stage name was cobbled together from various sources; “Blixa” came from a popular felt-tip pen, while “Bargeld” literally translates as “cash,” while it also referred to Johannes Theodor Baargeld, an artist and poet who was one of the founders of the Cologne Dada Group. Bargeld left school at an early age, and is entirely self taught as a musician. His earliest influence was Pink Floyd (who were also his first record purchase), though he would soon become a fan of the German groups Can, Kraftwerk, and Neu!, whose experimental bent would have a major impact on his musical thinking.


The Aristipposian Poet
presents
The Life You Give: Blixa Bargeld
in celebration of his life in music
January 12 at 10:30 pm EST
on Clubhouse


Blixa Bargeld

Bargeld’s first attempts at making music were in the form of tape manipulation, but he would follow a different musical path when, emboldened by the D.I.Y. spirit of punk rock, he formed Einstürzende Neubauten (“Collapsing New Buildings”) in 1980 with N.U. Unruh, Gudrun Gut, and Beate Bartel. From the beginning, the band was meant to confront the expectations of the audience, and they first found their style when percussionist Unruh, in need of cash, was forced to sell his drum kit days before the group was booked to play a show. In its place, Unruh assembled a collection of scrap metal that he used as percussion instruments, and soon the band was performing with a collection of power tools, metallic detritus, and found objects along with a few conventional instruments (most notably Bargeld’s unconventionally played electric guitar). After releasing a handful of free-form noise jams on cassettes, Neubauten issued their first proper single, “Fur den Untergang,” in 1980, with their debut album, Kollaps, following in 1981. The group’s lineup also changed in 1981, as Bartel and Gut left Neubauten, and F.M. Einheit (formerly with Abwärts), Mark Chung, and Alexander von Borsig signed on in their place.

When Einstürzende Neubauten landed a spot opening for the Birthday Party, Bargeld struck up a close friendship with the group’s leader, Nick Cave. Cave was taken with Bargeld’s unusual guitar style, and invited him to play on the sessions for the Birthday Party’s 1983 EP Mutiny. Cave also helped Neubauten land a deal with the British label Some Bizzare Records, which released 1983’s Zeichnungen des Patienten O.T. (aka Drawings of Patient O.T.) as well as the 1984 anthology Strategies Against Architecture 80-83, a collection of early recordings. The Mutiny EP would prove to be the Birthday Party’s final release before they broke up, and when Cave founded a new group, the Bad Seeds, he asked Bargeld to join. Bargeld was soon pulling double duty in both the Bad Seeds and Einstürzende Neubauten, regularly recording and touring with both groups. As Neubauten’s sound evolved into a less assaultive and more artful approach, Bargeld branched out as a composer, and began writing music for theater pieces as his schedule permitted. A collection of his theater pieces, Commissioned Music, became Bargeld’s first solo album, released in 1995. He also staged spoken word performances, titled Rede/Speech, in which he combined audio manipulation with readings of pieces in both German and English.

Bargeld began acting in films, beginning with an appearance as himself in Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire in 1987, and playing supporting roles in such works as Die Totale Therapie (1996), Recycled (2000), and Anhedonia (2016). He has also scored a number of short films and independent features, both solo and as part of Einstürzende Neubauten. In 2003, Bargeld amicably left the Bad Seeds to focus on solo projects and his work with Neubauten; by this time, the group had begun moving away from working with established labels and instead enlisted financial support from their fans to record and release their work.

In 2007, Bargeld began a collaborative project with German electronic musician Alva Noto, sometimes billed as ANBB. The duo made their recording debut in 2010 with an EP, Ret Marut Handshake, followed later the same year with the album Mimikry. Another collaborative album, this time with Italian composer Teho Teardo, was released in 2013 under the title Still Smiling. (The two teamed up again in 2016 to release Nerissimo.) In 2014, Einstürzende Neubauten returned to duty with the album Lament, a concept album about the impact of the First and Second World Wars on Germany, timed to coincide with the Centennial of WWI. The group followed the album with a major tour of Europe, and in 2016 they released a career-spanning compilation, Greatest Hits. In 2014, Bargeld and Noto revived ANBB to release the first of a series of EPs based on the seasons of the year. Spring appeared in 2014, while Fall followed in 2017.

by Mark Deming / Source: all music


“Nerissimo

Blue is not the color of my voice
If I would sing in blue
It would drain the oceans
Demolish the pale blue sky

Green is not the color of my voice
It would deforestate the surface
If I would be singing in green

Red is not the color of my voice
If I would sing in red
It would be rage and bloodshed
Impossible to stop

So I sing what I sing best
Yes, I sing what I sing best
Black
The blackest
Until it gets to the other side
And there′s no more
No more darkness left

My voice doesn’t sing to have a color
But if I sing without a color
I would diminish all the light
There′s so much blackness in my repertoire
A lot of shadows in my arsenal

So I sing what I sing best
Yes, I sing what I sing best
Black
I use up all the black
The blackest
Until it gets to the other side
And there’s no more
No more darkness left

*

by Blixa Bargeld, Mauro Teardo


“Blume” (Flower)

[Vers 1]
(Chrysantemum)
For you I am a chrysantemum
Supernova, urgent star

[Vers 2]
(Astera Compositae)
For you I’ll be a dandelion
A thousand flowerettes in the sky
Or just a drop in the ocean

[Chor]
If you know my name
Don’t speak it out
It holds a power
As before

[Vers 3]
(Liliacea)
A lily of the valley
A flower of saron

[Vers 4]
(Helianthus annus)
For you I even be a sunflower
Do you hear my enlightening laughter?
Another reason to cut off an ear


“Half man

Half man
Half man
Keep going, In any direction
We Have Placed Truths for you
Only our transmitters
Shine in their cracks
On the hour we broadcast
Your values

Keep going
We care for you (5x…)
We trigger your senses
We sense for you
We trigger your senses
Noise reduction
(Half man) (3x…)
You don’t see the transmitters and cables
Hanging, laid long ago
From your nerve endings they hang
See your second half
He who is in part has nothing to impart
Keep going
We care for you (5x…)
We trigger your senses
We sense for you
So the 2nd half will never meet
(We care for you) (2x…)
So the 2nd half will never meet
We trigger your senses
(Keep going)
We sense for you
(In any direction)
See your second half
Which for no apparent reason wakes up screaming
Approaches screaming, you don’t see it
Riveted on evening programs
He who is in part has nothing to impart
(Now as before)
Keep going
(Now as before)
In any direction
(Now as before) (3x…)
Strain yourself (2x…)
(Now as before)
Keep going
(Now as before)
We care for you (3x…)
See your second half
(He who is in part has nothing to impart)
Keep going
See your second half
(Now as before)
See your second half
(Strain yourself) (2x…)
(Now as before)
See your second half
(Strain yourself) (2x…)
So the 2nd half will never meet
(We care for you) (2x…)
So the 2nd half will never meet
Nothing for me, nothing for you
The reaper stands there
Keep going
Can’t go any further
You shapeless plasticine
On which life’s spirits
Sucks the last remaining
Sparks, they fly away
Drunk, reeling and swaying
Dancing futile in the sun
You sure don’t matter
They finish you off
A view made for the gods
The reaper sends his kind regard

Sickle not be (8x…)

Halber Mensch

Halber Mensch
Halber Mensch
Geh weiter, (Halber Mensch) in jede Richtung (Halber Mensch)
Wir haben Wahrheiten (Halber Mensch) für dich
Aufgestellt
Halber Mensch
In ihren Rissen (Halber Mensch) leuchten unsre
Sender zu jeder vollen Stunde senden wir
Deine Werte (Halber Mensch)
Geh weiter
Halber Mensch

Wir sorgen für dich
Wir nehmen für dich wahr
Halber Mensch
Wer geteilt ist, hat nicht mitzuteilen
Wir sorgen für dich
Wir nehmen für dich wahr
Wir sorgen für dich
Wir triggern deine Sinne
Rauschunterdrückung
Halber Mensch

Du siehst die Sender nicht
Und Kabel hängen
Längst verlegt
Aus deinen Nerven-
Enden längs des Wegs
Geh weiter!
Sieh deine zweite Hälfte…
Wer geteilt ist hat nicht mitzuteilen
Wir sorgen für dich
Wir triggern deine Sinne
Wir nehmen für dich wahr
Wir sorgen für dich
Dass die zweite Hälfte dich niemals trifft
Halber Mensch
Sieh deine zweite Hälfte
Die scheinbar grundlos
Schreiend erwacht
Schreiend näherkommt
Du siehst sie nicht
Bist gefesselt vom Abendprogramm
Geh weiter in jede Richtung
Wer geteilt ist, hat nichts mitzuteilen
Nach wie vor
Nach wie vor
Streng dich an
Streng dich an
Nach wie vor
Wir sorgen für dich
Wir nehmen für dich wahr
Wir sorgen für dich
Wir triggern deine Sinne
Wir sorgen für dich
Dass die zweite Hälfte dich niemals trifft
Halber Mensch
Mir nichts dir nichts
Steht da der Schnitter
Geh weiter
Stösst an
Geht nicht weiter —
Du formlose Knete
Aus der die Lebensgeister
Den letzten Rest
Funken aussaugen
Fliegen angestachelt taumelnd, besoffen davon
Tanzen nutzlos in der Sonne
Mach dir nichts aus
Sie machen gar aus
Ein Bild für die Götter
Schönen Gruss vom Schnitter
Sicheln nicht sein!
Verwesen

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