In an era where even home musicians have the technology to make intricate collages of "found sound," the industrial art rock of Germany's Einstürzende Neubauten seems less strange than it once did. But that's largely because, like their countrymen in Kraftwerk, the members of Neubauten helped invent a new aesthetic. The taut rubber-band shamble of Timbaland, the subtler toe-tripping of his neighbors, the Neptunes, and even the claustrophobic beats on Britney Spears' "Toxic" owe a huge debt to the experiments of Neubauten, whether the influence is conscious or not. What sets the gracefully aging Germans apart from the crowd is that they have always found their sounds, not by rummaging through the record bin, but by seeing the mundane instruments of manual labor -- oil drums, corrugated sheet metal, drills -- as instruments of musical pleasure, the perfect complement to guitar, bass, and the tortured vocals of Blixa Bargeld. On its latest record, the languid Perpetuum Mobile, Neubauten demonstrates that it hasn't lost its cutting edge. Even if it applies less pressure than it once did, it still draws blood. Bring earplugs and a wide-open mind, because you might get blown away.
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