Total Eclipse of the Sun is an appreciation of silence. Destroying the machine-noise EN, they remake themselves as soft-music EN. Using plastic buckets, chairs, jet turbines, bass pedals and a small string ensemble, they give birth to three songs that explore sound rather than fury. The gotterdammerung metal percussion of N.U. Unruh and F.M. Einheit is replaced by off-kilter bell chimes and slow-tempo bucket drumming. Alexander Hacke's once-spastic guitar has been transformed into soothing bass tones. Even Blixa Bargeld's nerve-flaying howl has been muted; he sings with androgynous grace and passion, but it's not the passion of suffering that dominated EN's early, more extreme work. Now Bargeld sings with the passion of a true Deutsche Romantik, laying bare more of the beauty that lay hidden under the jackhammers and fires. "Come with me aboard my sunship," he commands/pleads with Teutonic longing in "Sonnenbarke," as strange gusts of sound wash around his voice. Adrift in the void between the notes, a dim echo of Bargeld is barely audible. This reflection of his voice is unintelligible, but the loneliness of the sound transcends language. His garbled words span the distance from note to note, heart to mind, planet to star.
Though the quiet of Total Eclipse of the Sun is beautiful, it may not be lasting. Is this EP just a momentary obscuring of their fiery noise, as its title implies, or is it the start of a new cycle for Einstürzende Neubauten? It doesn't matter. Destruction or creation, for EN the end result is always beautiful, always interesting.
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