Blixa Bargeld

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Blixa Bargeld
Blixa Bargeld.jpg
Background information
Birth name Christian Emmerich
Born (1959-01-12) 12 January 1959 (age 55)
Origin West Berlin, Germany
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • band leader
  • solo artist
  • spoken word artist
  • actor
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass guitar
  • keyboards
  • drums
  • percussion
  • synthesizer
Years active 1980–present
Labels
Associated acts
Website www.blixa-bargeld.com

Blixa Bargeld (born Christian Emmerich on 12 January 1959) is a German-born musician active in a number of artistic fields. He is best known for his studio work and live performances with the groups Einstürzende Neubauten and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. His stage name comes from "Blixa", a German brand of blue felt pen, and Bargeld, German for "cash". Bargeld also refers to German Dada artist Johannes Theodor Baargeld.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Bargeld left school prior to completion and was self-taught. He revealed in 2010: "[I] would never have guessed when I was 13 that I would have become a professional musician. It was so far away as to become a reality in my personal life." Bargeld experimented with audio equipment as a teenager, including the disassembling of tape recorders.[1]

Bargeld is from the Tempelhof area of West Berlin[2][3] and he moved out of his parents' home in the late 1970s.[2] A 2008 documentary featured him visiting his mother and talking to her about his childhood and the relationship he had with his parents.[4]

Career[edit]

In 1980, he founded the music group Einstürzende Neubauten, and the first album he owned was by Pink Floyd—he quickly moved onto German progressive rock acts Kraftwerk, Neu! and Can, which he described as his biggest influences at the time.[1] Bargeld spoke of the early days of Neubauten in 2010:

The starting point for Neubauten was more that we didn't have anything, so I didn't really have the choice to say "I am doing this, I am doing that, or maybe I should play organ". I didn't have any of these things, and I could not afford any of these things, and neither could anybody else in the group. It was more of the logical consequence of what can we obtain, and that's how it turned out. It certainly didn't start out as an artistic concept to say "let's do something different", it started as an extension of the live situation as it already was.[1]

From 1983 to 2003, Bargeld was a long-time guitarist and backing vocalist in Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Bargeld also sang lead vocals alongside Cave on several songs, such as on "The Carny" and "The Weeping Song". Cave first saw Bargeld performing with Einstürzende Neubauten on TV while The Birthday Party (Cave's band at the time) were touring in Amsterdam. He described the music as "mournful", Bargeld as looking "destroyed", and his screams as "a sound you would expect to hear from strangled cats or dying children."[5]

He is credited with playing guitar on the Gun Club song, "Yellow Eyes", on their 1987 album Mother Juno.[6] He also played on the album Novice by Alain Bashung in 1989.[citation needed]

Since the mid-90s Bargeld has appeared live with his solo Rede/Speech Performances. During these performances, usually supported by Neubauten's sound engineer Boris Wilsdorf, he works with microphones, sound effects, overdubbing with the help of sampler loops, and speaks English or German. The performed pieces include a vocal creation of the DNA of an angel and a parody of a techno song.

In 2007 he started a collaborative project with Alva Noto called ANBB, an abbreviation of Noto's and Bargeld's initials. An EP, Ret Marut Handshake, was released on 26 June 2010, followed later that year by a full-length album, Mimikry.[citation needed]

In June 2013, a collaboration with Italian composer Teho Teardo Still Smiling was released on the Specula record label. A music video for the song "Mi Scusi" was published on the Teho Teardo YouTube channel and a corresponding Italian tour is scheduled.[7][8]

In early October, Neubauten announced 24 November 2014 as the release date for their next album, Lament. Lament is described as a "concept album based on a live performance and installation commissioned by the Flemish city of Diksmuide, Belgium to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War in 1914."[9] Bargeld explained in the official press release: "The Second World War is nothing but the elongation of the first one … As a child of the post Second World War era, and the resulting division of Germany and Berlin, I’m of course hugely influenced in my upbringing about the results of that."[9]

Bargeld explained in October 2014 that Neubauten is essentially a materialistic band, leading them to employ two scientific researchers to seek out material to support the development of Lament after the album received financial backing in August 2013. The band opened their 2014 European tour, in support of Lament, with a performance in Diksmuide, Belgium, to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War.[3]

Style and influences[edit]

Jennifer Shryane, in her book Blixa Bargeld and Einstürzende Neubauten: German Experimental Music. Evading do-re-mi (2011), explores how the themes and threads of Bargeld’s work with Neubauten find even greater variation and experimentation in his performance work outside of the band. For example, the range extends from his surreal, electronic Dadaist-cabaret Rede and collaborations with Alva Noto, to his expert direction of Coetzee’s Warten auf die Barbaren for the Salzburg Festival in 2005 where he employed multi-layered symbolism through an ice-white setting and an interplay of voices, screams and noise.

Shryane’s book particularly examines his vocal strategies and his trademark scream (describing the scream in dance terms as the endless pirouette or unanticipated giant leap) and the labyrinthine concerns of his texts – all through Artaudian performance theory (The Theatre and its Double, 1938). She also stresses Bargeld’s passionate stance on the socializing aspects of music (a la John Cage) citing his comment on Grundstück that "it’s the social aspects which are important for me".

Instruments[edit]

Bargeld's guitars of choice are a Fender Jaguar and a Fender Mustang, as seen on the concert DVD God Is In The House and various other media appearances. Initially he used a battered Hofner Model 173 and a red Hofner Colorama II until they "broke down." After his effect pedals were stolen in the early 1980s, he exclusively relied on the Fender floating/dynamic tremolo (like the Hofner units)—which both raise and lower pitch—Fender Twin amplifiers, metal slides, and changing his amp settings for each individual song, to create a unique guitar sound.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Bargeld is married to American Erin Zhu.[3] Together they developed the concept of web-based fan subscriptions as a new business model for musicians. The couple is featured among 37 other design and media figures in the 2010 book Designing Media,[11] by designer and IDEO co-founder Bill Moggridge.[12] The couple resides in San Francisco, US, Beijing, China, and Berlin, Germany, with their daughter.[4][13]

Bargeld was a vegetarian for 30 years, but ceased the lifestyle option due to the difficulties he had practicing vegetarianism in China.[13] He was also a smoker for a long period, but quit smoking in the early 2000s. The sound of Bargeld smoking a cigarette is a part of the Einstürzende Neubauten's song "Silence Is Sexy" (2000), which is featured on the Silence Is Sexy studio album.[citation needed]

Solo discography[edit]

  • 1995 (1995) – "Commissioned Music" (music commissioned and performed for various theatre plays – including a version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow")
  • 1996 (1996) – "Die Sonne" (with Gudrun Gut and Members of the Ocean Club, album and single)
  • 2000 (2000) – "Recycled" (soundtrack composed by Blixa Bargeld, arranged and directed by Tim Isfort and performed by his orchestra)
  • 2001 (2001) – "Elementarteilchen" (audioplay based on Michel Houellebecq's novel Les Particules élémentaires)
  • 2006 (2006) – "Blixa Bargeld liest Bertolt Brecht Erotische Gedichte" (spoken voice recording in German of Bertolt Brecht's erotic poems)
  • 2010 (2010) – "Ret Marut Handshake" (EP) (collaboration with Alva Noto under the moniker ANBB; on the Raster-Noton label)
  • 2010 (2010) – "Mimikry" (with Alva Noto as ANBB, on Raster-Noton label – album also features contributions from Verushka)[14]
  • 2013 (2013) – "Grand Hotel Tbilisi" (track on the compilation Songs of Decadence: A Soundtrack to the Writings of Stanisław Przybyszewski)[15]

Other recordings[edit]

  • 1993 (1993) – Radio Inferno (see also: Inferno)[16](MP3s)[17]
  • 2013 (2013) – Still Smiling by Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld (Specula Records)[8][18]
  • 2014 – Spring by Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld

Filmography[edit]

  • Recycled
  • Die Totale Therapie
  • Die Terroristen!
  • Wings of Desire (as himself, during the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds performance)
  • Dandy (1987, directed by Peter Sempel)
  • Nihil oder Alle Zeit der Welt (as himself, 1988, directed by Uli M Schueppel)
  • Kalt wie Eis
  • Jahre der Kälte/Frozen Stories (filmmusic, 1993, directed by Uli M Schueppel)
  • Liebeslieder (1995)
  • Palast der Republik (2004)
  • Halber Mensch (2005)
  • On Tour with Neubauten.org (2006)
  • Listen With Pain (2006)
  • Blixa Bargeld: Rede / Speech DVD (2006)
  • Elektrokohle – von wegen (as himself, filmmusic, (1994, directed by Uli M Schueppel)
  • Hornbach commercials (German hardware store) reading tool catalogs as spoken word
  • 20,000 Days on Earth (2014)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Luke Turner (18 November 2010). ""You Can't Kill The Drill": Einsturzende Neubauten's Blixa Bargeld Interviewed". The Quietus. The Quietus. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Jason Gross (March 1999). "Blixa Bargeld interview". Perfect Sound Forever. Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c John Robb (31 October 2014). "Einsturzende Neubauten have just released one of the albums of the year- in depth interview with Blixa Bargeld". Louder Than War. Louder Than War. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Mein Leben – Blixa Bargeld" (Documentary Film directed by Birgit Herdlitschke, ZDF / ARTE, Germany 2008)
  5. ^ EN: 20 ans de Nostalgie
  6. ^ Mother Juno album sleeve.
  7. ^ "Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld in concert". Teho Teardo. Teho Teardo. 5 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Sam Wiseman (25 June 2013). "Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld – Still Smiling". The Skinny. Radge Media Limited. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  9. ^ a b John Robb (7 October 2014). "Einsturzende Neubauten New Album Lament … Full Details Here". Louder Than War. Louder Than War. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  10. ^ http://www.bendecho.de/deb9a62ce9-einstuerzende-neubauten-interview-2
  11. ^ "Designing Media Interview of Blixa Bargeld and Erin Zhu". designing-media.com. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  12. ^ "Ideo". designing-media.com. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  13. ^ a b Ich war ja nie der Punk, der vorm Postamt rumsteht, 2009 interview, stern.de (German)
  14. ^ DNC. "Tiny Mix Tapes Review of Mimikry by ANB". wwww.tinymixtapes.com. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  15. ^ "Various – Songs Of Decadence: A Soundtrack To The Writings Of Stanislaw Przybyszewski". Discogs. Discogs. 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  16. ^ "Musical Radio Theater Version of Dante's Divine Comedy". 
  17. ^ WFMU's Beware of the Blog. WFMU. 18 February 2007 http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2007/02/radio_theater_v.html |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Teho Teardo (10 April 2013). "Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld - Mi Scusi (video edit)" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 

External links[edit]