Release Date: Apr 22, 2016
Record label: Spècula
Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld are two musicians with raucous backgrounds; the former with Italian rock group Meathead, the latter with German industrial outfit Einstürzende Neubaten. Their collaborative work is by contrast rather more serene, but can be just as formidable thematically. Their latest, Nerissimo, is a profound, irreverent and spellbinding work.
Nerissimo is the Italian superlative for black (ie. the blackest). So for the first and quite possibly the last time in the careers of Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld they’ve found their paths crossing with Spinal Tap. It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None ….
Teho Teardo has made a considerable impact on modern composition. His use of everyday objects to create intriguing rhythms and his deft ability in classical arrangement has seen him conjure some beguiling soundtracks in the last couple of years. Theatre soundtrack Ballyturk was almost stifling in its heat and his ‘soundtrack’ to the silent films of Man Ray, Le Retour à Raison.
In one respect, the second long-player from Einstürzende Neubauten's Bargeld and underground-rocker-turned-soundtrack-composer Teardo sounds exactly as expected; chilly, intelligent, contemplative. But it’s also a work that understands the impervious nature of colour; a measured, minimalistic record it may be, former Bad Seed Bargeld’s enunciation flat and septic, but its philosophically playful nature defies its title – Italian for ‘the blackest’, as polymaths know. Flitting between German and English as well as Italian, each lyric floats above its musical framework – the laconic strings of The Empty Boat and Nirgendheim; expressive clarinet on Animelle – all the while wafting loose patterns and enigmatic, toying statements; Ulgæ even manages to relocate its toyshop soundtrack drama to a Petri dish.
I could write a very lengthy introduction to this album, providing a background for the two musicians whose work it is. One of them a Berlin-born alternative musician whose work includes fronting the band Einstürzende Neubaten and playing guitar as one of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds. The other is an award-winning film and theatre composer, whose musical origins can be found in the Italian industrial scene of the early-’90s.