Around 1990-91, I was a volunteer at 2SER student radio. Mostly, I did technical work helping my mate, Tim. Panelling, editing, that kind of thing. In 1991, Einsturzende Neubauten were touring Australia and there was an offer to do a radio interview with 2SER. I could actually pronounce “Einsturzende Neubauten” and knew a little bit about the band, so it was decided that I would do the interview. Which was not really my thing. But it came with perks; tickets to their show at the Phoenician Club and a copy of the Strategies Against Architecture LP, so I said OK. I knew the legendary Blixa Bargeld has a reputation for not suffering fools, so I tried to prep questions that were interesting. So, on the day of the show the plan was to go down to the club after soundcheck and interview Blixa. It was a bit intimidating. I mean, EN were one of the world’s most dangerous bands, and Blixa also played in the Bad Seeds, which made him an underground legend. Tim and I were in the equipment room gathering up a portapack and mics and whatever else we needed, when someone comes running in the room whispering “There’s a vampire in the lobby, and he’s looking for you!” And sure enough, there in the lobby, stands Blixa, in full stage outfit, pale as death, six foot six in cuban heels and his hair teased up, and 100lbs wringing wet. He has a bottle of schnapps and a filthy look in his eye. He’s staring death at everyone. And then I hear my name called. Standing next to this imperious vision in black is a smiling Japanese man in bright green overalls with a flower appliqued on the front. His voice is oddly familiar; it is Rick Tanaka, former presenter of the Nippy Rock Shop, a collage-like radio show from Triple J in the 80s. I was a fan. Turns out, he is the road manager for this EN tour, and he is asking for me. He hands me his business card: Rick Tanaka, Private Guy. We hurriedly shuffle Rick and Blixa into a meeting room and turn on the recorder, and I attempt an interview. It did not go well. Blixa did not want to be there, was much smarter than me, and was not very patient with my attempts at questions that were more engaging than the usual stereotypical “who gets to go to the junk yard for your stage show?”. Eventually, he just started ignoring me and chatted to Rick. Tim and I kept the tape rolling for their conversation, and afterwards edited it up into something resembling proper radio. And then they left. Tim and I packed up, and then walked down the road to the Phoenician Club. (En route, we bumped into the Beasts of Bourbon, who were playing support. They were intensely focussed. They clearly knew what was coming, and determined to put on a good show. They were the best I ever saw them play that night; tight, ferocious and angry, showcasing material from their Low Road album, that was not yet released). And then on came Einsturzende Neubauten. It was possibly the most intense, frightening show I ever seen. I confess I was a little freaked out by my encounter with Blixa, and not really prepared for the experience of an EN show. By the end, I was pressed up against a wall with my fists clenched and my eyes shut. The sound from the stage was so brutal and overwhelming. I can’t recall much of what went on, except for a bit with shopping carts with contact mikes crashing into each other repeatedly. It was really loud. I know I left the venue about 11.30pm. At 2am, I turned up at my girlfriend’s house, tapping on her window. I assume I spent the intervening hours walking the streets in a daze, but not really sure of what I did in that time. Before you ask, no, there were no drugs involved. She yelled at my for waking her up for a good 15 minutes, but I was unable to put a sentence together, let alone explain what had just happened to me. It was a heavy, really heavy, performance. Ok, so given that background of my relationship with EN, what do I think about this album? I have listened to it once or twice before. EN is really influential on me. I love noisy things, really noisy things. I played in industrial bands through most of the 1990s. And this is like the ur-text for much of what industrial music became. It still sounds frightening and surprising now. That said, this is a massively difficult listening experience. I am reminded of Brian Eno talking about Steve Reich (I think), and how hearing one of his early tape pieces was massively influential, but he never listened to it again. Early EN (and this album in particular) is like that for me. It opened up a world of possibilities to explore, but I don’t need (or probably even want) to listen to it much. I certainly was much more enamoured of their early 1990s material, which contains actual songs, rather than just this scary barrage of crashing rhythms and screaming. Kollaps is an important record for me, but I would not recommend it.