Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld - Nerissimo - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld - Nerissimo

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:8 Release Date:2016-04-30

At first blush, pairing up Italian composer Teho Teardo, known for his award-winning film scores, and Blixa Bargeld, known for screaming while his Einstürzende Neubauten bandmates smash things, seems bizarre. Yet somehow it's so brilliant, the pair have now released their third collaborative album, Nerissimo. It's a fascinating affair, built primarily on lots of stringed instrumentation and Bargeld's utterly compelling vocals.

The album leads with a strong statement of purpose in its title track, driven by awesomely deep cello and Bargeld's not-quite-spoken vocals telling the story of, well, his voice. It's wonderfully entrancing, and sets the stage perfectly for what to expect going forward.

Most of the album follows suit, with extremely serious music and a weird variety of stories told in both English and German. It's not quite mournful, but hardly inspirational either (the second song, 'DHX 2' includes the line "hope should be a controlled substance"), and there's a strong Nick Cave/Tom Waits vibe to the whole thing: a grognard sharing his grizzled wisdom acquired through decidedly untraditional experiences.

The whole album feels like a continuous, flowing piece, with the most notable highlights tending to stick out because of the lyrical content, such as the aforementioned 'DHX 2'. Another is 'The Empty Boat', where Bargeld talks about his boat being empty from e.g. 'the rudder to the sail' and 'the stern to the bow'. There's also the stream, long "from the east to the west", and his dream, wrong "from the birth to the death".

Then there's 'Ulgae', which is something of a twisted fairy tale about 'a small country inside a petri dish'. The denoument provides a real moment of skin-crawling horror through the super-creepy instrumentation and sound effects, although there is a tiny glimmer of hope at the close.

Other songs stand out because of the instrumentation, such as 'Animelle', with its heavy bass clarient and almost noir feel at times. But the music is so rich and well crafted throughout, it rarely gets in the way of the overall piece. It just fits, letting Bargeld guide the listener as he wills. And the final song on the album, perhaps in nod to Teardo's role, is a reprise of the title track with Italian lyrics.

To be clear, this has absolutely nothing to do with pop or rock music. It's like a series of cinematic vignettes, illustrated with Bargeld's imagination. The set is by turns depressing, playful, scary, and meditative. Anyone interested in something well outside the norm should find this intriguing at least, and captivating at best. In fact, I wish more industrial royalty would veer off in crazy directions like this. Highly recommended for the both adventurous and the experienced.

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