Einstürzende Neubauten

Drawings of Patient O.T.

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Einstürzende Neubauten's second album, 1983's Zeichnungen des Patienten O.T. (Drawings of Patient O.T.), is less extreme than their 1981 debut, but it's still a challenging listen. The title comes from the drawings of Oswald Tschirtner, a Swiss mental patient whose work is prized by collectors of "outsider artists," and the comparison is apt. Einstürzende Neubauten's music has the same bizarre leaps of logic and random connections that one finds in that sort of visual or verbal art, although starting with this album, the music is just controlled and sculpted enough to reveal that yes, the group does know exactly what they're doing. Many of the pieces are more songlike than the group's earlier work, with actual melodies encoded in the banging and howling, and a couple tracks that could even be called almost pretty. "Armenia" is the highlight, based on an Eastern European folk song form and featuring some long, droning, sustained notes that are similar to what some European post-minimalist composers (Gavin Bryars, Michael Nyman, etc.) were doing around the same time. Zeichnungen des Patienten O.T. is the best balance between Einstürzende Neubauten's chaotic early work and the more refined albums to come, and is possibly their best work.

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