Einstürzende Neubauten, "On Tour with Neubauten.org"
This isn't a documentary of the history of Einstürzende Neubauten and it isn't a concert film with loads of songs recorded over the years interspersed with backstage antics, it's a collection of homemade videos from director Danielle de Picciotto and various supporters from around the world in various cities interacting with the members of Einstürzende Neubauten as they all unveil the story of Neubauten in 2004.
On Tour with Neubauten.org sits well on a shelf next to the other DVD documentary reissued this year as there's no overlap, they're completely different stories. It's also an encouraging demonstration of how a band can remain on top of their game as they take control of their music without the reliance on a corporation. At the end of the 1990s, Neubauten's record contract with Rough Trade expired and record labels, feeling a pinch (when -haven't- they?), were simply not shelling out the advance money for the more avant garde acts to record. This hurts a group like Einstürzende Neubauten as there's nothing easy or cheap about achieving their sound. In 2006, as we see less money invested by record labels into musical artists, I'm glad to see them taking this move rather than bitching about how this label or that label owes them money or whatever.
On Tour is also a very DIY effort. It's not shot nor edited with professional gear but retains the charm and personability Einstürzende Neubauten has always possessed but might not have been widely known for. The downside to this is that while the documentary is entertaining to watch and I'm sure there are lots of fans who will be excited to see their online friends for the first time, I'm wanting something a little more from something that retails and sells for as high as it does. What would have been perfect would be a full concert or some music videos tossed in to enhance the content. The bonus inclusion is a little more documentary on the percussive sounds found in the trash or returned to the trash but it's short and no better quality than the rest of the DVD.
I imagine seeing this aired on the Sundance Channel some Sunday afternoon or some overnight, and with any luck some more people can be introduced to the fantastic story of what I think is one of the most important groups in the last 25 years, both in their musical and operational styles.