German Book Review: Nur was nicht ist, ist möglich

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Nur was nicht ist ist möglichRock-n-roll autobiographies seem to be especially popular right now. But due to the nature of the beast, they’re relatively one-sided. You get the author’s point of view than you have to wait for their bandmates to write books to get their side of the story! But in 2005, authors Max Dax and Robert Defcon wrote a biography of sorts on Einstürzende Neubauten. Entitled Nur was nicht ist, ist möglich, the book is a compilation of conversations with the band’s members, past and present, plus a few other figures notable to their music.

Because the book is solely their words it reads like a long transcript which the authors have pieced together. It offers a better insight into exactly what each person thought and less of what the authors – or the band themselves – want to portray. Similarly, there is some back and forth between the band mates, especially during the “Ende Neu” era when two members departed and things turned a little sour. It’s also particularly fascinating to read the band in their own words and not edited together like a magazine interview.

Where the book is a bit light, however, is in details. At times, the book only scratches the surface of a topic before going on to something else. Perhaps more time and specifics could have been spent on the band’s unique instruments or could have gone further in depth on specific songs or later albums. Also the fact that the book is only loosely ordered chronologically makes it occasionally confusing and difficult to follow.

Because it’s the band told in their own words, the language has some informalities but, in general, is rather difficult simply because of the large range of words that are used. The book’s vocabulary is large due to so many different speakers.

There’s nothing especially earth shattering revealed in Nur was nicht ist, ist möglich but it does cover the gamut from their starting days to their successes, including inexplicable stardom in Japan. For fans of Neubauten it may not be a must-read but it’s certainly a should-read.

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