The Willy - Nicky Telegrams

Einstürzende Neubauten
Language: English

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The album version of LAMENT should be heard as a studio reconstruction of a work primarily designed to be performed live, rather than an official new Einstürzende Neubauten LP proper.

In truth, the piece can only be fully realised, as well as best experienced, in its physical embodiment, performed on or by founding member Andrew Unruh’s gigantic instruments and noise generating devices that visually evoke the horrors the work describes or embeds in the sounds they conjure from the filth and terror of the industrialised 20th century world at war with itself.

But in fulfilling what at first appears to be a surprise commission for such a formidable longtime outsider group, Einstürzende Neubauten transformed the earthy, idiosyncratic contents they mined from academic, state, music hall and internet archives with the help of their two researchers into a richly complex cycle of original and cover songs and performance pieces.

The music often originated in LAMENT’s storytelling needs, be it in terms of sounds used or compositions structured along First World War flow charts or scored from calendars of the involvement of the 20 plus countries embroiled in it. The way LAMENT plays off pre-existing and composed materials, pieces clipped together from historical records next to direct cover interpretations, or indeed their Frankenstein like construction of an ur-anthem/national hymn delivers a differently angled history of the war.

Finally, LAMENT opens Bargeld’s case that the First World War never ended - the interwar and postwar periods being essentially pauses for breath as the great military powers carry on their conflict at some remove in faraway wars fought by proxy.

Kriegsmaschinerie - Hymnen - The Willy - Nicky Telegrams - In de loopgraf - Der 1. Weltkrieg (Percussion Version) - On Patrol in No Man's Land - Achterland - Lament - Lament - How did I die? - Sag Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind - Der Beginn des Weltkrieges 1914 (unter Zuhilfenahme eines Tierstimmenimitators) - All of No Man's Land Is Ours

The Willy-Nicky Telegrams is a mock tenderly sung duet characterised by the duplicity of two royal cousins conducting a running dialogue via telegram: Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm and Russia’s Tsar Nicholas, with Alex Hacke singing Nicky’s lines and Bargeld singing Kaiser Willy’s. Bargeld basically adapted the texts of the duo’s telegrams into song form, with each calling on their undying affection for the other to promote peace, while slyly maneuvering their troops for the inevitable war between their nations.

“Within Europe, France is a republic, and England was the only country in Europe run as a constitutional monarchy,” says Bargeld, “while of course the Russian empire and Prussian Germany were both completely ruled by old fashioned monarchies. The thing that saved England was having a constitutional monarchy. Well you saw how the war ended. There was no Tsar after that, and no German Kaiser anymore.”
tsar to kaiser]
I appeal to you to help me.
An ignoble war has been declared
very soon I shall be overwhelmed
forced to take extreme measures
such a calamity
European war
I beg you to do what you can
stop your allies from going too far.

[kaiser to tsar (this and the previous telegraph crossed.)]
The spirit still dominates the country
that led them to murder their own king.
dastardly murder
deserved punishmwent.
In this case politics plays no part at all.
Your very sincere and devoted friend and cousin

[kaiser to tsar]
I cannot consider Austria's action
an »ignoble« war.
it would be quite possible for Russia to remain
a spectator of the conflict
without involving Europe in the most horrible war.
military measures would jeopardize my position
as mediator
which I readily accepted on your appeal
to my friendship and my help.

[tsar to kaiser (this and the previous telegraph crossed.)]
Thanks for your telegram conciliatory and
the official message by your ambassador
is in a very different tone.
Beg you to explain this divergency!
It would be right to give the problem to the

Trust in your wisdom and friendship.
Your loving Nicky

[tsar to kaiser]
Military measures for reasons of defence
I hope that they won’t interfere with your part
as mediator
We need your pressure on Austria to come to an

[kaiser to tsar (this and the previous telegraph crossed.)]
If Russia mobilises, my role as mediator
is ruined.
The weight of the decision lies on your
shoulders now
who have to bear the responsibility for
Peace or War.

[kaiser to tsar]
In my endeavours to maintain the peace
I have gone to the utmost limit.
responsibility for the disaster will not be
laid at my door.
The peace of Europe may be maintained
If Russia stops the military measures
My friendship for you and your empire has
always been sacred to me

[tsar to kaiser (this and the previous telegraph crossed.)]
to stop our military preparations is technically
no provocative actions
negociations take place
I give you my solemn word for this. We are
far from wishing war.

Your affectionate

[tsar to kaiser]
I wish to have the guarantee from you that
these measures do not mean war
we shall continue negociating for the benefit
of our countries
universal peace dear to our hearts.
Our long proved friendship must succeed
in avoiding bloodshed

[kaiser to tsar]
I pointed out to you the way by which
war may be avoided.
I requested an answer for noon today,
no telegram has reached me yet.
I therefore have to mobilise my army.

Contributed by dq82 - 2015/4/28 - 13:10

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