Ira Robbins
August 09, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Strategies Against Architecture II

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
Producers
Mute
genre
Rock

We gave it a B

Those who still call rock & roll nothing but noise have a fairly valid point with these German loudspeaker shredders. Throughout the ’80s, the Berlin quintet (whose name means Collapsing New Buildings) has rattled music’s cage, deeming such items as power tools, kitchen utensils — even a shopping cart — valid and appropriate instruments for the postindustrial age. In Strategies Against Architecture II, an annotated two-CD retrospective (1984-’90), rhythmic drones and deceptive silences are broken by chanted or spoken vocals, tape loops of audio verite (recordings of such sounds as dripping water and escaping steam), and bouts of pounding and scraping — a firmly organized assault of sound that can be both maddening and mesmerizing. Hard listening, to be sure, but a powerful and provocative soundtrack for pressurized urban existence. B

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