Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld – Still Smiling

Album Review by Sam Wiseman | 25 Jun 2013
  • Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld – Still Smiling
Album title: Still Smiling
Artist: Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld
Label: Specula
Release date: 1 Jul

This collaboration between Einstürzende Neubauten’s Blixa Bargeld and Italian composer Teho Teardo reveals a strikingly symbiotic relationship between the pair, who worked together on theatre and film soundtracks before Still Smiling was conceived. The instrumentation sets violin, cello, piano and guitar against metallic percussion, while Bargeld ponderously intones vocal contributions in English, German and Italian; the musical palette brings out a tenderness in Bargeld’s vocals that is less evident in his other projects. 

That said, the tone of the pieces often recalls Neubauten’s dark, nervous tension, although their sharp-edged, post-industrial aesthetic is here replaced with a hazier atmosphere – particularly on the mournful, fluttering strings of songs like Come Up and See Me. While this makes Still Smiling a less challenging and complex record than some of Bargeld’s other work, it does have a rare space and quietude, which emphasises the deadpan, melancholy humour of his lyrics and vocal style.