"Still Smiling" is Blixa Bargeld at his most melancholic and introspective. Lyrically, much of the album deals with his loneliness and (likely feigned) ambivalence to his fame. Musically, Teardo offers something atypical for anyone more familiar with Bargeld's oeuvre: unaltered traditional instrumentation in standard tunings ("normal instruments"), played in accessible compositions. It seems to be a bit of a joke on Blixa's longtime fans: We've come to expect a record featuring Bargeld to involve his trademark screeches, sharp, nasal delivery, and abstract songcraft, with instrumentals featuring sounds as varied as jackhammers, trash compactors, cell-phone interference, improvised choirs, etc. Not so on "Still Smiling:" Though Bargeld's screeches and unusual deliveries are not entirely absent (see "Axolotl"), he chooses to deliver most of his lyrics in his pleasant tenor singing voice; Teardo's instrumentals seem to draw from Rat Pack era pop...
A collaboration that allows more of the humor of Blixa Bargeld to be exposed. Stripped of the percussion that propels Einsturzende Neubauten, Blixa seems to allow a more intimate portrait of himself. Although this may also be contributed to his partner on the Still Smiling album: Teho Teardo who seems to be the perfect foil for Blixa. Teho's thoughtful compositions although melancholic never become too dour. Teho has an expansive set of sounds that range from minimal to experimental orchestral, all guided and pitch perfect for this musical tryst. I recommend watching the video for "Mi Scusi" to help you decide if this is for you.
This album was on repeat for a very long time in my car. Absolutely loved it.
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