Studio Science: FM Einheit on Live Performance
The incomparable percussionist shares his unorthodox approach
FM Einheit has built a career at the cutting edge of music. Named after the abbreviation for the frequency modulation of shortwave radios he used when he first began making music, Einheit immersed himself in the post-punk world of late ’70s Germany before joining Einstürzende Neubauten in the early ’80s as a percussionist. During his time with the influential West Berlin band, Einheit built custom-made instruments, often using metal, and used hammer drills to create new sounds. Live performances would in turn feature dramatic use of the instruments with banging and destruction, which cemented the band’s uncompromising image and set Einheit on his own unique creative path, writing and performing music with unconventional instruments and approaches.
Over the past 30 years Einheit has worked both on his own and with others, including bands like Stein, Pan Sonic and Gry, as well as with fellow Neubauten member Alexander Hacke, and also expanded beyond music to theater and radio plays.
In this episode of Studio Science, filmed at the Red Bull Music Studios Berlin during the 2018 Red Bull Music Academy, FM Einheit used a recent collaboration with Swiss singer Erika Stucky, titled “heaven_radiator,” to give a fascinating insight into the process of how he writes and performs music. From creating drones in Ableton to using a metal spring as a bass and a metal sheet as percussion, Einheit shows how to tap into the freedom of music as a language.