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Similar in tone to Mick Harvey's introspective pieces, this appears at the opposite polarity to "Kollaps." Back then the whole world was wobbling under the spectre of invasion, nuclear war linked to one day at a time - finger on the button oblivion. Echoes linked to extreme psychological states whirled around and fuelled by families, institutions and drugs a cry which becomes a primal yelp eventually rumbles into an ear shattering scream - or alternatively it becomes stifled and muffled with a cloth and doused in prozac.

Years later the vitriol has simmered into a broth of a life lived, as Blixa gazes into a caught reflection. Narcisism, for an artist, is a necessary quality to dredge themselves to eventually make a connection to others. Often artists are taken unaware by the inter human links they make, necessarily initially feeling they are the only one. Only by putting themselves on the edge to they make connections. As the confidence develops they become torn between their standard audience expectations; the safety of getting a pay cheque and forever taking those risks which inspired them in the first place (Decent artists that is not the off the peg mannequins).

Here, he has both taken risks and played safe only in the sense of operating within a structural form which no longer shouts but introspects. Still a million miles away from something off the peg aimed to soothe the brow. Blixa's voice is mellower, without ever being bland as he emits pathos rather than wrestling with an overwhelming internal angst - still the scream of the Tin Drum is emitted but in tune to the strings. Strings, bows and orchestration, in a left field arrangement play gently in the background as a counterpoint to the voice . It sounds a perfect partner for the late Johnny Cash albums in feel and not that far from recent Neubauten albums in tone. Sung in German, Italian and English, the lyrics detai the world world revolution.

Will take a few spins before the maladies fully enter the synapses and eventually lodge there, but that is the beauty of non sugared music, you make your own way instead of it all being laid out for you like a computer game. So this will swing gently in the background to the spray of fountains and the sip of coffee as the smoke of a Gaulois curls upwards. Unashamedly European in content.
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on 23 September 2013
One of the most creative team in the formatted musical world of 2013... daring, surprising, amazing, beautiful... and re-discovered with each new listening
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on 27 August 2013
This is a good record. Blixa Bargeld and Neubauten haven't released anything new since 2008. Teho Teardo provides an absorbing soundtrack to Blixa's musings on life in his native German, English and Italian. At times it feels like a Depeche Mode record without honking Dave. If you like Neubauten this is a must buy, if you don't, check it out anyway and expand your record collection if not your mind set.
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on 7 October 2013
I read the review of this cd on THE QUIETUS site. "A trans-Alpine alliance of the highest order, Still Smiling sees Blixa Bargeld join forces with Italian composer Teho Teardo for a bold, 13-track, hour-long album released on Italy's Specula label. Musically, Still Smiling is so absorbing and enduring a listen thanks to its range of melodic ideas and well-executed experimentation. Its sequencing and structure is no doubt so eloquent thanks to Teardo's history in film and theatre." This album is so wonderful, from the way it is recorded - absolute audio heaven - right through the songs and blixa's voice, not unlike leonard cohen's: pure and utterly beautiful!
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on 31 March 2015
After I had the opportunity of watching the live concert , this CD offers the possibility of keeping expectations, and leaves open the desire to hear more of this duo, as unlikely as perfect .
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on 27 June 2014
I've found out about this album through the EN website, so I came to it as an EN/Blixa fan. And as an EN/Blixa fan I was instantly delighted.

Of course, music is not the same. But then again, if you've been with the band throughout its career and enjoy the latest albums just as much as the old, noisy ones, you're probably the kind of person who's musical sensitivity runs quite parallel with what this duo has on offer. First, and foremost, it's Blixa's voice, of course. And while I thought that I've heard by now every possible thing that voice can do, there are still surprises here. No, not the shrieks, but the muted, singing voice, slightly different to the one I know so well from the Neubauten.
And then there's the music which seems to marry the temperaments of those two gentlemen (there are some examples of Mr. Teardo's solo projects on Spotify for example). A little bit electronic, a little bit experimental, a little bit avant-garde, with a hearty dose of strings (predominantly cello). In atmosphere it did make me think a little about some of the Michael Nyman's soundtracks, there might be a bit of Belanescu Quartet here as well.

The result is intriguing, sublime and sophisticated. Works well in the car, but even better when you just sit down and listen. We seem to have not enough time to do things like that these days, but Still Smiling is definitely an album worth that little bit of effort.
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