The film’s soundtrack comes from the Berlin band Einstürzende Neubauten. In the film their music can be heard alternating with classical pieces of music.

“Modernity and history collide in BERLIN BABYLON. And that should also be reflected in the music. The oldest classical piece of music in the film is by Beethoven, the youngest composer is Luigi Nono. And of course Wagner also occurs – how else can you tell the Third Reich. And all this together with the collapsing new buildings – that results in an incredible dynamic.” 
Hubertus Siegert, director

Siegert initially planned a cooperation with the American band Nine Inch Nails for his film – but a colleague advised him to see Einstürzende Neubauten. Without further ado he drove to one of their gigs in Munich. And was immediately impressed by the variety of this music – “sometimes romantic, sometimes very industrial, text-heavy, special. Ideal for BERLIN BABYLON. ” Siegert invited Blixa Bargeld to his production company and the two watched the rough cut of the film on a 35 mm cutting table without sound design, without demo music.

“It’s tedious to watch an entire film in this way – and yet Blixa was immediately fascinated and accepted. He already had a few ideas there.”
Hubertus Siegert, director

Already in the rough cut, the actress Angela Winkler spoke the text “The Angel of History” by Walter Benjamin, while the camera captures the desolation of the Berlin mega site. You stay in the gorges of the future Tiergartentunnels over which a storm is coming. It is tedious to watch a whole film in this way – and yet Blixa was immediately fascinated and accepted.

“But a storm blows from paradise, which has got caught in its wings and is so strong that the angel can no longer close it. This storm drives him inexorably into the future, to which he turns his back as the pile of rubble in front of him grows to heaven. What we call progress is this storm.”
“The angel of history”, Walter Benjamin

For their album “Silence Is Sexy”, the Einstürzende Neubauten had released the song “Die Befindlichkeit des Landes” – which contains a variation of the Walter Benjamin text. So Blixa Bargeld had the idea of using this beautiful coincidence using the song as the basis of the soundtrack.

“I thought that was great, because that’s exactly one of the questions that BERLIN BABYLON viewers are forced to ask themselves: ‘What’s the state of this city like while reunification is set in stone, so to speak?’” 

Hubertus Siegert, director

Then everything went very quickly: The layout of the music for the film was created in a long night that Hubertus Siegert and the band spent in the studio. Blixa Bargeld and Alexander Hacke then revised the design and added new songs. Together with the composer Thomas Krinzinger, Siegert developed a composition consisting of the soundtrack of the collapsing new buildings and classical pieces of music – everything was mixed into the film and Siegert was thrilled with the result: “Everything fit incredibly well that can never be brought together.”

EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN
In 1980, the Berlin band formed practically by chance: Blixa Bargeld was hired to appear in the Moon Club and asked his friends who could support him. The gig worked so well, that they quickly formed a band. Probably the type of foundation was already typical for the Neubauten, for which coincidence was often decisive: Due to lack of money, the drums had to be sold – and scrap metal, found objects from industrial production and everyday objects began to be used as instruments and an apocalyptic musical style developed from them . Stylistically, the Einstürzende Neubauten are difficult to classify – initially influenced by punk and post-industrial style, their music later became increasingly melodic and less improvised. Individual members of the band had previously appeared as film composers, the film music for Berlin Babylon is the first complete soundtrack for a movie that was contributed by the whole group.