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Pedro Peñas Y Robles – Nitzer Ebb. The Man, the soul and the machine.

by François Zappa

A fight at the door of a club is the starting point of this book, and also a kind of warning that this is not an ordinary Nitzer Ebb biography, as the writer’s life is going to have a very important part in the book as both stories interweave. That fight, engine of the book, is really important because it’s the moment in which Pedro Peñas kind of discover Front 242, as one of the attackers is wearing a t-shirt of the band. And to discover Front 242 means to discover EBM, genre that will be permanently linked to the author, particularly thanks to the music of English band Nitzer Ebb. In Nitzer Ebb. The Man, the soul and the machine, the story of the creators of hits like “Control, I’m Here” is analyzed from several points of view: as a band really important in the EBM genre, but also as techno pioneers. The book includes detailed commentary on all the albums of the band, but also pays special attention to side projects such as Fixmer/McCarthy or the collaborations with important artists as Recoil.

Thanks to some interviews, we have a vision of the band’s career but also of their legacy through the words of member Bon Harris, ex-members David Gooday and Simon Granger, producer and key figure in the revival of the genre Terence Fixmer and legendary French DJ David Carreta. The story of the band interweaves with Pedro Peñas’ life, sometimes dramatically as we discover in the book that also works as a overview of a time of the rise of electronic music: from the Ruta del Bakalao to the return of EBM to clubs thanks to young producers. And it’s in those moments in which personal anecdotes enriches the band’s experiences that the book is more interesting, where the writer speaks about what he has experienced and the biography acquires a new dimension.

That’s the reason why the members of Nitzer Ebb are seen as human beings with all their flaws, not as legends as it happens in some many biographies. As a negative note I could only say that I missed more info about the first years of the band, but as the writer says, he writes mainly about what he experienced. What he experienced as a man, as a soul and, even as a machine. This book is the last one of the trilogy started by Pedro Peñas Y Robles with the books about Joy Division and Nick Cave.

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