“Drink the New Wine” is British post-punk band Bauhaus’ first release in 14 years. In order to create the song, the band used the “exquisite corpse” method from the surrealists. The method is characterized by its production; each member of the band creates one section of the song independently, and the goal is to string the individual sections into a cohesive piece at the end.
The experiment and creative process was created by André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Jacques Prévert and Yves Tanguy. The general rules behind creating a piece using the “exquisite corpse” method are that each member has very little or no access to any of the other sections. The name of the method comes from its first creation, a sentence, by its founders: “Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau.” It translates to “The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine.”
In addition to the traditional guidelines, Bauhaus members added new rules. They would each have one minute and a limit of eight tracks. They also planned to regroup and collaborate on a minute-long conclusion for the song.
While this isn’t unique to Bauhaus’ creation, the song came out seeming deliberate and consistent in tone and message even though each minute was sculpted in isolation. The first minute is told in the first person from a narrator who is “off to the funny farm.” They have “[drowned] out the blues with booze” and will “never see the boys again.”
Something has gone wrong in this narrator’s life and has resulted in them going to the “funny farm,” away from their loved ones. The next section, created by a different band member, repeats a relevant line to the song over drums and guitar riffs: “Dreaming of a perfect world.”
Finally, the third independently created segment alludes to Romanian author Mircea Cărtărescu’s book Ruletistul. It follows a man who becomes rich after getting repeatedly and impossibly lucky playing Russian Roulette.
Listen to the new song here:
The artistic experiment that is “Drink the New Wine” pulls punk fans back into Bauhaus’ arms. They will tour the U.S. for the first time in over a decade starting this May in Pasadena, Calif. On May 14, 2022, Bauhaus will also perform at music festival Cruel World.
Photo Credit: Ekaterina Gorbacheva