When director Heiner Mühlenbrock showed up with his cameras to document the tense April 1983 recording sessions for the final Birthday Party EP, Mutiny!, the group was well beyond the verge of druggy dissolution and barely on speaking terms. Mutiny! was cut at Hansa Ton studios in Berlin and the viewer is shown the development of the haunting “Jennifer’s Veil,” one of The Birthday Party’s finest—and darkest—moments on record and Nick Cave adding his vocal to “Swampland” (some truly, truly impressive scream-singing during that bit).
Although he seems pretty sharp here, initially at least, at a certain point, Cave just nods off in the studio… for several minutes. (Maybe he was… tired?)
Mick Harvey told the Quietus:
“From an outside perspective it wouldn’t have looked like our creative juices had dried up, but I can assure you they had! Getting those five or six songs that ended up on Mutiny! out of the writers was really like getting blood out of a stone.”
The film contains some stunning shots of Rowland S. Howard’s hands where you can really see how he wrung those bleak bluesy sounds out of his six strings. Einstürzende Neubauten’s Blixa Bargeld, who played guitar on “Mutiny in Heaven” (oh how I wish Mühlenbrock’s cameras were there for that session) is seen in the control room.
When Mühlenbrock showed his film to the band, they were unimpressed. MUTINY! The Last Birthday Party was finally released in 2008, in a limited edition DVD only for sale at The Birthday Party website. It was apparently taken from a longer film by Mühlenbrock that incorporated the Birthday Party footage in it called Die Stadt (The City).