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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Neu! June 6, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I came to Neu quite late, only hearing the albums in their entirety in my late thirties. But those first three albums are a wonder – each quite different, each quite similar, the first produced by Conny Plank in 1972. Though a splinter from Kraftwerk, the original home of guitarist Michael Rother and drummer Klaus Dinger, the tensions within the group are there in the different approaches to music.

Slabs of abstraction near poppy excursions, and an energy and a clarity that oddly seemed to foreshadow punk, albeit it sounded nothing like punk. And post-punk, yes, most definitely. Negativland sounds uncannily like Joy Division. No strike that, it sounds exactly like Joy Division. Overall the guitars are subdued, sounding more like keyboards at times. And the balance on the album is weighted I’d say more to soundscapes than anything else.

The experimentalism is obvious. And so is the creativity. Lacking the funds to record more than a few tracks on the second album properly they sought recourse in speeding up and slowing down tapes in order to generate additional songs such as Neuschnee 78. Yet the logic is impeccable, distort them as they would this is perfect experimentation. I can’t think of another group that would not merely have got away with that but done so quite so elegantly. And in there classic tracks that expand on both the abstraction and the more rock/pop oriented directions such as Fur Immer or in the former case Lila Engel.

The third album strikes out new territory moving into synthesised sounds. Another logical step and one which in a way prettifies the music and perhaps makes it both more commercial and yet also more timeless. Isi could have been written yesterday or forty years ago. Yet there’s also a jaggedness there on tracks like Hero or After Eight and the willingness to experiment abides (that’s an oddly boogie-like keyboard sound on E-Musik).

Amazing to think this was three albums with, what, 23 tracks or so, in total.

Anyway, enough writing, here’s some of their finest moments.


Hallogallo


Negativland


Weissensee


Fur Immer (Forever)


Lila Engel (Lilac Angel)


Neuschnee


Neuschnee 78


Isi


Seeland


Hero


E-Musik

Comments»

1. sonofstan - June 6, 2020

Have you heard either of the Harmonia records? Rother’s band after Neu with Hans-Joachim Roedelius from Cluster?
I think the first one, Musik Von Harmonia is my single favourite German record outside of Can

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WorldbyStorm - June 6, 2020

Yes, absolutely fantastic that first one, re Can I have to admit I like Flow Motion as much as the early stuff

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sonofstan - June 6, 2020

Same here.

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WorldbyStorm - June 6, 2020

It kind of works. Amazing stuff. Harmonia, though, what an outfit. Now you’ve got me going back to listen to it. Have you read Future Days by David Stubbs on motorik/kosmiche?

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sonofstan - June 6, 2020

No I haven’t – it was on the list, and then forgot about it. But will get to it.

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WorldbyStorm - June 6, 2020

It’s not bad.

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2. anarchaeologist - June 7, 2020

The Harmonia stuff with Eno is quite good and came out on CD maybe 10 years ago? It sorta lives in the car for obvious reasons and hasn’t had an airing for quite a while. I was delighted though to find on an old hard drive (see what I did there?) a download of Julian Cope’s tome on we shouldn’t be calling Krautrock. Unfortunately the eyes aren’t quite as sharp as they used to be and I’ll probably have to print it out to read it. Which rather defeats the purpose.

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WorldbyStorm - June 7, 2020

Yeah, never mad keen on the term ‘krautrock’. Motorik or kosmiche seems a lot better.

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