* * * * * Neu! * * * * *

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[ BBC ] ~ Neu! are often touted as one of the most influential bands of the last thirty years; they’ve been praised by Julian Cope and imitated by the likes of Stereolab, yet it’s only now their three albums have made it to CD after years of legal wrangles and poor bootleg releases. In fact, for a long time it’s been easier to get a Neu ! T-shirt than any of their records.

Neu!,their 1971 debut is arguably the strongest record the duo of Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger made; its stunningly reductionist stuff, rock stripped down to its essentials of pulse and texture, arguably predating techno and the whole post-rock movement by a good fifteen years. It’s music with no narrative structure, not much in the way of dynamics – it just is.

The opening “Hallogallo” is the classic Neu! sound in a nutshell – Dinger’s crisp, insistent tribal drums underpin Rother’s yearning guitar figures and the whole thing spends 10 minutes going nowhere beautifully. Elsewhere, ” Sonderangebot ” is an illbient dronescape of processed cymbals, “Negativland” is a wholseome slice of proto punk squeal featuring Dinger’s infamous Japan banjo, while “Weisensee” recalls Meddle era Floyd without the pomposity. All three albums are essential, but if you’re (ahem) new to Neu!, this is the place to start.

[ PICTHFORK ] ~ Now is the time on Pitchfork when we dance! As part of a court-ordered apology for unleashing Fatboy Slim on an unsuspecting universe, the Astralwerks label has undertaken the incredibly noble task of re-releasing the first three albums by the legendary Düsseldorf duo Neu. The albums are to be played round the clock at Astralwerks HQ; the cheap Crayon graphics of the compact disc are to be pinned on shirts like scarlet letters; all employees are to dance the Robot at all times. We need to praise Neu like we should.

As far back as I can remember, the first three Neu albums languished in the Import-only Impossible; the Japanese letters on the sleeves were incomprehensible, but also painfully explicit: prohibitively expensive, they screamed. And now, their stateside release has opened up unimagined worlds to the ears, cheap!

And like the band’s moniker promises, this music is new. Strange and visionary, but so incredibly familiar. Why? Because a record originally cut in 1972 by a splinter off the indomitable Kraftwerk has seeped into the musical consciousness of a generation; its influence is everywhere. Listening to Neu recalls that giddy, pointless thrill of standing at the Four Corners in the southwestern United States. What’s the big deal? Well, nothing, really, except maybe the sense of being in many places at once. That’s Neu: standing with cocked German eyebrows at the nexus of shimmering space rock, processed psychedelia, mechanical kraut, and wonderfully libidinal disco.

Upon hearing “Hallo Gallo,” the first track on Neu, a friend of mine started inadvertently humming an organ line from Tortoise’s “Djed.” That quiet gesture summed up the album for me: listening to the past and hearing so much of the future. But Neu is no mere missing link. “Hallo Gallo” is a masterpiece of rhythm: tight drums, funky guitar scratch, a coolly insistent bassline, futuro synths, and effects-laden guitar slinging wide acid-fried launches into deep space. Neu is remarkably economical where its influences cultivate excess: the exploratory guitar and keyboards discover new aural landscapes where the pioneers of prog would remain hours blissfully adrift. “Hallo Gallo” is intelligent dance music in every sense of the term: it’s the ass inviting the mind out onto the floor. Nobody leads; both are simply in motion.

“Sonderangebot” is a murky soup of noise and silence: an interlude of clanging cymbals, and ambient fuzz, a kind of breathing nebula. The song bleeds darkly into “Weinensee,” a droning parade of dirty, cone-filtered guitar that anticipates the pastoral psychedelia of Flying Saucer Attack and Hochenkeit. “Negativland” opens in jackhammer drills and coalesces into a lock-tight, bass-driven martial progression of stabbing guitar and industrial noise: it’s dark but strangely danceable. Something like krautpunk: syncopation, cerebral and serrated.

Neu is music with the proper documentation: it passes from one musical realm to another without the jackbooted border patrol so much as blinking an eye: this is sound with the highest level security clearance. And when it shifts from one sound to the next, it never winks at you with postmodern irony, never elbows you in the ribs to let you in on the joke. Neu is truly a citizen of the musical universe, at home everywhere and everywhere at once. And Astralwerks’ re-release of this phenomenal debut could only serve as a long overdue recognition of this fact. For perhaps without Neu, there would have been no Astralwerks; worse, without Neu there may have been no Pitchfork. Neu anticipates us all. Now who’s your daddy? Come on, say it!

Artist – Neu!
Album – ’86
Release Date – 2010
Genre – Krautrock, Experimental, Psychedelic


01 intro (haydn slo-mo)
02 dänzing
03 crazy
04 drive (grundfunken)
05 la bomba (stop apartheid world-wide!)
06 elanoizan
07 wave mother
08 paradise walk
09 euphoria
10 vier 1_2
11 good life
12 november
13 kd
Neu! – ’86


Artist – Neu!
Album – Neu!
Release Date – 1972
Genre – Experimental, Krautrock, Psychedelic


A1 Hallogallo 10:07
A2 Sonderangebot 4:50
A3 Weissensee 6:42
B1 Im Glück 6:52
B2 Negativland 9:46
B3 Lieber Honig 7:15
Neu! – Neu! Password –


Artist – Neu!
Album – Neu! 2
Release Date – 1973
Genre – Experimental, Krautrock, Psychedelic


A1 Für immer (Forever) 11:00
A2 Spitzenqualität 4:58
A3 Gedenkminute (Für a + k) 1:00
A4 Lila Engel (Lilac Angel) 4:35
B1 Neuschnee 78 2:30
B2 Super 16 3:37
B3 Neuschnee 3:59
B4 Cassetto 1:50
B5 Super 78 1:35
B6 Hallo Excentrico 3:43
B7 Super 3:07
Neu! – Neu! 2 Password –


Artist – Neu!
Album – Neu! ’75
Release Date – 1975
Genre – Experimental, Krautrock, Psychedelic


A1 Isi 5:00
A2 See Land 6:58
A3 Leb’ Wohl 8:51
B1 Hero 6:15
B2 E-Musik 10:47
B3 After Eight 4:42
Neu! – Neu! ’75 Password –


Artist – Neu!
Album – Neu! 4
Release Date – 1996
Genre – Experimental, Krautrock, Psychedelic


01 Nazionale 3:11
02 Crazy 3:15
03 Flying Dutchman 3:56
04 Schöne Welle (Nice Wave) 4:30
05 Wave Naturelle 5:37
06 Good Life (Random – Rough) 3:51
07 86 Commercial Trash 3:18
08 Fly Dutch II 5:06
09 Dänzing 5:08
10 Quick Wave Machineue 3:46
11 Bush – Drum 3:10
12 La Bomba (Stop Aparthijd World-Wide!) 5:59
13 Good Life 3:42
14 Elanoizan 3:24
Neu! – Neu! 4 Password –
Recommendations: Muzak ~ Lvmen ~ Å – Å ~ Hoping To Collide With ~ Great Ocean – Ox and Tiger


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