1972, Music

Neu! (1972)

Neu!’s debut album finds them stuck somewhere between the early electronic explorations of Tangerine Dream – and, I presume, early Kraftwerk, the band Neu! split off from, which I have never heard – and the motorik of CAN and Faust and bands like that. It’s an odd juxtaposition that I might struggle with were it not for the fact that these bands were making music unlike anything that had really been made before.

The first track, “Hallogallo,” feels like one of the essential Kraftwork tracks – a little simpler than CAN’s work at the time and less deliberately zany than Faust, but much more what you think of when you think of motorik.

But the left turn into “Sonderangebot” is one of the many things about this record that I sort of struggle with. It is aggressively nondescript until it is aggressively noisy at the very end. It’s trailblazing for sure, but it sounds like a completely different band than the first track.

The same thing happens again with “Weissensee,” which could almost pass for a slightly less melodic, more directionless contemporary Pink Floyd.

The suite on the second side, “Jahresüberblick,” does a better job, to my ears, of combining these impulses, though it still doesn’t feel quite like a coherent work, worthy of having all three tracks conceptually joined together.

All that being said, this is music that was on the cutting edge in 1972, a little less consistent than CAN, a little more consistent, and a little more professional, than Faust.

8/10

  1. “Hallogallo” (Play on “Halligalli”, a German slang term for “wild partying”, with the word “hallo” being German for “hello”) 10:07
  2. “Sonderangebot” (“Special Offer”) 4:51
  3. “Weissensee” (“White Sea” or “White Lake”; Weißensee is a town in Carinthia, Austria, and a borough of Pankow, Berlin) 6:46
  4. Jahresüberblick (“Year Overview”)
    1. “Jahresüberblick (Part One): Im Glück” (“Lucky”) 6:53
    2. “Jahresüberblick (Part Two): Negativland” (“Negative Land”) 9:47
    3. “Jahresüberblick (Part Three): Lieber Honig” (“Dear Honey” or “Preferably Honey”) 7:18
  • Michael Rother – guitar, bass guitar
  • Klaus Dinger – drums, guitar, bulbul tarang

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