Album #123: Neu! – Neu!

  • Released: 1972
  • Origin: Düsseldorf, Germany
  • Label: Brain
  • Best Track: Negativland

I’d say I’ve had two major learnings from this project so far. One is that I don’t hate country rock, and the other is that I’m way too ignorant about German electronic music.

It’s about time I got round to listening to Neu!, a band who were an offshoot of Kraftwerk, but pivotal to the krautrock movement in their own right. Their 1972 debut is, as is common within its genre and era, only six tracks long, but those tracks go on a loooong time.

Some of them are rhythmic, some of them are just sounds, but even the latter variety are worth a listen. I love the transition from ‘Sonderangebot’ to ‘Weissensee’ with the mechanical, almost rusty-sounding clangs.

The fantastic ‘Negativland’ is shrill, abrasive and ear-piercing at times. A controversial view maybe, but I often think the likes of Neu!, Kraftwerk and Can have influenced mainstream dance as much as they have alternative rock. The high-pitched, looping sounds are reminiscent of some of what I’ve heard from the likes of Daft Punk, the Chemical Brothers and even a lot of the dubstep that was popular a few years ago.

Again, the most amazing thing is that music this experimental, this avant garde, was being produced nearly half a century ago. And yet so many of today musicians are as bland as overboiled cabbage. What’s their excuse?

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