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Neu! - Neu! '75 CD (album) cover

NEU! '75




3.92 | 209 ratings

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4 stars The late '60s to early '70s was a time of great political change in Germany that saw it become the economic superpower of Europe, and the self-confidence that accompanied this rise in influence and the counterculture's antiauthoritarian posture contributed to the country's new cultural identity. Krautrock's pioneering fusion of psychedelic rock and electronic music was concurrent with this period of activity and was influential on later generations of musicians, with Neu! in particular having a profound impact on punk and modern electronic music. ''Neu! '75'' was certainly well ahead of its time with its prescient mix of proto-punk and electronics, and has been cited as a major influence on David Bowie's Berlin trilogy, as well as on bands such as Ultravox, Hawkwind and Radiohead.

The Neu! aesthetic is a postminimal attraction of opposites with Michael Rother's trancelike melodies sitting cheek by jowl alongside the aggression and power of Klaus Dinger's relentless rhythms, all complemented by Dinger's pop art sleeve designs. Each half of ''Neu! '75'' seems to represent two separate evolutions of the band, with the first half featuring Rother's atmospheric soundscapes. From the opening bars of ''Isi'' it's obvious where OMD got the inspiration for songs like ''Enola Gay''. The slow-burning ''Seeland'' and the ambient ''Leb' Wohl'' that segue into one another are linked thematically, as well as physically, by sound effects of rainfall and waves and by a metronome that maintains a clockwork pulse throughout the two tracks.

On the second half of the album Klaus Dinger's brother Thomas and Hans Lampe played twin drums, which allowed Klaus to focus on guitar and vocals. His ragged singing on ''Hero'' is full of obscenities (''F*** the press/F*** the company'') and the song was particularly influential on a young John Lydon. Dinger had felt deep frustration following his bankruptcy and his break-up with the love of his life; he therefore gave vent to all his emotions, especially those associated with the music industry, on ''Hero''. Moving on to the other tracks, and guitars crackle and pop on ''E-Musik'' while phasing effects wail like sirens. This track and the proto-punk of ''After Eight'' are driven along by the kind of minimalist 4/4 ''motorik'' beat that Dinger himself preferred to call ''lange Gerade''.

Highly recommended, especially to those new to the Krautrock subgenre.

seventhsojourn | 4/5 |


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