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Neu! - Neu! '72 Live! In Düsseldorf CD (album) cover

NEU! '72 LIVE! IN DÜSSELDORF

Neu!

 

Krautrock

2.74 | 9 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The only live document from the Krautrock heroes of Neu! has achieved a certain notoriety among fans, both for its iffy (i.e. nonexistent) production values and its questionable legality. The album was released by Klaus Dinger more than twenty years after the band's final breakup, probably for a quick fix of ready cash, and certainly without the approval of his ex-partner Michael Rother.

And it isn't, strictly speaking, a concert recording at all, but rather a "non-public test" (in Dinger's words) for an upcoming set of gigs, captured in less-than-glorious low fidelity on strictly non-professional equipment (a cheap audio cassette player, I'm guessing).

First, the bad news: the sound quality is undeniably atrocious. The bass guitar of guest-star Eberhard Kranemann (a comrade from the early days of KRAFTWERK) tends to overwhelm the other instruments, and Dinger's drum kit might have been played in a different building altogether, across a busy street. The louder the music, the greater the audio distortion, and in what sounds like an empty warehouse the trio could be very loud indeed.

It was all part of Klaus Dinger's proto-punk, audio vérité aesthetic, which means you can expect a lot of more or less dead air between the moments of actual performance. That irritating scraping noise, by the way, was likely a microphone dragged across the concrete floor while the instruments were being re-tuned.

But the album hardly represents the bottom of the Krautrock barrel, as some reviewers have said. Despite all the cosmetic shortcomings, you're being allowed privileged access to a Neu! rehearsal...and you're complaining? Never mind the poor sound or the lack of structure or the time spent searching for that elusive one-chord groove. Enjoy instead the rare experience of being a fly on the studio wall while two Krautrock legends struggled to find their muse. Whether or not they succeeded is beside the point.

Maybe the belated release of these tapes was Dinger's desperate attempt to 'beat the boots', following the example of FRANK ZAPPA's anti-bootleg campaign. The difference was that Zappa marketed the material himself, rather than selling it to the first outside bidder with an open wallet. As an officially sanctioned album it would have tarnished the band's impeccable legacy. But as an only semi-legitimate, untouched portrait of a Neu! practice session-in-progress it's well worth investigation by Krautrock completists. Call it a two-star treasure to die-hard collectors, with another star added for raw documentary appeal.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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