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La Düsseldorf - Individuellos  CD (album) cover

INDIVIDUELLOS

La Düsseldorf

 

Krautrock

3.00 | 2 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Music can sometimes make you want to get up and dance, and sometimes make you want to curl up between a comfortable pair of headphones. But only Klaus Dinger's late '70s combo La Düsseldorf will make you want to buckle up for a long road trip on an eight-lane urban highway, cruising at a steady 150 kph. The band was one of the more unique to emerge out of the counterculture fringes of Krautrock, updating with a generous measure of electronic spit and polish Dinger's earlier experiments alongside MICHAEL ROTHER in NEU!.

The same, uncompromising beat of the earlier band was stripped even closer to the motorik bone on La Düsseldorf's third and last LP, released like a matching bookend at the tail end of the same decade that saw NEU!'s debut almost exactly ten years earlier. It's hard to tell from the inner sleeve notes (as always, a barely legible handwritten scrawl), but it looks as if the band was by then reduced to just Klaus and his brother Thomas, both of them (primarily) drummers, which may explain why their collective moniker is presented here as a hastily abbreviated 'La D'.

The music itself sounds likewise rushed, with little cosmetic gloss beyond a healthy application of reverb. But the Spartan production at least preserves the energy of the performances: all sputtering drums, shimmering keyboards, and sound-effect collages, combined in a style elsewhere described as the aural equivalent of cotton candy.

The first five tracks on the album (Side One, for all you vinyl junkies) work together almost like a multi-movement Krautrock symphony. Trying to describe it would be pointless, but together the suite may well be the ultimate expression of the Dinger/La Düsseldorf ethos: a counter-intuitive mix of trance-inducing repetition and relentless percussive energy.

The balance of the album (Side Two) is more varied but less focused, moving from the Geppetto's workshop jollity of "Tintarella Di." to the proto-ambient soundscapes of "Flashback", aptly titled for the way it recalls the rusty oarlock scrapes of "Im Glück", off the first NEU! album. (Another NEU! throwback, the heavy rocker "Lieber Honig '81", bears no musical relation to its forefather.)

There was always something quintessentially German about La Düsseldorf (besides their giveaway name), calling to mind a blend of Bavarian beer halls, Black Forest idylls, and the industrial rhythms of the Ruhr. But after three very similar albums (another NEU! parallel) even Dinger must have realized the well had run dry. Any one La Düsseldorf album would be enough to get their gist, but all three together make an attractive package of offbeat music from a country with a rich heritage (at least during the 1970s) of breaking down cultural barriers

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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