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La Düsseldorf - La Düsseldorf CD (album) cover


La Düsseldorf



3.93 | 79 ratings

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4 stars After the ace Krautrock team of NEU! split in 1975, drummer/guitarist Klaus Dinger took the remnants of the band and, with only a few minor adjustments, re-emerged the following year at the wheel of a shiny new musical machine named in honor of his hometown on the river Rhine.

How's this for civic pride: a band from the city of Düsseldorf, calling itself La Düsseldorf, with a self-titled debut album on which the first two tracks (filling all of Side One on the original vinyl) are named "Düsseldorf" and "La Düsseldorf". And don't forget the lyrics, for the most part an endless repetition of the mantra "Düsseldorf...Düsseldorf...Düsseldorf...Düsseldorf...", all of it reproduced ad infinitum on the enclosed lyric sheet. It's enough to make the local chamber of commerce stand up and cheer.

Dinger was always the more hard-boiled, proto-punk half of the pioneering NEU! duo (alongside the pony-tailed hippy benevolence of MICHAEL ROTHER), and the one responsible for the band's trademark motorik beat, refined here to the acme of relentless perfection. La Düsseldorf may not have broken any new stylistic ground, but the stripped down rhythms were a breath of fresh air in an age of increasingly hyperbolic virtuoso overkill.

Check out the unique instrumentation: two drummers working in lock-step syncopation, and a lot of chiming electric guitars, with no soloing allowed. The bass player is only an occasional guest, and the sparsely utilized "synthies" (quoting the album credits) add a shimmering veil of colorful highlights.

None of the music is improvised (although you might be forgiven for thinking otherwise), and the mood is more upbeat and brighter than the typically dark counterculture excursions of most classic Krautrock, often building to an ecstatic, exhilarating climax. Lend an ear to the (first) title track, and to the album closer "Zeit" ("Time"), in which Dinger alternately whispers and wails in three languages over an escalating series of clockwork rhythms. The album even yielded a surprising hit single (in Germany): the toe-tapping instrumental "Silver Cloud", the title by the way an apt description of the music.

Two more very similar efforts would follow, each of them worth a listen, but the band's debut was the most consistent of the bunch. Newcomers may find it a tad monotonous, but don't be fooled: listening to the album is like taking a long road trip, where the journey itself is the final destination.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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