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    Neu! 8 ( 1972 )
    Hallogallo / Sonderangebot / Weissensee / Im Gluck / Negativland / Lieber Honig

    A band formed by a couple of guys who were in an early lineup of Kraftwerk. This debut album of theirs was recorded in a mere four days, obviously with much experimentation in the studio. Motorik Krautrock? Two horrible terms. The former has now become an accepted term to describe a particular rhythm of music, pioneered by these guys, Neu! Krautrock I believe was an English coined term of describe a plethora of German rock bands that appeared during the 70s. History lesson over. Six songs on this album then, only two of them actually sporting the classic Neu! motorik sound. The drums play a steady 4/4 beat, throughout. Electronics appear over the top, a driving bass line. In fact, the rhythm section create perpetual forward motion. Most remarkably of all, the sound hasn't dated one iota. People talk of timeless music, the sound of Neu, particularly during 'Hallogallo' and 'Negativland' truly is a timeless sound. If you concentrate hard, you could date the keyboard sounds. Everything else about the sound of the classic Neu groove could have been recorded yesterday. If you're reading this review in five years time (?!?) then the same will probably still apply. How do I describe the likes of 'Hallogallo'? Well, it has that perpetual forward motion. It appears neverchanging throughout the ten minutes it lasts, but then, it does change. Through sheer repetition and ever so slight variations, it changes. 'Negativland' begins with the sound of drilling and genuinely scary other noises that I can't quite place. A steady frightening track that sound very post-punk, i'm thinking of the first couple of Public Image Ltd albums. But then, halfway through, the track doubles in tempo. As if a 33rpm record is being played at 45rpm. Suddenly it becomes immediately clear where Stereolab borrowed a lot of their musical ideas from. In fact, even a cursory listen to Neu! reveals many debts that dozens of artists must owe them.

    Outside of the aforementioned classic two tracks, the remainder of the album delves into very strange territory indeed. A favourite of mine being 'Leiber Honig'. 'Leiber Honig' features what we probably shouldn't call vocals, as they actually resemble the sound of a creepy German child molester. Over a single droning electronic note. 'Weissensee' contains drums, 'Sonderangebot' and 'I'm Gluck' are so experimental, they barely exist. Very quiet, minimalist pieces. 'Weissensee' contains occasional wailing rock guitar in the manner, almost, of Franz Zappa in the late 80s where he'd play over anything in complete contrast to the backing track before him. Yes, this is a confusing album, but also a strangely addictive one. Hugely influential, but not my favourite Neu record of all.

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    Nick erfinagerfin@hotmail.com
    Actually, I think "Krautrock" was the name of a song on Faust IV, and that's where the name of the genre came from. I don't think back in the early 70's when this stuff was being created they called it Krautrock...but the American Music Press loves the term, and I think it fits. There's a strange wholesome quality to this album that's hard to describe. It's a very simple sound, and yet there's nothing like it. Personally I think Neu '75 is their masterpiece, but this album is pretty good as well. "Negativland" is my favorite track...listen to it on the highway and it will really connect with you, especially if there's heavy traffic and it's making you angry. However, I don't understand how you can like "Lieber Honig"...personally I think it kind of ruins the ending of the album. Dinger did eventually pull one good vocal track, but at least Rother's voice wasn't offensive.

    porcupine cupidandpsyche85@hotmail.com
    It's great to see a Neu! review here, they really are a special band, and that's a very good review of a very good debut. Can't wait to see what you think of the other two albums!

    Ricardo nunez101@hotmail.com
    I've never heard this debut by Neu!, but I own Neu2 and Neu75 (Neu75 is there best by the way). I'ts amazing how these guys where making this kind of music back in those days, it's so ahead of it's time; hell, it's ahead of our time. Now that's what I call science fiction :)

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    Neu! 2 8 ( 1973 )
    Fur Immer / Spitzenqualitat / Gedenkminute / Lila Engel / Neuschnee 78 / Super 16 / Neuschnee / Cassetto / Super 78 / Hallo Excentrico / Super

    It's called 'Spitzenqulität' and the opening seconds, all drums very echoey and sounding machine-like and like they were recorded in a suitcase effectively invents Joy Division. That the song consists of nothing else other than speeding up and slowing down this drum-pattern hardly seems to matter, the production techniques on display here were clearly years ahead of the time. 'Neuschnee' last four minutes and four seconds mostly for the hell of it, most likely. The motorik beats continue, this time with a lead electronic melody line weaving in and out most attractively. The drum sound has a kind of deadening thud about it, as if the drums were not only made out of an oak tree but actually were an actual oak tree being rhythmically hit in the studio. 'Lila Engel (Lilac Angel)' is definitely a highlight amongst men with processed vocal sounds amidst steady beats that seem to get more sinister and aggressive as the tune goes along.

    Neu! do seem short of material for this LP, many tracks being mere sped up or slowed down variations of each other. This does create some intentional, almost comic effects. Well, if Jack Dee's humour seems too upbeat for you, Neu! may well sound darkly comic as 'Super 16' comes in with impossibly slow beats that sound like the marching of death himself. The metallic and animal-like noises in the background can only but add to this unsettling effect. So, when we reach album closer 'Super', the 'right speed' version, the scariness has disappated to reveal something that could almost be described as danceable pop, albeit of the strangest kind imaginable. My winamp player pops up with the genre classification 'Unclassifiable', quite appropriately in actual fact.

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    Liam Herts
    Fur Immer is probably one of my favourite bits of music, but can't for the life of me get into the rest of this one. Annoys me hearing the claims from some quarters of the indie press about Neu! "inventing the first EVA remix" simply by tacking on sped-up songs played backwards. Reminds me of the attitudes of certain art lovers who buy blank canvases. May have to listen again (all the way through without breaking down) from the size of that 8.

    Ricardo New York City
    Another great review Adrian. Neu! is a very special band and this album is testimony of that statement. Although my favorite Neu! album is Neu 75 this one this one is a bit more interesting. Lilac Engel is just PURE energy as is Super. Great stuff here, experimental and strange even by today's standards.

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    this page last updated 25/08/08

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