At first glance when viewing the limited discography of NEU! one might be tempted to consider them musical lightweights; especially when compared to the more prolific Can and Faust; but arguably over the long haul they would prove more significant.
Formed in Düsseldorf in 1971 by ex Kraftwerk members multi-instrumentalist Michael Rothe and drummer Klaus Dinger they would only release three official albums between 1972 and 1975; but the music on those albums pre-figured punk, industrial, ambient and other electronic music, post-rock and the remix.
Brian Eno would remark:
“There were three great beats in the ’70s: Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat, James Brown’s funk and Klaus Dinger’s NEU!-beat.”
Following the group’s break-up in 1975 their influence manifested itself almost immediately punk and post punk. Groups that were influenced by NEU! in the 70’s and 80’s included Pere Ubu, PiL, Cabaret Voltaire and Sonic Youth.
The albums would eventually go out of print but bootleg copies would prove influential on groups like Stereolab, Tortoise, Loop andGay Dad. Julian Cope’s 1995 book “Krautrocksampler: One Head’s Guide to the Great Kosmische Musik – 1968 Onwards” would draw further attention to the group, but it wasn’t until 2001 that the albums were officially re-released.
Recorded over a four day period in December 1971 at the Hamburg studio ofKraftwerk producer Conny Plank the album is noted not only it’s minimalist cover art but it’s minimalist approach to music. This minimalist approach owed much to a sparse budget, forcing them to record at night when studio rates were cheaper.
If people are familiar with one song by NEU! it’s generally “Hallogallo”, the opening track from their debut album. Impressive and accessible this track is the very essences of Eno’s “NEU!-beat.” Unlike the locked groove and trance inducing nature of “Hallogallo” (Dubbed motorik to characterize its driving, mechanical feel); “Negativland” would feature metronomic beats, abrasive guitars and a pneumatic drill, while “Im Glück” (“In Bliss”) consisted of a droning bass, the sound of lapping water and seagull like cries. This album and in particular it’s opening song “Hallogallo” would set the standard for those artists working at the boundary between rock and electronica.
Often compared to the group Spaceman 3 but borrowing liberally from the minimalist approach of NEU! as well as Can and Faust
“Croydon’s Loop create pulsating, nearly impenetrable pieces”
Formed in London in 1986 by vocalist/guitarist Robert Hampson, wife Bex on drums and Glen Ray on bass they resurrected space-rock for a new era. following the release of 1987’s single “16 Dreams” a new drummer John Wills and bassist Neil MacKay signed onto the band. The reconfigured Loop then issued its 1987 full-length debut Heavens End, notable for its densely distorted sound.
1990’s A Gilded Eternity, the apex of Loops trance meditation phase also marked their swan song. Behind its distorted droning sound, metronomic beats and almost indecipherable lyrics the songs on this album exude a sense of menace and violence. Shortly after it’s release the group would disband. There would follow several posthumous releases; and band members MacKay and Wills would reunite in the Hair and Skin Trading Company while Hampson would go on to form the highly experimental Main.
NEU! (Ger. Brain/Metronome) 1972 (Grönland/Astralwerks) 2001
NEU! 2 (Ger. Brain/Metronome) 1973 (Grönland/Astralwerks) 2001
NEU! 75 (Ger. Brain/Metronome) 1975 (Grönland/Astralwerks) 2001
2 Originals of NEU! (Ger. Brain/Metronome) 1977
Black Forest Gateau (UK Cherry Red) 1982
NEU! 4 (Japan. Captain Trip) 1995
NEU! ’72 Live! in Düsseldorf (Japan. Captain Trip) 1996
A Homage to NEU! (Cleopatra) 1998
16 Dreams EP (UK Head) 1987
Heaven’s End (UK Head) 1987
Spinning EP (UK Head) 1987
Collision EP (UK Chapter 22) 1988
Fade Out (UK Chapter 22) 1988 (Rough Trade) 1989
The World in Your Eyes (UK Head) 1988
Eternal – The Singles 1988 (UK Chapter 22) 1989
A Gilded Eternity (Beggars Banquet/RCA) 1990
NEU! – NEU!
Playing Time: 45 minutes 44 seconds
1. Hallogallo (10:07)
2. Sonderangebot (4:51)
3. Weissensee (6:47)
4. Im Glück (6:53)
5. Negativland (9:47)
6. Lieber Honig (7:19)
Loop – A Gilded Eternity
Playing Time: 56 minutes 19 seconds
1. Vapour (6:08)
2. Afterglow (5:09)
3.The Nail Will Burn (4:52)
4. Blood (5:28)
5. Breathe into Me (4:37)
6. From Centre to Wave (6:01)
7. Be Here Now (9:29)
8. Shot with a Diamond (5:17)
9. The Nail Will Burn (Burn Out) (4:50)
10. Arc-Lite (Sonar) (4:28)