If Neu! did not obtain the notoriety of Kraftwerk, another musical workshop set up in Düsseldorf (North Rhine-Westphalia), it can also boast of the quality of its fan club: the advertising of the duo formed by guitarist Michael Rother and drummer Klaus Dinger, who died in 2008, was first handled internationally by David Bowie and Brian Eno. The second even raising their rhythm into a top 3 of the 1970s, alongside the afrobeat of Fela Kuti and the funk of James Brown.
After them, British aesthetes such as Thom Yorke (Radiohead) or Damon Albarn, American groups like Sonic Youth or Red Hot Chili Peppers have also been full of praise. Without that changing the fate of this name intended to be exchanged between musicians rather than to reach the masses.
After two tribute albums in 1998 and 2009, a remix volume (by The National, Mogwai, Fink or Yann Tiersen) has been added to the retrospective box set which today celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of Neu!’s birth certificate. Either the publication of a first untitled album which sold around thirty thousand copies when it was released, mainly in the Federal Republic of Germany and – already – among the trendy Albion. Long before Julian Cope, leader of neo-psychedelics The Teardrop Explodes, published krautrocksampler (1996), his ode to “great cosmic music” German from the 1970s.
“I never liked the word “Krautrock”, reacts Michael Rother, passing through Paris. “Kraut”it is the nickname of the German soldier during the First World War for the British. However, the intention of Neu! was centered on the individual, his singularity, and to escape any category even if I understand that the chaos in music is such that we try to put some order with labels. It was very immodest, but in my opinion it was the only way to find new means of musical expression. We were contaminated by the virus of change musically, with the possibilities offered by the studio, and politically, with this historic chance of reconciliation in Europe and the Ostpolitik of Willy Brandt. We had to overcome the Nazi past by touching hearts. »
Remix the works of Neu! may seem like a challenge since the duo, assisted by this informal third member who was the producer Conny Plank, took care of it himself in 1973 in his second opus. The second side was filled with seven reuses of the single Super/Neuschneeplaying on the speed of execution, from 16 to 78 turns. What was considered in its time as a scandalous hoax has since been rehabilitated as an avant-garde gesture close to the ready-made, a precursor to the practices of disco, electro and hip-hop. Super 16 even found a place in 2003 in the soundtrack of the first Kill Billby Quentin Tarantino, who had discovered this robotic dystrophy in that of the martial arts film Wang Yu’s Armed Forces Against the Flying Guillotineby Jimmy Wang Yu (1976).
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Source: Le Monde