One of my Christmas presents was a copy of Flammende Herzen, a recent vinyl re-issue of Michael Rother’s 1977 solo debut. My kids did really well I think you’ll agree, West German progressive cosmische music being an area of knowledge for them both (with a little help from Santa Krautrock). I’ve written about Flammende Herzen before- five soaring, melodic instrumental songs recorded at Conny Plank’s studio with Rother on guitars, bass, organ, synths and keyboards and Jaki Leibezeit on drums. It’s a wonderful album, Rother playing fluid, free melodies, chiming guitars and toplines. I can’t recommend it enough and the vinyl re-issue sounds really good too.


Since then I’ve bought his third solo album, 1979’s Katzenmusik. On this one Rother, Leibezeit and Plank play fourteen instrumentals, all called Katzenmusik (and then numbered 1 to 14 and split into two suites one on each side of the record). Rother restricts himself to five note recurring melodies on the guitar, intricate and optimistic, self contained themes and tunes. Really lovely stuff. Annoyingly neither album came with a download code and I don’t have a rip of any of Katzenmusik at the moment so I can only offer a Youtube clip.

Now I need to fill in the gap and get Rother’s second solo album, 1978’s Sterntaler. I’m also kicking myself for forgetting to go to see him play when he did a gig at Gorilla a few months ago. Dumbkopf!

The Cataclysmic Impact Of Their Clash

‘It is as I have feared’ says Dr Strange, ‘the cataclysmic impact of their clash threatens to destroy them both!’ This frame comes form the Strange Tales comic. Eternity, created by Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, is a sentient force, a cosmic and abstract entity, immortal and unaffected by the passage of time and can warp space and time. Steve Ditko’s art goes even further than that.

Michael Rother’s 1977 album Flammende Herzen was his solo debut, recorded after his time in Neu! and Cluster. It is only 5 tracks long but every second and note is perfect. Rother plays guitar, synths, keys, bass and percussion. Jaki Liebezeit drums and Conny Plank produces. Harmonic, cosmic, unaffected by the passage of time.



I’ve had an eventful forty eight hours. On Saturday we took the kids into town to watch the Manchester Pride parade followed by going to see my brother who was taking part in a live graffiti event in a beer garden in The Angel pub. The two djs were spinning old school hip-hop, dub and electro and a good dollop of Kraftwerk, all of which sounded great in the faint Mancunian sunshine. Early evening came and we raced home so I could get out to one of the local Sale pubs to watch a punk covers band called Cheapskates who played a set which was 75% Clash songs. All good fun.

Yesterday we went out into Cheshire to visit my parents. I cycled there, about thirty miles through good roads and sunshine. Just arriving near their house I snapped a spoke. The car was full so I had to try to get home a few hours later with the broken spoke. All was going well. Ten miles from home near Tatton Park a second spoke went. Total pisser. I had to await rescue in a pub made more bearable by a very nice pint of Manchester Pale Ale. Today I will be going to the bike shop.

I pulled out Neu! man Michael Rother’s 1977 solo album Flammende Herzen the other day. It doesn’t sound like it was made that long ago. Completely instrumental and really very good indeed. Jaki Leibezeit plays drums. Rother plays everything else.


Flammende Herzen

As a companion piece to Davy’s Cluster post yesterday this is Neu! Michael Rother back in 1977. Less the sound of sub-zero February this is a warm, hypnotic ride, waves of kraut synths, treated guitars and Jaki Leibzeit’s motorik drumming.

Flammende Herzen