New Musik

If we’re doing cosmiche we shouldn’t go any further without acknowledging the masters. I never get tired of Neu!, that combination of straight ahead rhythms and guitars being fed through some lovely FX pedals for up to ten minutes. It’s funny – all those bands active in West Germany from the late 60s onwards, produced by the same combination of geography, socio-political events, youth culture and US and British rock ‘n’ roll, get lumped together and don’t really sound anything like each other. Neu!, Can and Faust sound very different from each other, which can make first delvings into the genre very confusing.

e-musik

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Neu! Time

Krautrock (or kosmiche as it gets called now) has a reputation for being a bit difficult, a challenging listen, but much of Neu!’s output is like aural valium for me. I listened to Hallogallo the other day and felt considerably better for it- especially as at the moment the slightest thing has a tendency to make me feel like I’m about to lose it completely, swearing like a docker and stomping like a bull elephant. I’ve posted Hallogallo before so instead here’s Isi instead- from Neu! ’75, all piano and lovely warm analogue electronics with that good ole motorik drumming.

Isi

Amusingly years ago I had two of the three Neu! albums (Neu!, Neu!2 and Neu! ’75) and found the one I didn’t have on vinyl in HMV (which tells you it was a long time ago). I bought it, got it home and realised it was one I already had, so had to return to HMV and tell the man ‘uh, um, I bought this. And I’ve already got it, can I change it for something else?’ He looked at me like I was a total fuckwit- ‘You bought it and you’ve already got it?’ ‘Yes. The sleeves are quite similar. And the song titles are all in German. And I couldn’t remember which of their albums I’d got…’ He did let me change it. Out of pity mainly. And my statutory rights.

Hero!

This sort of thing soothes the soul and I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts recently. From Neu! 75. By Neu!

Hero

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

Box Set Go

The box set has got a bit more out of control this year (and somewhere there is a pedant waiting to point out it’s boxed set). Box sets are nice, expensive, official product, beautifully put together, and designed to appeal to the obsessive collector. People like me I suppose.

David Bowie’s Station To Station, released this year in a deluxe edition with five cds (full album, full live show, different mixes, versions etc), a lovely booklet, and with all kinds of memorabilia (facsimile back stage passes, tickets, badges and whatnot). Does anyone need five cds of Station To Station? Will anyone ever play the whole thing?

Neu! released a box this year with all three studio albums, some stuff they did in the 80s, a lovely booklet, and a Neu! stencil. For stencilling the Neu! logo wherever you might want to.

Screamadelica, soon to be released, with five cds (full album, all the remixes, live show, Dixie narco e.p., dvd of The Making Of…, T-shirt, and Screamadelica slipmat. For a penny under one hundred quid. Initial quantities signed by the band. Actually I quite fancy a Screamadelica slipmat. And the dvd will have interviews with Weatherall, with moving pictures and everything. But every remix has been released before, there’s no new ones, and no new material. (While I’m here, I have a memory of being in a nightclub and hearing Moving On Up played but with Denise Johnson singing not Bobby. Does this version exist or was it my slightly addled 3am brain?)

Orange Juice’s Coals To Newcastle- contains pretty much everything they did across five cds and dvd of tv shows. Lovely.

I’m sure there’s loads of others I haven’t mentioned. I’m sure they’re all lovely too. I love the attention to detail. I like nice booklets and photos and interviews. I like the gimmicks- the slipmat, the stencil. I’m looking forward to the Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds action figures and New Order playmobil set. I like the having-everything-in-one-place feeling. But we are being suckered here. They know we want it. They know some people (middle aged men mainly) will part with increasing sums of money for this stuff, despite already owning most or all of the material, and having ‘upgraded’ before, lp to cd, single cd to ‘legacy’ edition. Are we being catered for or exploited? I suppose it depends how much you want the slipmat, the t-shirt, the booklet, the photos, the remastered album (and why wasn’t the original album mastered very well then?).

This is Fuer Immer off Neu!2, the opening track, ten minutes of aural bliss that doesn’t change very much but leaves you feeling better than when it started. I’m off to covet box sets on the internet.

Fuer Immer (forever).mp3

Very Cosmic

How about some krautrock? Oh don’t groan you lot.

In 1974 Michael Rother (from Neu!) joined with Moebius and Roedelius (both from Cluster) to make the Musik Von Harmonia album. This track (song isn’t really the right word) is Dino, lovely swathes of sound and melody with rhythm driving it on. The album also contains tracks called Sehr Kosmisch and Hausmusik- both of it’s time and ahead of time. I’ve got a feeling the last time I played this in full the even numbered tracks were good and odd numbered tracks less interesting, but I could be imagining it.

There’s something about all this snow and ice which seems quite teutonic. If you’re interested BBC 4’s excellent krautrock documentary is repeated tonight at 10.30. Worth staying up for.

04 Dino.wma

La Dusseldorf ‘Silver Cloud’

If the thought of dragging your weary self into work tomorrow is bringing you down this Sunday evening, perhaps this lovely, dreamy slice of post-Krautrock (don’t let that word put you off) will ease the pain slightly. La Dusseldorf were Klaus Dinger from NEU!, Thomas Dinger and Hans Lampe and this is off their 1976 debut album Dusseldorf, a pristine 1976 pressing of which I snaffled on ebay a while back. Quite lovely this Silver Cloud.

silvercloud.mp3