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Neu! - Neu! '75 (1975)

Artista: Neu!
Álbum: Neu! '75
Año: 1975
Género: Krautrock
Duración: 42:35
Nacionalidad: Alemania

Lista de Temas:
1. Isi
2. Seeland
3. Leb' wohl
4. Hero
5. E-Musik
6. After Eight

- Klaus Dinger / voice, percussion, guitar, piano, organ
- Michael Rother / guitar, piano, synth orchestra, electronics, voice
- Thomas Dinger / drums
- Hans Lampe / drums

Esta es la tercer, y dicen que la mejor obra de los Neu. Se formaron allá por 71 en la ciudad de Dusseldorf (Alemania) y con el transcurrir del tiempo, a partir de la combinación de melodías minimalistas y voladoras, supieron influenciar a David Bowie, Sonic Youth, Stereolab y no se a cuántos otros tipos.
Este disco nos lo comparte Agustín, quien amablemente nos dice que no puede faltar en el blog cabezón. Aquí tienen, entonces, una obra que es un ícono del Krautrock.
Aquí, la información del disco:

Neu! '75 (o NEU! 75) es el tercer álbum de estudio de la banda alemana de rock experimental Neu!, perteneciente a la escena krautrock. El álbum fue grabado con el productor Konrad Plank y fue lanzado en 1975.1 Este álbum es considerado por muchos críticos como el mejor del grupo.
El dúo (conformado por Michael Rother y Klaus Dinger) se había separado temporalmente antes de la grabación de este álbum. Neu! 75 fue su último álbum hasta que se reunieron entre 1985 y 1986 para grabar Neu! 4. En Neu! 75 cuentan con Thomas Dinger (hermano de Klaus) y Hans Lempe en batería, quienes conformarían La Düsseldorf junto a Klaus Dinger.1
El álbum está dividido claramente en dos mitades: las primeras tres canciones son más cercanas al ambient y están más relacionadas con la visión de Rother, y contiene canciones como "Isi", que es considerada un ejemplo del ritmo "motorik" característico del grupo, aunque contiene una mayor presencia de sintetizadores. El segundo lado, en cambio, está más inspirado por la visión de Dinger, con canciones como "Hero" y "After Eight" que han sido consideradas precursoras del punk y han sido en ocasiones comparadas con el garage rock de bandas como The Velvet Underground y The Stooges.
Neu! 75 estuvo fuera de impresión por mucho tiempo, y durante los años 80 solo estaba disponible en forma de bootleg (por medio de un sello llamado Germanofon), al igual que los dos álbumes anteriores del grupo. El álbum fue relanzado en el año 2001 en formato CD por Astralwerks, Grönland y EMI Electrola.
El arte de tapa del álbum, diseñado por el baterista Klaus Dinger, es similar a la de los dos álbumes anterior, pero con el nombre del grupo en blanco sobre un fondo negro.

After a three-year break, Neu! members Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother buried their differences temporarily, and reunited for another go at the "motorik" sound they had developed with their debut in 1971. The strange tension and presentation of Neu! 2 and the emergence of their former band Kraftwerk may have precipitated the reunion, but, whatever the reason, the end result proved worth the time, effort, and bickering it took to crank this one out. One thing that is noticeably different on 75 is the presence of synthesizers and the preference of them, it seems, over Rother's guitar. "Isi," which opens the album, features Dinger's metronymic percussion holding down the 2/4 rhythm and a trademark one-note bassline provided by a piano, but the gorgeous sonic washes and flourishes normally handled by Rother's guitar-slinging hands are now painted with a synth. "Seeland" offers a return to the six strings with what would in subsequent years become Rother's ornate "singing" style of playing. Dinger's rhythmic patterns here are deceptively simple. They create a long, trudging 4/4, syncopated every other line, and punctuated by a small ride cymbal at the end of each phrase as Rother's guitar provides both cascading single string notes and a shifting, pulsing bassline. It's a beautiful wasteland, this track; sparse yet full of melodic interplay and layered guitars and keyboards. The last track on side one is "Leb Wohl," an exercise in white noise, industrial textures, and natural or, "found" sounds, a piano and gorgeous, spare and intricate guitar chords. For side two, Neu! adds Dinger's brother, Thomas, and Hans Lampe on various percussions to allow Dinger to play guitar, piano, and organ, and to add some bottom end to the band's sound. The funny thing is they come off sounding more like a melodic punk band on "Hero," with Dinger's growling vocals being reminiscent of a young Mick Jagger on steroids. His Keith Richards-style chords stand in stark contrast to Rother's more lyrical approach. Perhaps this isn't such a surprise when we consider the Damned's first album was recorded in 1975. The ten-minute "E-Musick" becomes Neu!'s signature track for this disc, however. With distorted percussion -- courtesy of a synth and sequencer, as well as a drum kit put through a phase shifter, Rother's melodic synth lines are free to roam, wide and far, carrying within them a foreshadowing of his guitar solos a few minutes later. These long screaming lines, reminiscent of Steve Hillage at his best, with Dinger's wonderful rhythm backing and treatments of the instruments, provides a definitive statement on the Neu! "motorik" sound. This is music not only for traveling, from one place to the next, but also for disappearance into the ether at a steady pace. This may have been Neu!'s final statement -- at least in the studio; Dinger issued (without Rother's permission) an inferior live '72 album -- but at least they went out on a much higher note than Neu! 2, and in a place where their innovations are still being not only recognized, but utilized.
Thom Jurek

And so we reach endgame. Sure, the Düsseldorf duo of Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother would release subsequent material after Neu! '75: a handful of compilations, one live album, and the fruits of the duo's half-hearted mid-80's studio reunion (both of the latter two releases being bitterly contested by Rother). But there can be little doubt that Neu! '75 serves as the group's final statement. So what happens when the new starts to grow old, when a band whose very name was an exclamation of novelty, begins to age? It's a curious fold of thought: a visionary band in the process of maturation, but an old band that has become new to us.
Perhaps Neu never grew old; perhaps the world simply got wise to their sound. By 1975, Kraftwerk-- the group that spawned them-- had released Autobahn and gained international pop celebrity; Can had already mastered the music of propulsive ambience on Future Days; Faust had recorded the track that would give the entire genre its name; and punk was fomenting in the dives of England and America. 1975 was the year of Eno's Another Green World, and the year David Bowie began departing from his plastic soul phase in search of a synthetic futurism. Neu had been in hibernation for three years since the budget crisis-turned-serendipity of their tweaky sophomore effort.
Neu! '75 may have marked a personal reunion for Dinger and Rother, but there's little union to be heard. The record's lush ambience masks a primal tension at the heart, as if Neu were unsure to whom they would be leaving their legacy: new age or punk. "Isi" is propelled by Dinger's signature "motorik" percussion, but where we expect Rother's deft, industrialized guitar, we hear undulating synths and piano lines expanding out in concentric circles. It's not an engine; it's an ocean.
The somber "See Land" is a similarly organic affair, drawing more on the "kosmische" sound of Ash Ra Tempel and Rother's own Harmonia project (with Roedelius and Moebius of Cluster) than the factory aesthetics of Kraftwerk and Faust. Dinger's sparse, syncopated rhythm treads lightly beneath the bright, processed lines of Rother's singing guitar. Unfortunately, "See Land" operates by sheer repetition, a strategy employed to dazzling effect in the robotics of their earlier albums, but suggestive here of a fundamental aimlessness. The track dies on a volume fade-out, simply because there was no tension to resolve. Just drift.
You must reconstruct Neu! '75 in its original incarnation as vinyl in order to fully appreciate the bruising finality with which "Leb Wohl" would have concluded the first side. If the first two tracks were somewhat ambivalent about the preference for ambience over trajectory, "Leb Wohl" resolves all doubts. Over nine minutes, the track blends plaintive piano, metronomic percussion, distant organ, and tidal washes beneath Dinger's almost-spoken vocals. One can think of Talk Talk's artful deployment of silence as a reference point. There are even moments in the glacial emptiness of "Leb Wohl" when one half-expects the advent of a Nordic she-male crooning heavenly in a made-up language.
And just when you've resigned yourself to this new ethereal Neu, the industro-punk "Hero" snarls in with all the dirt and blues of the early Stones. Dinger growls out indecipherables somewhere between Jagger and Rotten, while Rother's burning guitar is finally emancipated from the benign oppression of the synths. It's the motorik of the world on the verge of a fuel crisis.
That insurgency is sustained throughout the lengthy "E-Musik," driven by the alien percussion of drums run through a phase shifter. The guitar skitters like pure electricity, while exploratory synths assume their proper place on the horizon. "E-Musik" has perfected the equation: the acid-fried expanse of their debut distilled through the radical proto-punk of their second album, and punctuated by spells of dreamy ambience. All that remains is the primal shove of "After Eight," perhaps the grittiest and meanest sounding track the duo ever put its name on. Instead of a victory lap, Neu throttled into overdrive.
And finally, breakdown. The world was catching up just as the engine blew out. And there wouldn't be another chance for Neu to show that they were still ten steps ahead of everybody else. The world was getting wise to their sound. So would you have been surprised then when the phone rang just a year after this record was released? Seems David Bowie had been swapping the band's LPs with Eno lately. He phoned up Rother, mentioned something about Berlin, a new sound, some project with Eno, and hey, maybe you'd like to sit in? The project, of course, would be Low. And Rother declined.
Brent S. Sirota

SPEAKERBOXXX! THE LOVE BELOW! AW HELL NO! Many many years before Outkast took their amazing dynamic apart and tried to hoof it on their two elements, another duo made the same choice. And just as in 2004, one has to lament the choice, while also being pretty darn fascinated at what the deconstruction ends up sounding like. And while the most dramatic thing that really ended up coming in Outkast's case was Andre 3000 turning into the split down the middle really does result in some hell of unexpected things. Long story short, Neu! basically broke up after that previous album, and had by this point at least agreed to reunite one "last" time. Problem is that label and money issues weren't all that had been the matter before, because Klaus and Michael were drifting musically apart. And sure enough the only way they ended up creatively resolving this during the sessions here? Was to basically split the album into two halves with one being in charge on side one, and the other on side two. Neat choice (and the only choice since fighting constantly would have resulted in probably NO release), but as with Outkast it robs the band of their synergy and makes things damned schizophrenic. Side one is Michael Rother's side, and it's's eh. Kind of dull honestly. Basically he's opted away from motorik industrial music and opted instead for what is honestly basically New Age music. Not so bad as that might sound, but also partly yeah. Leb Wohl is what, even a track? It's eight minutes of whatever. I like the other two enough, but even in their case I miss the motorik, and they do too because they lack the sense of blood flow that the pulsation gives instrumentals like them. They seem kind of boneless and flubby. Side two though, now that's where the gold is. So yes I am super taking sides here with Klaus Dinger, I dunno if that's polite or whatever but fuck it. Klaus in fairness is the one sticking the most to their old sound but it's not like he isn't bringing radical new ideas to bear. While E-Musik is just great motorik, the other two songs are flashes of Punk and Post-Punk yet to come with their mix of the Krautrock styles with some of that primal guitar energy. Dinger's half is just all around smarter and more economical. He tries his new radical plans, but also knows how to incorporate it with their foundations, he doesn't just edit out everything. In contrast Michael's pretty instrumentals cut away some too vital material and lose out. And it leaves me wondering how much better the album could have been if the two of them had managed to keep working together. And my evidence is Dinger's side! You could even say they were competing about which style would be the future of rock music or something. And while Post-Rock would somewhat vindicate Michael in the 90's, it damn sure is Klaus who won the bet here. Whatever the case, this is really the point where Krautrock's motorik days winded down and it's sun seemed to set. The point though where it turned out a certain David Bowie would pick them up and take their lessons to heart, and in doing so deliver their sound to the Anglosphere proper and really change shit up a ton. Neu! 75 sounds like that too. It sounds like a farewell concert from two guys who can't play together anymore, but the exciting dawn of something far far larger.

Mind-blowingly good. As in "one of the best 50 or so albums I've ever heard". Gorgeous, exhilarating-yet-meditative, diverse sound. Musically, this goes to more interesting places than Bowie's (+ Eno) Berlin trilogy, and it has a better vibe as well. It's even got proto-punk, along with early post-rock and new-age-ish tendencies. These are all pretty divergent impulses, but they're integrated here just about seamlessly. Ridiculously ahead of its time, so much so that it's essentially timeless.
Stylistically, the record's six tracks are divided equally as follows: motorik beat (Isi, E-Musik), ambient (Seeland, Leb Wohl) and proto-punk (Hero, After Eight).
The reviewer who said "The sound I had in my head but didn't know existed" completely nailed it.
(BTW, I know the term "Krautrock" is commonly accepted, but since it contains an ethnic slur, I prefer to call this stuff "German prog" or something like that.)

Something interesting seems to have occurred in the past 30 years. Back in the 1970s when I first listened to Neu!, the first album was easily my favourite and it is the only one of the big three that I've really listened to much in the intervening years. This one was my least favourite and I was surprised to see that it was the most popular on this site. I recently got my hands on all three albums and have been listening to them quite a bit for the past few days. Surprisingly enough, it has now become this one that really strikes my fancy. I wonder why that is? I suspect that my youthful interest in arty experimentalism has something to do with it. The first two albums are quite a bit more outre than this one, which is almost a Pop record by comparison. But it is so catchy! The first song "Isi", practically defines the word "shimmering". It makes you want to get up and dance, but at the same time it oozes with psychedelic euphoria. I'd draw a comparison with Bowie's "Speed of Life" which opens Low. A great lead-off track that compels one to put this album on first thing in the morning to give yourself a pleasant start to your day.
I was forced to reevaluate this album and give it more stars than I initially was prepared to.

I like rother's style a lot more than dinger's, to be honest, and this album contains a hell of a lot more dinger than previous neu! efforts. at the same time, the album is good in its own right, but it sure as hell isn't as good as neu! or neu! 2. good to listen to in the car or while doing work, and after listening to isi in the morning, don't tell me you don't feel good.

Sliding between effortless ambient pseudo-electronica, minimalistic fingerspitzengefühl, brutalistic DIY and a cleansing, raw simplicity, Neu! '75 is a modernistic little cabinet of curiosities. It serves as a perfect bridge between the mid-to-late seventies' (often ambidextrous) juggling of clarity, simplicity and downright don't-give-a-damn and a fair bit of artsy, textural and often long-winded sonic experimentalism. Clean, tidy and seemingly restrained. The actual movement and development is all occurring outside where your normal focus lies. Just as it happens in life in general.
Bringing up the tired old Motorik sound is almost a bit of a cliché at this point, but you can't help avoiding it. Rather simple and repetitive rhythms hang heavily all over this album, deceptively anchoring the sound in a flat and effortless soundscape of wide open spaces and riveting, endless clarity. It's a cunningly clinical and intrinsically modernistic form of expression, that at first hides its full delicacies and warmth for the casual and fleeting listener. Give it just a tiny amount of well-deserved attention and time and layer upon layer of primitive sensuality and grace will materialize before your very...ears.
Space. Oh yes. Space more than anything defines an album such as Neu! '75. Breezy, airy and full of delicately silken touches, the impressionistic sounds slowly weave themselves into a tapestry of almost natural beauty, when slow and restrained piano lines slide into sampled sounds of lazy and hazy summer afternoons and the ever restless (and occasionally threatening) seaside. There is an almost otherworldly quality to some of the compositions. Gleaming, shimmering, fleeting, rising and falling keyboard sounds that never try to fully flourish into melodic maturity, but rather hover and warble over a gradually shape-shifting sand dune of music. Slow, simple and gradual. Measured, clear and earnest. Guitars and bass stand out as melodic, but equally rhythmic focal points of an unclear yet decidedly linear, but slowly evolving and gradually integrating set of sounds, perhaps with a hazy and wordless vocal line wearily tagging along for the ride.
Hero stands out as a more immediate bridge between the slight, but much loved, over-ripeness of much of progressive rock and the sluggish, revivalist tendencies of primeval punk aggression and directness. It incorporates a slimmer, leaner form of the aforementioned qualities in an up-tempo exposé of ringing and hard-hitting lines of more in-your-face and reactionary musical ideas. Brawling with themselves, the vocals run around the music aggressively, challenging the music to join them for the ride in a raw, unfiltered world of urges and "baser" expression. I love it. After Eight joins the snarl, marrying that same steadfastness with a hissing, bubbling and unsettling form of rock reincarnation that I find very hard to resist. Post-rock, but in a completely different way than how it's envisioned today.
Loving this is not immediate. I grappled with the often proclaimed charms of Neu! for quite a while before I found the way into the heart of the music. Beautifully antagonistic ideas of near-industrial simplicity and effectiveness clashing with smoothly evocative and melodious romanticism. Couple that with an urgent release of brutal energy and, apparently, you've hooked at least one other listener.

Y como siempre para los fines de semana trato de dejarles varias cosas, esta no es la excepción.
Y gracias Agustin!


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Género: Progresivo italiano
Duración: 46:47
Nacionalidad: Italia

¿Vieron cuantas entradas hay en el blog cabezón de bandas italianas? Cuenta la leyenda que el oído argentino se asemeja a esta forma de encarar la música, tan melódica y emocional, porque está en …

Ideario del arte y política cabezona

Ideario del arte y política cabezona

"La desobediencia civil es el derecho imprescriptible de todo ciudadano. No puede renunciar a ella sin dejar de ser un hombre".

Gandhi, Tous les hommes sont frères, Gallimard, 1969, p. 235.