Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, New Age, Pop, Rock
Stereolab must be quietly fuming: the sweet repetition on the 11-minute opening track "Fur Immer" here defines the parameters of the bachelor-pad band's sound so accurately, it's uncanny. Until this long-overdue reissue,... more »
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Stereolab must be quietly fuming: the sweet repetition on the 11-minute opening track "Fur Immer" here defines the parameters of the bachelor-pad band's sound so accurately, it's uncanny. Until this long-overdue reissue, however, only a handful of famous and/or connected musicians--David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Add N to X, DAF, Blur--had heard this relatively obscure album, first released in 1973. Stereolab isn't the only group this experimental, minimalist, unsettlingly beautiful Germanic duo influenced, though; you can hear traces of Suicide's aggressive disco-punk and almost all present-day dance bands within Klaus Dinger's almost robotic, forceful drumming on "Spitzenqualitat" and the finale "Super." What strikes the listener most about Neu! 2, however, is the sheer enjoyment these aural visionaries were deriving from their conveyor-belt grooves: ecstatic yelps of ecstasy sometimes obliterating the percussive din, keyboardist Michael Rother thumping his guitar like he's the first child on a new motorway of sound which, indeed, he was. Tracks are sped up and then slowed down, almost at random. Indispensable listening. --Everett True
William Scalzo | Niagara Falls, NY | 04/10/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"As a big fan of 70's Krautrock, I've been intrigued by the buzz surrounding Neu! in hipster circles these days. They seem to enjoy a higher standing than excellent bands like Can, Popol Vuh and Kraftwerk, and my excitement increased when the cashier at the hip, indie-type record store practically gushed over my brilliant selection. So I rushed home to listen to it and.....was completely underwhelmed to say the least.
This band has quite the cult following, who I'm sure will be hitting that "unhelpful" button, but I'm sorry. I gotta call 'em the way I hear 'em. The entire second half of this record consists of the band taking two (rather mediocre) songs and then playing them at the wrong speeds like little kids playing with their parents' stereo. That's right, they actually recorded the songs being played at 16 rpm or 78 rpm or whatever, and expected people to both pay for and be entertained by it. To me it's "experimentalism" at it's most pretentious and annoying (not to mention lazy-how about just writing some songs or something?)
The opening "Fur Immer" is actually a very nice encapsulation of the Krautrock sound, as Neu! lays down some interesting synth and guitar textures over a driving beat. Unfortunately, the bass player's decision to play exactly one note throughout wears thin about halfway through the eleven minute running time. "Lila Engel" is instructive as an influence on the post-rock movement. Play this for any Mogwai fan and they'll instantly recognize the musical language.
Maybe I just picked the wrong introduction to the band. Maybe Neu! and Neu 75 are better, but after blowing sixteen bucks on this one I'm not sure I'm in a hurry to find out."
Neu! - 'Neu! 2' (Astralwerks)
Mike Reed | USA | 04/26/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Nice follow up to the band's first lp,originally released in 1972,having eleven tracks.I was impressed with the fluid dynamics of "Fur Immer"(meaning 'Forever') and with the somewhat trend setting industrial "Spitzenqualitat".I notice that this reissue tends to change moods more often than the first one did.Apparently,Rother and Dinger stuck a bunch of fillers on 'Neu! 2'(I heard they ran out of funds during the middle of the lp's recording session)that were previously released with the speeds altered,which are "Neuschnee 78","Super 16" and the 78 rpm-sounding "Super 78".Clever.Don't worry about your CD player,it's fine.Several stops,skips,etc here and there."Hallo Excentrico" and "Super" are probably the best remixes.Certain fans of experimental just MAY find themselves drooling over this title."
Is there such a thing as avant-garde punk?
spiral_mind | Pennsylvania | 02/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If so, it probably starts here. What do you do when you've finished recording half of your second album (despite you and your partner trying to pull it in opposite directions while dealing with screwy studio equipment), then run out of money and have your label refuse to advance you any more? Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother chalked one up for spite and finished Neu! 2 anyway, presumably through sheer force of will. Tracks were doubled, stretched, compressed, sped up, slowed down, remixed and voila - enough new material to finish the record. It probably wasn't intended to be avant-garde or a new experient in strange recording techniques, let alone to spawn a whole genre niche on its own, but it's amazing how things can take on a life of their own.
If Neu! self-titled was an exploration of simplicity in repetitive grooves, this album is the sound of that idea being gnawed at by gerbils, composted, half-torn apart, spit out in a mess of tangled tapes and reassembled by a frazzled sound engineer in a hurry on his day off. And I realize that makes it sound like a hopeless mess, but it's not, really. The off-the-wall wackiness is what makes the finished work so fresh and intriguing. "Super" closes the album out nicely with a trademark smooth-chillin Neu!groove, but before we get there we hear part of it once at half speed and once at a zippy hyper pace that leaves your head spinning. "Neuschnee" is put through a similar treatment to get "Neuschnee 78," and I can't even tell what the source for "Cassetto" was, since that track consists of a tape being chewed up in the player. Fun stuff.
Elsewhere some moments are sheer motorik satori, creating more of the same blissful clockwork-cruising grooves the first record did. The dreamy "Für Immer" alone is probably worth the price, traveling from beautiful highway cruise to trippy outer-space groove and back again without missing a beat. "Neuschnee" and "Lila Engel" (even though it's got some questionable vocals on the side) are similar patches of ear-pleasing Krautrock, which are usually enough to keep the flow of the whole thing listenable amid the freaky parts.
Neu! 2 may be my least favorite of the three and the most rarely listened to (as it probably will be to anyone who usually prefers the sound of a finished product to the sound of a half-baked one put through a broken paper shredder), but it's got its own musical value all the same. And of course "Für Immer" is sheer aural perfection any way you look at it. Go for Neu! '75 for the most listenable taste, then come here to make your day a little more surreal."