Formed in 1971 in Dusseldorf, this archetypal Kraütrock band was actually a duo comprising guitar wiz Michael Rother and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Klaus Dinger, both previously with Kraftwerk.
Dinger’s mechanical, cut time drumming and Rother’s two-note bass runs adorned with cleverly manipulated and dreamy guitar riffs and fills were the hallmarks of the “motorik” sound that would become the band’s trademark.
Their Conny Plank-produced self-titled debut album would become a touchstone for practically the entire post-punk era but exposed the gulf between the duo.
The pair made up for a recording budget shortfall on Neu! 2 (1973) by recycling the two songs they already had (Super and Neuschnee) at different speeds, unwittingly inventing the remix in the process.
By 1975 they were virtually at their White Album stage, with each member in full control of his own tracks. Fortunately, although the music on the Neu! 75 album is borderline schizophrenic, it still stands as probably their most rewarding offering.
Using a combination of synthesizers and drummers Hans Lampe and Thomas Dinger (freeing Klaus Dinger to wreak havoc on all the other instruments), the pair split the album between Rother’s beautiful ambient textures (See Land and Leb’ Wohl) and Dinger’s proto-punk thrashing (sounding remarkably like Johnny Rotten would a year later), only joining forces for the opening Isi and the definitive Neu! statement, E-Musik.
Having finally meshed their instruments together to create the perfect motorik machine, they did the only logical thing and split up.
Klaus Dinger died of heart failure on 21 March 2008.
Guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals
Drums, percussion, keyboards, guitar