Wednesday, September 9, 2009


NEU! was a German band formed by Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother after their split from Kraftwerk in the early 1970s. Though the band had minimal commercial success during its existence, NEU! are retrospectively considered one of the founding fathers of Krautrock and a significant influence on artists including PiL, Joy Division, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Stereolab, Gary Numan, Ultravox, Radiohead, Simple Minds, and much of the current electronic music scene.

The band always wrote their name NEU! in block capitals and with an exclamation mark.

NEU! formed in 1971 in Düsseldorf as an off-shoot from an early line-up of another seminal Krautrock band, Kraftwerk. Drummer Klaus Dinger had joined Kraftwerk midway through sessions for their eponymous debut album. Guitarist Michael Rother was then recruited to the Kraftwerk line-up on completion of the album. (Rother had been playing in a local band called The Spirits of Sound, the line-up of which also included drummer Wolfgang Flür, who would himself go on to join Kraftwerk two years later.)

Kraftwerk founder Ralf Hütter left the band at this point and, for six months, Kraftwerk consisted of a trio of Rother, Dinger and Florian Schneider. This line-up played sporadic gigs and made a live appearance on German TV programme Beat Club. Attempted recording sessions at Conny Plank's studio were unsuccessful, and Dinger and Rother parted company from Schneider and began a new project with Plank: NEU! (Schneider rejoined Hütter and the pair continued recording the second Kraftwerk album with Plank.)

Their eponymous first album sold very little by mainstream standards (though 30,000 records was a lot for an "underground" band), yet is today considered a masterpiece by many, including influential artists such as David Bowie, Brian Eno and Thom Yorke of Radiohead. It included the Motorik benchmark tracks "Hallogallo" and "Negativland" (the band Negativland took their name from this track), and bizarre "songs" like "Sonderangebot".

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