NEU!: NEU! 50! (Grönland) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, February 21st, 2024  


NEU! 50!


Oct 11, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of their 1972 self-titled debut, the box set NEU! 50! brings together all four albums by the German duo NEU! as well as a tribute album featuring reworkings from The National, Idles, New Order’s Stephen Morris, Mogwai, Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, and others. Their influence found its way to post-punk bands and saw loving reflection in the ’90s from Stereolab, and Negativland even went so far as to name their band and record label after NEU! tracks.

Emerging at the same time as other experimental bands as CAN, Faust, and Tangerine Dream, Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother both served as early members of Kraftwerk before going on to unite their similar visions as NEU! (German for “new”) in 1971. With Rother on guitar and bass and Dinger on drums and other instruments, their stylistically varied 1972 self-titled debut finds NEU! varying their approach from dreamy to experimental. NEU! also introduced the motorik beat in their music, with its steady 4/4 drumbeat powering “Hallogallo” and “Negativland.”

1973’s NEU! 2 further refined their sound, with the motorik drive powering the 11-minute “Für Immer” (“Forever”) as well as “Lila Engel” (“Lilac Angel”), with Rother displaying restless creativity on guitar. With the duo having run out of money during recording, the album’s second side offers their “Neuschnee”/”Super” single at various speeds and finds NEU! well at the forefront (if perhaps unwittingly) of remixes.

The group returned after a break for the diverse NEU! ’75. Featuring the melodic “Isi,” the edgy drive of “E-Musik,” and proto-punk on “Hero,” the album’s promise made their breakup soon after its release even more unfortunate. NEU! ’86 comes from their mid-’80s sessions, with Dinger and Rother bringing new ideas to the studio a decade after their split.

For the NEU! Tribute, the duo’s material finds itself in good hands. The National provides the atmospheric “Im Glück” with a loose, easy rhythm for reconsidering the song’s possibilities. Yann Tiersen and IDLES intriguingly reframe “Lieber Honig” and “Negativland,” respectively, while Mogwai’s remix builds a new level of tension into “Super.” (

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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