Brain Records Label
Recorded Jan/Feb 1973, recorded at Windrose-Dumont-Time-Studios Hamburg. ‘Neuschnee’ and ‘Super’ recorded in 1972 at Conny Plank’s Cologne studio.
1. Für Immer (Forever) 11:00
2. Spitzenqualität 4:58
3. Gedenkminute (Für A + K) 1:00
4. Lila Engel (Lilac Angel) 4:35
1. Neuschnee 78 2:30
2. Super 16 3:37
3. Neuschnee 3:59
4. Cassetto 1:50
5. Super 78 1:35
6. Hallo Ecentrico! 3:43
7. Super 3:07
Klaus Dinger: 11-string guitar, bandonion, drums/ percussion, electronics, Farfisa piano, Japanese banjo, tape and record player manipulation and vocals.
Michael Rother: Bass, electronics, guitar, piano, percussion and zither.
Conny Plank: Producer.
Artwork: Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother.
Following the extolled reception and success of their stark, but incipient strident motorik debut, the Dusseldorf organic futurists hit the road for a tour. With former Kraftwerker Eberhard Krahnemann taking on bass duties, Neu! performed a number of concerts before being pressured to get back into the studio. Both Rother and Dinger became slightly uneasy, it seems the much applauded Neu! desideratum blueprint resonated so well with both critics and fans that the duo became spooked – Rother would of course jump ship and join the recently formed Harmonia before returning back to the arms of his musical partner, after much hand-wringing, for the Neu! 75 reunion. Things were made even worse when recording for the follow-up album actually began. After only laying down the inaugural vista spread of ‘Für Immer’, they were promptly told by Brain that the budget had run out, there was no more money in the coffers.
A few months previously, Neu! had made a single as a stop gap between LPs, though their label were dead set against it out of commercial concerns. The double A-side of ‘Neuschnee/Super’ featured those marked references from their first album, but also comes equipped with a harder and more broodier proto-punk snarls and growls. Appearing on Neu! 2 alongside ‘Für Immer’ to make up for the startling gap now left after funds ceased, of course this still only amounted to a running time of 18-minutes. Whether it was the production wizard of Krautrock’s idea or Dinger and Rother’s, it was decided that the recorded tracks should be cut up and pasted to make up a strange D.I.Y collage type fashioned suite. Only this merely equated to Dinger speeding and slowing down ‘Neuschnee’ and ‘Super’ on a record player, then re-recording them, or just holding his thumb down on the reel-to-reel machine and recording it; an idea that must have been hoisted up the flagpole and saluted by all concerned. The result was quite frankly weird, but not in a good way. In fact it sounds for the most part like a tomfoolery exercise in taking the piss, a fuck you to the label. Dispersed amongst the key tracks and ludicrous speed variant nonsense are a number of experimental atmospheric pieces and doomly staggered vignettes, which allude to esoteric imagined landscapes and scary extremes of mental cacophony.
Once again the Neu! branded moniker was brandished like a washing powder product. A spray can 2 marks the only difference from their last affair, whilst inside scrawled track names and info shadowed by photo booth passport photos, are crossed out and re-written.
‘Neu! 2’ lacks the calming vision of their famously lauded original ‘Neu!’ soundtrack. Full of miscalculated slip-ups, pressured ideas and short-change experiments, this miss-fire companion still radiates with some heightened moments of hymn like joy and traversing triumphs. Both ‘Für Immer’ and ‘Neuschnee’ build on the foundations of ‘Hallogallo’; adding richer textures and searing layers to the motif. ‘Super’ and ‘lila Engel’ meanwhile rough it out with Faust and metal, giving the duo an escape route towards darker musical pleasures. Short change accusations hinder this album to a degree. Rother famously took to the woods with Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius to join their Harmonia project, after this album was released. Dinger began working on the La Dusseldorf imprint, with both his brother Thomas and Plank’s tape operator, Hans Lampe, though their first offering wasn’t released until 1975. After a brief hiatus, both men made-up their differences – Rother and Dinger clashed often over direction and whether they should play live or not – and returned for the reunion ‘Neu! 75’ record in 1974, and later in the 80s for what would be the last hurrah of ‘Neu! 4’, an album Rother fell out over with his sparring partner.
Anticipation steadily builds as the very first stirrings of Neu! signature, pulsing, motorik drill, incipiently fades into view. Prolonged laconic pronounced drums work their magic, as Rother’s suffused guitar strains delicately kiss the flange coated textures of sound; produced from a mixture of Japanese banjo, fiddle, piano and various electronic devices. ‘Für Immer’ means forever, which this richly striding companion piece to the hallowed ‘Hallogallo’, certainly tries to achieve. Heavier interjections are implemented as though we were becoming dazed from the hypnotic, suffused, snarling jam of pulchritude. Echo-chamber shakes and vortex warping effects twist the percussion and pliable guitar mantras through a quantum leap, before emerging from a inter-dimensional mind bender back into the main groove all over again. Those recurrent waterside motifs continue, as lapping waves crash against the river bank, ‘Für Immer’ is caught in the tide and is beckoned beneath the waters to make way for the next section of ‘Neu! 2’. Isolation tank suffocated drums wallow in oscillating cycles of space-rock; ‘Spitzenqualität’ is coated in reverb and, yet more flange, as it manipulates timings with both distorted scathing guitar and laboured drumming: a desolate plains search and slow methodical pause of a tune.
Neu! tunes seldom end, they just tend to fizzle out or evaporate; ‘Gedenkminute’ takes over from it’s preceding triggered outre, wafting in on the last remaining resonating pools of sound. This short interlude drags us through some Edgar Allen Poe descriptive rich graveyard, the wind blowing menacingly as a haunted Germanic girls voice communicates to us from the other side. Thank the lord for the battering ram metal psych barrage of ‘Lila Engel’ (Lilac Angel) – surely a joke, this doomed warning of a tome is far from angelic or seraph. Sounding like the godfather to both the Southern Lord franchise of biblical droning rock, and to industrial punk. Dinger’s no-fucking-nonsense power tool drums compete with Rother’s revving, ringing-out licks, over a three-tier build-up. Each level increases in volume and savageness: yeah you never knew they could mix it with those barbarians of the wild frontier, Faust.
A collage of trickery and ameliorate masking awaits on side two, Neu! stretching the boundaries of what a band can get away with. Coming up short on material, they manipulatively assuage their own tracks starting with ‘Neuschnee’, which is introduced at 78 rpm. Dinger and Rother actually record the original single version sped-up – you even hear the hiss and crackles of the vinyl. Ridiculous high-pitched sounds give it a comedic Egyptian mystical garb, as the stylus jumps when it hits any scratches. ‘Super 16’ follows the same premise, only at 16 rpm. Slow over-aching momentum of a tune, this sounds like another doom inspired hellish crawl through the pits of Hades. – imagine Richard James remixing Boris and naming it ‘Satanic Moonscape’.
At last the authentic ‘Neuschnee’ is given an airing at the right speed. Thumb-plucked instruments ease in another classy Neu! motoring opus. Rother’s guitar now weeps and sings a glorious bewailing paean, whilst Dinger taps out some kind of secret code, hitting a cycle of drumrolls, and ending each run with a customary exclamation mark cymbal crash. ‘Casseto’ is a short vignette of caustic and harrying heaviness. The banging evil soundclash transcends nightmarish, repeating scariness. Back to the fatuous with ‘Super 78’, as now we are introduced to the crazily speeding variant of this key track, plucked from their original single. Once again a manic wheeze of squeezed demonic acid-mice, and galloping nonsensical bewilderment; fucked with and played to a skeptical audience – file under eccentric diversion tatic.
‘Hallo Excentrico!’ features half the title of their most famed and applauded track, but that’s where similarities end. Dinger once more pisses about with the tape machine, his cohorts chattering away in the corner blissfully oblivious to the recording process. But it all gets swept up by the Teutonic brain food of ‘Super’, which pitches the signature whacker-whacker chops of Rother with a Stooges motor city Nuremburg stomp. A sublime smiling primal-scream and unscripted series of chants roll around in the background – signs of the Dinger archetype La Dusseldorf sound is woven here. ‘Neu! 2’ opens up the duo’s musical horizons, at times for the better, and other times it’s debatable. A harder and climatic dark side is implemented with their meditative explorations containing more layers and development of sound. Of the eleven-tracks, at least a third can be taken with a pinch of salt. Whether they generally believed that or this pokery would open up revelations or set off new discoveries remains iffy. The fact they’d been left in the shit with no money to finish recording may explain things. Still their second tome offers ethereal and inspired anthems, which in my view, are more influential then their debut.