Neu!

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Neu-old

Neu is German and means new, but that was in the 1970s and that was then.

Neu!
Origins Düsseldorf, Germany
Years Active 1971-1975/1985-1986
Genre(s) Krautrock, Proto-punk, Experimental
Labels Neu! didn't like being labeled
Members Klaus Dinger, Michael Rother, Conny Planck, various German dudes who had nothing better to do
Former Members A Volkswagen motor that went on and on and on
Neu? They were heroes, just for one day

Neu! was an experimental rock band from Germany. A product of the sprawling 70s; their complex brand of Music Theory is called "Motorik". The two members were originally employed at the Kraftwerk power plant in Düsseldorf, Germany, but their lack of interest in robots got them fired. Ironically, Neu! would develop a robotic sound by themselves, which gave them a huge fan base inside The Matrix and among Terminators and the like. After inventing punk rock, krautrock, proto-punk, post rock, electronic music, the light bulb and the infamous motorik beat, Neu! dissolved after realizing that they basically recorded the same song 20 times in a row, and that became the Neu! discography.

edit History

The two members of Neu! were Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger. They formed Neu! and decided to go down in musical history as the band with the lamest band name and the cheesiest song titles - they would perform on the Düsseldorf underground scene and gained a dedicated fan base, that would always show up at their concerts. The dedicated fan base was the police, who came to arrest the band.

After gaining a record contract, they teamed up with a guy called Conny Planck to record their first album. After some hours of arguing, doing drugs (this was the 1970s, you know...), they frantically recorded 45 minutes of noise and called it an album. The opening track Hallogallo was ten minutes of playing one single chord and one single drum beat, which led to great critical acclaim and cult status around the world - appearantly, one chord is all you need.

After topping the charts and playing their one-chord, one-drum beat music, Neu! decided to record another album. The title was 2. but that didn't mean that they would stray from their monolithic, one-sided, one-dimensional sound of using one chord only. They kept on recording their music, but soon ran out of money, as they spent it all on drugs (it was still the 1970s, dude...) and therefore only recorded one half of the album. So how did they fill out an entire album? Well, play the same two songs at different speeds and call it a day. Lazy? Yes. Cheating? Yes. Underachiving? Jahr! - But once again, the critics loved it, and their music was played all over Germany, even on the other side of the Berlin Wall - since the lyrics were either "la la la" or "na na na", it didn't insult the East German censorship committee, unless for a few tracks, where the "la la la" had a capitalist tone to it.

After discovering that songs could have more than one chord, they recorded their third album - this time, with a song with two chords called Hero. The song would inspire David Bowie to make a song called Heroes - in a fit of artistic hubris, it had three chords! Meanwhile, Neu! had decided to split, having figured that Bowie was more of a hero than they were.

Killer-robot

Neu! has a huge robotic fanbase because of the repetitive nature of the music. Here, an obsolete Neu! fan with anger issues

Common Base amplifier

The musical notation for a Motorik song

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For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about Neu!.

edit Motorik Theory Explanation

The musical theory behind Neu!'s sound is called Motorik and is a manufacturing concept developed by Volkswagen. The original idea was to invent an engine that kept going, but the idea was picked up by the German krautrock scene as a way of developing music. Well, calling it music may be a bit too much. Perhaps it's better to call it... Minimalism. No, that is too big a word. Sounds? No. Mind-numbing, faceless, droning machine noise? Possibly. Let's just stick with Motorik because when an engine goes boom-boom-bah-boom, boom-boom-bah-boom, boom-boom-bah-boom for ten minutes straight, it's not really music. At least it wasn't in the 1970s, but today things have changed. Just ask Daft Punk, representing the minority of robotic musicians.

The Motorik theory has been picked up by many other bands: David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Radiohead, Nintendo and Toyota. The recession of Detroit can be attributed to Neu! breaking up, as the car industry didn't have a soundtrack anymore.

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