‘Brand Neu!’ by various artists

brand-neu‘Brand Neu!’

Where to start and what to say?! Being rather a fan of Neu! and Michael Rother, I was anxiously awaiting this particular album. Having read various comments regarding the validity of some of the contributors, and having heard some of the songs which had been previously released by some, I was keen to hear the whole in one go. And after the first listen I decided I needed to refresh my memory of the Neu! catalogue. Also, just because I have a nifty little free program, BPM MixMeister, I thought to compare the bpms of some songs with Neu!’s bpms.

So, how do I feel about this selection: intrigued.

Quite a few songs were based around the classic Neu! drum line: precision and personal touch perfected by Klaus Dinger, as in for example ‘Super’ and ‘Für Immer’. But while some maintained the equal balance between drums, guitar and synths, ‘We Only Found This Place’ by Pets with Pets comes to mind, others used the drum line to build the song around it, at times delegating it to the background, for example ‘I Can See It Now’ by Oasis.

Now, while I can truly say to ‘not’ like only one of the songs, there are a couple where I absolutely fail to see the connection to Neu! : Hook and The Twin’s ‘They’ll Get Your Head’ and lcd Soundsystem’s ‘Watch The Tapes’. The first reminds me more of the B52’s fun filled beats and lyrics, while the second gives me flashbacks of my 80’s disco nights. Don’t get me wrong, I like them for what they are, but if someone could enlighten me on the connection to Neu! I’d really appreciate it.

And then there are the bands who have taken their inspiration not strictly from the musical catalogue, but rather from the ideology behind Neu! : to explore new ground and not to expand the known. Prime example would have to be Foals’ ‘Titan Arum’ and School Of Seven Bells’ ‘ Device Für M’

‘Titan Arum’ uses halting guitars and hypnotic synths in a “less is more” fashion and creates soundscapes that make you want to push the loop button and forget about time.

‘Device Für M‘ starts out with a subtle percussion reference to ‘Hallogallo’ and continues to add its distinct touch with the gentle but pressing vocals.

The last two contributions – ‘Sketch1_08’ and ‘Neutronics98’ are certainly a fitting end to this collection, highlighting again what Neu! and its collaborators stand for: precision driven drum lines creating dynamic soundscapes and beautifully honed guitar sounds combined with elevating synthesizers.

All in all, an interesting collection to listen to, and a perfect introduction to the works of the other bands. Speaking for myself, I went on to find out more about Fujiya & Miyagi and just LOVE their stuff.

Personal high – ‘Stuntman’ by Kasabian, with the classic drums beat and quirky lyrics . Personal low – ‘Two Cool Rock Chicks Listening To Neu!’ by Ciccone Youth.

PS: the bpm comparison gave interesting results, meaning nothing blatantly obvious or conclusive, rather the opposite: according to the results ‘Device Für M’ plays at 190.05 beats per minute, and ‘Super Inuit’ at 89.29??!!

Have a listen , and correct me if I’m wrong, BUT that just doesn’t sound right.

\’Device Fuer M\’ by School Of Seven Bells

\’Super Inuit\’ by Holy Fuck

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