Record Review – Neu! 2 reissue

Posted on: September 7, 2023
Filed under: ,

By Juan Raigosa // Neu! – Neu! 2 reissue (United Artists, 2023).

Reissued for its 50th anniversary, the sophomore album by the seminal Krautrock duo Neu! still sounds vital and contemporary today. In addition, the album (beautifully pressed on white vinyl for the crate diggers among you) has some historical relevance due to its creation serving as an example of limited resources being turned into an artistic opportunity. The band’s first album had sold modestly but secured them an advance on making a second. Excitedly, band members Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother spent a healthy portion of that advance on new instruments, failing to leave enough money in the budget to record a full album’s worth of material. Their solution was to take an existing single called “Neuschnee/Super” and turn it into multiple tracks by playing it back at various speeds, distorting it by playing the master pressing off-center and other fun means of lo-fi recording studio trickery. This made Neu 2 perhaps the first album in history to include multiple versions of the same song and presaged the now common practice of releasing several remixes for a hit pop song. Propulsive and edgy, the music is also ahead of its time. You hear the seeds of post-punk in the squealing guitars, the germs of techno-influenced dance rock in the heaving synth lines, all backed by the relentlessly dance-y motorik 4/4 beat. At their most rocking, this is face melting of the highest order. At their most experimental, it sounds like the soundtrack to the weirdest German industrial goth horror movie that you’ve never seen. Viel Spaß!