Michael Rother and Friends Perform the Music of NEU! with Steve Shelley, Benjamin Curtis, & Aaron Mullan

The legendary German group NEU! released only 3 albums between 1972 and 1975, but these albums had an influence wildly disproportionate to their modest commercial success; praised by and influential to David Bowie, Hawkwind, Iggy Pop, DEVO, Sonic Youth, Stereolab, Autechre, Radiohead, U2, Wilco, Primal Scream, and beyond. In May 2010 Gronland Records will release a box including these three LP’s and an incredible batch of bonus material. Also this year will be the first live presentation of this music in more than 35 years.

Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger first came to the public’s attention shredding Hendrix-toned riffs and pounding monotonous, tom-heavy beats in a particularly psychedelic 1971 version of Kraftwerk. The pair left after 6 months to form NEU! and took with them their tandem musical language that would go on to have a far-reaching influence. Dinger’s propulsive beat is often cited as the quintessential motorik drumming, while Rother’s guitar playing made something new from a variety of influences: The timbres were of rock music, but the melodic sense was something else- the scales were bittersweet and very European, accompanied by a Middle-Eastern style open-string drone. The trio of Rother, Dinger, and producer Conny Plank created a cohesive universe where straightforward tones and melodies intermarried with heavily processed elements, where reality could turn itself inside-out or stretch out seemingly forever.

Rother and Dinger parted ways after the third NEU! album. Rother concentrated on his collaboration with Cluster (Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius) as Harmonia, and starting in 1977, released a series of solo records. Dinger began a new project called La Dusseldorf. The pair regrouped in 1985/86 but were never able to complete another album to their mutual satisfaction. In 2008 Klaus Dinger passed away. Regarding the NEU! box set, Rother says: It was my aim to present Klaus Dinger´s musical strengths and visions just as much as my own ideas. All during the emotional process of reworking our album Klaus was on my mind and I contemplated what he would think about my decisions. I was very relieved and moved to hear from his heir Miki Yui that she was pleased with the result presented with the album NEU!´86.”

Inspired by revisiting these recordings, Rother has invited a group of musicians to visit the NEU! universe with him for a series of live performances: Steve Shelley, Benjamin Curtis, and Aaron Mullan will perform a limited number of concerts this year as ‘Hallogallo 2010.’ This group will perform NEU! music and selections from Rother’s work with Harmonia and his solo albums.

Steve Shelley is best known for drumming in Sonic Youth since 1985. He has also recorded or performed with The Fugs, Allen Ginsberg, Arto Lindsay, Loren Mazacane Connors, The High Confessions, Christina Rosenvinge, Richard Hell, Giant Sand, the Matt Zivich Trio, Ron Asheton, Townes Van Zandt, Cat Power, The Raincoats, Brigitte Fontaine, Robert Quine, Enrique Morente and many others.

Benjamin Curtis is a member of School of Seven Bells, and was a founding member of Secret Machines. He has collaborated with Rother since 2004.

Aaron Mullan is ½ the guitars of Tall Firs. He has collaborated with Chris Corsano and The Matt Zivich Trio, amongst others.

4 LP NEU! Box Set Released May 2010 / neu2010.com / michaelrother.de

Steve Shelley Mix on Dailysession.