So, like I said, 2014 sucked, and 2015 was offering a compelling reason to just take a break from music altogether.
But sometimes circumstances call out for it. And after hearing about the untimely death of an old friend, I knew I’d need something.
We’d heard he was sick around Thanksgiving and found out he’d died right after Christmas. The wake was on New Years Day.
The next day, I needed to go for a long walk and along the way bought a CD, but my heart wasn’t in it.
The funeral mass was the day after that. We came home feeling drained and numb. I was off from work that week and finally gave myself permission to do nothing. I decided to just lie down and read for a while. I could have opted to listen to nothing, but since I’d just gotten a CD the day before I figured I’d put it on.
So I lay there reading, so tired I felt glued to the bed. I’d nod off occasionally as CD played, so before I knew it, it was over. So I put it on again. And again.
So it was - and I mean this as a compliment - a good substitute for nothing. In a way, it was an expression of nothing. Again, a compliment. I certainly didn’t want to hear singing, at least not in English.
These guys left the pre-famous (if you’d call it that) Kraftwerk because they (the latter) weren’t weird enough. Neu! would eventually be renowned for a synthesizer sound that would later influence David Bowie’s late 70s sound (Low and Heroes, two of my faves) and Brian Eno in general.
On this, their first album, there’s more guitar than synthesizer. Still very drone-y though. And although the six songs are all rather long, and the guitar touches are pretty minimal, the drums keep you feeling like you’re getting somewhere. On paper, it all sounds pretty boring, but because they change up the beats, on the best cuts, it verges on hypnotic.
And they’re not afraid to make noise. And not just musical noise. Noise noise. Like a jackhammer. I mean it. An actual jackhammer. That one’s call “Negativland”. No sh*t.
At times quiet, for a cold cloudy day. And at others, an explosion of distortion and rage. Then it ends with a whimper. On purpose. Works for me!
But it may be music for people who don’t like music, or who are tired of it. Exactly what I needed.
I’ll have to try it again when I’m feeling better.
Neu! musik for the Neu! Year
When to play it: When you’re alone.
When NOT to play it: At a barbeque.