While little known and relatively unheralded during its brief existence, the Krautrock duo Neu!
cast a large shadow over later generations of musicians and served as a major influence on artists as diverse as David Bowie
, Sonic Youth
, Pere Ubu
, Julian Cope
, and Stereolab
formed in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1971 after multi-instrumentalists Michael Rother
and Klaus Dinger
both split from Kraftwerk
. Recorded in the space of four days with Can
producer Conrad Plank
, the duo's self-titled debut appeared early in 1972 and quickly established their affection for minimalist melodies and lock-groove rhythms. While virtually ignored throughout the rest of the world, the album sold extremely well in West Germany, resulting in a tour with support from Guru Guru
's Uli Trepte
and Eberhard Krahnemann.
returned to the studio in 1973 for Neu! 2
, but a shortfall of cash allowed the duo to complete only two songs, "Super" and "Neuschnee," which they subsequently remixed at varying and disorienting speeds in order to flesh out a full-length album. After the record's release, Rother
joined Dieter Moebius
and Joachim Roedelius
to form Harmonia
, but Neu!
officially reunited in 1975 to record Neu! 75
. After its release, they again disbanded; Rother
continued on as a solo performer, while Dinger
and drummer Hans Lampe
formed La Dusseldorf
. In the mid-'80s, Rother
re-formed yet again, although the recording sessions, titled Neu! 4
, did not officially surface until 1996.