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Life of the Record

27 EpisodesProduced by Life of the RecordWebsite

Classic albums, told by the people who made them.


The Making of NEU! (Self-Titled) - featuring Michael Rother

For the 50th anniversary of the first NEU! album, we spoke to Michael Rother about the extraordinary circumstances of how it was made. After Rother had been invited to jam with Kraftwerk, he had a fateful meeting with drummer, Klaus Dinger. The two of them ended up joining Kraftwerk for a time before deciding to leave and form their own band. Rother and Dinger asked producer, Conny Plank, to record them as they put up their own money to book a studio in Hamburg for four nights in late 1971. Plank turned out to be a key collaborator as he was inventive and efficient in the studio and was able to keep them on track to record a full album in a short time. These whirlwind sessions resulted in the debut NEU! album, which was released in 1972.

In this episode, Michael Rother describes this period of his life when he was influenced by the political changes happening around the world and in post-war Germany. He realized the importance of overcoming conservative structures, both politically and musically, and decided to abandon the more conventional blues-based music he had been playing as a teenager. Joining Kraftwerk had allowed Rother to connect with other likeminded musicians and inspired him to find his own musical identity. Rother describes the artistic kinship he felt with Klaus Dinger, even though their differing personalities eventually led to being estranged from one another in later years. From the power of Dinger’s drumming to the discovery of backwards guitar overdubs to Conny Plank’s use of phasing to the NEU! albums disappearing and reappearing over the years to the enduring impact of the music on younger generations, we’ll hear the stories around how the album came together.

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