Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Neu! versus Alt!

Met Michael Rother last week

Neu!'s children are legion, still

(that last one has a bit of Hawkwind in there, and "Transmission")

Entertaining tunes, but old Neu!s let's be honest

Is it unreasonable for me to not only prefer - but to be biased in favor of -  the neu when it was actually neu?

How come alt-Neu! still sounds neu-er than nu-Neu?

The paradox of modernism innit - the Breakthrough, suspended for all time thanks to the 20th Century miracle of recording, recreates the original moment of emergence and insurgence each time you listen (or look, or read). Is somehow eternally new, like fresh-picked fruit flash-frozen.*

Flaubert's Madame Bovary startled me awake, when I read it for the first time last year -  even though all its innovations have been long assimilated and rendered second-nature commonplaces in subsequent fiction.

The context for meeting Rother was a Hamburg conference panel discussion in which we were both involved (along with Gudrun Gut, another German modernist albeit of a later vintage) and in which issues of lost futures etc were discussed. Mark Fisher's name came up.

* I also feel that the groups reactivating (if not quite reenacting) the breakthroughs made by other earliers, have evade all the hard work that went into actually breaking through into the new / Neu!. Their undoubted youthful energy masks an idleness - an Idles-ness, even


  1. Motorik is the 21st century equivalent of the once ubiquitous Chuck Berry riff. And no contemporary Stuart Moxhams around to mock its overuse.

  2. Phil Knight sez:

    One of my things these days is finding old industrial photographs where amazing futuristic things are being made by people in old fashioned cloth caps. Case in point:


    It's quite mind-bending how certain creations remain pristine.

  3. If I hear another group ripping off/riffing on NEU I might go insane.

    It seemed like after 90s post-rock groups such as Stereolab and Cul-De-Sac had used up all their NEU inspiration that bands from the stoner rock/metal milieu then started taking up the NEU infatuation. People only exposed to the hairy rock lineage probably found these sounds pretty innovative and they may have been a little in that context...but come on it needs to stop. We know there's nothing NEU about it.