Where to start with Michael Rother? That he was key to the music of both Neu! and Harmonia outweighs what you could say in just about anyone else’s biography. Even now you could say we’re still unraveling the influence of those bands. Like The Stooges, they’re a thousand times more influential now than when in their pomp, disseminating early on through the vouching of Eno, Bowie and Pop, strongly flavouring punks of various hues and eternally inspiring new musicians and new music still today. Why this is so, of course, is that those records still sound so timeless and unsurpassed. So many people have imitated Neu! and Harmonia but no one can really do what they do like they do it. In many ways, their best tracks are just so simple, but isn’t that often where genius is found? In the execution of simplicity but in a way that could only ever be one particular (group of) artist(s)?
Rother’s Neu! partner Klaus Dinger employed the ‘Dinger beat’ of course – very simple, a million people have copied it but really no one makes use of it like Neu! did. Brian Eno said “There were three great beats in the 70s: Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat; James Brown’s funk; and Klaus Dinger’s Neu!-beat”. Dinger sadly passed away in 2008 just as a Neu! reunion seemed to be on the cards. Dieter Moebius of Harmonia also passed away in 2015, though some of us were lucky enough to see their brilliant set at Supersonic in 2008. The influence of the music Rother has created is enormous and at Safe As Milk he and his band (a trio with Hans Lampe of the great La Düsseldorf and Franz Bargmann, also of the band Camera) will play classic Neu! and Harmonia tracks and a scattering of his solo works.