Saturday, April 05, 2008

Choked Up

Like many people, I'm sure, I delved into the music of NEU! this week as a reaction to Klaus Dinger's death, because death brings out a natural human reaction in most people and forces you to revisit music that you've regrettably neglected. I needed to be reminded of the funkiness of a motorik beat, of the way that "Hallogallo" builds unstoppably and imperceptibly -- it's possibly the most striking example of the magic of minimalism. Dinger also knew how to tweak the formula to deliver something more explosive, such as on "Lila Engel" from "NEU!2" (which has always my favourite NEU! album, in no small part due to that track). It's a cliche to note that the drummer is the most boring, not to mention invisible member of a band, but Dinger is a huge exception. In the bands he co-founded, he and his drumming were the true stars of the show.

I actually got a bit choked up with joy when I was waiting for a train and Black Kids' "I Don't Wanna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance" popped up on my iPod. I hadn't heard it in a couple of months, and promptly caned the shit out of it during the rest of the week and diluted its power (which is exactly *why* I had had to give it a rest for two months in the first place), but nothing can destroy the vividness of those thirty seconds on the train station platform once the opening chords kicked in. The way that even the most familiar music can spring out of nowhere and still surprise you might be the #1 reason for being a music fan.

Finally, six months after the release of "Hauff/Heim", I have changed my opinion on the new track "Hljomalind". I used to like it a lot, but now really "get it". Obviously inspired by the massive, sweeping scenery that was presented in the "Heima" film, "Hljomalind" marks a shift from the fairy tale music of "Takk" into something more expansive, meant to be shouted from tops of mountains instead of whimpered a dim, claustrophobic bedroom.

No comments: