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on 11 January 2006
NEU!’s first album, NEU! – presumably they used all their imagination on the content of their albums, rather than the names – is something of a departure from the kind of Krautrock that is embodied by the inspired improvisation of Can, or the fearsomely bonkers avant garde experimentation of Faust, the other big names in this fascinating genre. In some ways, NEU! are actually the most progressive of all Krautrock groups: their music seems less bound by the conventions of traditional rock music, or even jazz, blues, or the avant garde. Their best music has an amazingly crisp, fresh sound that doesn’t seem so apparent in the work of their peers. It’s fair to say that Cluster or Harmonia’s best work also has the same kind of freshness to it, but there is a real sharpness to NEU!’s minimalist work: like the air on a cold winter’s morning.
There are clear similarities between NEU! and NEU! 2, not least in the opening tracks of each record. ‘Hallogallo’ from the first album is a bright, vibrant start, and ‘Für Immer’ (‘Forever’) on this album, is very nearly as good. It is similarly lengthy, and again built on ‘motorik’ drumming, but with repetitive, strummed guitar overlaid with pretty, repeated figures, as well as washes of cymbal sound and hints of keyboard that add to the song’s hypnotic, spacey air. The sound is very clean – almost icy – and characteristically uncluttered, meaning the song combines elegance with its urgency, before it fades into a wash of distorted drums and the sounds of the sea on a beach. This leads the record into a strange, transitional phase where the tracks ‘Spitzenqualität’ (‘Highest Quality’) and ‘Gedenkminute’ (‘A Minute’s Silence’) seem a little like they are marking time. Although ‘Spitzenqualität’ is interesting in that it mimics the effects of some of the varispeeded songs later on the album in real time – it begins with fast, repetitive drumming and treated guitar, before getting slower and slower until nothing is heard but the sound of whistling wind – it feels a little like filler, as does ‘Gedenkminute’, (a tolling bell and whistling wind).
Where NEU! had a coherent dynamic, its six tracks just about hanging together as a whole, the second album is far more disrupted by the tape and record ‘experiments’ of tracks like ‘Super 16’, ‘Neuschnee 78’ and ‘Super 78’. As both ‘Neuschnee’ (‘New Snow’) and ‘Super’ are great NEU! Tracks, it’s a shame Dinger and Rother didn’t manage to create more material from their apparently limited budget, or just leave the new tracks to stand on their own merits. Something like ‘Lila Engel’ (‘Lilac Angel’) may seem a little out of place with the smoother songs here, as it has heavy, repetitive drumming and industrial sounding slabs of atonal guitar, all of which speed up when a second guitar riff kicks in. It also features another odd and indecipherable vocal performance from Klaus Dinger (not unlike his croaking on ‘Lieber Honig’ from NEU!), and the whole track feels rather off kilter and angular, although it clearly explores similar ideas to the first album’s ‘Negativland’, getting faster and faster until it collapses and fades into feedback and echo effects.
‘Neuschnee’ is such a strong track that even when it is speeded up for ‘Neuschnee 78’, it still sounds okay – although it is horribly butchered on ‘Hallo Excentrico!’ – but in its proper state it almost matches the brilliance of ‘Für Immer’. The drumming is brisk and simple, guitars strum prettily and there are slowly unfurling curlicues of treated guitar, and like most NEU! songs, it is built on repeated structures, progressing and developing through the additions and embellishments made during the course of the song. As with so much of NEU!’s best material, its lightness and dynamism give it a beautiful, almost otherworldly, quality. And although ‘Super’ is much darker, with a threatening, stop-start riff, it’s still a great piece of music. There’s something slightly unhinged about it that only adds to the sense of threat, but, essentially, this is Punk a good three years before it really came into the public consciousness. Clearly NEU! were well named. Interestingly, the threat here is amplified on ‘Super 16’, where the slowing down of an already aggressive sound makes the song throb eerily, almost like some kind of monstrous heartbeat. In this way, it’s reminiscent of Can’s ‘Aumgm’, another song where the boundaries of the musical envelope were thoroughly pushed.
Although this album doesn’t seem like that much of a musical leap forward from their first, that probably doesn’t matter too much as NEU! were so far ahead of virtually everyone else at this stage anyway. This, perhaps, is what keeps their music so vital thirty-odd years on. A lot of the things that NEU! did on their first two albums have been heard many times since, but they’ve never been done better, and as the likes of Thom Yorke and Damon Albarn claim to be NEU! fans, it’s fair to say their influence is still felt today. Perhaps the only pity is that these artists don’t show NEU!’s inspiration more clearly in their own work, because if they did, it would not only make their music a great deal more interesting, but it would also give a truly visionary band the credit they richly deserve.
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Neu continue where they left off on their first album, but with the most fantastic opener, 'Fur Immer' Drifting in and out from soft ambience with an addictive guitar riff, and piano, to pure rock. This is driving music if you're travelling a few hundred miles. The influences of this record can be clearly heard. Surely someone has noticed similarities to the ridiculously heavy Lilac Angel, and Iggy Pop's Funtime? If not, buy this and hear what Bowie stumbled upon in the early 70s. How much can be done with one basic beat? A lot more, as Neu and Rother continued to prove.
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on 23 January 2003
Neu 2 is a delightful yet frustating experience.Tracks such as Fur Immer( a soaring opener ), Lilac Angel, Neuschnee and Super, are Neu at thier driving best, pounding monotone beats alongside soaring, spacey guitars and keyboards. If only some of those tracks were longer.Because apparently Neu 2 ran over budget with only some 30 minutes recorded and it was felt best to save time and record the remaining 10mins using slowed down or speeded up versions of tracks else where on the album. Mostly it sounds silly and after several plays becomes rather annoying. Despite this Neu 2 is worth buying for the 30mins of great, timeless music to be found on it, but buy Neu! or Neu 75 first.
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on 1 January 2008
This album contains two of the greatest pieces of music Neu! or any other band ever recorded: Fur Immer and Neuschnee. 5 stars for these two tracks. If there were ten stars available, Neu! 2 would deserve them.

If you have all three Neu! albums, try creating a playlist of Isi, Hallogallo, Neuschnee, Fur Immer, E-Music, Seeland, Leb Wohl. Play all day, over and over and over. Breathtaking.
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on 10 June 2001
Reviewing Neu 2,Gawd, what a prospect, and without invoking all the usual buzzwords (kraut-rock,hippy-punk,motorik)probably a hopeless task.Certainly,navigating this album is not easy,and of the 3 Neu made it's usually the one people shy away from.But persevere and the rewards are great. TRACK 1 Fur Immer starts it all off and immediately it all sounds far too edgy,all that tinny drumming and muddy mixing sooo 70's. And yr thinking what's all the fuss about .But maybe after a few minutes,when you've given up and yr mind has begun to wander and you've forgotten who or what yr listening to,maybe then it begins to slowly wash over you.Those hypnotic guitar riffs and strangely evocative pulsing drones.The drums fade into the distance and return softened with phasing and yr drawn in,compelled,ancient horns calling you.Yr thinking what is this? It is the soundtrack to every adventure you ever had in field flood and forest as a kid.What is this?It's 11 minutes long and over too soon.What is this?It's 30 years old and it's brand spanking New.TRACKS 2 and 3 kick off with screaming frequencies and waves upon a beach and end in airs and shy whispers, a drumming riot that slows and cools into thee most doleful big ben chimes you've ever heard. Much has been said 'bout the range of Neu's music and sure yer regular rock album will give you the fast groove 'n' slow ballad but no one outwith the classical world can give you the vast panoramic sweeps of mood that Neu do. TRACK 4 Put simply Lila Engel is the sound of Pan going electric.Great ku-chunks of chiming guitar,another pulsing looping drone,insane mantric chanting,it,s utter unbridled madness. You get halfway thru it and yr caught up in the agression of it all or yr worrying 'bout the neighbours,but either way you know it can't get any higher ,right? Wrong ! The drums suddenly aquire a power that's quite awesome ,yet another screaming layer of guitars shifts it all up a gear and they're OFF!! machine gunning any unhappy mortals who happen to get in their way.Too late you discover that these lunatics are summoning up some indescribable terror from an H.P. Lovecraft novel. It's truly shocking,it exhausts you in a way even The Stooges would struggle to do. TRACK 5 Neuschnee 78 kinda makes you giggle in a helium high sorta way until you realise that maybe the jokes on you.The story goes goes that they ran out of time and sorta started slowing and speeding up existing tracks to fill up the 2'nd side of the album. I dunno ,but i do know this speed-freak is interesting and dissapointing. Then ,just to confound you, the same technique is applied to the next track with sublime results. TRACK 6 Super 16 was born to played at this speed. It lumbers in,a half-speed lurching beast of a track,loaded with menace,an absolute horror classic.With the arrival of TRACK 7 Neuschnee we're back in the car again and cruising down the tree lined sun dappled country lanes of yr fondest chilhood memories. It's oboe like noises exude such a naive charm you're ready to forgive any faults you can think to give it.TRACK 8 Cassetto is another song that even at half-speed still describes itself perfectly. TRACK 9 Super 78 is an absolute hoot and does what Neuschnee 78 doesn't. It's screaming chipmunk voices,the speed stop starting and the way it finally all ends,man what a gas! Who says high art has to be serious. TRACK 10 Hallo Excentrico defies review and just is. Which leads us on to the last and ,for British punk,probably the most important number. TRACK 11 Super starts up with the deadly Teutonic confirmation of whose product you're actually listening to,a snippet of nervy drumming then klang!!! they're away!! Uptight 'n' edgy but utterly loose ,controlled and chaotic,sheathed in steel and mercilessly German,it defined punks direction years before it happened. After this masterpiece these guys split and went on to separately record albums that would sound more like Neu than Neu did (check out Harmonia and La Dusseldorf) and in the middle of all this they would somehow manage to re-merge long enough to record the Neu album that would out-Neu them all, 75. Most of us missed this band first time around, lets not make the same mistake again .
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VINE VOICEon 27 August 2012
Welcome to your third Neu! album. Haven't got the other two (we'll ignore Neu! '86 for now)? Then come back when you've absorbed the genius of NEU! and NEU! 75, because Neu! 2 won't make any sense till you have. But only when you have Neu! 2 will you have a map for the whole journey.

Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother, together known as Neu!, invented everything interesting about alternative music since the mid-70s. In terms of importance, they're up there with The Beatles, Elvis Presley and The Velvet Underground. They invented (if you'll forgive a bit of exaggeration) ambient, electronica, industrial, techno, trance and punk. They inspired minimalist cover art when British "progressive" bands were fixated on necromancers and the revealing science of God. They had a rhythm named after them (motorik). They invented remixing. Eno and Bowie came to Germany to meet them and learn their secret, while John Lydon did a distance-learning course in How To Sing Like Klaus Dinger. The punks, the new-wavers, the ravers, the Madchesters and the alt-rock-hipsters copied them like mad. And they had a slogan: "NEW! music for mind and pants."

Motorik is the remorseless 4/4 that drove Hallogallo, the stand-out track on the first Neu! album. On Neu! 2, Dinger and Rother took it a stage further with the even longer Für Immer (Forever), with a harder edge and more insistent guitar. Hallogallo is a river; Für Immer is an autobahn. Then the album descends into rhythmic noise till the heavy drums and shouted vocal of Lila Engel usher in the punk era three years early. Then Dinger and Rother ran out of money.

What was Side Two of the vinyl album is two tracks: the rhythmic trance of Neushnee and the punk assault of Super: two tracks Neu! had earlier recorded as a single. Dinger and Rother remixed them, fast and slow, with out-takes and noise experiments to fill up the album. On first hearing it sounds like exactly that: sterile and pointless. By the third listen it starts to make sense, as these two push the boundaries of music not as songs, but as an enveloping cerebral experience. With the music speeded up to 78rpm and slowed down to 16rpm, and with the twisted distortions of Hallo Excentrico!, Neu! stretched the boundaries of music more than any other contemporary group.

Neu! 2 is an indifferent listen on first hearing. Only Für Immer and Super stand out: Neu! fans should buy the album for Für Immer alone, while anyone interested in the roots of punk should buy it for Super, which is punkier than anything recorded before 1977. Only those two and Neushnee should be listened to on their own, but played all the way through, Neu! 2 is a mind-bending experience, yet one that clears and frees the mind at the same time.
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on 14 February 2011
I just posted a comment on the first Neu album, so I won't repeat myself here. Neu were influential, and thier albums deserve respect for that.....

On to THIS album specifically.....

Personally I think this one is a casualty of the CD era. Side 1 (as it would have been in vinyl) is essentially a redux of the first album. It sounds similar, is constructed in the same way.

What would have been side 2 is Neu! playing with the format, experimental with jabbing the listener into a reaction..... but the thing is, it only really works on vinyl.

Example - the first track on Side 2 is played at "78". For those too young to remember, album vinyl ran at 33 and a third revolutions per minute (RPM). Older music played at 78 RPM. So the first track is an instrumental played at 78 RPM, which makes it sound very fast. Later we have tracks played slower (16 rpm), you hear surface noise, static, and there's a "needle jump" too.

Now, all of this was probably great back in the day. I imagine quite a few people have jumped up to figure out what has gone wrong with their record players - only to find the joke was on them.......

However, in the digital age this doesn't really work. CD players don't run at differeing speeds, and the idea of surface noise on vinyl is unknown. As such, it was cute, but long-term I wonder what the value is.

There was two years between the recording of this record and their first. I don't hear an awful lot of development in that time to be honest. I bought all three albums (I'm not ready to write a comment in the third album yet) and to be honest I feel as though I'd have been happy to own the first only (although I'm a bit of a collector, so it was inevitable that I'd buy them all!)

Neu were interesting, but this CD feels a bit like an old joke. If that's something you'd like to own - buy away! Those looking for something edgy, well, time hasn't been especially kind....
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on 23 January 2011
The music that NEU had done on their first two albums have been heard loads of times, but they've never been bettered,just give "Fur Immer" and "Neuschnee" a listen and see what I and many others are raving on about. Pure and utter class, people love to pigeon hole NEU as kraut-rock but how wrong can they be, they're so much more... They have influenced bands and artists such as Joy Division,Bowie,Simple Minds,Brian Eno,Ultravox,Radiohead and Iggy Pop. Give this a listen it's certainly on a par with their first. CLASS !!!
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on 10 December 2015
Burn all of side one and two tracks of side two and Bobs your uncle perfect but short follow up to first album.
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on 21 November 2015
Very important album in music history terms, the first ambient electronic and first punk rock on one album!
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