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Listening In: Michael Rother of Harmonia, Neu! and Kraftwerk podcast
The Quietus , May 15th, 2008 12:06

Hear the Krautrock mainstay speak candidly to John Doran about the future of Harmonia, the death of Klaus Dinger and why Neu! ground to a halt

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The sheer weight of nomenclature that German experimental music from the late 60s to the late 70s has attracted should serve as some kind of signifier to how diverse and influential it was — and still is. Whether you refer to it Krautrock or Cosmiche, whether you call the beats motorik or apache, you'll agree that few other points on the space-time continuum have seen such a surge forward in the way that popular music is made: consider the electro-pop of Kraftwerk, the ethno-jazz rock of Can, the acid rock of Amon Duul II, and so on.

One of the central figures among all this action was Michael Rother, who was born just as the 1950s were starting. He was recruited into the ranks of an early touring incarnation of Kraftwerk but he chose to split away with radical drummer Klaus Dinger to form the tempestuous but highly influential Neu! While seeking musicians with whom he could tour his music live in 1973 he met Rodelius and Moebius of Cluster and ended up forming the proto-electronica group, Harmonia. After a hiatus of over thirty years, the third album proper by the group (Harmonia Live 1974) was released, causing a ripple of excitement through the experimental music community; this in turn led the group to reform. Just weeks after a triumphant set as part of the Ether Festival on the South Bank, London and just hours before a headline slot at the Camber Sands ATP, Rother took time out to talk to us.