Saturday, 5 April 2008

Klaus Dinger, 24.03.1946 - 21.03.2008

For a change, this has nothing to do with virtual worlds.

I learned of the death of Klaus Dinger a few days ago, after an announcement appeared on the website of his record label, Gronland. You may not know him, yet many would say (including me) that he was one of the most influential musicians of the last 40 years. He was a drummer whose repetitive driving beats (given the description: motorik) provided the archetypal krautrock sound, and was an inspiration for punk and, later, electronic dance musicians.


Although he started as a drummer in the earliest Kraftwerk lineup, he is perhaps best known for his work in Neu!, the band he formed in 1971 with guitarist Michael Rother. His motorik drumming (he actually used the term Apache Beat) is immediately apparent on the first track of their debut album. Indeed, the mesmerisingly cool 'Hallogallo' has been a favourite track of mine since I first heard it in 1972. There was always a tension in Neu! between Rother's pastoral, ambient guitar style and Dinger's crashing, pounding, proto-punk rhythms. This is particularly evident on their third album together, 'Neu! '75', in which the first side was largely Rother's and the second, Dinger's. The result is a wonderfully flawed gem - but after this, the two parted company, owing to their growing musical and personal differences.

Klaus went on, with Thomas Dinger and Hans Lampe, to form La Dusseldorf - probably his most commercially successful band.

Both Neu! and La Dusseldorf were great favourites of mine, and so it was sad to hear that Klaus died of heart failure, 3 days before his 62nd birthday, on March 21st 2008. Gone, but certainly not forgotten. Thanks, Klaus.

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PS: Michael Rother is still going strong, and has recently been gigging with Harmonia, the re-formed "krautrock supergroup" that also comprises Roedelius and Moebius, better known as Cluster.

Here's a few links
from Neu! :
Hallogallo

from Neu! '75:
Isi (from the pastoral Rother side of the album)
Hero (from the rockie Dinger side of the album)

photos are taken from http://www.gawl.de/Dingerland/ and http://www.groenland.com/

2 comments:

Ian Betteridge said...

Ack, that's bad news - Neu! are one of my favourite groups...

Aleister Kronos said...

Once - what seems a long time ago now - I would have said "dying at 61? That's fair enough." Now I'm considerably closer to that age, I think "61? still too young to die."

On the plus side, Michael Rother, Cluster and, indeed, Harmonia are still going strong... touch wood.