Klaus Dinger RIP

"

On
March 21st Klaus Dinger died of heart failure, three days before his
62nd birthday. The tributes (not that there have nearly enough) have
mentioned his work with Kraftwerk and Neu!, his influence on bands such as
Stereolab, and most have included Eno’s famous quote:  

 

"There
were three great beats in the 70s. Fela Kuti's Afrobeat, James Brown's funk,
and Klaus Dinger's Neu! beat."

"

   

Whilst
Dinger will never be a household name his place in the alternative rock canon
is assured. What the tributes haven’t mentioned, of course, is the fact that he
could, by all accounts, be a pain in the arse at times. He nearly scuppered the
re-release of the Neu! albums and Rother still seems to be slightly scarred by
how difficult Dinger was to work with.

 

This
is surprising in that Dinger managed to create some of the most uplifting and
utopian music ever written. Nowhere did this exuberant and joyous music find
greater expression than on his La Dusseldorf albums. Elsewhere in this august
journal the editor makes the not unreasonable claim that Neu! 75 is the
greatest album of all time. But when I want to listen to a bit of Dinger my
first instinct is to head for the first two La Dusseldorf albums.

 

Quite
simply they offer some of the most sublime work in the entire Krautrock canon. Only
Harmonia’s Deluxe sounds as hopeful and as inspiring as La Dusseldorf (the
first album) and Viva! (the second). Deluxe, however, is tinged by melancholy
whereas the La Dusseldorf albums are simply life affirming and joyous. Dinger
is rightly praised for his early work but it’s his mid-period stuff that should
set him aside for reverence.

 

It’s
hard to explain to someone who hasn’t heard La Dusseldorf how wonderful it is. Cha
Cha 2000 is probably the track to listen to, not least because it is twenty
minutes long. And it really shouldn't work at all. But if you don’t feel
immediately more hopeful and upbeat after hearing it then you are not, of
course, ‘wrong’, but at the same time as someone once said (about something
else entirely) what must your heart look like?

 

Klaus
Dinger wrote some truly wonderful music; he will be greatly missed.

 

 

Words:
Chris Dawson