Notes On Music By Lloyd Cole: Neu!

Lloyd Cole first made a name for himself in 1984 with the Commotions, the British band he founded in Scotland before relocating to New York City four years later. Since, he has released records both as a solo artist and with the Negatives. Now based in western Massachusetts, Cole recently formed the Small Ensemble. The trio is joined by the likes of Fred Maher, Joan Wasser and Kendall Meade for new album Broken Record (Tapete), Cole’s first “rock” LP in almost a decade. Cole will also be guest editing all week. Read our new Q&A with him. Says Cole as an introduction/disclaimer for his guest-editing posts, “I am 50 years old. More than twice the age I was when I began making music. I have developed opinions, certainly, and these opinions have evolved, but I can only speak for myself. I am still astonished by music. I am still perplexed by it. I am still moved by it. I am still revulsed by it. And I am more and more confused by how others make use of music in their lives. Music seems to be everywhere. Here are some of my thoughts on it.”

Cole: In the 1970s, I was listening to David Bowie and Wire.

They were listening to Steve Reich and Neu!.

Repetition and evolving variation goes back way beyond Bach, but it wasn’t until the late ’60s and early ’70s that there came to pass a rock ‘n’ roll that was in no way related to “roots” music. The British critics called it krautrock. Can got the most notice, and I tried several times to like them, but they were too clever for me. The antidote to easy listening doesn’t have to be difficult. And complicated doesn’t mean sophisticated, especially when it comes to drumming. Neu! bypass the blues, the whole American musical experience, and take directly from the African source. Their great tracks—”Hallogallo,” “Für Immer”—have a primal groove just like T.Rex or James Brown. And I’m sure they have soul, just no Soul™.