Krautrock Pioneer Michael Rother's OHM-nific Return To Australia

Michael Rother & Friends tour Australia February-March 2024.
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Everything old is NEU! again as German Krautrock innovator Michael Rother presents a career-spanning retrospective for Australian audiences.

The moto-rhythmic mind behind NEU! (pron. 'noy'), Harmonia and multiple solo projects is coming to Australia for a series of live performances celebrating the broad scope of his work over the past 50 years, accompanied by long-time collaborators Hans Lampe, Franz Bargmann, and Vittoria Maccabruni.

"We are all full of joy to be on this trip to Australia to present the music," Michael says. "So, I don't have to convince myself like: 'ugh, now I have to go on this long trip.' That's not the way I feel so it is easy.

"It is really something I'm counting down the days. Physically, I don't know there is much I can do; just try to keep my steady life rhythm. I guess that's also part of my personality.

"I don't have these interruptions, they throw me off-course, so I try to keep a steady rhythm, like 'Hallogallo'," he laughs, "just stay in a flow."

It is an apt reference to the opening track from NEU!'s 1972 self-titled debut album and its use of the iconic 'motorik' (motor skill) beat, which drives the song and is a defining sonic feature of Krautrock.

Michael formed NEU! in Düsseldorf, West Germany, with the late Klaus Dinger in 1971, the pair having parted ways with contemporaries Kraftwerk after a brief tenure.

Amid the terror and geopolitical uncertainty of the Cold War, Michael was instrumental in sculpting the definitive soundtrack of the burgeoning Krautrock movement during the '70s. "It was such a different climate in nearly every aspect of life," Michael recalls.

"Today with electronic devices. . . back then you were totally on your own. You were on your small island. I didn't know what was happening outside my sphere.

"I didn't know, for instance, when I met Brian Eno in 1974 and he told us: 'Yeah, yeah, David Bowie and I have been listening to all your music, we talked about it and we're excited.' We had no idea that outside of our personal lives there were people listening to the music.

"The political and cultural landscape was so different from nowadays. The late '60s and early '70s, our lives in central Europe were overshadowed by the imminent threat of war since the erection of the Berlin Wall.

"I didn't even think of next year, there was no thought of the future. Sometimes people ask me: 'Did you know that your music would still be listened to in 50 years?' I would have laughed in your face if you had told me that in 1972."

Michael's Australian visit includes performances at Brisbane Powerhouse for OHM Festival and City Recital Hall in Sydney as part of the Switched On series along with Perth Festival, Mona Foma in Tasmania and finishing up at Melbourne's Recital Centre.

"I'm playing a mixture of my favourites," Michael says. "The [songs] I like to play and people seem to enjoy of NEU!, Harmonia and my solo works.

"So, we have quite a big pool of songs to choose from and I think on the tour in Australia we will slightly change the set list, so we don't get bored playing the exact same order every day. How can I complain?" he laughs.

"The main idea is to have smiling faces, which is what I really enjoy most when I'm in the concert and I see the people start to dance and move and smile, that's my reward."

Michael Rother & Friends 2024 Tour Dates

Thu 22 Feb - Switched On @ City Recital Hall (Sydney)
Fri 23 Feb - The Rechabite Hall @ Perth Festival
Sun 25 Feb - Mona Foma Festival (Hobart)
Wed 28 Feb - ΩHM 2024 @Brisbane Powerhouse
Thu 1 Mar - Recital Centre (Melbourne)

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