Michael Rother – Flammende Herzen

Deep warm guitar notes drift out of the speakers blissfully for a few moments, the guitar picks up a pace and then a gentle drum begins. It is almost the Neu! beat but in slow motion bliss.

This feels like the album Michael Rother wanted to make. Gone are the punk/beat tendencies of Klaus Dinger and Michael gets to truly spread his wings and make an absolutely blissful album of guitar meditations. There is something poetical about this album being released on Sky Records because sometimes when I gaze up at a big, wide sky, I hear the title track from this album playing in my mind.

Rother uses his guitar, synth and organ to create wide, sweeping melodies of uplifting joy and peace. Assisting him on the drums is Jaki Liebezeit who maintains a discrete presence, doing only what is necessary and only really sounding like Jaki on the last track “Zeni”.

The opening title track really is a beautiful, uplifting piece of music. It’s almost a half-way between the mellower areas of Neu and Fleetwood Mac’s “Albatross”. The rest of side two is taken up with the airy joy of “Zylodrom”. This is ten minutes of euphoric swirling synths and guitar riffs, all utopian sci-fi optimism and anthemic melodies.

Side two starts with another ecstatic synth session, “Karussell”. It succeeds in bringing good vibes and guitar riffs. The second track “Feuerland” is a surprising shift into a more nocturnal sound after all the previous sunshine. Not that the actual music is dark as in “spooky” or “satanic” but more as in like a warm, night-time breeze through a futuristic city freeway.

It all ends with “Zeni” which has a nice, mellow bass riff and twinkling keyboard melodies. Jaki finally spreads his wings and lays out a nice, tribal beat like only he can whilst Rother makes poignant riffs over the top.

It’s the perfect waking up record, for knocking back the caffeine and examining the days new skies. Its not as radical a departure from Neu! as it sounds, the guitar playing and synths are unmistakably the same Michael Rother who played in Neu!

The record has been reissued a few times so should not give you too much trouble to track down the but there are a couple of CD versions from 1993 and 2000 which feature absolutely shocking remixes as bonus tracks! You should try to avoid them, unless you want to go running over to the CD player to save your ears.

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