Monday, 1 January 2018

Klaus Dinger + Rheinita Bella Düsseldorf ‎- Néondian (1985)

Happy New Year everyone!  Since I seem to have established a tradition of starting the year (and marking the anniversary of this blog) with a Klaus Dinger album, let's keep that going.  Néondian, which was intended as the fourth La Düsseldorf album, saw Dinger up against the adversities of falling out with his brother Thomas and La D. third member Hans Lampe - creatively, contractually and personally - to the point where he was blocked from using the band name.

The solution was 'Klaus Dinger + Rheinita Bella Düsseldorf ' - cheekily keeping the band name tucked away alongside the name of their biggest hit to help with public recognition, and a new set of musicians accompanying Dinger on the most electronic, and most polemical (at least until first album La! NEU?), music of his career.
Néondian first came my way via the 1995 Captain Trip reissue, onto which Dinger had daubed further ownership of the album on to its cover in his inimitable style of the time.  Mon Amour - which would've been the title track had the original concept worked out as planned - was one of those opening tracks I kept on repeat for months on end.  Jaki Liebezeit guests on drums, as Dinger unfolds one of his most majestic instrumental tracks.

As mentioned above, this album saw Dinger at his most acerbic and politicised, taking shots at German society and his contemporaries (Pipi AA) and at US foreign policy (America).  Your mileage may vary as to whether setting diatribes like these (and an update of Cha Cha 2000) to bouncy synthpop was the best idea - I still feel that the other tracks, either instrumental or mostly-instrumental, work much better.  The best thing about America might be the guest slide guitar from Bodo Staiger, who had briefly been a member of  70s Dinger protégés Lilac Angels - more from him later this week.

For a fuller review of Néondian, see this one that I wrote for Julian Cope's Head Heritage about 14 years ago.  It makes me cringe a bit now - the general tone of reviews on that site (not least Cope's) was infectious on me in a way that now feels like pretense, and it's waaay long (FFS, do some Uni work, stop sitting in the library writing album reviews!), but hey ho.  The urls I mention are unfortunately dead.

mega / zippy
In 2006, Warner Germany rounded off a much-needed reissue programme of the first three La Düsseldorf albums with this - a re-arranged version of Néondian finally given its original 'Mon Amour' title.  Still legally prevented by Lampe from using the band name (the contentiousness of this whole reissue in fact saw it deleted within a year, although an LP pressing did appear very recently), Dinger's workaround this time was to officially credit the album to ''.  The remastering may be a slight improvement on the Captain Trip CD, according to taste.

The 're-arranged' running order saw America and Pipi AA trading places, Jag Älskar Dig promoted to the first half of the album, and the addition of three bonus tracks.  Two of these are from the last proper La Düsseldorf release, a 12" that appeared in 1983 - I say 'proper', they're not even band tracks - Ich Liebe Dich was a solo track by Klaus that became Jag Älskar Dig on Néondian with minimal tweaking (if any), and the dark and quirky Koksknödel was a solo track by Thomas Dinger - more from him next week.

Lastly, Geld 2006 (Internet Warm-Up Version) was a trailer for the release of 'Viva 2010', a reworking of La Düsseldorf's second album, with the Japanese-German musicians with whom Dinger spent his final years.  I can remember Dinger's old website first claiming that 'Viva 2000' was imminent for release, then it was to be 'Viva 2004' - it didn't appear in 2010 either, likely due to Dinger's recent death.  His heiress Miki Yui, responsible for the two Japandorf releases, is apparently still planning to release the 2000s Viva at some point.  Hopefully the finished Geld was a step up from the demo here, in which they (with guest Herbert Grönemeyer) largely seem to be singing over the original 1978 track with the addition of some Japandorf-era guitar.  Who knows when we'll find out.

mega / zippy


  1. Dinger went through so much anguish over business matters, yet still kept cranking out such optimistic-sounding music (even Neu!'s last album, which is charming enough to be easily forgiven). Thanks for posting this album, which I was completely unaware of due to its cataloging. Perfect music for a sunny, bitterly cold New Year's Day!

    1. Spot on! Neu 4/Neu 86 definitely has a certain charm for me - love Dinger announcing near the end "This one's called... good life.. sunlight".