Personnel: Michael Rother (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Dieter Moebius (vocals, harp, synthesizer); Hans-Joachim Roedelius (vocals, keyboards); Mani Neumeier (drums).
Recording information: Harmonia Studio Forst (06/1975).
Photographers: Ann Weitz; Christine Roedelius.
Translator: Veronika Gruber.
A touch more immediate and song-oriented than its predecessor, but no less enchanting and lovely to hear, Deluxe again features the trio experimenting with a variety of approaches, most particularly including vocals here and there for the first time. There's also a guest musician helping out, namely Mani Neumeier from Guru Guru, and while he's not playing all the time, where he does appear, as on the wonderful lengthy jam "Walky-Talky," a blend of his percussion and swooping guitar filigrees and keyboards, it's a fine choice. His slow, subtle build throughout the song helps send it higher and higher without seeming to. The various vocals really do fit the music in a lovely way, and it's little surprise that Brian Eno might have felt even more of an affinity with the group than before, being non-musical but still affecting, like mysterious chants or barks. The motorik pulses and rhythms, however soft and subtle, still dominate the proceedings, while the glazed, warm feeling of the whole album is astounding. "Deluxe (Immer Wieder)" makes for a just majestic enough start -- Rother's sudden guitar builds over five minutes in avoid brute domination for a structured, rising approach -- while "Notre Dame" consists of a series of mini-movements exploring central themes. There's also a bit in the way of straight-ahead rock in a distinctly Neu!-like fashion, with "Monza (Rauf und Runter)" easily coming across as an analog to Neu! 75's "Hero," a charging, fantastic number that is without question one of Krautrock's best individual songs. Meanwhile, in an amusing nod to the unspoken '70s rock rule -- thou shalt have one song based on the works of Tolkien -- one track is called "Gollum." What his creator would have thought of the half-goofy, half-brooding track is anyone's guess. ~ Ned Raggett