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Music icon Klaus Dinger dies at 61

Figurehead in Krautrock movement of '70s

Klaus Dinger, a figurehead of Germany’s Krautrock movement of the 1970s, who was associated with bands Neu! and Kraftwerk, died in late March of heart failure in Dusseldorf. He was 61.

Dinger was part of the Dusseldorf scene which also spawned electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk. Together with Michael Rother under the name “Neu!” (literally “New!”), Dinger in 1973 came up with a monochromatic guitar/drums-driven instrumental hypno-beat that actually kept the promise made by the name, and was often cited as an influence by later techno musicians.

The duo briefly joined Kraftwerk in a transitory phase, but apart from a TV recording never appeared on a regular Kraftwerk disc. Neu! split after only three LPs, with Dinger then forming La Duesseldorf, a group that widened Neu’s approach to a form of folkloristic glam rock. The band’s mostly instrumental tunes oscillated between childish, dopey, and brilliant, and through ample radio play gained some mass appeal.

However, Dinger resisted playing by the rules of the music biz — he hardly ever performed live on stage — so after only three albums, the promising La Duesseldorf fell apart.

Dinger virtually disappeared throughout the 1980s, then in 990 re-emerged under the moniker La Neu!, and had some commercial success mostly in Japan. Two years ago, he again released a CD under the name La Duesseldorf, “Mon Amour.”

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