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Recorded at Conrad Plank’s studio in 1982, Zero Set is a highly percussive affair with Mani Neumeier. The album is saturated in drum and synth rhythms and polyrhythms, resulting in compositions that are energetic and infectious. The opener, “Speed Display,” is the granddaddy of them all. This superb, driving piece of synth-Krautrock showcases Neumeier’s percussive “speed display,” so to speak. The following cut, “Load,” seems almost borne of the first, with an obscure synthesized vocal, steady percussion flourishes, synth spritzes, and industrial overtones. “Recall” is reminiscent of early Can and features a Sudanese vocal, and the closing track, “Search Zero,” is representative of the entire project: a quirky, percussive, progressive synth-rock composition. Zero Set is impressive; to date, it’s possibly the most interesting project on which the three musicians have worked. Two of the tracks, “Speed Display” and the textured, bubbly “Pitch Control,” also appear on Sky Records’ excellent Begegnungen compilations.

-David Ross Smith,

Dieter Moebius, Conny Plank, and Mani Neumeier-ZERO SET (1983)


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