Bowie’s Berlin albums were assembled by Eno to a blueprint laid down by Dinger, Conny Plank and Cluster…But even three years earlier…check Sweet Thing Reprise from Diamond Dogs, then go listen to Negativland off the first Neu! album, sound familiar? The first La Dusseldorf album is an undoubted classic, the second: Viva! is an inferior listen with the exception of the wonderful Gelt. The third La Dusseldorf album: Individuellos is usually dismissed as evidence of their further decline. Released in 1981, it was out of time, we had all moved on to Joy Division and The Birthday Party and La Dusseldorf still sounded totally seventies.
From the hindsight of 2006 the tardiness of Individuellos doesn’t matter anymore and it can be appreciated as a fine album. A casual listen to Individuellos sounds like a drunk bloke singing Abba over an Electro-oompah backing, but listen harder and the magic becomes apparent. The German obsessions with order and dementia are finally balanced. La Dusseldorf’s two drummers never sound more than minimal and Dinger is a producer par excellence, the guitars and vocals sound like no-one elses. The shimmering keyboards and infantile melodies hint at plastic europop, but La Dusseldorf are deeply twisted even when they attempt to sound mawkish. The title track is three minutes of Dinger mayhem: “no vuns like me und no vuns like you”…Tintarella Di is my favourite Christmas tune. Dampfriemen sounds like an oompah band jamming on Cubase pissed, while Dinger strangles himself in the background. Intentionally or otherwise Dinger remains the Krautrocker with the most playful sense of humour. Check Individuellos…it’s funny and sublime at the same time…and is as well constructed and interesting as much of his earlier, more widely known work.
La Düsseldorf-INDIVIDUELLOS (1981)