Michael Rother

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Michael Rother
Michael rother 2007-11-14 live2.jpg
Rother in concert in November 2007
Background information
Born (1950-09-02) 2 September 1950 (age 68)
Hamburg, Germany
GenresKrautrock, electronic, synthpop, proto-punk, art rock
InstrumentsGuitar, keyboards, programming
Years active1971 (with Kraftwerk)
1971–1975, 1985–1986 (with Neu!)
1973–1976, 2007 to present (with Harmonia)
1976 to present (solo)
LabelsBrain, Sky, Polydor, Random
Associated actsNeu!, Harmonia, Kraftwerk, Cluster

Michael Rother (born 2 September 1950 in Hamburg, Germany) is a German krautrock musician, best known for being a founding member of the band Neu!, and as a short-lived member of the band Kraftwerk.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in 1950, Rother was educated in Munich, Wilmslow (England), Karachi, and Düsseldorf. He also resided in Pakistan in the early 1960s where he was exposed to Pakistani music that would influence his own music in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[1] From 1965 Rother played in the band Spirits of Sound, from which other members would later go on to join Kraftwerk (Wolfgang Flür) and Wunderbar.

Music career[edit]

Michael Rother live in 2007
Michael Rother (left) & Dieter Moebius (right) live in 2007

Rother is a multi-instrumentalist (primarily guitar and keyboards) who, along with a catalog of several solo albums starting in 1977, is best known for having co-founded the German group Neu! with drummer Klaus Dinger (five albums between 1971 and 1996), and his collaborative efforts with Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius (aka Cluster) under the name Harmonia (two albums, one in 1974 and 1975, with later 1976 sessions recorded with Brian Eno; the studio tapes for the latter disappeared but were found by Roedelius two decades later; he remixed the tapes and released the results as Tracks and Traces in 1997; Rother was the main producer for the version re-released in 2009).[2] Rother and Dinger were also in a short-lived version of Kraftwerk in 1971, with Florian Schneider, during a time when founding member Ralf Hütter had temporarily left the band (this version of the group was filmed during an appearance on the German music show Beat Club, which has been available sporadically on VHS and DVD).

Beginning in the late 1970s, Rother began issuing LPs under his own name: Flammende Herzen (1977), Sterntaler (1978), and Katzenmusik (1979) all featured drums by Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit. Further releases included Fernwärme (1982), Lust (1983), Süssherz und Tiefenschärfe (1985) and Traumreisen (1987). Rother regained the rights to these releases in the late 90s, and re-released CD versions of them, all of which contained bonus tracks, usually in the form of then-current remixes of original album tracks. Along with these reissues were a best-of compilation, Radio, and a new release, Esperanza (1996). His most recent album; Remember featured vocals (a first for Rother's solo work) and was released in 2004.

On 1 July 2007, Rother joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a live jam at the end of their concert in Hamburg. Together they played for nearly 25 minutes in front of 35,000 people.[3] In November 2007 he toured with Dieter Moebius (another member of Harmonia) as Rother & Moebius.[4] On 27 November 2007, a Harmonia reunion concert was announced for Berlin, where they performed together live for the first time since 1976.[5][6]

In 2010, Rother played five shows in Europe with Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and Tall Firs guitarist Aaron Mullan (who played bass in the trio).[7] This group, known as Hallogallo, performed the music of Neu! live for the first time in many years. They also played the ATP New York 2010 music festival in Monticello, New York and Incubate 2010 in Tilburg, Netherlands in September 2010. In December 2012 Rother performed the music of Neu! and Harmonia at the ATP festival in Camber Sands, England, accompanied by the Berlin-based band Camera. In November 2013, he performed at the final UK holiday camp edition of ATP.[8]

In 2015, Rother recorded scores for the German film Die Räuber (The Robbers) by Paul Cruchten and Frank Hoffmann[9] and the German TV film Houston by Bastian Günther.[10]


Michael Rother discography
Studio albums9
Compilation albums3

The discography of Michael Rother consists of nine studio albums, three compilations and nine singles.

As a member of Neu! Rother released three studio albums, two albums of studio outtakes (Neu! 4/Neu! '86) and rehearsal recording. As a member of Harmonia, Rother released two studio albums, one live album, a studio out-takes album and a remix album. In 2010 Rother released the "Blinkgürtel" single with his live group Hallogallo 2010.

Studio albums
Year Album details
1977 Flammende Herzen
1978 Sterntaler
  • Labels: Sky Records
1979 Katzenmusik
  • Labels: Sky Records
1982 Fernwärme
1983 Lust
  • Labels: Polydor Records
1985 Süssherz & Tiefenschärfe
  • Labels: Polydor Records
1987 Traumreisen
  • Labels: Polydor Records
1996 Esperanza
  • Labels: Random Records
2004 Remember
  • Labels: Random Records, WEA, Gang Go Music
Compilation albums
Year Album details
1985 Glanzlichter
  • Labels: Polydor
1993 Radio – Singles, 1977–1993
  • Labels: Random Records
1998 Chronicles I
  • Labels: Purple Pyramid
  • "Flammende Herzen" b/w "Karussell" (1977)
  • "Sterntaler" b/w "Sonnenrad" (1978)
  • "Katzenmusik 9" b/w "Katzenmusik 2" (1979)
  • "Silberstreif" b/w "Erlkönig" (1982)
  • "Hohe Luft" b/w "Fortuna" (1982)
  • "Palmengarten" b/w "Cascadia" (1983)
  • "Süssherz" b/w "Maus-Mann-Motiv Nr. 4" (1985)
  • "Glitzerglanz" b/w "Rapido" (1985)
  • "Lichtermeer" b/w "Happy-End" (1987)
  • Station 17 (1990, Mercury/Phonogram) – "Morning Sun"
  • A Homage To Neu! (1999, Cleopatra) – "Neutronics 98 (A Tribute To Conny Plank)"
  • Brand Neu! (2009, Feraltone) – "Neutronics 98"
  • Music For A Good Home (2009, Audioscope/Shelter) – "Maus-Mann-Motiv"[11]

with Kraftwerk[edit]

Year Album details
2006 K4 – Bremen Radio 1971

with Neu![edit]

Year Album details
1972 Neu!
1973 Neu! 2
  • Labels: Brain Records
1975 Neu! '75
  • Labels: Brain Records
1995 Neu! 4
  • Labels: Captain Trip Records
1996 Neu! '72 Live in Dusseldorf
  • Labels: Captain Trip Records
2010 Neu! '86

with Harmonia[edit]

Year Album details
1974 Musik von Harmonia
  • Labels: Brain Records
1975 Deluxe
  • Labels: Brain Records
1997 Tracks & Traces (Harmonia '76/Harmonia & Eno '76)
2007 Live 1974
2010 Tracks and Traces Remixed (Harmonia & Eno '76)
  • Labels: Grönland Records

with Hallogallo 2010[edit]

  • "Blinkgürtel" b/w "Drone Schlager" (December 2010, Vampire Blues)


  1. ^ From an interview with Michael Rother on Sound Opinions, 4 October 2010.
  2. ^ "Michael Rother: Hearts on Fire". Bluefat.com. Retrieved 2016-09-05.
  3. ^ "Michael Rother's official site, news: " Michael Rother jamming with Red Hot Chili Peppers"". 10 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-16.
  4. ^ "Michael Rother's official site, news: "Rother & Moebius concerts in November 2007"". 29 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  5. ^ "Michael Rother's official site, news: "Harmonia album "Live 1974" out now/Harmonia concert on 27th Nov. 2007"". 25 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  6. ^ "Worldtronics 2007. Festival of Electronic Music. 27.11.2007 – 01.12.2007". Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  7. ^ "Michael Rother's official site, news: "Michael Rother/Steve Shelley/Aaron Mullan trio debut in Europe"". Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  8. ^ "End Of An Era Part 2 curated by ATP & Loop - All Tomorrow's Parties". Atpfestival.com. Retrieved 2016-09-05.
  9. ^ "Michael Rother's official site, news: "The film "Die Räuber" (The Robbers) coming in German cinemas"". 16 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
  10. ^ "Michael Rother's official site, news: "The feature film "Houston" to be screened on German tv"". 7 August 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
  11. ^ https://audioscope.bandcamp.com/album/music-for-a-good-home

External links[edit]