It seems to happen every year: just when I’ve got the best-of lists put to bed, something comes along and gives me a big ole’ warm fuzzy and makes me glad my hearing isn’t totally kaput. Cherkis wrote about his “surprise reissue pleasure” last week, and here’s mine, a reissue that came out on Water in December: Michael Rother’s Sterntaler.
It’s a 1978 solo album, the second from the German guitarist, who can boast ex-membership in an unbelievable number of badass bands. Even if you’ve never heard of Neu! or Harmonia, you must know Kraftwerk, right?
Rother’s responsible for a huge chunk of modern rock’s DNA. And Sterntaler might—just might—be his finest moment. Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit provides the motorik pulse over which Rother does his typical Neu thing—chugging rhythm guitars; no vocals. He then tops it off with a seemingly endless stream of brain-searing single-finger melodies. This record has to have one of the best guitar sounds ever. Just gorgeous.