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“Heroes” Covered Part 7: Yugennui performs “Neukolln”

Despite the title of this video, the band performing this, probably the most obscure and least covered pieces from “Heroes,” is called Yugennui. This appeared on an album called, “Baltimore Does Bowie,” which contained Bowie covers by a variety of (presumably) Baltimore-based bands.

“Neukolln” is probably the most desolate instrumentals in Bowie’s catalogue. It is named after a neighborhood in Berlin what is (or at least was) largely populated by Turkish refugees. The interesting thing about this cover is that Yugennui does the song without a sax, which is the standout instrument in Bowie’s version. In that respect, this is an interesting rendition.

This series of covers of songs from “Heroes” was inspired by an article from the online magazine, Far Out. Far Out linked to Phillip Glass’s version from his “Heroes Symphony,” but I have already linked to the entire symphony in my commentary on that album and wanted to find a different version. Not many options to choose from, but I’m pretty happy with what this band did with “Neukolln,” which kind of shows that musicians can be inspired by almost anything. Actually, that’s not fair— “Neukolln” is not “almost anything,” but my point is that there’s probably more to work with with something that isn’t often covered and this band did a good job.

As for the original’s place on “Heroes,” I think its main function is to cement its overall fraught and pensive character. Once again, the title track, in context (and really, on its own if you listen to it), is not really a hopeful song at all. At best its escapism, but “Neukolln” is evocative of an environment from which one would want to escape.

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