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Thursday 7 September 2017

Holger Czukay

Holger Czukay, bassist in Can and artist in his own right, has died at the age of 79. Holger joined Can in 1968 and was a key player, not just on the bass, but in engineering and producing their records and encouraging and exploring the experimental electronics they moved into. His basslines were recognisable and innovative. Can have become one of the names to drop, one of the 'seminal' influences, but they were also genuinely groundbreaking and have layers and layers of sound to soak up. The rhythm section was often right at the forefront and by placing bass and drums at the heart of Can's sound, minimal and repetitive beats, they made krautrock something you could dance to. White, German men making dance music. Drummer Jaki Leibezeit died earlier this year too. Yesterday's Spacemen 3 song was over ten minutes long. This is double that. Plus, you can spot Bobby Gillespie's lyrical steal.

Yoo Doo Right

And just to demonstrate one outpost the Can influence spread to here's a dreamy Carl Craig remix from 1997, Future Days (Bladerunner Mix).


Walter said...

Great words Adam. I thought about featuring You Doo Right today but refude this idea because it is too Long. Thanks for posting this fantastic song.

The Swede said...

Can was indeed a seminal, experimental and groundbreaking band, but importantly much of their music was also very accessible. Love 'em. Farewell and thank you Holger.

Swiss Adam said...

Yeah, you're right Swede. They aren't especially 'difficult' and there are loads of songs that are very accessible.

Echorich said...

It was Can that introduced me to the fact that there was interesting, important music coming from places outside the UK and USA. It was always the bass and drums that drew me to Can. Without them, so much of the music I have loved since the early 80s wouldn't exist or really make much sense.
Just listen to The Thief or Oh Yeah and you will see how much is owed to their sound.
But as seminal a bass player was, what made Holger Czukay even more impressive to me was his over 30 years of experimentation. From the sample filled Jazz- Synth/New Wave of Movies to the improvisational world music of On The Way To The Peak Of Normal and the Post Punk bleeds into Post Rock of his collaborations with Jah Wobble - Snake Charmer and Full Circle, the one thing you could always be confident of was that Czukay would not repeat himself and not bore.
I the late 80's Czukay was in full cut and past mode. Rome Remains Rome is actually one of his most straightforward works, but it is really a sound sampling tour de force of a pop album.
His relationship with David Sylvian was one of almost ecstatic sound exprerimentation. From Steel Cathedrals and Preparations For A Journey in 83, to their full work collaborative series Plight + Premonition and Flux + Mutability, Czukay and Sylvian attempted to take ambient sound to another level and to these ears made great strides in achieving that goal. Plight (The Spiraling of Winter Ghosts) is really kinda awe inspiring.
Czukay returned, in the early 90's, to cut and past sampling to create atmospheric pieces on the gorgeous Moving Pictures. His last few years found him in a collaborative mode as well, dabbling in the realm of leftfield dance and electronic music with U-She.
I'll miss this amazing musician and his seemingly unstoppable need to create, shape and make sound.

Anonymous said...

all hail Czukay, the great disruptor. RIP

Brian said...

Well done, Adam. He will not be forgotten. I take some solace that Can received so many accolades while he was still with us.