Archives for posts with tag: experimental music

Holger Czukay

Holger Czukay was a founding member of German experimental rock band Can. In addition to playing those hypnotic motorik bass grooves, Czukay was the recording engineer for Can, and an early adopter of ‘sampled’ collage sounds, recorded to tape from shortwave radio broadcasts and other sources, edited and manipulated by hand in those pre-digital days, woven into the music assembled by Czukay from hours of improvised music creation.

Beyond Can Czukay recorded several ‘solo’ albums – often in conjunction with Can human drum machine Jaki Liebezeit – and collaborations with other musicians. One of those collaborations was with David Sylvian, producing two albums “Plight & Premonition” (1988) and “Flux + Mutability” (1989). These albums were recently re-issued on a double LP on the Grönland label. Sadly there’s no Bandcamp presence for the label, BUT, searching for Holger Czukay on Bandcamp did turn up this fine Claremont Editions compilation called “Claremont 56 versions 2009-2017” from which “In Space” here is taken:

“In Space” was released on a Claremont 12″ single in 2011. It’s close in spirit to the music on the two album collaboration with Sylvian, a morphing dream-state ambient soundscape, built upon layers of looped percussion, and punctuated by crystaline guitar melodies, and the random ghostly smudges of sampled sounds.

Czukay died in September 2017 aged 79 in Weilerswist (near Köln) in Germany.  It’s still relatively easy to track down the Can catalogue, but a bit more work is required to track down the solo recordings and collaborations should you wish to explore the music of this avant-garde, ambient, experimental music innovator further.

Dalot Sound AwakenerContinuing the instrumental theme with another atmospheric track, this time from a new album “Little Things” which is a collaboration between Vietnamese sound artist Nhung Nguyen (Sound Awakener) and Greek sound artist Maria Papadomanolaki (Dalot). Here’s “Inside”:

The album combines field recordings from cities and natural surroundings with synths and almost infinite reverb and delays at times to create 10 different and fascinating experimental soundscapes.

“Inside” here rides on a throbbing low frequency, arpeggiated synths bustling among found sounds. That combination of the artificial machine-world with the more organic sounds and textures of nature and human city-scapes is at the heart of “Little Things” and it delivers something exotic and also evocative of alternative realities.

Transcendents 2016Day 29 of NZ Music Month is the fractured rock music of Christchurch band (of one) The Transcendents. They have a new 10″ EP out Called “The Sun Is Still Asleep” and “Say Never” is the more reflective acoustic song therein.

Once more The Transcendents create their own post-rock landscape of sounds which defy most of the accepted conventions, like a song might sound in one of those dreams where your mind is stuck in a loop.

Yet, like an abstract painting, this still displays enough form for recognition. The lyrics provide a narrative and the song still has shape and form. There may be no easy listening on “The Sun Is Still Asleep” but you’ll still be rewarded for listening.


Revolutionary Army Of The Infant Jesus is the name of a mysterious collection of Liverpool musicians with an obscure but revered catalogue of 3 albums released since 1987.

They have a new album coming out in September on UK label Occultation Recordings called “Beauty Will Save The World” of which this track is the first taste.

The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus name is apparently from a fictional terrorist group in Luis Bunuel’s That Obscure Object of Desire. The group keep a low profile and prefer their music to be discovered by people rather than promoted as such. This recent Greenbelt Music Festival write-up on them is about as much as I know.

I wasn’t familiar with RAOTIJ prior to hearing “Beauty Will Save The World” but reading reviews of previous albums indicates this continues the theme of ghostly “apocalyptic folk” mixed with more industrial electronic sounds.

If you are familiar with Dead Can Dance or Popul Vuh, this is in similar (but still quite distinctive and unique) territory. Spoken word samples and vocals are used sparingly but with haunting effect. It’s a dark, misty and compellingly beautiful album listened to in its entirety.

Birdation Port Chalmers
“alison 3.0” is a wonderful playful slice of imaginary cartoon soundtrack from enigmatic and unpredictable Port Chalmers sound-sculptor Birdation.

Birdation is Hope Robertson, guitarist and occassional drummer/ vocalist with Dunedin post-punk trance-wave trio Death And The Maiden and also guitarist & vocalist with Bad Sav.

Sometimes Birdation music is a song, like the sublime distorted home-baked shoegaze anthem “Hen’s Teeth” posted on PopLib a few months ago. Other times it’s something instrumental like this.

The use of an old analogue drum machine, keyboards and various treatments from pedals or whatever gives “alison 3.0” a timeless vintage feel. Something about this and the cyclical repetition of the cheerful melody reminds me of old computer games or even soundtracks to old educational cartoons explaining mechanical industrial processes for children. It wouldn’t sound out of place on a Broadcast EP.

If you are in Dunedin you can see Birdation at a R1 Clubcard event tonight (Thursday 4 June 2015).

UPDATE: Here’s a fabulous 24-minute live recording of Birdation’s set from Thursday night via LiveSound Engineering