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.