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RIP Holger Czukay

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, October 3, 2017 03:05pm | Post a Comment

Holger Czukay

by Michael Henning

Can founder and bassist Holger Czukay died September 5, 2017. The band posted the following on Facebook: "We are very sad to confirm that Holger passed away yesterday, in his home, the old CAN Studio in Weilerswist. His wife U-She passed away only weeks before. Holger was devastated by the loss of his beloved partner, but was looking forward to making more music and was in good spirits. His passing has come as a shock. We will post more information about funeral arrangements shortly."



In the mid-1960's, Czukay studied under electronic music pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen in Cologne. Can, Tago MagoCan's soon-to-be keyboardist Irmin Schmidt was another student of Stockhausen at that time, and it was not long before the two joined forces, recruiting guitarist Michael Karoli and drummer Jaki Liebezeit to round out the core Can lineup in 1968. Malcolm Mooney, an American living in Germany at the time, became their singer for the first few years. Can recorded their dynamic and fiery debut album, Monster Movie, with him. Mooney was later replaced by Damo Suzuki, a long-haired Japanese hippie who the band notoriously found busking on the street the day of one of their gigs. They convinced Damo to join them later that night for a performance and he stayed a member of the band for the next three albums. It was an excellent match, one that yielded some of the band's best work, including their sprawling psychedelic double LP masterpiece Tago Mago, the now-heavily sampled funky grooves of Ege Bamyasi, and the endearing ambient-rock classic Future Days.
Holger Czukay
Czukay did most of the engineering and producing of the early Can albums, shaping their sound with his incisive tape cutting technique, and turning group improvisations into finished pieces. No less important to the group's sound, he also played the bass with a unique style which might be best summed up as "minimalist avant-funk." Of his chosen instrument, Czukay once said “the bass player’s like a king in chess. He doesn’t move much, but when he does he changes everything.”

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One Album Wonders: Organisation's Tone Float

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 22, 2014 01:31pm | Post a Comment
 Here is an additional edition of my series of great, mostly obscure, one album wonders. In the album era (roughly the mid-1960s until the mid-2000s), the album was the dominant format of recorded music expression and consumption. It seems that most musicians from that era, if able to scrape together the funds for the recording of one studio album, generally returned with at least one more.  Some, like Sun Ra, somehow released more albums than I've had hot dinners. Even most excellent bands, in my opinion, would have done well to find something other to do with their time rather than keep making records after their fifth album or twelfth year (although there is the Go-Betweens Exception). The following acts mostly date fromthe Golden Age of the LP -- and yet were unable or unwilling, in all cases, to record more than one. 

*****

Can Reissues Headed Our Way Starting in September

Posted by Billy Gil, August 5, 2014 10:44am | Post a Comment

can bandCan you believe it??

Krautrock titans Can will reissue 14 catalog albums on vinyl for the first time in more than a decade, starting with the classics Ege Bamyasi, Tago Mago, Monster Movie and Soundtracks. Those are out Sept. 2 on Mute.

Oct. 7 brings Future Days, Soon Over Babaluma, Landed, Flow Motion amd Saw Delight (the latter of which includes a CD).

Oct. 21 we have Can, Delay, Out Of Reach (including the album for the first time on CD), Rite Time and Unlimited Edition.

On Nov. 4 the band will release The Lost Tapes as five individual LPs. Previously it was only available as a box set.

Can was formed in 1968, releasing their debut album, Monster Movie, in 1969 with Malcolm Mooney on vocals, first introducing their sense of experimentation and layering that would go on to be perfected on the band’s masterpieces, 1971’s Tago Mago and 1972’s Ege Bamyasi. Soundtracks, released in 1970, marked the beginning of Damo Suzuki as the band’s vocalist and compiled tracks written for various films.

Can’s influence would of course go on to be felt immediately, creating the so-called “krautrock” sound alongside loosely associated German bands of the late '60s and early '70s like Neu! and Faust with driving 4/4 beats and layers of sound built around simple structures, as well as later, influencing acts such as Radiohead, Stereolab, Portishead, New Order, Kanye West and countless others. If it’s your first time to the band, these Sept. 2 releases are a good place to start.

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One Album Wonders: Wolfgang Riechmann's Wunderbar

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 28, 2014 01:22pm | Post a Comment
The vinyl LP was introduced by Columbia Records in 1948 but the 45 inch single remained the primary market for the music industry until the dawn of the album era, which began in the mid-1960s. During that period, for any number of reasons, many fine musical acts released only one studio album -- Perfect for completists on a budget! This series examines some of my favorite "one album wonders."


Amen Dunes' Damon McMahon Talks Trying Not to Be Cool On New Album 'Love'

Posted by Billy Gil, June 13, 2014 06:16pm | Post a Comment

Amen Dunes Damon McMahonDamon McMahon has been making lo-fi psychedelic folk under the Amen Dunes moniker over the past decade. Several tours, a stint living in China and a few records later, and Amen Dunes are having a breakthrough moment with the recently released Love, a cleaner, more precise album and perhaps one of the best of the year thus far, full of swirling, melancholic folk-rockers with carefully considered experimental touches.

I’ve read that in the past you recorded a lot of things on your own onto tape. What made you want to go for a more produced sound on this record?

I think I’ve always wanted to make records that sounded really good, but I didn’t have the means to do so. It’s always been a solitary process, it never really worked for me in studios, but I’ve always wanted to make a record that sounded really good but I never really had the ability to do that. I had specific visions for this record. I had this idea of imagining what a songwriter record would sound like if it was backed by Pharoah Sanders. I was really obsessed with this Pharoah Sanders record called Karma, I have been for a long time. I wanted to make a record that production-wise was reminiscent of that. And I couldn’t really do that with a TASCAM four-track.  

Was it important to keep some of the immediacy of your earlier work? I’m thinking of a song like “I Can’t Dig It,” which has almost a live feel to it.

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