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Holger Czukay - Holger Czukay & Rolf Dammers: Canaxis 5 CD (album) cover


Holger Czukay



3.89 | 45 ratings

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4 stars Weaver of sound

With sites like bandcamp and reverbnation the musical world is currently overflowing with DIY artists making music out of their bedroom. It's a real jungle out there, and if people used to say things like "There's no way in hell you'll ever be able to embrace all of the good music out there" - then take this statement and multiply it by infinity and 4 apples, and you will have a pretty good idea of the current amalgamation of material being thrown out there in the vastness of the internet.

One could say that Holger Czukay was the original bedroom artist. His debut album Canaxis is entirely made up of tapes, radio segments, loops, stagnant floating electronics, cut and paste methods as well as those unique minimalist bass grooves of his. Just remember that this thing came out in 1969, well before the times of computers and editing programs. He had to make all the different sounds first, before he could get along with his monumentally huge scissors adventure.

Anyway, you wouldn't know any of that just by listening to this album. It feels like it was dreamed up by a wide variety of artists. all attuned into Holger's big vision. Take the strangely alluring Vietnamese female vocals of the first cut Boat-Women Song for instance(How's that for a title eh!). Lifted off some kind of short wave radio broadcast, it still feels like two street vendors from the heart of Saigon dropped by the studio to sing their song of woe.

Then you've got the Japanese and native Australian influences as well - colouring Canaxis in a weird, yet highly seductive ethnic sheen, that takes the listener through paradoxical worlds of colour and made up cultures - most likely only existing in the prodigal mind of Holger. Sure one Rolf Dammers is additionally credited for his editing skills, but there's no getting around who's the real head honcho here.

If you're approaching the album from a CAN fan's point of view, then you'd better prepare for a rude wake up call. This is a far cry from anything featured in their catalogue. Maybe apart from the sombre and plodding tempi of the bass lines, there's almost nothing hearkening back to the maestros of monotonous rock.

While the first track settles into this dreamy soundscape with what seems like effervescent pools of synthesised sound, the moods change for the more treacherous when the title track comes in with it's electrified feathered beaky shimmers. Probably meant as an anthem for storks, it suddenly gets hijacked by a delirious monk who weaves around in unorthodox vocal patterns - sounding eerily close to that of the altered Phrygian scales you encounter in the middle east.

Canaxis is all about bending reality. Contorting sounds and moods in order to conjure up something far away from the traditional musics of the world. It feels like a celebration of a thousand cultures all wrapped up into one metaphysical melting pot of writhing skewed tapestries. Before diving into this adventurous record, we'd all be better off thinking of Holger as an intricate weaver of sound. A great big magician with sonic fabrics. 4.5 stars.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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