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


Holger Czukay



3.88 | 44 ratings

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4 stars Holger Czukay's first solo album was this experimental foray which fuses ambient, world music and an early form of sampling, a good 10 years before anybody else in the rock music field even started to get to grips with any of those ideas. Working with producer/engineer Rolf Dammers, this album was assembled from thousands of snippets recorded from short wave radio, a long standing obsession of Czukay's which he also incorporated into some of Can's later albums. For many years it was a real rarity, as only 1000 copies were printed and it was only released in Germany. The CD reissue includes a one-off recording of a brief jazz composition from German radio, which was Czukay's first broadcast work.

The first piece, Boat-Woman-Song, opens with a flurry of tape loops which settle into an irregular but compelling rhythm. The piece unfolds gradually, with a pair of Vietnamese singers (recorded from a short wave broadcast) providing the main melodic development. One of Czukay's charcteristic minimal bass lines is added to the sound collage part way through, and gives the piece a real impetus until it fades away (along with the singers) a few minutes before the end. The piece gradually fades away, having mutated and developed in an unexpected but very subtle manner - as with a lot of the best minimal music, you're left wondering exactly how we got to 'here' from 'there'. The second piece, Canaxis, is altogether more abstract but equally fascinating. There is no focal point to grab the attention until about half way through, when what sounds like a Japanese koto plays a simple but haunting melody over the constantly evolving sound collage. The closing piece, Mellow Out, is a short composition for guitar, bass and sax which, despite being in a very different style to the rest of the album, fits the general mood nicely.

Canaxis has scarcely dated since it was released 36 years ago, and is an impressive album from one of the most intelligent and innovative musicians rock music has produced. Recommended.

Syzygy | 4/5 |


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