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Holger Czukay - Radio Wave Surfer CD (album) cover


Holger Czukay


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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the enjoyable but rather overworked Rome Remains Rome, Radio Wave Surfer was something of a back to basics album for Holger Czukay. All the tracks were recorded live, either at Can's studio or in concert. The sleevenotes add: "Recorded with only one stereo mike. No mixes necessary. All pieces carefully edited. Music played in teamwork spontaneously. Recomposed by Holger on various hilarious nights." Aside from Czukay, the music is performed by former AFN announcer Sheldon Ancel as lead vocalist/MC, and ex Can colleagues Michael Karoli (introduced as the walking guitar) and master drummer Jaki Liebezeit (the live animal act).

Tracks 1 - 7 form a kind of imaginary radio broadcast, including words from the show's sponsors and some extremely eccentric lyrics. Ancel has great fun with the bizarre songs and stories, while Czukay, Liebezeit and Karoli create a superb musical backdrop featuring the kind of near telepathic interplay that was a feature of Can's best albums. At times there are brief snatches of psychedelic space rock that recall the glory days of Krautrock, although there are no lengthy jams or freak outs here. Everything is extremely tight and, as it says on the cover, carefully edited.

The second half of the album features some concert recordings, the first again featuring Ancel and the remainder voices and music from Czukay's beloved short wave radio. Again, the musical backing features three quarters of Can at the top of their game and updates the classic Krautrock sound. At one point Czukay even whips his French Horn out (I hope that no ladies were present) and blows it in his inimitable style.

This is an odd album in many ways, but it rewards careful listening and is full of the kind of details that can be found on Czukay's best recordings. Not the best album for the newcomer to czukay's solo career - Movies or On The Way To The Peak Of Normal are more immediately accessible - but a strong entry into one of the most intriguing back catalogues of any artist on the archives. Recommended.

Report this review (#74154)
Posted Wednesday, April 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars With all of the original instrumentalist from the classic lineup of Can except Irmin Schmidt, this album sounds so much like Can, with a different singer, it's not unCanny. Now, I don't know Sheldon Ancel, but he sure sounds American. And an American voice sounds a bit weird on a Can style album.. But not bad.

The music here, like Can, is very groove oriented. But both Holger Czukay's bass and Jaki Liebezeit's drums seem a little more subdued, and much less adventurous, than on the Can albums I know. But this is still not a bad listen. If you have all of the Can albums, and are in need of new Can fix, this is not a bad place to go.

Report this review (#227303)
Posted Friday, July 17, 2009 | Review Permalink

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