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Holger Czukay Holger Czukay & Rolf Dammers: Canaxis 5 album cover
3.92 | 56 ratings | 4 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ho-Mai-Nhi (The Boat Woman Song) (17:20)
2. Shook Eyes Ammunition (20:15)

Total time 37:35

Bonus tracks on 2007 remaster:
3. Cruise (4:30)
4. Epilogue (2:13)

Line-up / Musicians

- Holger Czukay / bass, tapes, composer & producer
- Rolf Dammers / composer & producer

- 2 unknown Traditional Singers from Vietnam (1)

Releases information

Originally privately released in 1969 by Technical Space Composer's Crew and titled "Canaxis 5". Later reissued as "Canaxis" by Holger Czukay & Rolf Dammers.

LP Music Factory ‎- SRS 002 (1969, Germany)
LP Spoon Records ‎- SPOON 015 (1982, Germany) Retitled "Canaxis" and new cover art

CD Spoon Records - SPOON CD 15 (1995, US)
CD Revisited Rec. ‎- REV 063 (2006, Germany) Remastered by Andreas Torkler & Holger Czukay, with original cover art and 2 bonus tracks from 1999 performed 'Magazine' multimedia project within Can Solo Projects live.

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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HOLGER CZUKAY Holger Czukay & Rolf Dammers: Canaxis 5 ratings distribution

(56 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

HOLGER CZUKAY Holger Czukay & Rolf Dammers: Canaxis 5 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars First off i'd suggest you read Syzygy's review because I learned more from reading that than I did reading the detailed liner notes that came with this cd. Holger Czukay is more well known as being part of the legendary German band CAN but even before that band came together Holger was into this experimental music and was way ahead of his time in this field. He had this fascination with recording snippets from the short wave radio and experimenting with sounds in general. He believes that music has to do with the mind and is therefore an artificial language."He dares to seek new forms of expression with an almost naive eagerness, combining pioneering media with long since outdated technologies". This was recorded in 1968 in a studio and at his home, and was originally privately released in 1969.

This first track "Boat Women Song" will make it or break it for many. It's those female Vietnamese vocal melodies that are fairly mournful, and they are anything but pretty. Of course given the title of this track they fit perfectly.The song opens with female and male vocal melodies that fade quickly but the male continues. She's back though and another female singer helps out.The male vocals continue but they are faint. What's interesting is that the male vocal melodies sound really good in contrast to the female vocal expressions that don't.The females stop but then they're back singing together in this high pitched annoying style. Hey they want off the boat. They start to fade out then the male vocal melodies return after 11 minutes. Cool. It turns spacey and atmospheric late. A very innovative track. "Canaxis" is spacey with twitters and tweaks then we get some male vocal melodies before 3 1/2 minutes. He stops before 7 minutes as it turns darker.The male vocal melodies are back before 10 minutes as it continues to be dark and spacey. An ethnic acoustic instrument of some sort comes in before 11 1/2 minutes replacing the vocal melodies.They stop as it continues spacey.The sound slowly fades as we get closer to the end of the track.

This is listed under Krautrock but this is essential for you fans of Electronic-Prog. A must for your collection in fact considering the year it was recorded.

Review by Guldbamsen
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.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars Holger Czukay's first LP outside the CAN stable was a groundbreaking effort, years ahead of its time in how it juxtaposed pre-existing music from widely different cultures. But that doesn't necessarily make it a classic, and today the album should be approached as a primitive experiment with far-reaching implications.

Sampling wasn't anything new in 1969, but Czukay was fusing a lot more than just music here. It's all about the unexpected context, hearing contrasting sounds in unlikely settings: in this case field-recordings from the Cham people of southern Vietnam and Cambodia, lifted off a 1965 Folkways Label record and combined with a heavily-treated loop of a melodic phrase from a lament by 13th century troubadour Adam de la Halle...or is it a 16th century requiem by Pierre de la Rue?

Both have been cited as possible sources, but either way it was an act of political daring in 1969 to pair Vietnamese folk music with what sounds like a liturgical funeral hymn, just as the Indochinese war was nearing its zenith. The album's title track, in its original form called "Shook Eyes Ammunition" (Shook-Eye pronounced Czukay), was an even more provocative side-long vinyl essay, again with Southeast Asian music cues but this time blended with edgier, ambient Krautrock drones and electronics.

Czukay of course had long been fascinated with exotic radio waves, and his apprenticeship under Karlheinz Stockhausen weighed heavily on the Canaxis sessions. Co-producer Rolf Dammers, also a student of Stockhausen, was given a share of authorship despite being credited only with "general support". But despite later speculation (in "The Can Book", by Pascal Bussy) that Czukay was the neophyte and Dammers the more experienced master, in retrospect the album was Czukay's baby, and like any new parent his doting attention was tireless: he even snuck into the Stockhausen studio after hours to perform a final mix.

In any test-run of a new recording technique the bugs have to be considered a part of the creative process, and listeners today need to allow for some age-related wrinkles. The flower from this seed would take a full decade to bloom, on albums like "On the Way to the Peak of Normal" and "Movies". But don't compare those later, playful efforts to this more embryonic artifact. He may have been a novice, but in 1969 Can's resident mad scientist had already learned how to approach sound editing and assembly as performance.

Consumer Alert! The CD bonus track "Mellow Out" (not available on every re-issue) doesn't fit with the album's avant-garde spirit, but for CAN archeologists it's a real discovery: Holger Czukay's first live performance, from a 1960 radio broadcast. It's little more than negligible filler, very much in the light jazz vernacular of its day. But the tune is a useful datum point from which to measure Czukay's musical evolution in the years ahead.

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