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Holger Czukay


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Holger Czukay On The Way To The Peak Of Normal album cover
3.94 | 41 ratings | 3 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ode to Perfume (13:57)
2. Fragrance (4:07)
3. On The Way to the Peak of Normal (7:38)
4. Witches' Multiplication Table (4:45)
5. Two Bass Shuffle (2:15)
6. Hiss 'N' Listen (3:50)

Total Time: 36:32

Line-up / Musicians

- Holger Czukay / vocals, guitar, organ, vocoder, bass, French horn, flute, radio, harmonica, congas, drums (5), producer

- Conny Plank / synth violin (4)
- Jah Wobble / bass (6)
- Jaki Liebezeit / drums (1-4,6)
S.Y.P.H. (3) :
- Harry Rag / vocals (3)
- Uwe Jahnke / guitar (3)
- Jürgen Wolter / organ & electronics (3)
- Uli Putsch / bass (3)

Releases information

Artwork: Stephan Plank

LP Welt-Rekord ‎- 1C 064-46 400 (1981, Germany)

CD EMI Electrola - 1C 538-7 94805 2 (1990, Germany)
CD Spoon Records ‎- spoon CD 36 (1998, Germany)

FLAC lossless download (2016, Europe)

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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HOLGER CZUKAY On The Way To The Peak Of Normal ratings distribution

(41 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(61%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

HOLGER CZUKAY On The Way To The Peak Of Normal 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 On The Way To The Peak Of Normal was Holger Czukay's second post-Can solo album, and saw him further developing some of the musical ideas he'd explored on 'Movies', plus showing some other facets of his musical character. It's a slightly uneven album, but is engaging, enjoyable and remarkably accessible for a piece of supposedly 'difficult' experimental music.

The first two tracks took up side 1 of the original vinyl release, and can really be considered as one continuous piece of music with Fragrance acting as a coda to Ode to Perfume. This first half of the album is played entirely by Czukay, except for Jaki Liebezeit's trademark metronomic drumming, and in many ways it's a revelation. This is when the album most obviously picks up where 'Movies' let off, but the snippets of TV and radio are largely absent, barring a brief vocal sample in the first couple of minutes. Instead, Czukay lays down some surprisingly accomplished guitar over the solid rhythmic backing - the first time I heard it I assumed that Michael Karoli was the guitarist. Later in the piece there are interjections on organ and some decidedly non-virtuoso French horn, before the soaring guitar returns to bring the whole thing to a conclusion. Fragrance picks the theme back up and works in some vocoder to interesting effect. The whole thing has a slightly funky motorik feel, and makes an excellent soundtrack for a workout (Czukay himself recommended listening to it on headphones while roller skating!).

The second half of the album is a more diverse selection of ideas. The title track was recorded with members of S.Y.P.H., and is an atmospheric piece with a drum machine beat and fragments of radio interference fleshing out the minimal improvisation. Witches Multiplication Table is a cousin to some of Can's Ethnological Forgery Series, another atmospheric piece which contains some rather irritating vocal interjections and which falls a bit flat as a result. Two Bass Shuffle is exactly what it says it is, and also features Czukay drumming. Like the previous track it has something of a novelty feel, but it also has some genuine musical content and at just over two minutes it doesn't hang around after it's made its point. The album closes with the dark, mysterious Hiss 'n' Listen, featuring Jah Wobble of PIL fame on bass and a genuinely effective whispered vocals by Czukay.

The first half of this album is an absolute 5 star masterpiece, and may well be the pinnacle of Czukay's post Can career. The patchiness of the second half of the album brings the overall rating down, but not all experiments succeed and even Czukay's lesser moments are worth listening to.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Holger Czukay the bass player for CAN certainly carved a nice little discography for himself with his solo albums. And you have to love his humour and I dig his experimental bent. When with CAN he was the one who would record the band jamming for hours and he also did the engineering. This album was released in 1981 and we get a couple of his CAN mates like Jaki Liebezeit adding drums on all but one track and while not credited there is no mistaking Karoli's guitar style on that side long opener. Conny Plank adds some synth violin on one tune and Jah Wobble another bass player and friend of Czukay plays bass on the closer. Holger plays a lot of things on here like bass, french horn, harmonica, guitar, congas, flute, organ and he sings.

On my edition I get "Ode To Perfume" as and over 18 minute opener while most editions break that tune into two parts. It is the highlight by far. Such a trippy tune with that Krautrock vibe. The other four tunes are a little hit and miss although I like all of this. Sure "Two Bass Shuffle" seems a little redundant as it's just over 2 minutes long but the closer is well done as we get some excellent bass from Wobble along with psychedelic sounding vocals. Drums too but this is about the freaky vocals and bass. "Witches Multiplication Table" is where Plank comes in plus the french horn and vocals. Kind of a cool tune. The title track trips along with organ, percussion and bass standing out early. Some vocals half way through then whistling before whispered vocals arrive. Themes are repeated.

In my opinion this is one of Holger's better studio album but I still rank "Canaxis" as his best in that regard.

Latest members reviews

4 stars By now I am sure that everyone knows that CAN is THE Krautrock supergroup of all time.There is not much more that I could say about them that has not already been expressed by the progfans on this site.But the HOLGER CZUKAY output is a bit more uneven than that of CAN;I hope to give readers so ... (read more)

Report this review (#90488) | Posted by bob x | Tuesday, September 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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