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HOLGER CZUKAY

Krautrock • Germany


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Holger Czukay biography
Czukay studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen from 1963 to 1966 and co-founded the influential rock group Can in 1968. Czukay played bass guitar and performed most of the recording and engineering for the group. Czukay recorded some important early ambient / progressive electronic albums, and is important for his utilization of shortwave radio sounds, sampling... He released his first solo album "Canaxis" in 1968. It marks a new step in the development of experimental electronic music & "ethno" rock, notably by the use of "sampling" and a traditional Vietnam voice. After his departure from Can in 1977, Czukay participated to many collaborations with jah wobble, the edge, eurythmics, david sylvian, conny plank, eno, phew... For krautrockers the most memorable albums with guests are "RastakrautPasta" & "Materia" (with Moebius and Plank). In 1979 Czukay published his project "movies", described as a good following of what he has done with Can (including a large use of different keyboards for hilarous, complex & extravagant songs). In 1981, he recorded "On the way to the peak of normal", an eclectic experimental rock album made of a spontaneous session involving the musicians of S.Y.P.H. (Uwe Jahnke, Ulli Putsch, Jürgen Wolter, Harry Rag) and two radios. These albums have been produced at Conny Plank's studio. During the mid- eighties until today numerous albums have been published for Virgin, notably "Rome remains Rome" , "Radio Wave Surfer", "Flux + Mutability" . One of his classic; "Moving pictures" (an album of virtual film music; timeless and organic) was reissued a few years ago on SPV. Czukay has recently recorded "Luna" which provides a floating, "ambient" and unconventional experience with the help of a wide variety of electronic process and patterns.

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Der Osten Ist Rot / Rome Remains RomeDer Osten Ist Rot / Rome Remains Rome
PR JAPAN 2015
Audio CD$27.03
$32.98 (used)
CanaxisCanaxis
Import · Remastered
P-Vine Japan 2007
Audio CD$39.95
$40.99 (used)
Full CircleFull Circle
Astralwerks 1992
Audio CD$14.01
$29.54 (used)
Full CircleFull Circle
Virgin Germany
Audio CD$24.00 (used)
Time and TideTime and Tide
Revisited Records / SPV 2007
Audio CD$80.06
$70.07 (used)
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HOLGER CZUKAY discography


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HOLGER CZUKAY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 34 ratings
Canaxis
1969
3.78 | 31 ratings
Movies
1979
3.90 | 22 ratings
On The Way To The Peak Of Normal
1981
3.82 | 12 ratings
Full Circle
1982
2.96 | 6 ratings
Der Osten Ist Rot
1984
3.06 | 13 ratings
Rome Remains Rome
1986
3.41 | 6 ratings
Radio Wave Surfer
1991
3.79 | 9 ratings
Moving Pictures
1993
3.04 | 6 ratings
Good Morning Story
1999
2.97 | 8 ratings
La Luna
2000
3.00 | 4 ratings
Linear City
2001
3.21 | 5 ratings
The New Millennium (with U-She)
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
21st Century
2007

HOLGER CZUKAY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Clash (with Dr. Walker)
1997
4.00 | 1 ratings
Time And Tide (with U-She)
2001

HOLGER CZUKAY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

HOLGER CZUKAY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.22 | 4 ratings
Rome Remains Rome And Excerpts From Der Osten Ist Rot
1987

HOLGER CZUKAY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

HOLGER CZUKAY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 21st Century by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.00 | 1 ratings

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21st Century
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Lewian

— First review of this album —
3 stars Ursa Major is the singer U-She, here collaborating with Hokger Czukay for the third time (plus some contributions to other Czukay releases, namely Linear City and Clash). The last one was called "New Millenium" and this one is now "21st Century"; you'd be surprised that such creative personalities as Czukay & U-She come up with two album titles like these in a row. This is supposed to be music for the new millenium/century, yes, we got that. Compared to "Time and Tide" and "New Millenium", "21st Century" is the most consistent album, or one could also say the least diverse. I think they tried to concentrate more on what they do best; there are hardly any attempts to write conventional songs here, and rhythms are lighter than on New Millenium and less like techno-beats. The new songs give Holger's sound experiments quite some space and U-She works much with repetitions of fairly simple mini-tunes, at times reminding me of Damo Suzuki's improvisations. The sound is dominated by digital keyboards, drum computers and samples and has some meditative free flowing feel to it. Don't expect much enlightenment from the lyrics... "Every day is a new day, you shouldn't try to run away"... well, well. It shouldn't hurt too much, I guess. To be honest, I could do without most of U-She's contributions here. The music is rich and attractive as ever; Czukay's creativity and musicality quite obviously hasn't run out of steam just yet. Unfortunately it's now 2015 and I think he hasn't released anything new in the meantime. I saw him live at the Roundhouse in 2009 and much what he did there was originally mixed and partly created just for the gig, and boy was it good - I guess he's still sitting on quite some interesting unreleased material. He is well over 70 now and I'm a bit worried that his website hasn't been updated since 2011, but apparently he still has his hands in some re-issues of remixed Can and Czukay-material from the 70s and 80s, so I'd still hope for some new music to be released at some point.

In any case, it's easier to get into 21st Century than into the two predecessors, but it's not as diverse and not just as surprising as those (at least not if you know them already when getting to this one), so it's three stars this time.

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 The New Millennium (with U-She) by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.21 | 5 ratings

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The New Millennium (with U-She)
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Lewian

4 stars For me this is the best one out of the three collaborations of Holger Czukay and U-She. It is the least meditative, though, with some fast techno beats and some dazzling cascades of notes that you wouldn't normally expect from a grey-haired veteran like Czukay... actually you wouldn't expect them from anybody, so adventurous and fresh is this. Some of this has dancefloor qualities, although you'd need a pretty unusual crowd there for this to work. In any case, this may be Holger's most physical music.

There are still some of Holger's trademark slow and deep soundscapes in this, but usually they come with some nervous electric rhythm. U-She's singing is fine in most places here; in "Cinderella" and "Supernova" both her and Holger's voice can be heard, making for a fascinating contrast (actually I think these are my favourite occurrences of Holger's voice in all his work - he sounds like a true sorcerer here). These are my two favourites. A number of songs are longer than what you find on "Time and Tide" and "21st Century", and this suits the album well. There is more development and ideas are played out with more patience.

In some respects this is quite accessible, particularly through some of the rhythms and digital riffs that carry some of the songs. On the other hand, those who'd like to have traditional drums, bass, guitars or even traditional song structures should stay away.

Interestingly, the title song "New Millenium" was tried out as a single and I saw Holger and U-She performing this on mainstream German TV (Harald Schmidt Show). Something is not quite right with this song, though. Although the melody (particularly the main keyboard motif) is nice and could work well in principle, the song has by far the worst sound on the album with some very cheesy synthesizer chords, and U-She, uncharacteristically, seems to have some difficulties synchronizing properly with the syndrums, which Holger may have played manually and which are perhaps even on purpose pedestrian and imprecise (or precisely subverting what they should have been for a normal listener; totally opposed to most of the rest of the album, which is very sharp). For me this is the song I like the least; funny that they put some effort into selling this of them all to the general public. It actually may be just one more example of Holger's strange humour, from which there is no hiding in his work generally, but if you just want to immerse yourself in the music from beginning to end, this is something of an annoyance.

Anyway, if you're not scared off by the lack of good old natural instruments, check this out!

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 Time And Tide (with U-She) by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Live, 2001
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Time And Tide (with U-She)
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Lewian

— First review of this album —
4 stars Not sure why this is filed under "live"; actually it's a studio album. Holger Czukay's major competence is certainly rather as a sound explorer and master of long soundscapes than as a traditional songwriter. Doing an album like "Time and Tide" with 16 songs of normal length is an unusual thing for him to do and I was quite curious how this would play out. And what we get is indeed something quite unusual. This is a collaboration with his partner/wife (?) U-She, who sings, wrote the lyrics and five of the songs. Some of the songs are indeed better described as songs, whereas some others rather fall in the "soundscape" category (although all have "proper singing"), and sound experiments, samples etc. are near at any time. There is much variety; there are ballad-like songs, dark atmospheric and sometimes almost meditative parts (reminding me of "Traeum mal wieder" from "Der Osten ist rot"), some quite minimalist parts,Holger's typical guitar, bass and horn playing known already from some Can recordings, and some quite interesting rhythm programming that gives some kind of unearthly spin on 4/4. U-She's voice fits most of the music very well. She doesn't appear to be very flexible as a singer but there are some things she does well, mostly somewhat slow and dark mysterious tunes. At times she uses her voice more as an instrument with a certain Damo Suzuki-like improvisation attitude (although her voice is really very different from Damo's; she is less "percussive" and rather does long and smooth). Her German accent is strong at times (which I as a compatriot don't like, but I know people of other nationalities are often less critical of this and may find it rather charming - I on the other hand love Slavic and Italian accents that I know their own compatriots find annoying...).

A lot of work and ideas went obviously into this, and it is stunningly unique and original, although not all the ideas work well. The tunes aren't anywhere near catchy and take some getting used to (although many are not that complex), and there is the odd one that I find rather annoying, and a sequence of slow songs toward the end drags a bit - generally the album could have done with a faster injection here and there. 3 1/2 stars which I round to 4 to make people aware of this experience which as nobody can deny is truly special. It's your call how convincing you'll find it, but give it a chance!

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 La Luna by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.97 | 8 ratings

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La Luna
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Excuse my manners!

Having been listening for a while to a bunch of new music (at least for me), some of it included here in PA (Cozmic Corridors, Far East Family Band, Urna, etc.) and some of it not . Gladly and obviously this 2000, release by Holger Czukay, ¨La Luna¨ is.

Gladly for me, because its ratings go from 2 to tops 3 PA stars. But to each its own!

A single 47 minute odyssey, of a drone-like prog/electronic cosmic music, balanced with a sophisticated primitiveness in its ritualistic drumming rhythms . The fact that he leaves outside his knack to spoil good music for some cheap laughs, for starters in his own way is groundbreaking. Of course it does not stop being playful, but even that is subdued in order to achieve its goal and purpose, music wise.

Evocative, dynamic , well costructed, focused and a fresh approach to this kind of personal music-conception of a trip to the stars, which every prog-musician is allowed to perform once in a while. Czukay´s understanding of percussion and rhythms, translates this spacious sometimes minimalistic voyage into something deeply human yet detached from pleasing any kind of target-audience. U-She's crooning kind of singing here and there, softens and counterpoints the darkest edges.

I myself, am deeply surprised. So opposite to my counterpart prog/reviewer's ratings, if there is a record of this guy I will highly recommend to any prog-audiophile is this un-pretentious and unobtrusive although highly hypnotic and accomplished effort. Which lenght in time is a vigorous deadline, so no time wasted, nor his nor yours!

The electronic side outweights by far the few Krautrock references.

****4 ¨Beyond just mere good¨ PA stars.

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 The New Millennium (with U-She) by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.21 | 5 ratings

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The New Millennium (with U-She)
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars If all nightlife music were like this!

Holger Czukay's, 2003, album "The New Millennium (with U-She)", had the luck of appearing in PA, due to Czukay's pioneering in the early Krautrock scene (co-founder of CAN). But most of these songs fit the electronic dance floor scene rather than the average prog/electronics's or Krautrock's audiophile expectations, less the other 90% of the Prog's bunch!

But I myself am glad because it is so un-prog, yet experimental and intelligent all the way through. And mainly because this kind of techno-trance/dance, electronic music found its way on such a "sacred Prog land" !

Anyway, the songwriting besides being in its majority danceable, does not subdue itself to be or become "mainstream". The experimental and humorous Krautrock tones, save each song of becoming a self-parody of the dance floor scene or the 80's one. Opposite to that, it becomes the kind of "perfect world" nightlife music for "lost" proggers.

The real deal is having taken the best of the 80's sexy dance sounds (U-She's vocals take care of this), bringing them to the 21st century's refinement, transmuting them into something less cliched and fresher, and adding really cool contemporary experimental dance/trance-electronics and stylings, and still be intelligent in its songwriting and never condescending to its own roots.

Going by the book ***3 PA stars, but I am gonna keep this one!

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 Canaxis by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.88 | 34 ratings

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Canaxis
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Guldbamsen
Prog Reviewer Retired Admin

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.

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 Movies by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.78 | 31 ratings

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Movies
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

5 stars An extraordinary and virtually unclassifiable piece of work, the second solo effort from Can bassist-and-founder Holger Czukay positively brims with technical assurance and a luminous, multi-genre vibrancy rarely found in modern popular music. Essentially a mixture of samples and beats combined with a world fusion aesthetic, much studio fiddling and a genial dash of welcome humour, 'Movies' proves a spectacular fusion of stylesa nd arguably the key work of its creator. Already partly-responsible for creating some of the most original and brilliant music of modern times during his time with Can, 'Movies' was actually Czukay's second solo effort, coming a full decade after 'Canaxis', his bizarre and occasionally beautiful debut from 1969. Whilst that album - which was also pieced together from various scraps of samples and radio recordings - proved a somewhat difficult listen, 'Movies' is anything but. Humorous, catchy and utterly fascinating, this the kind of album that showcases the right kind of curious experimentation, with Czukay leading the listener through a merry dance of sounds, textures and styles without ever forgetting the key rock music ingredients. Featuring four tracks - including the seminal ethnic electro-swirl of 'Persian Love' - 'Movies' is that rare beast: an album that truly lives up to all the hype. Outstanding. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013

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 Movies by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.78 | 31 ratings

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Movies
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Dayvenkirq

5 stars Oh, my God, this is Heaven, which has nothing to do with 7-11. This is a 4.5 kind of deal, but five stars is just as fair, especially since I don't see my calculator having a 3 in the integer part.

So, basically, we have this veteran bass guitarist/sound painter and a bunch of guys who altogether constituted a legendary experimental-jazz-avantgarde group Can. A year later the group dissipated. Then, the bassist Holger Czukay got the hang of the mid-Eastern music that used to play on his radio. What a crazy idea it is - to come up with tasty tracks that could function as soundtracks to those mid-Eastern movies. Here you have catchy songs with mind-blowing vocal performances that otherwise wouldn't work if they were just played alone. You also have instrumental tracks that are really fun and loaded with quality melodies and textures. If you are not tired of insane, virtuous, eclectic, and innovative proggy material, get this album and give it a listen when the mood is right. I hope you will thank me later.

1. 'Cool in the Pool' - *****

2. 'Oh, Lord, Give Us More Money' - ****

3. 'Persian Love' - *****

4. 'Hollywood Symphony' - ****

Stamp: "I like it."

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 Movies by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.78 | 31 ratings

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Movies
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Dobermensch

3 stars A sprightly and bouncy little album by 'Can' front-man Holger Czukay. One thing you certainly can't call this is minimal. 'Movies' is jam packed with early sampling techniques, some Holger vocals, a very 'Can' like bass and multiple guitar sounds provided by Michael Karoli.

This is the most 'Can' sounding of all the solo efforts by the legendary band. 'Cool in the Pool' is quite eccentric and funky, but sounds really odd with vocals that are occasionally sped up where Czukay sounds like a garden gnome on speed.

'Movies' is a colourful album with a lot going on and is very well recorded, hitting off that most difficult of tasks - making everything sound controlled and spacious amidst the variety of sounds thrust in your face.

On the down side many may find it a bit lame with a lack of tension after hearing the wild approach that 'Can' held in the early 70's. However, this is made up for with his multiple radio snippets and continually morphing non linear background effects. There's an array of eclectic sounds that just pop up out of the blue for a few seconds before disappearing for good. It's this kind of approach that makes me return to this album again and again.

A good 'sunny' album that is really quite uplifting, sometimes disjointed, but unusual at the same time.

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 Full Circle by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.82 | 12 ratings

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Full Circle
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After enjoying Holger's 1969 album "Canaxis" I was hungry for more. The CAN bass player and technical wizard has come up with another excellent release in this 1982 album called "Full Circle". It might surprise some that such an accomplished bass player doesn't even play bass on his own album but Holger is all about painting pictures with sound here, although he does play guitar, organ, piano, percussion and French horn. He brought in Jah Wobble to play bass. Man why couldn't that be my name (haha). Also Holger brought in his old CAN band-mate and rhythm partner Jaki Liebezeit who plays not only drums but trumpet.

"How Much Are They ?" opens with vocals and a beat right off of the hop. Synth and bass joins in when the vocals stop. Catchy stuff. French horn and piano later. Dual spoken words follow. "Where's The Money ?" has these almost spoken vocals with a beat. Cool song.

"Full Circle R.P.S.(No.7)" features guitar, drums and again almist spoken vocals. There's background sounds too adding depth.The vocals stop as the music continues. Vocals are back as they come and go. We get trumpet as well on this one. "Mystery R.P.S. (No.8)" opens with atmosphere and you can hear footsteps. Bass then almost spoken vocals follow then percussion and guitar. This is fairly dark. "Trench Warfare" builds and is very psychedelic. French horn after 3 minutes and some freaky sounds after 5 minutes. "Twilight World" might be my favourite tune on here. This is catchy with a beat,organ and vocals standing out.

A very good album but I still prefer "Canxis" for it's exotic and mysterious vibe. A solid 4 stars.

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Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition.

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