Published Mar 26, 2018Holger Czukay made joyful, fearlessly strange music for five glorious decades. Eight months after his death, he remains proof-positive that art — when produced for its own sake — is profoundly life-affirming. The German genius who helped make the brilliance of Karlheinz Stockhausen relatable to fans of progressive rock, post-punk and electronic music will be remembered as a beautiful free spirit and important, influential musician.
As a co-founding member, producer and engineer of the iconic Krautrock band Can, Czukay had already secured himself a place in rock'n'roll history when the group took an extended break in 1979. His solo career would elevate him to a new level, making him a kind of godfather to countless young avant-garde musicians.
Czukay's collaborations with Brian Eno, Jah Wobble, Jaki Liebezeit, David Sylvian and others were required listening in the years that followed. His body of work harkens back to a time of genuine experimentation in pop music and at the same time remains extraordinarily relevant and brave all these years later.
Grönland Records has put a lot of love into this new five-disc collection of Czukay's work. Along with the 34 tracks, we get a 36-page booklet of liner notes and photos (some of them previously unpublished), a DVD of a film made for German television that features Holger as both lead actor and soundtrack producer, and a seven-inch "vinyl video." (In the early 1980s, consumers could purchase analog video discs that were played on a turntable connected to a TV. Needless to say, it didn't take off.)
Czukay passed in his Weilerswist apartment near Cologne. This was fitting, given that the space once housed Can's recording studio. It's nice to think of the great man living out his final days in the place that helped him earn such a reverent international audience. This beautiful collection is a fitting tribute. (Grönland)