Holger Czukay

Holger Czukay, bassist in Can and artist in his own right, has died at the age of 79. Holger joined Can in 1968 and was a key player, not just on the bass, but in engineering and producing their records and encouraging and exploring the experimental electronics they moved into. His basslines were recognisable and innovative. Can have become one of the names to drop, one of the ‘seminal’ influences, but they were also genuinely groundbreaking and have layers and layers of sound to soak up. The rhythm section was often right at the forefront and by placing bass and drums at the heart of Can’s sound, minimal and repetitive beats, they made krautrock something you could dance to. White, German men making dance music. Drummer Jaki Leibezeit died earlier this year too. Yesterday’s Spacemen 3 song was over ten minutes long. This is double that. Plus, you can spot Bobby Gillespie’s lyrical steal.

Yoo Doo Right

And just to demonstrate one outpost the Can influence spread to here’s a dreamy Carl Craig remix from 1997, Future Days (Bladerunner Mix).

Advertisements

Jaki

Jaki Liebezeit has died aged 78. There aren’t too many drummers- forgive me drummers if I’m showing my ignorance here- who you can say are unique and recognisable. His playing, his rhythms, on Can’s records are otherworldly, like nothing else. As well as Can he played with Jah Wobble, Michael Rother and Brian Eno. Again, there aren’t many drummers whose name alone makes me want to check out something they played on. Jazz trained, reluctantly pushed into rock ‘n’ roll in West German beat groups in the 1960s he (and the rest of Can) came up with something entirely new that was also culturally significant. Can were determined to reject all that their fathers had stood for, perhaps more significant in Germany in the 60s than other many countries, and avoid the influence of the USA too. They wanted to make a music which was new and European with the rhythms well to the fore. His Can companion Holger Czukay was asked by a journalist if Jaki was like a drum machine. ‘More accurate’ he replied.

Future Days

This footage shows B-Boys poppin’ to Can’s Vitamin C back in the day.

That is the real deal I believe.

RIP Jaki.

Hey You, You’re Losing Your Vitamin C

I’ve enjoyed watching The Get Down, Netflix’s series based around the birth of hip hop in The Bronx in 1977. Whenever one of the characters (Dizzee) appeared so did this song, with those crazy Jaki Leibezeit rhythms and Damo Suzuki’s vocal refrain. It’s off Ege Bamyasi, released in 1972, the album that enabled them to move into a bigger and better studio. At only three minutes thirty three seconds long it doesn’t outstay its welcome and leaves me wanting more.

Vitamin C

Guten Tag

I unfolded myself off the bus, after thirty six hours from Krakow to north west England yesterday. Sleeping sitting up is a skill I’ve not quite got the hang of and my back has suffered. But our school trip to Krakow and Berlin was fantastic, all the moreso because we were in Berlin last Sunday night when Germany won the world cup. The streets of Berlin were flooded with thousands of Germans, most draped in the colours. We’d passed the Brandenberg Gate early on Saturday and had a look at the fan park but decided that keeping sixty-four teenagers safe while watching the final might be tricky. Eventually we all watched it on a big screen in the square outside our hotel and Hauptbahnhof, the main railway station. This ensured a constant flow of fans before and after the match. It was crackers and probably a once in a lifetime experience- watching a country win the world cup in that country’s capital city. It certainly won’t happen as a England fan.

Berlin is an amazing city, one which I want to return to. There’s so much to see and do- in two days we squeezed in sections of wall, Checkpoint Charlie, a trip up the TV tower, Alexanderplatz with its 60s concrete architecture, Sachsenhausen and the Olympic Stadium. Seeing some of the wall was a highlight for me- something that was such a key part of world history and from my lifetime. After Berlin we went to Krakow, which has a beautiful square and buildings, and drank tea (black tea with cold milk, the English way) in Noworolski Cafe, frequented by Lenin in the mid 1910s. And had a couple of Polish beers.

I’ve downloaded a few of the pics off my phone here…

Holger Czukay of Can, was born in Gdansk, Poland and raised in Germany. He has recently remixed some solo tracks from his 1977 album Der Osten Is Rot and issued them on 10″ vinyl through a Berlin based record label, Gronland Records. Click on the link for loads of grooviness. The remixed Sudetenland, with Jah Wobble, Jaki Leibezeit and Conny Plank, is out right now and you can listen to it here.

Future Days

Woohoo- the downloads are back. And to celebrate, a bit of krautrock to kick the week off- Can and a just under ten minutes piece of mad-eyed brilliance. West Germany was clearly the place to be. This was a 2005 re-master so has probably been superseded by a more recent job.

Future Days

Sky Edit

Following the somewhat kosmische theme we’ve had here recently I heard Can’s Mothersky the other day (on BBC 6 I reckon, I can’t think of another radio station I’d either listen to or would play it). A few years back French re-edit chap Pilooski re-worked it. Pilooski is a dab hand at the old re-editing game and this is a game effort. Whether Mothersky really needed re-editing is open to question.

Mothersky (Pilooski Re-edit)

Something funny’s gone here- this isn’t the picture that should go with this post. This is the original post at the Blogger version of Bagging Area.Pesky import function.

Can Do

Sometimes I can listen to Can and think ‘yep, they are massively influential and I can tell why; this is utterly brilliant, mutant, avant garde, funky, groundbreaking, krautrocking genius’. Sometimes I wish they’d written some tunes to go with all of that. But I’d rather live with them than without them. This one is off Tago Mago.

”Oh Yeah”