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).

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In The Trees

In The Trees by Faze Action was a 1996 funky house single with disco undertones, sweeping strings headed for summer (made by brothers Simon and Robin Lee in Buckinghamshire). They went on to make plenty of other singles and albums but In The Trees is the one that they are known for.

In 2007 Carl Craig fed it through his Detroit techno/science fiction remix machine, starting out with a rhythmic buzzing sound and then adding layers and layers on top. The kick drum arrives after a couple of minutes. The synths rush in from stage left. By the time the strings hit you, the ride is all consuming and you’re completely sucked in, heading for the black hole.

In The Trees (Carl Craig C2 remix 4)

Sandstorms

I noticed in the labels list that runs down the right hand side of this blog that Carl Craig has pulled ahead of Carl Perkins in the postings stakes, eight posts to six (nine to seven now). Carl Perkins was there at the start of popular music- he wrote Blue Suede Shoes for crying out loud- but Carl Craig has a wider back catalogue and has pursued progression and sonic experimentation more doggedly. Not that it is a competition, they just both happen to be named Carl and next to each other on this blog.

Sandstorms is a 2004 track, from the Just Another Day ep, that builds languidly over squelchy bass noise. Carl is releasing an updated 2017 symphonic version with pianist Francesco Tristano, out shortly.

Sandstorms

Falling Up

I got back from London last night, three days covering many miles on foot and also by tube. I took this shot in an underground station and shockingly can’t remember which one and getting a shot like this is pretty easy but I like the metals and the greys, the light at the entrance and the graffiti on the step.

This is one of those minimal techno/tech-house records that brings in elements one by one, layering machine sounds in waves, building effortlessly. When the synth part comes in just before the middle it’s all a bit of a headrush. Underground music. Tube music.

Falling Up (Carl Craig Remix)

Poor People Must Work

Are we all still here? I’m assuming that during the night Trump didn’t get his horrible, stubby, little fingers on the wrong buttons and start a nuclear war and that I’m alive and you’re here reading this. Hopefully that’s not a stupid assumption. We are living in strange times.

This Detroit remix of Berlin dub techno came out in 2006, Carl Craig reshaping Rhythm And Sound, righteous vocals from Bobbo Shanti. It’s pretty intense and could easily be twice the length and not outstay its welcome. This sleek, ultra rhythmic, layered techno is really pushing my buttons at the moment. Coming over Barton Bridge last night to something similar on the stereo the south Manchester sky was astonishing, a broad pink band bleeding into bright blue with a few streaks of white cloud and the disappearing sun a vibrant orangey-pink ball. A wheeling arc of birds rose over the retail park. I couldn’t photograph it (I was driving) and the view only lasted a few seconds but it was something else.

Poor People Must Work (Carl Craig Remix)

Mind Of A Machine

Monday morning techno- the last Monday before Christmas techno too. Very festive.

Carl Craig’s 1995 album Landcruising is a Detroit masterpiece, a sleek glide around the city at night with machine beats and glacial synths. In 2005 Carl revisited it and tinkered, updating it and then re-releasing it as The Album Formerly Known As… As you can imagine some of the techno purists were aghast. Carl said that ‘some parts were dated so I wanted to make it again removing the dated parts and enlarging the good parts.’ Technology and software goes through changes and when out djing he found some tracks jarred when played next to more modern sounds. Largely it comes down to taste but ten years on from the remake both versions sound great to these ears.

This one is absurdly good, the bass thumping from the start. Even if you think you don’t like techno, you should let this one work its magic and hypnotise you.

Mind Of A Machine (2006 version)

Hot On The Heels

Walter beat me to the post when he blogged October (Love Song) by Chris and Cosey a few days ago- a beautiful 1983 single from two members of Throbbing Gristle. In 2004 an album of remixes of Throbbing Gristle tracks came out, called Mutant TG. As industrial and electronic pioneers Genesis P Orridge and co always got respect from dance music artists. One of the highlights of the album was this tremendous nine minute version by Detroit techno legend Carl Craig. Hot On The Heels Of Love is TG’s most accessible song and had a dancefloor groove already. Carl sends it onwards with techno…

Hot On The Heels Of Love (Carl Craig Re-Version)

From today I’m off on holiday for a week, staying in Scarborough in North Yorkshire, so there’ll be nothing here until next weekend. Be good.