Holger Czukay: Movies


Spoon Records 1979. SPOON CD 35


Another album I’m surprised to be posting – this really should be available.

Holger Czukay was Can’s bassist, and this was his first solo album.  I was sent it by The Wire magazine for getting a letter published, which created a bit of an odd relationship with it.  At first listen it sounded too kitsch for my taste – the opening track, Cool In The Pool just seemed silly.  I gave it less of a chance because I’d never decided to buy it, although anything connected to Can is always worth a go at Vinyl301 towers.  As time went on I started to get it.   It’s based very heavily on sampling, but back then there were no samplers, so like John Oswald, he had to splice bits of tape in a very laborious process.  The samples come from bits of film, short wave radio broadcasts and TV, overlaid with manipulated guitars and vocals, but unlike the assault on the eardrums John Oswald produces, this is funky.

The highlight for me is the third track, Persian Love which takes a Persian song recorded on short wave radio which it manipulates and overlays with more guitar work.  This sort of trackis commonplace now, but back then it was totally new, so Czukay isn’t following the rules.  There’s no thumping dance beat plonked clumsily on top – he’s made a new band incorporating the unknown singer which makes for a slightly unsettling listening experience.  It sounds like a coherent musical unit, and yet the vocals are obviously coming from another place entirely.  Genius.

More listening: well if you’re not familiar with Can, it’s time you were.  Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi are good places to start.

  1. Well, I’d never would have guessed that this wasn’t available, so many thanks. Remember copying from vinyl to a cassette then listening to it on my (younger!) brother’s dodgy walkman as a Sunday train was diverted around the wasteleands of early 80s BIrmingham. Can still hear “Oh Lord GIve Us More Money” in my ears now.
    I see Der Osten is Rot and Rome Remains Rome are also not available – now, if only I had the transfer technology…
    Enjoying your trawl through the back of your (and my) wardrobe!

  2. It’s been quite a shock to me since I started doing this blog how much stuff has disappeared. Everything else I have by him is still in print, and of course the whole of the Can back catalogue is easy to get, so there won’t be any more of his stuff here, at least not for the time being, except maybe the odd track on compilations.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying it – and thanks for posting. I get loads of downloads but not many comments, so I appreciate it when they do appear.

  3. Re-upped

Comments are closed.