Holger Czukay, Can Co-founder and Bassist, Dies at 79
Wed, 06 Sep 2017 11:05:06
A curious neighbor found Holger Czukay, Can co-founder and bassist, dead at 79 in his home, which doubled for CAN's old recording studio. As reported by Cologne newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, no cause of death has been confirmed, pending a police investigation.
Czukay formed Can in 1968 with drummer Jaki Liebezeit, keyboardist Irmin Schmidt, and guitarist Michael Karoli. Czukay took over the majority of engineering and sampling for their albums, after working as a music instructor and experimenting on his own with emerging radio technology and sampling methods. The band recorded albums demonstrating a uniquely improvisational style, an avant-garde blend of modern jazz and rock, featuring yelling, singing, scat, sampling, and instrumentals over Liebezeit's driving percussion.
With the addition of singer Damo Suzuki, Can found their most successful combination, releasing the albums Soundtracks, Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi, and Future Days. Suzuki's left the band in 1973 to become a Jehovah's Witness, and later albums featured less vocals and increased audio experimentation by Czukay. Czukay himself then left Can in 1977 to pursue a solo career, eventually working with artists including Brian Eno and Eurythmics.
In 1981, Spoon Records released Delay 1968, a collection of bootleg Can recordings from their earliest days featuring singer Malcolm Moody. Delay 1968 had been intended as the band's first release, which they forestalled in an attempt to create an album with broader appeal.
Can's drummer, Liebezeit, passed away earlier this year, but the rest of the band wrote on Facebook, "We are very sad to confirm that Holger passed away yesterday, in his home, the old CAN Studio in Weilerswist. His wife U-She passed away only weeks before. Holger was devastated by the loss of his beloved partner, but was looking forward to making more music and was in good spirits. His passing has come as a shock. We will post more information about funeral arrangements shortly."
—The ARTISTdirect Staff