Door 13: Holger Czukay
As sad as it may sound, but deaths put artists back in the spotlight. 2017 was a tragic year for Krautrock as two key players of the genre died, in January the drummer Jaki Liebzeit and in September the bassist Holger Czukay. Next to Irmin Schmidt and Michael Karoli both were founding members of the seminal German band Can, which Jason Ankeny described as "successfully bridg[ing] the gap between pop and the avant-garde".
Holger Czukay, born as Holger Schüring in 1938 in the Free City Of Danzig, grew up in the chaos after the second world war and so his primary education suffered but had a pivotal experience while working as a teenager in a radio repair shop. From 1964 to 1966 he studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen, like Irmin Schmidt, at the Cologne Courses for New Music. After graduating he shortly taught music with little interest in rock music, which changed when a student played him I Am A Walrus by The Beatles.
Inspired by this experimental phase in pop music he founded in 1968 with the aforementioned the band Can. Holger Czukay played bass and as a shortwave radio enthusiast did most of the recording and engineering for the group. Their first records were recorded at the infamous Schloss Nörvenich, an ancient castle. At the same time he recorded together with Ro Dammers under their moniker Technical Space Composer's crew the seminal and highly sought-after album Canaxis 5 in the recording studio of the WDR electronic music studio.
As a band they were in-demand for soundtracks, but also here following their approach only Irmin Schmidt would see the film and then give the rest a description of the scene they will be scoring. They provided soundtracks for films like Deadlock, Deep End or the German TV-Series Tatort. After the band's ninth studio album Saw Delight, where he gave up the bass and played effects, he left the band in 1977 to pursue a solo career.
After his departure he recorded approximately ten solo albums. His trademark tools were the use of shortwave radio sounds and was one of the first to make use of the art of sampling. Collaborated with many famous artists like Brian Eno, Eurythmics, on their first album or the band Trio. Important to highlight here is the EP Snake Charmer, a collaboration between the producer and DJ François Kevorkian, the bass player Jah Wobble and U2's guitarist The Edge.