As a founding member of the German art-rock band Can, bassist Holger Czukay set a standard for the next three decades of experimentation. Various members of Can have occasionally collaborated since the group disbanded in 1978, and the whole band even re-formed briefly in 1986, but it’s Can’s mind-boggling work from 1968 to 1974 that truly stands out. With drummer Jaki Liebezeit, Czukay crafted remarkably fluid, intuitive rhythms that allowed guitarist Michael Karoli and keyboardist Irmin Schmidt boundless creative freedom. Together they were instrumental in liberating rock from the blues. Amid so-called Krautrock bands like Kraftwerk, Faust, and Neu, Can’s influence was and remains the greatest, particularly on the current generation of experimental rockers, from Brits like Pram and Moonshake (who are named after a Can song) to American bands like Jessamine and Tortoise. During Can’s breakup Czukay began experimenting with tape collage, using it as a primitive form of sampling, and he was also an early pioneer in fusing rock with ethnic music. This rare appearance is part of Czukay’s first tour in 20 years and his first ever in America. It’s impossible to predict what this performance will sound like, but he’ll be collaborating with Dr. Walker, a talented electronics programmer who plays in the German ambient outfit Air Liquide, and a woman named U-She, about whose role Czukay’s been secretive. Thursday, January 9, 10 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee; 773-489-3160.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Holger Czukay photo.