Holger Czukay, who co-founded and played bass in the experimental rock band Can, has died from unknown causes. He was 79 years old.
Czukay was born in what is now Gdańsk, Poland in 1938. He worked at a radio repair shop where he became interested in electrical engineering and the sound of radio broadcasts. This led to an interest in the avant garde. He studied under the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen for three years and worked as a music teacher before turning to rock music after hearing the Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus.”
He co-founded Can along with Irmin Schmidt, Michael Karoli, and drummer Jaki Liebezeit. It was the dynamic rhythm section of Liebezeit and Czukay that garnered many fans as well as the group’s unique blend of minimalist, electronic, psychedelic, and world music.
He played in the band until 1977, recording nine albums before leaving for a solo career. He was an early pioneer of sampling and painstakingly spliced tape to create his works. His most recent release was 2015’s 11 Years Innerspace.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Holger Czukay.