Can’s Holger Czukay to reissue solo albums, one featuring a “collaboration” with (then Pope, current Roman Catholic Saint) John Paul II

Can's Holger Czukay to reissue solo albums, one featuring a "collaboration" with (then Pope, current Roman Catholic Saint) John Paul II

Are you looking to pad out the chapter on sampling in that History of Rock book of yours? Do you want to explore the complete genealogy going from musique concrète to The Avalanches? Is the odd overlap between the Sanctoral and avant-garde music your cup of tea? Then you’re in luck! Groenland Records has announced the reissue of Holger Czukay’s Der Osten Ist Rot (1984) and Rome Remains Rome (1987), two seminal works of appropriative music. The latter is of particular interest, standing as a missing link between late-70s tape manipulation experiments and early digital sampling.

Czukay is usually remembered as Can’s bass player, but he possesses equally remarkable credentials as a sample-based composer. Before joining Can, he studied under Stockhausen, and by the end of his tenure with the Cologne group he had switched to shortwave radio recordings, which he used as raw sound sources. Moreover, including the talent of fellow Can alumni Michael Karoli and Jaki Liebezeit, Rome Remains Rome offers a peek into where the band’s post-E.F.S. output could have headed. Jah Wobble and the omnipresent Conny Plank also play on the record, but the most famous guest ought to be Pope John Paul II himself — with the track “Blessed Easter” built around a sample of His Holiness at prayer. On a similar note, in Der Osten Ist Rot Czukay assembles a mish-mash of samples (AM stations, Eastern music, street noise) atop exuberant orchestral sounds, surprisingly coming up with lean and melodic structures.

Both albums will be combined in a single release, including three previously unreleased remixes, packaged as a double 10-inch vinyl. The LP is out on July 8.

Der Osten Ist Rot / Rome Remains Rome tracklisting:

01. Music in the Air *
02. Sudetenland *
03. Der Osten Ist Rot *
04. Traum mal wieder
05. Blessed Easter
06. Esperanto Socialiste
07. Das Massenmedium
08. Schaue vertrauensvoll in die Zukunft
09. Rhoenrad
10. Michi

* new remixed version

• Holger Czukay:
• Groenland:

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