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GROENLAND

Technical Space Composer’s Crew Featuring Holger Czukay

Canaxis 5

    Upon examining the eventful life of Can bassist Holger Czukay, one might conclude that this intrepid musician was a loner. His turbulent career exuded an enduring eccentricity governed by a boundless free spirit. Yet Czukay, who passed away unexpectedly last year at the age of 79, constantly emphasized that his creativity was always contingent upon a musical partner, whether that was a skin-and-bones counterpart or an anonymous manifestation that interacted with him through radio waves or, as happened later, the internet. Nonetheless, most of his partners were of flesh and blood.

    His oeuvre, which is in itself cinematic in nature, boasts a cast worthy of a Martin Scorsese film. Only the most interesting character actors were cast: Brian Eno, Phew, Rolf Dammers, David Sylvian, Annie Lennox, Jah Wobble, his Can bandmates… the list could go on and on.

    Many of these masterpieces are now out of print, so Groenland Records, who already released the highly acclaimed retrospective ‘CINEMA’ to mark the occasion of Holger’s 80th birthday at the beginning of the year, has taken it upon themselves to release reissues of Holger’s music in order to make it accessible once again.

    Duke Ellington & His Orchestra

    The Conny Plank Session

      A previously unreleased Duke Ellington session, recorded by producer genius Conny Plank at Rhenus Studio in Cologne in 1970.

      One session, two songs: three takes each of “Alerado” and “Afrique.”

      They weren’t just alternate takes, like you often get on reissues of jazz classics; you can really hear Ellington working. He’s not just looking for the best take to get something clearly defined, he’s experimenting.

      The tempi change, solo instruments are switched around, and, on the last take of “Afrique,” you can even hear soprano vocals.

      “Alerado” is a straightforward swing number, it features Wild Bill Davis on the organ, and, most notably, Cat Anderson on the trumpet, who provide a foundation for striking concepts of sonority and solo performance. The musical approach to “Afrique” is freer and more avant-garde; the foundation of the piece is a tom-tom based beat that is sustained throughout and layered with improvisations and arranged segments.

      In addition to the musical aspects, this recording also documents a special moment: an American jazz legend in the twilight of his life encounters a young sound engineer and producer who is preparing to give pop a new sound.


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