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Can’s Holger Czukay Dead at 79

Can founder, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Holger Czukay was found dead yesterday. He was 79. According to Cologne newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, Czukay died in Can’s former studio outside of the German city in Weilerswist, where Czukay was also living.

Czukay was one of the central architect of Can’s singular brand of psychedelic rock, steeped in influences from avant-garde electronic music and jazz. He was largely interesting in styles outside of rock’n’roll before joining the band, having studied under the legendary composer of atonal, serialist, and electroacoustic music Karlheinz Stockhausen. When he joined Can in the late 1960s, he served primarily as the group’s bassist and also mixed and engineered legendary albums like Ege BamyasiTago Mago, and Future Days. He left Can in 1977, and embarked on a tremendous career as a solo artist, producer and hired-hand instrumentalist on other people’s work, working with artists like Brian Eno, Eurythmics, David Sylvian and Jah Wobble. He collaborated several times with erstwhile Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit, who also passed away this year, in January.