Holger Czukay

Holger Czukay

Good Morning Story

Tone Casualties

I tend to subscribe to the theory that, after a certain period of time, it is inevitable that any band or artist you like will turn crap. The rare exceptions to that rule are more than welcome: Suicide, David Sylvian, Daniel Miller, John Cale, and so on. With the release of Good Morning Story , it’s time to add a new name to that list — Holger Czukay, founding member and bass player of the eternally-namechecked Can. I find it interesting that, with Czukay being at an age where his contemporaries are living out fading glories and have a death-grip on the nostalgia-tour-circuit, Czukay and the rest of Can are doing the contrary opposite. Though they still play shows together, it is as four separate solo artists playing four separate (envelope-pushing) sets. Indeed, on Good Morning Story , Czukay has largely forsaken the old-standby bass guitar, and has instead immersed himself in the world of samplers. In the liner notes, Czukay gleefully points out that most of this album was conceived through spontaneous experimentation with samples. It’s a beautiful thing to still be entranced with the possibility of new musical forms after decades at the forefront of the avant-garde.

Good Morning Story has close sonic parallels with Frank Zappa, the Residents (in terms of experimental whimsy), and early Coil and Nurse With Wound. The album feels like a great big sonic blanket that slowly envelops you, especially with the track “Mirage.” Opening track “Invisible Man” is a piece of mid-paced funk/dub that threatens to become quite annoying in the vocal department until U-She saves the whole affair with her ghost-in-the-machine act. “Good Morning Story” is similarly bass-driven, but succeeds wonderfully with Czukay’s crazy-old-man vocals and U-She’s B-52’s-ish backup. Dig that crazy found noise. “World of the Universe” literally shudders along, filled with jittery percussion and nervous guitar, while “Atlantis” is a total (unintended) early Residents pastiche, both in the cheap Casio-beats, wayward guitar and the impending sense of dread. “Mirage” brings it all back home with twenty-minutes plus of soundscape manipulation that totally reminds me of Coil’s “In the Company of Wolves,” just not as dark and much longer. Enjoyable all the way around.

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