Can co-founder Holger Czukay has died, aged 79

The German musician was a major force in the influential krautrock band, and is renowned as an early pioneer of sampling

Can co-founder and bassist Holger Czukay has died, aged 79.

Czukay formed the seminal krautrock band in 1968 alongside keyboardist Irmin Schmidt, guitarist Michael Karoli and drummer Jaki Liebezeit.

The band – who wrote and recorded much of the material through the technique of improvisational songwriting – crafted a sound which blended an influential mix of jazz, rock and psychedelia. Their first official album, ‘Monster Movie’, was released in 1969, and they would go on to record twelve studio albums, ending with 1989’s ‘Rite Time’.


Czukay left the band in 1977 after the release of their ninth LP ‘Saw Delight’, and embarked on a solo career – kicking off with the 1979 album ‘Movies’.

It was during his solo endeavours that Czukay began his pioneering experiments with sampling, which involved the painstaking process of cutting tape.

As well as his solo work, Czukay later collaborated with the likes of Brian Eno, U.N.K.L.E. and Eurythmics. He recorded his final solo album, ’11 Years Innerspace’, in 2015.

Czukay was found dead at Can’s Inner Space Studio in Weilerswist, Germany, where he’d reportedly been living as well. A cause of death has not been released at this time.

Tributes from the music world have poured in Czukay – see a selection of tweets below.


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