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HOLGER CZUKAY

Krautrock • Germany


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Holger Czukay biography
Czukay studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen from 1963 to 1966 and co-founded the influential rock group Can in 1968. Czukay played bass guitar and performed most of the recording and engineering for the group. Czukay recorded some important early ambient / progressive electronic albums, and is important for his utilization of shortwave radio sounds, sampling... He released his first solo album "Canaxis" in 1968. It marks a new step in the development of experimental electronic music & "ethno" rock, notably by the use of "sampling" and a traditional Vietnam voice. After his departure from Can in 1977, Czukay participated to many collaborations with jah wobble, the edge, eurythmics, david sylvian, conny plank, eno, phew... For krautrockers the most memorable albums with guests are "RastakrautPasta" & "Materia" (with Moebius and Plank). In 1979 Czukay published his project "movies", described as a good following of what he has done with Can (including a large use of different keyboards for hilarous, complex & extravagant songs). In 1981, he recorded "On the way to the peak of normal", an eclectic experimental rock album made of a spontaneous session involving the musicians of S.Y.P.H. (Uwe Jahnke, Ulli Putsch, Jürgen Wolter, Harry Rag) and two radios. These albums have been produced at Conny Plank's studio. During the mid- eighties until today numerous albums have been published for Virgin, notably "Rome remains Rome" , "Radio Wave Surfer", "Flux + Mutability" . One of his classic; "Moving pictures" (an album of virtual film music; timeless and organic) was reissued a few years ago on SPV. Czukay has recently recorded "Luna" which provides a floating, "ambient" and unconventional experience with the help of a wide variety of electronic process and patterns.

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On the Way to the Peak of NormalOn the Way to the Peak of Normal
Groenland 2015
Audio CD$6.49
$10.79 (used)
Der Osten Ist Rot / Rome Remains RomeDer Osten Ist Rot / Rome Remains Rome
Import
PR JAPAN 2015
Audio CD$28.67
$111.00 (used)
MovieMovie
Groenland 2016
Vinyl$11.37
Full CircleFull Circle
Virgin Germany
Audio CD$78.00
$50.00 (used)
Full CircleFull Circle
Astralwerks 1992
Audio CD$47.06 (used)
MoviesMovies
Import
Audio CD$21.00 (used)
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HOLGER CZUKAY CAN PROMO PHOTO 10'' X 8'' USD $6.45 [0 bids]
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HOLGER CZUKAY discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

HOLGER CZUKAY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 39 ratings
Canaxis
1969
3.76 | 35 ratings
Movies
1979
3.94 | 25 ratings
On The Way To The Peak Of Normal
1981
3.83 | 16 ratings
Full Circle
1982
3.00 | 7 ratings
Der Osten Ist Rot
1984
3.09 | 15 ratings
Rome Remains Rome
1986
3.43 | 8 ratings
Radio Wave Surfer
1991
3.83 | 11 ratings
Moving Pictures
1993
3.11 | 9 ratings
Good Morning Story
1999
3.01 | 12 ratings
La Luna
2000
3.04 | 6 ratings
Linear City
2001
3.24 | 7 ratings
The New Millennium (with U-She)
2003
3.31 | 4 ratings
21st Century
2007

HOLGER CZUKAY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 3 ratings
Clash (with Dr. Walker)
1997
4.09 | 2 ratings
Time And Tide (with U-She)
2001

HOLGER CZUKAY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

HOLGER CZUKAY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.22 | 4 ratings
Rome Remains Rome And Excerpts From Der Osten Ist Rot
1987
3.00 | 1 ratings
Eleven Years Innerspace
2015

HOLGER CZUKAY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Biomutanten /as Les Vampyettes)
1980

HOLGER CZUKAY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 La Luna by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.01 | 12 ratings

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La Luna
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars First, a personal note: like many fans I prefer the music of CAN's mischievous short-wave radio painter when he's in a more lighthearted mood, composing Odes to Perfume or Persian Love songs. But there's something oddly hypnotic about this minimalist curiosity: an unbroken 47-minute "Electric Night Ceremony" recorded live at Holger's Lab on May 17, 1996 (and yes, I checked: there was a full moon over Cologne that night).

Don't expect the soothing environmental ambience of a Brian Eno album, however. Czukay's tone poem was built around a sinister mechanical pulse not far removed from the dystopian rhythms enslaving all those subterranean workers in Fritz Lang's 1927 film classic "Metropolis". He then goes to creative lengths to put a human touch on his automaton bleepfest, adding ephemeral layers of pirated radio signals, odd percussion accents, random vocal interruptions and so forth.

As usual Czukay is playing the studio like a musical instrument, and was apparently so mesmerized by the effort that he forgot his trusted French Horn. There isn't much room here for comic relief, but when High Priestess U-She (real name Ursula Kloss; Holger's muse since the end of the last millennium) approaches the electronic altar and starts muttering about "the Mother of the Universe", it's hard not to imagine Holger's tongue lodged firmly in his cheek.

There's actually a lot happening over the album's uncut three-quarter hour length, at a level of perception audible only with both ears wedged between the speakers. For better or worse, this is one of those experiments that needs your full attention to appreciate, but is best enjoyed when only half-heard as background radiation.

 Biomutanten /as Les Vampyettes) by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1980
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Biomutanten /as Les Vampyettes)
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Lewian

— First review of this album —
4 stars This is a collaboration of Holger Czukay with the famous German producer Conny Planck. Both of these tracks haven't appeared on any regular album, so this single is well worth having on its own, and because it has fairly recently been re-released by Herbert Grönemeyer's Grönland Records, it should be easy to get it.

This was recorded after Holger's monumental "Movies" solo project after leaving Can. The music is fascinating; produced in 1980 there's a certain minimalist experimental new wave spin to it. Holger at the time apparently said something like he wanted to start a "horror with comfort" singles series with this, although the rest of the series didn't materialize. In any case the horror theme is very dominant. Biomutanten is about somebody being attacked by mutant monsters. There's a manipulated deep slow horror voice speaking on both tracks, both of which are carried by slow monotonous rhythmic bass and sound motifs. As usual for Holger Czukay (and Conny Planck is a congenial partner in this), the music takes its appeal from the sound alchemy woven into the horror atmosphere, which, different from "Movies" is not pieced together from short wave radio recordings but rather consists of a wealth of subtle electronoc noises, amply fitting the horror theme.

I'd have wished that more prog artists would've been able to connect with the changes of the musical landscape of the early eighties in the way in which Holger and Conny do it here; they produce something (at the time) genuinely new, having progressed away from excessive jams and other characteristics of the seventies, but the elements that they use from the new era are of an experimental leftfield nature, industrial sounds and a straight decluttered structure as a basis for creating an uneasy threatening atmosphere, rather than trying to please a record company by going commercial and easily consumable. This is fun stuff, worth 3.5 stars for the listening experience, rounded to 4 for its uniqueness.

 Eleven Years Innerspace by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Eleven Years Innerspace
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Lewian

— First review of this album —
3 stars New music from Holger Czukay at last! Or is it? Unfortunately neither the label nor Holger himself have cared about giving the fan much useful information about this. When was it done? Who apart from Holger himself was involved in it? We don't know and the cover (which looks like it took no more than 10 minutes to make) won't tell.

I was in doubt about whether I should classify this as compilation/boxset or as regular release; I'm not totally sure about the definitions either. These are remixes of existing material. The remixes themselves are mostly pretty innovative. They, or at least some of them, may have been done pretty recently, in which case I arguably should have classified this as regular studio album. The title suggest that they were done over 11 years but which? 2004-2014? It's a mystery. But it's material that in this state you haven't heard yet elsewhere.

Two of the six remixes are pretty close to what is already available. Secret of my Life is based on Rhythms of a Secret Life from Moving Pictures, and My Can Axis is based on material from Canaxis 5, and both of these vary the original material little. They seem like compressed miniature versions of the original tracks.

The other four tracks have much more of an existence independently of the original material that went into them, and are much more interesting. On "In-Between" and "A Maiden's Dream" sampled classical music features quite prominently (orchestral on In-Between, a string quartet on A Maiden's Dream). This is coupled with some sound experiments and snippets from previous work. The marriage between these elements doesn't work 100% without frictions but makes for a fascinating experience. We can nicely speculate about the meaning of this collage; in what sense are Holger's sounds a comment on the classical material? Is it an echo from the past, or is it rather the thing to survive in a darker future in which it still has the power to shape the then contemporary noises?

"My Can Revolt" uses material from Can, which means that we listen to a fast pulsating instrumental by Schmidt/Liebezeit/Karoli with some Suzuki voice appearing in the second half. I believe that this has been pieced together in a quite new way, possibly with some added guitar or other trickery. It is pretty intense and the fastest and loudest thing on this album. Can fans will probably like this. I remember that Holger did something like this when I saw him in the Roundhouse in 2009.

"Breathtaking" reminds me of the "21st Century" album, it is rather free form, meditative and fairly slow, with some dreamy U-She vocals.

Overall the listener gets quite a bit of interesting and fascinating new material, so this is certainly a worthwhile acquisition. The album is somewhat uneven though, and as I have Canaxis 5 and Moving Pictures already, I don't get much from the two tracks that are made of those albums (if you don't have Canaxis 5 and Moving Pictures, get them before this one, they are truly great). The remaining four tracks may well be worth four or even five stars if they stand the test of time (I'm not going to wait 20 years before I review this), but still currently I give the album 3 stars, with annoyance about the lack of information perhaps playing a role here.

 Clash (with Dr. Walker) by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Live, 1997
5.00 | 3 ratings

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Clash (with Dr. Walker)
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Lewian

5 stars This is an absolutely unique monster of an album and whoever is up for something truly innovative and progressive should at least give it a listen. Trouble is, it has some heavy techno influences which probably aren't particularly popular in these quarters.

Clash is recorded live but contains only new and fresh material. Holger Czukay once said about it that the live collaboration with Dr. Walker brought him back some of the original excitement and spontaneity of playing with Can. Much of the album appears to be improvised or developed spontaneously. It is a double CD giving us about 140 minutes of music in nine tracks. The main principle of the music is the combination of Dr. Walker's techno rhythms with Holger mixing in a rich variety of sampled sounds with the addition of some electronic sounds produced on the spot. This seems simple and straight enough but actually the devil comes out of the detail; Holger unleashes layer upon layer of nervous, meditative, groovy, fast, slow, human, artificial, sophisticated, trivial, spacey, earthly, western, eastern, northern and southern attacks on the listener's ears from his sound archives put together over many decades from radio stations and other sources from all over the world. Now this seems no longer that simple and straight, but the reader may expect it to be somewhat random and disconnected. Let me assure you, it is not. What you get here is a viable and complete new world pieced together of parts of the old one making for a surprisingly consistent experience produced by the two musicians' talent to combine the samples and the rhythms in a very organic manner, always providing a leading thread (sometimes it's the rhythm, sometimes one of the more expansive sampled and remixed soundscapes). Particularly, the teamwork between the two is amazing with Holger all the time adding depth to the rhythms and taking it on and Dr. Walker showing a good sense for the dynamics and mutations required by Holger's constructions.

The samples and the way Holger is manipulating and combining them produce a unique experience with many nuances to discover at any moment. It is as if secret layers of the human existence shine through what is perceived on the surface, similar to the multilayered technique that some modern painters use, combining selected manifestations of life with their own comments.

The rhythm stops and changes its character at times, at other times it has a rather subtle appearance and seems almost deconstructed, but often it flows very confidently but thanks to the omnipresent sound metamorphoses never too monotonously; and occasionally it becomes a mighty stream that tears everything with it.

This is probably not for everyone, but I rate it as an an outright spectacular experience.

 21st Century by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.31 | 4 ratings

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21st Century
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Lewian

3 stars Ursa Major is the singer U-She, here collaborating with Hokger Czukay for the third time (plus some contributions to other Czukay releases, namely Linear City and Clash). The last one was called "New Millenium" and this one is now "21st Century"; you'd be surprised that such creative personalities as Czukay & U-She come up with two album titles like these in a row. This is supposed to be music for the new millenium/century, yes, we got that. Compared to "Time and Tide" and "New Millenium", "21st Century" is the most consistent album, or one could also say the least diverse. I think they tried to concentrate more on what they do best; there are hardly any attempts to write conventional songs here, and rhythms are lighter than on New Millenium and less like techno-beats. The new songs give Holger's sound experiments quite some space and U-She works much with repetitions of fairly simple mini-tunes, at times reminding me of Damo Suzuki's improvisations. The sound is dominated by digital keyboards, drum computers and samples and has some meditative free flowing feel to it. Don't expect much enlightenment from the lyrics... "Every day is a new day, you shouldn't try to run away"... well, well. It shouldn't hurt too much, I guess. To be honest, I could do without most of U-She's contributions here. The music is rich and attractive as ever; Czukay's creativity and musicality quite obviously hasn't run out of steam just yet. Unfortunately it's now 2015 and I think he hasn't released anything new in the meantime. I saw him live at the Roundhouse in 2009 and much what he did there was originally mixed and partly created just for the gig, and boy was it good - I guess he's still sitting on quite some interesting unreleased material. He is well over 70 now and I'm a bit worried that his website hasn't been updated since 2011, but apparently he still has his hands in some re-issues of remixed Can and Czukay-material from the 70s and 80s, so I'd still hope for some new music to be released at some point.

In any case, it's easier to get into 21st Century than into the two predecessors, but it's not as diverse and not just as surprising as those (at least not if you know them already when getting to this one), so it's three stars this time.

 The New Millennium (with U-She) by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.24 | 7 ratings

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The New Millennium (with U-She)
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Lewian

4 stars For me this is the best one out of the three collaborations of Holger Czukay and U-She. It is the least meditative, though, with some fast techno beats and some dazzling cascades of notes that you wouldn't normally expect from a grey-haired veteran like Czukay... actually you wouldn't expect them from anybody, so adventurous and fresh is this. Some of this has dancefloor qualities, although you'd need a pretty unusual crowd there for this to work. In any case, this may be Holger's most physical music.

There are still some of Holger's trademark slow and deep soundscapes in this, but usually they come with some nervous electric rhythm. U-She's singing is fine in most places here; in "Cinderella" and "Supernova" both her and Holger's voice can be heard, making for a fascinating contrast (actually I think these are my favourite occurrences of Holger's voice in all his work - he sounds like a true sorcerer here). These are my two favourites. A number of songs are longer than what you find on "Time and Tide" and "21st Century", and this suits the album well. There is more development and ideas are played out with more patience.

In some respects this is quite accessible, particularly through some of the rhythms and digital riffs that carry some of the songs. On the other hand, those who'd like to have traditional drums, bass, guitars or even traditional song structures should stay away.

Interestingly, the title song "New Millenium" was tried out as a single and I saw Holger and U-She performing this on mainstream German TV (Harald Schmidt Show). Something is not quite right with this song, though. Although the melody (particularly the main keyboard motif) is nice and could work well in principle, the song has by far the worst sound on the album with some very cheesy synthesizer chords, and U-She, uncharacteristically, seems to have some difficulties synchronizing properly with the syndrums, which Holger may have played manually and which are perhaps even on purpose pedestrian and imprecise (or precisely subverting what they should have been for a normal listener; totally opposed to most of the rest of the album, which is very sharp). For me this is the song I like the least; funny that they put some effort into selling this of them all to the general public. It actually may be just one more example of Holger's strange humour, from which there is no hiding in his work generally, but if you just want to immerse yourself in the music from beginning to end, this is something of an annoyance.

Anyway, if you're not scared off by the lack of good old natural instruments, check this out!

 Der Osten Ist Rot by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.00 | 7 ratings

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Der Osten Ist Rot
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Lewian

3 stars You've got to have the last track "Traeum mal wieder"! It's ABSOLUTELY essential! For me at least this is one of the best things ever recorded. It conveys the deep meditative impression better than any other music I know that when you really listen to your own body and mind, the whole world is a part of you and you are not as an individual separated from the world. Some of the used sounds speak to the deepest layers of my soul. But it's not "new age"; you'll come across more edgy parts of the world and of yourself here as well. It also opens a new direction for Holger to go on many of his later releases (although not the next one Rome remains Rome). Really, get this! Actually there are possibilities to get this track other than buying "Der Osten ist Rot"; it's also on the CD made up of the best of this album and "Rome", and Holger has lately offered a remix of it on vinyl on his website ("Dream Again"), which doesn't do any harm to the qualities of the original. Not sure whether this is still on sale.

The complaint I have about the remainder of this album is that apart from "Traeum mal wieder", it mostly sounds like toying around with ideas without really elaborating them, and some jokes. "Traeum mal wieder" is very serious, deep music, whereas everything else is rather "fun", and much more lightweight on the musical side.

It isn't all bad though. The title track is a nice experiment deconstructing the Chinese national anthem (I believe), "Das Massenmedium" ("mass media make stupid, stupid, stupid") is a joke but musically tasteful and good to listen to, and "Michy" works fairly well as an improvised minimalist experiment. Otherwise there is more stuff based on field and radio recordings and voices, some strange Holger humour, and some toy melodies. I guess that Holger tried to make "Photo Song" kind of commercial, but his musical brain is much too twisted to get such a thing done, so Photo Song is rather a somewhat skewed children's melody with some charm but hardly any commercial appeal. Again, it qualifies as "fun" but not as serious music. Of course Holger doesn't take himself all too seriously, so you can't really blame him for this, but as a music lover, you'd probably prefer to get 40 minutes of the top quality he is able to deliver than 7 1/2 minutes of stunning music and >30 minutes of toying around, even though you gotta give to him that there is quite some variety and creativity here and as a Czukay fan I still would have wanted to have the >30 minutes of experiments and jokes, had he decided to publish a "100% quality music" album at the time.

 Time And Tide (with U-She) by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Live, 2001
4.09 | 2 ratings

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Time And Tide (with U-She)
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by Lewian

4 stars Not sure why this is filed under "live"; actually it's a studio album. Holger Czukay's major competence is certainly rather as a sound explorer and master of long soundscapes than as a traditional songwriter. Doing an album like "Time and Tide" with 16 songs of normal length is an unusual thing for him to do and I was quite curious how this would play out. And what we get is indeed something quite unusual. This is a collaboration with his partner/wife (?) U-She, who sings, wrote the lyrics and five of the songs. Some of the songs are indeed better described as songs, whereas some others rather fall in the "soundscape" category (although all have "proper singing"), and sound experiments, samples etc. are near at any time. There is much variety; there are ballad-like songs, dark atmospheric and sometimes almost meditative parts (reminding me of "Traeum mal wieder" from "Der Osten ist rot"), some quite minimalist parts,Holger's typical guitar, bass and horn playing known already from some Can recordings, and some quite interesting rhythm programming that gives some kind of unearthly spin on 4/4. U-She's voice fits most of the music very well. She doesn't appear to be very flexible as a singer but there are some things she does well, mostly somewhat slow and dark mysterious tunes. At times she uses her voice more as an instrument with a certain Damo Suzuki-like improvisation attitude (although her voice is really very different from Damo's; she is less "percussive" and rather does long and smooth). Her German accent is strong at times (which I as a compatriot don't like, but I know people of other nationalities are often less critical of this and may find it rather charming - I on the other hand love Slavic and Italian accents that I know their own compatriots find annoying...).

A lot of work and ideas went obviously into this, and it is stunningly unique and original, although not all the ideas work well. The tunes aren't anywhere near catchy and take some getting used to (although many are not that complex), and there is the odd one that I find rather annoying, and a sequence of slow songs toward the end drags a bit - generally the album could have done with a faster injection here and there. 3 1/2 stars which I round to 4 to make people aware of this experience which as nobody can deny is truly special. It's your call how convincing you'll find it, but give it a chance!

 La Luna by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.01 | 12 ratings

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La Luna
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Excuse my manners!

Having been listening for a while to a bunch of new music (at least for me), some of it included here in PA (Cozmic Corridors, Far East Family Band, Urna, etc.) and some of it not . Gladly and obviously this 2000, release by Holger Czukay, ¨La Luna¨ is.

Gladly for me, because its ratings go from 2 to tops 3 PA stars. But to each its own!

A single 47 minute odyssey, of a drone-like prog/electronic cosmic music, balanced with a sophisticated primitiveness in its ritualistic drumming rhythms . The fact that he leaves outside his knack to spoil good music for some cheap laughs, for starters in his own way is groundbreaking. Of course it does not stop being playful, but even that is subdued in order to achieve its goal and purpose, music wise.

Evocative, dynamic , well costructed, focused and a fresh approach to this kind of personal music-conception of a trip to the stars, which every prog-musician is allowed to perform once in a while. Czukay´s understanding of percussion and rhythms, translates this spacious sometimes minimalistic voyage into something deeply human yet detached from pleasing any kind of target-audience. U-She's crooning kind of singing here and there, softens and counterpoints the darkest edges.

I myself, am deeply surprised. So opposite to my counterpart prog/reviewer's ratings, if there is a record of this guy I will highly recommend to any prog-audiophile is this un-pretentious and unobtrusive although highly hypnotic and accomplished effort. Which lenght in time is a vigorous deadline, so no time wasted, nor his nor yours!

The electronic side outweights by far the few Krautrock references.

****4 ¨Beyond just mere good¨ PA stars.

 The New Millennium (with U-She) by CZUKAY, HOLGER album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.24 | 7 ratings

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The New Millennium (with U-She)
Holger Czukay Krautrock

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

3 stars If all nightlife music were like this!

Holger Czukay's, 2003, album "The New Millennium (with U-She)", had the luck of appearing in PA, due to Czukay's pioneering in the early Krautrock scene (co-founder of CAN). But most of these songs fit the electronic dance floor scene rather than the average prog/electronics's or Krautrock's audiophile expectations, less the other 90% of the Prog's bunch!

But I myself am glad because it is so un-prog, yet experimental and intelligent all the way through. And mainly because this kind of techno-trance/dance, electronic music found its way on such a "sacred Prog land" !

Anyway, the songwriting besides being in its majority danceable, does not subdue itself to be or become "mainstream". The experimental and humorous Krautrock tones, save each song of becoming a self-parody of the dance floor scene or the 80's one. Opposite to that, it becomes the kind of "perfect world" nightlife music for "lost" proggers.

The real deal is having taken the best of the 80's sexy dance sounds (U-She's vocals take care of this), bringing them to the 21st century's refinement, transmuting them into something less cliched and fresher, and adding really cool contemporary experimental dance/trance-electronics and stylings, and still be intelligent in its songwriting and never condescending to its own roots.

Going by the book ***3 PA stars, but I am gonna keep this one!

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition.

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