Conny Plank and Can’s Holger Czukay Ride Again!

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And we’ve also got a nice little Halloween hat-tip of a video clip to share with you…

 By Fred Mills

 It’s not one, but TWO reissues that’ll thrill your little krautrockin’ hearts: Holger Czukay’s On The Way to the Peak of Normal, the legendary Can bassist’s 1981 solo album; and Conny Plank’s Les Vampyrettes, hailing from 1980 and an obscure-yet-riveting gem by the Can producer/engineer that also features Czukay as Plank’s key collaborator. They’re both due December 9 from the Groenland label, and by way of an oddball teaser, there’s the following (brief) home movie of Plank (who passed away in ’87) getting all “scary” set to Les Vampyrettes audio.

Conny Planck Halloween Special klein from Grönland Records on Vimeo.

The two Germans made quite a team, and these two releases mark the first in what’s to be an ongoing archival series from Groenland. Writes Czukay, “Conny Plank was certainly one of the most unusual producers that I ever met and it took some years till we stood vis-a-vie. He told me how much he had laughed about an article I had published in a technical magazine for musicians where I maintained how to fire a tone engineer in order to save money. Conny said, ‘You are right.’  It was the beginning of a close friendship. At that time ‘Conny’s studio’ together with the can studio (former inner space studio) became the no.1 addresses among bands and musicians who wanted to reach out for unknown horizons.”

 On Les Vampyrettes we are advised by the label, “’Watch where you stand / Watch where you step / All day and all night / Someone’s got you in their sight…’ A metallic and ghostly voice in a state of nocturnal intoxication welcomes us to a sonic backdrop of hallmark krautrock pings, drones, susurrations and clatters. A half year later Kraftwerk would casually declare computer surveillance a clear fact of life – ‘Daten da’? Yes, they are ‘holding our data’! – whereas, as Les Vampyrettes, Czukay and Plank slip into the comic-like guise of ‘biomutants’… Back in 1980, the record foreshadowed what the world came to realize just this year thanks to Edward Snowden. They take us to an acoustic world where ‘Plastic and plasma mutate’ and ‘The mutants dance’. A menacing world where data flows like blood and e-waste poisons Mother Earth.”

 Wait, what?

 Meanwhile, On the Way to the Peak of Normal is highlighted by the track “Witches’ Multiplication Table” which “superbly fits the occult mood created by Les Vampyrettes, humorously turning numerology and witchcraft into the culmination of an unexpected, psychedelic krautpop journey – featuring Conny Plank on synthesizers.”

 Yessir! Check out the artwork, below, and mark your calendars.



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