Holger Czukay – Persian Love

22nd April 2024 · 1970s, 1979, Music

Before Brian Eno and David Byrne came up with the idea of sampling snatches of ‘found sound’ from obscure transmissions, Holger Czukay was already at it.

He’d already toyed with it in his group Can and he went further on his solo album Movies; not least on this number, Persian Love, with the haunting vocals of an Iranian singer, recorded off a short-wave radio, woven in and out of the music.

As for that music, the lilting guitar and keyboard riffs are by Czukay himself, while the restrained, metronomic drumming is instantly recognisable as Can bandmate Jaki Liebezeit – the drummer’s drummer par excellence.

It’s an unfortunate inevitability that Czukay received little credit for his innovation while the better-known David Byrne and Brian Eno were acclaimed, when their album My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts came out a year later, showcasing many of the same techniques.

Or, alternatively, if you’re of that inclination, you might argue (speciously, in my view) that all of them were examples of privileged white men exploiting third world culture; you might also argue back that calling pre-revolutionary Iran a ‘third world’ country is condescending and inaccurate.

But I digress, because it’s lovely – as is all of the album. And it’s perfectly possible to enjoy it alongside Bush Of Ghosts without starting an argument with yourself over who was first, and whether they are cultural appropriators.