Album: Can, The Lost Tapes 1968-1975 (Spoon/Mute)
Classic krautrock collection makes for a real find
Culled from some 50 hours of tapes retrieved from their former studio near Cologne, this 3CD set is a fantastic collection of unreleased material from one of the most important bands of the last century.
Can were the archetypal "krautrock" group – ironically, given that much of their best work featured either Malcolm Mooney, an American, or Damo Suzuki, from Japan, as vocalists. Students of Stockhausen, blessed with renegade jazz and classical chops, and fully aware of the possibilities opened up by John Cage, they brought a feverishly questing spirit to rock music.
Rather than the blues roots underpinning most Anglo-American rock, they drew on minimalism, serialism, the churning motor-pulse of the Velvet Underground, and ethnic strains then unheard in Western pop. The result was some of the most striking, individual music ever made. The earliest pieces included here, such as "Millionenspiel", find them forging a unique sound already at an acute angle to the prevailing British and US modes, using drummer Jaki Liebezeit's urgent, metronomic beats to carry startling sonic excursions of guitar and organ. They worked best as a unit, improvising collectively to find the synergistic core of an idea: by their own admission, the "freedom" subsequently afforded by multi-track overdubbing leached that power from their later recordings.
But these recordings are pure Can at their most potent, with menacing, mantra-like chants alongside fractured ambient soundscapes, "aural meditations" and crunching psych-rock riffing. In some tracks can be glimpsed the youthful stages of later Can classics such as "Vitamin C", "Sing Swan Song" and "Vernal Equinox", while the use of certain sounds and tones allows one to date other works fairly precisely, as in the tremulous organ tone that fixes "Abra Cada Braxas" firmly in the Future Days era; and there are devastating live versions of favourites like "Spoon".
Yet despite restlessly exploring hitherto untrodden musical terrain, there are precious few wasted seconds in these three hours. We shall not hear their like again.
Download: Millionenspiel; Dead Pigeon Suite; Abra Cada Braxas; Midnight Men
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Mr Selfridge series 3: Actress Kara Tointon says 'we're starting to see his demise'
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
Downton Abbey season 5 episode 6 - review: Thomas and Lady Edith show sad signs of the times
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd