Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Alphabetical Discovery - Week C, Day Four: Can

Kraut: hypnotic and psychedelic, mesmeric and repetitious, ritualistic and frenzied; Can's sound is a tribal frenzy of world-music, jazz, noise, rock, progressive...it's neither one thing or another. Their music transcends and infuses from structured sections through to semi-improvisational groove passages, from minimalist ambient whirling to jazzy bursts of energy; from progressive-rock flamboyancy to disordered proto-punk- in the context of 'extreme' metal, I don't think it's unfounded to say that Can must have had some influence on noise, drone, ambient, progressive and whatever-else bands today. The whole German kraut scene in the 60's/70's - Faust, Neu, Can some of the big 'uns - paved the way for experimentation within a rock/pop framework. 

Their first five releases - Monster Movie (1969), Soundtracks (1970), Tago Mago (1971),Ege Bamyasi (1972) and Future Days (1973) - are exercises in musical discovery and freedom. That sounds pretentious but it is rather apt. Fluid, unconventional, intense and dense (quality rhyme there), Can were truly ahead of their time. From the 17-minute world-music drone/noise song 'Aumgn' sounding like something from an Om album or 'Peking O' sounding like a descent into  John Zorn or Mr. Bungle levels of madness just being the peak of this musical ice-berg, it's worth just jumping in and getting lost in the sounds. 

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