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Can (band)

From Academic Kids

Can (originally "The Can" a few years, sometimes spelled "C A N", or "CAN" by fans) was one of the major Krautrock bands, an avant-garde, improvisational "anarchist community" who have had a great influence on modern rock and electronic music.

Contents

History

(1967-1979) Band years

Can formed in Cologne in 1967 as "Inner Space", comprising bassist Holger Czukay, keyboard player Irmin Schmidt (both music teachers who had studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen), guitarist Michael Karoli (a pupil of Czukay), and jazz drummer Jaki Liebezeit.

Missing image
CanMonsterMovieAlbumCover.jpg
The cover of Can's Monster Movie album depicted a faceless Galactus

By the release of their first album, Monster Movie (1969), they had enlisted an extremely unstable American vocalist, Malcolm Mooney. His disturbed babbling added an extra dimension to the music, with its distorted guitars and Velvet Underground-influenced repetition, particularly on the 20-minute "Yoo Doo Right" (covered in abbreviated form by The Geraldine Fibbers, Thin White Rope and others).

Mooney returned to America soon afterwards and was replaced by the more stable Damo Suzuki, a Japanese traveller found busking outside a cafe. The band's first record with Suzuki was Soundtracks (1971), in which his baffling, multi-lingual vocal style transformed a set of otherwise straightforward pop songs. Also included were two songs by Mooney including an unexpected foray into melodic jazz, "She Brings the Rain".

The next few years saw them release their most acclaimed works, which arguably did as much to define the Krautrock genre as those of any other group. While their earlier records mostly stuck to traditional song structures, on their mid-career albums the band reverted to an extremely fluid improvisational style. Tago Mago (1971) is a groundbreaking, influential and deeply unconventional record, based on intensely rhythmic jazz-inspired drumming, improvised guitar, and Suzuki's idiosyncratic vocalisms. The rhythm section's work on Tago Mago has been especially praised: One critic writes that much of the album is based on "long improvisations built around hypnotic rhythm patterns" [1] (http://www.trouserpress.com/entry.php?a=can); another writes that "'Halleluwah' finds them "pounding out a monster trance/funk beat" [2] (http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:4x65mpb39f6o~T1).

Tago Mago was followed by Ege Bamyasi (1972), a more accessible but still avant-garde record which featured the catchy "Vitamin C". Next was Future Days (1973), an early example of ambient music, though there was also the quasi-pop song "Moonshake". The names of these albums represent the band members' interest in world music referring to other cultures' languages and traditions.

Suzuki left in 1973 to become a Jehovah's Witness, and the vocals were taken over by Karoli and Schmidt. Can released Soon Over Babaluma in 1974 before signing to Virgin Records the following year. Throughout the albums Landed (1975), Flow Motion (1976), Saw Delight (1977) and Out of Reach (1978), Can moved towards a somewhat more conventional style; the rather silly disco single "I Want More" from Flow Motion became, in the UK, their only hit record. Meanwhile Holger Czukay, who is now perhaps the best-known ex-member, was being slowly pushed to the fringes of the group's activity and did not appear at all on the album Can (1979). The band quietly disbanded at the end of the 1970s.

(1980- . . . .) Later years

Since the split, all the former members have been involved in musical projects; Czukay seems to have had the most success. In 1986 they briefly reformed, with Mooney but without Suzuki, to record Rite Time (released in 1989), and have since been the subject of numerous compilations, live albums and samples. Like The Velvet Underground, their real impact was not commercial success (they had none) but their subsequent influence, not only on rock music but on dance as well.

Michael Karoli died on 17 November 2001 after a long battle with cancer.

In 2004 Spoon Records reissued Monster Movie, Soundtracks, Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi with plans to release the rest of their discography in 2005.

Discography

Studio albums

  • (1969) Monster Movie
  • (1971) Soundtracks
  • (1971) Tago Mago
  • (1972) Ege Bamyasi
  • (1973) Future Days
  • (1974) Soon Over Babaluma
  • (1975) Landed
  • (1976) Flow Motion
  • (1977) Saw Delight
  • (1978) Out of Reach
  • (1979) Can
  • (1989) Rite Time

Singles

  • (1968) "Kama Sutra"
  • (1970) "Soul Desert"
  • (1971) "Turtles Have Short Legs"
  • (1971) "Spoon"
  • (1973) "Moonshake"
  • (1974) "Dizzy Dizzy"
  • (1976) "I Want More"
  • (1976) "Silent Night"
  • (1977) "Don't Say No"
  • (1978) "Can-Can"

Collection albums

  • (1974) Limited Edition - collection of 1968-1974 rarities
  • (1976) Unlimited Edition - collection of 1968-1975 rarities

Compilations

Among many, of note:

  • (1978) Cannibalism 1 - compilation from 1969-1974 album material
  • (1992) Cannibalism 2 - compilation from 1974-1981 album material
  • (1995) Cannibalism 3 - compilation from 1979-1991 album material

Bootlegs

  • (1971) Mother Sky Berlin, Waldbühne 1971
  • (1972) University Of Essex, Colchester, UK 8-5-72
  • (1973) Horror Trip in the Paper House Köln 03.02.73
  • (1973) Live at Paris Olympia, France 1973
  • (1975) Live at Sussex University, Brighton, November 1975
  • (1975) Live at Stuttgart 31.10.1975
  • (1976) Live at Hannover 4.11.1976
  • (1976) London und Grenoble Live 1976

References

  • Rock: The Rough Guide (second edition), Penguin, 1999.
  • Martin C. Strong's Great Rock Discography (fifth edition), MOJO Books, 2000.

External links

  • Spoon Records.com (http://www.spoonrecords.com) - The official Can website
  • Can discog (short) (http://www.spacelook.de/can/Can_Discografie.htm) - With credits, sleeve details.
  • Can discog (extensive) (http://all-blues.de/music/kraut/can.htm) - Albums, collections, compilations, collaborations, lives, solos.
  • Yoo Doo Right (http://sammlung-essl.at/frame.htm?/deutsch/musik/archiv/div/yoodooright.html) music performance in memory of Michael Karoly (1948-2001)de:Can (Rockband)

fr:Can (groupe) pl:Can

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