(. . .where to start???). . .With an entire, all-encompassing, ever-changing repertoire at their fingertips, Can have responded to the modern technocracy only insinuated by other contemporary progressive bands. Similar in approach to Tangerine Dream due to their extensive improvisation, Can very rarely repeat performances. (And if such facts are promoted, does the group gain or lose creedence?). . .
Now, obviously, in European countries this band is hailed for their disturbing quality of melding spacey rock-jazz, free-classical techniques, and avant-lyricism into a truly original style. . ‘nobody sounds like Can, once the listener has grown accustomed to their habits, except, perhaps, the British eccentrics: Henry Cow, but only at times.. .
There are some very funny moments on this double-disc, especially ‘Mother Upduff ‘, an ad-lib story created by early vocalist, Malcom Mooney, about a sixty year old lady from Dusseldorf who takes a trip to Italy, gets ripped off, and is shipped back to Germany in her own luggage.. . the band’s burst of energy at the song’s conclusion (especially drummer Jaki Liebezeit) is unrestrained and very powerful. That cut was from the band’s early period, and contrasts sharply with the newer material, circa 1974/75, which presents a lead-vocalist-less ensemble more closely attuned, and presenting a fresh facet of •an-progresso-rock with emphasis on suites of gorgeous melodies and instrumental virtuosity.. .
(For some extraordinary Can-music, their last American release on U.A.. “Soon Over Babaluma” should shed some light on “whatthey’re-like”. . .)As pioneers of the German rock scene, Can have moved to the forefront most successfully, making bold, sure statements whilst challenging the frontiers of improvisatory-rock. The distinction between rehearsal, recording, and performance becomes, as they say, academic.. . the band exists only to have landed between our ears. . .aaaaah!. . . PLEASE COME TO AMERICA, AT LEAST ONCE. . .Can do???
CAN-DID CUTS: “Gomorrha” (12/73); “Cutaway” (3/69); “Ibis” (9/74); “I’m Too Leise” (3/72)