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CAN - Flow Motion - CD 1976 Spoon

Price: EUR 11.60


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Progressiv / Krautrock
Manufacturer: Spoon
Original release year: 1976
Manufacturing year: 2014
Cat. Nr.: Spoon CD 26
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One of the most celebrated and influential of all Krautrock bands, Can dared to bring the avant-garde to the masses and succeeded. Can certainly had the credentials to do so too, with backgrounds in serious avant-garde (studying with Stockhausen) and in jazz. Holger Czukay and Irmin Schmidt had known each other from their contemporary studies, though it was Holger meeting multi-instrumental talent Michael Karoli that set the formation of the band in motion. Being connected with the arts certainly had its advantages. A matter of days after getting a band together, then named 'The Inner Space', they played their first concert at the Schloss Norvenich, near Cologne in June 1968. A tape of some of this was much later released as PREHISTORIC FUTURE, with a wild rock sound comparable to Amon Düül, though much more avant-garde and free-form.

David Johnson (an American jazz winds player who had also worked with Stockhausen) was a member of the band at this time, and featured on some of the early Can sessions, he also acted as their engineer for a while. After the addition of black American singer Malcolm Mooney came Can proper, moving to a more straight ahead rock, that many compare to the Velvet Underground. Due to his fascination with electronics (as further evidenced on the Technical Space Composers Crew album) and his ability to handle the recording equipment, Holger Czukay also became the bands recording engineer. Can's debut album MONSTER MOVIE and the later anthology of early recordings DELAY 1968 documented a music with 60's punk energy, pacey rhythms and the manic vocals of Mooney. But, this phase of Can was short-lived, as Malcolm Mooney was forced to leave the band due to ill health.

The next lead vocalist to front Can was an unlikely choice, a Japanese busker, one Kenji 'Damo' Suzuki. His penchant for vocal experimentation led Can in a very different direction. The transition period was documented by the surprisingly varied and creative SOUNDTRACKS, featuring music to a number of underground films. Next was the greatest of Can albums, the monumental double album TAGO MAGO, which, although starting on safe ground, draws the listener in with a succession of even greater weirdness and invention, not least 'Aumgn' with Jaki's manic drums and 'Peking O.' where Damo lets out some of the most agonising vocal sounds amidst a plethora of electronic and percussive effects. Weird and radical innovation, that still sounds bizarre twenty odd years on! In contrast (in fact in contrast with each other) the other two albums to feature Damo were, on the whole, less extreme: EGE BAMYASI with a collection of mostly shorter accessible songs, though still odd and uniquely Can, unexpectedly breaking-out with the wild avant-garde 10 minute 'Soup' on the second side, and FUTURE DAYS which is often quoted as Can's most well-balanced and successful album, with its dreamy cosmic otherworldly atmosphere, understated songs and strong melodic content. This is the era that brought Can international success, with many tours in Britain and the continent. They also recorded sessions for the BBC's 'John Peel Show' and 'In Concert' programmes.

After Damo's departure, the famous four continued to forge on (sometimes with a featured vocalist in concert: Tim Hardin, Thaiaga Raj Raja Ratnam and Magic Michael amongst them) and produced a quite extraordinarily powerful and very percussive album in SOON OVER BABALUMA, with compositions that were to prove to be great concert favourites, a dense and complex music that was earlier hinted at on the great 'Halleluwah' and 'Mother Sky'. Yet, ever surprising, the next Can offering LANDED was as different again, and in many ways marked the end of an era in Can history. Here we can hear songs that hint at Holger Czukay's solo project MOVIES, one of Can's most dazzling rock extravaganza's in 'Vernal Equinox', and lastly their most esoteric and brooding opus, the aptly entitled free-form avant-garde 'Unfinished'.

Earlier, an album of unreleased recordings had been issued on UA's budget series as LIMITED EDITION, documenting the most uncommercial and off-beat Can. In 1976, together with a bonus LP's worth of further previously unissued material, it was issued as UNLIMITED EDITION. This would seem to be Can's response to THE FAUST TAPES, containing some of the weirdest Can ever.

Admittedly, the later era of Can, borne by the surprise hit single 'I Want More' and the overtly schizophrenic FLOWMOTION, still offered some exceptional music, yet only the ethnic fusion spiced SAW DELIGHT really shone, strongly featuring Karoli's fluid guitar lines, Schmidt's synthesizers and keyboards bordering on Schulzian realms, and Czukay's expert use of sound effects. It's easy to see why real schizophrenia stepped in on OUT OF REACH, as Holger had gone, and with the unlikely ex-Traffic Rosko Gee and Reebop Kwaku Baah in the ranks there were many conflicting elements at play. However, by the time of their eponymous 70's finale they'd created a formula that worked, all be it safe and easy going compared to the Can of yore.

But still, right through to the late-70's Can proved to be innovators, especially so in concert, as documented on numerous bootlegs, and also the excellent THE PEEL SESSIONS. It's a shame that more of this excellent music isn't officially documented. After this, Can were put on ice for an unspecified period. But, not content to lay the ghost to rest however, a Can reunion was organised in 1986 with Malcolm Mooney. In 1989 it gained release as RITE TIME, a stylish yet emotionless throwback to the early Can era, understandably it was really 'the wrong time' and it made little impact. Meanwhile the various Can members are still active on the scene, check elsewhere in this book!

Irmin Schmidt (organ), Holger Czukay (bass), Jaki Liebezeit (percussion, flute), Michael Karoli (guitar), Damo Suzuki (vocals), Malcolm Mooney (vocals)
(The crack in the cosmic egg)

1 I want more
2 Cascade waltz
3 Laugh till you cry, live till you die
4 And more
5 Babylonian pearl
6 Smoke
7 Flow motion

CAN - Out Of Reach - LP 1978 (picture disc) Lilith

Price: EUR 13.97

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CAN - The Singles - 3 LP 1969-90 Spoon

Price: EUR 33.78

Deutschland / 1969

CAN - Future days - CD 1973 Remastered Spoon

Price: EUR 11.60

Deutschland / 1973

CAN - Soundtracks - CD 1970 Spoon

Price: EUR 11.23

Deutschland / 1970

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