And will!!!! (See how successful they could have been had I run their advertising campaign?)
*special introductory paragraph!
*Monster Movie
*Tago Mago
*Ege Bamyasi
*Future Days
*Soon Over Babaluma
*Unlimited Edition
*Flow Motion
*Saw Delight
*Can Box Music (Live 1971-1977)
*Out Of Reach
*Delay 1968
*Rite Time
*Cannibalism No. 3
*Radio Waves

Mostly active from 1968 to 1979 (with a brief reunion a decade later), Can were one of the leaders of the "Kraut Rock" movement, a group of German bands also featuring such hotties as Kraftwerk, Faust, Neu! and Christina Aguilerschnitz. The band was led by four Germans - classically trained old man bassist with handlebar mustache Holger Czukay (who had played with Stockhausen, not that I've ever heard any Stockhausen, but I like Merrill Fankheuser!), classically trained old man keyboardist with fuckin' hilarious porkchop sideburns Irmin Schmidt (also played with Stockhausen), rhythm king drummer with hip frizzy dark hair Jaki Liebezeit and sexy young fuck god guitarist Michael Karoli. They also hired some other folks on occasion, most notably original black nutjob American vocalist Malcolm Mooney and his replacement, the Japanese scumbag Damo Suzuki. The sound of the band was as follows: VERY rhythm-heavy with lots of improvisation. More jazz than rock, but played with rock instruments. Very much modal, which is to say they would chug along in the same key for like twenty minutes at a time, bringing in different violin, guitar, drum, bass and keyboard sounds and themes as they saw fit. Extremely intriguing to the ear. Just when you think you're getting bored with hearing the key of A minor for the nineteenth minute in a row, you'll realize that you've just heard five genius guitar solos, a wicked violin piece, maybe some saxophone and now all of a sudden there's this weird thumpy boompy synthesizer line coming in. No verse or chorus -- just exploration and beat. Seeing as how a good deal of their material was improvisational, I personally am not blown away by every single piece on any of their albums. As such, you'll find no scores of 10 here, which really doesn't seem fair for a band of this calibre. Please try and pick up some of their stuff. I can't imagine you'll be disappointed, if you're into intelligent music-making even a tad.

Reader Comments

Joel M.
Mark -

The shopping cart wasn't invented until 1937.

From Wikipedia:

The first shopping cart was introduced on June 4, 1937, the invention of Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Piggly-Wiggly supermarket chain in Oklahoma City. With the assistance of Fred Young, a mechanic, Goldman constructed the first shopping cart, basing his design on that of a wooden folding chair. They built it with a metal frame and added wheels and wire baskets. Another mechanic, Arthur Kosted, developed a method to mass produce the carts by inventing an assembly line capable of forming and welding the wire. The cart was awarded patent number 2,196,914 on April 9, 1940 (Filing date: March 14, 1938), titled, "Folding Basket Carriage for Self-Service Stores". They advertised the invention as part of a new “No Basket Carrying Plan.”

This is how I know the information in the above-paragraph regarding Yes is incorrect.

(((Or at least misleading. I suppose it is, in theory, *possible* that Yes recorded their biggest single fifteen years after forming in 1922 to celebrate the invention. No, I take it back. That's silly. No band could release its biggest hit so long after forming. Not even Yes. Simply impossible.)))

Monster Movie - Spoon 1969.
Rating = 8

Apparently Can recorded on a two-track recorder until 1975 so stick that in your corncob pipe all the way to the bank, Michael Jackson. This first album comes from a rock tradition. The first track has that Syd Barrett "Interstellar Overdrive" feel (drivin' drums, stinging distorted guitar, bouncy octave bass, keyboards more making noise than anything else), track B sounds like the Velvet Underground but with beautiful lead fuzztones floppin' thru, song #Three sounds like a cool as hell mid-60s garage rock song (Standells, Electric Prunes, Beau Brummels, Can!) with mouth harp and bitter shit vox! And finally the album ends with "Yoo Doo Right," the first major indication that the Cans were going somewhere long and jazzy. The goshdarned song is 20 minutes long and has maybe two notes! Am I filled with beans? No! There's also lots of neat swirly psychedelia noises like you might be used to hearing from Pink Floyd. Quite frankly, lots of this early stuff sounds to me like pre-Dark Side Floyd with a greater emphasis on rhythm and less on melody. Especially vocal melody. Friggin' Malcolm Mooney can't sing for crap and even his yell is disturbingly phlegmy and gross! Sounds like a homeless fellow and may have been for all I am wont to undermine.

So this is the first Can album. That was a review of it that you just read. I wrote that review. I also performed every instrument on the album.

Reader Comments (MJW)
I always tell people never to trust anything, in a universe of infinite possibility, but the first six Can albums. And I always tell them to trust Monster Movie the least of the six. It's not bad, but it's not Can, either, really. It's garage-rock with great drums. And why would they turn up Malcolm's vocals so high when A) he's godawful, and B) the lyrics don't make shit for sense? ("Father Cannot Yell:" apparently, he can't yell because he hasn't been born yet. Glad Mooney's here to make these issues clear.)

But I like it. 8.
Malcolm Mooney is cool. Can is okay, but they were cooler with malcolm mooney. He sounds a lot like Wesley Willis. How come you don't reveiw Wesley Willis? Woman screaming "I am Fertile!" gdssssgdsagdsagdsgdsdgsgdsgsd
Poor Mooney... I gotta jump in and defend his honor for a moment. I'll be generous and call him an "acquired taste". It's a taste I happen to have acquired - I just picture him as an unstable mental patient and my annoyance fades away. Although I still cringe a tad during parts of "Mary Mary So Contrary" which sounds like he's trying to get the words out while huggin the bowl (as Tommy Chong put it in a memorable sketch, "I gotta go to the Can, sister"), and even some of "Yoo Doo Right." Neverthehoo, I'd give this album a 9 probably. "Father Cannot Yell" and "Outside My Door" are two of the sickest acid rock songs I know, and Jaki's and Holger positively shine on "Yoo Doo Right". And the whole thing overall is just so dark and forbidding that it just screams "underground." This one will scare yo' mama!
Can's garage rock album. The first three tracks are fun little rockers, but I keep listening to this for "Yoo Doo Right". That's the first sign of what Can were truly capable of.

Add your thoughts?

Soundtracks - Spoon 1970.
Rating = 8

Can's movie soundtrack music reminds me a lot of Pink Floyd's early soundtrack work -- acid-drenched fuzz guitar lines overtopping melancholy little melodies with bits and pieces of crazyass experimentation every now and again. This features seven songs from five different movies and introduces the second Can lead singer, Damo Suzuki, who is not a whole lot more pleasant on the ears than Mr. Mooney was. Scraggly out-of-tune broken english. Musically a lot of this sounds like Brazilian Os Mutantes-type stuff -- tangos, sambas, ballads and groovey jazzy lounge tunes, proving that Can actually DO know how to write really great tunes in the traditional pop format -- they just decided to go beyond it with most of their "art" (see "Mother Sky" on here - a classic fourteen-and-a-half-minute modal splatchwork). Much of this work is the most accessible the band would ever do, and it's great, sad stuff. Except "Sad Desert" - man do I hate that fucking song. Same old early Can modal bass up-down-up-down tempo thing for the fifteen millionth time, but with Malcolm Mooney shrieking like somebody shoved a tape dispenser into his peehole. I'm glad he died, the fuck!!!!

Okay, he didn't really die. And if he did, I wouldn't really have been glad. Essentially the entire sentence was a fib.

Reader Comments (MJW)
Hot damn! Easy 9. This is the first Can album you should buy. It's got Mooney, and it's got Damo, all of it in fun, bite-sized chunks! Well, I mean, "Mother Sky" isn't bite-sized, I guess. Snack size? Anyway, it's a hell of a lot more bite-size than the 50 minutes that Can COULD go on doing such things if it wanted to. (Look at, oh, say, every other album of their career.) The tracks here are all mini Can albums, or Can album sides, or what have you. This covers the gamut--almost. Without really touching on the nutso freakouts though. And then there's the left field "She Brings the Rain" that doesn't sound like Can. It sounds like...what the fuck does it sound like? Early Tull, maybe? So skip that one, but get the disc anyway. (Jon)
Good album. Best cuts are Tango Whiskeyyman, Deadlock, and sould desert. ha just kidding about that last one. "MAHna HAUW, so-so DEH-zaht!" what the hell? She Brings the Rain is good, so is Don't turn the light on, but this is too "normal" sounding to be good can. Brings the Rain has some interesting guitar, and Tango has the best singly-played drums on the album (Leibezeit has a cool cymbal! It doesnt go crash, it goes ksssht). This is good because it sounds different from Tago Mago--the tracks are very defined, as compared to Ege Bamyashi. Eight is probably a little generous, I'd go seven/.
This is my least favorite of the "classic era" Can releases. I'll give it a 7. Not that I mind bite-sized Can tunes (just look at Ege Bamyasi and "Moonshake" for better examples), but these just don't do a whole lot for me. Ironically, "She Brings the Rain" is probably my favorite from this album, for it's the least Can-sounding tune here - and Mooney actually sounds pretty soulful on that one, in a speak-sing way. "Mother Sky" gets all the attention but I think it's kind of overrated: "cool" modern bands name-drop Can all the time as if they have a frickin clue what the band was really about, and their favorite song to reference is "Mother Sky" (or the Tago Mago album), and I'm just a bit tired of all that hipper than thou crap. I'm just waiting for Billy Corgan to say in an interview that "Mother Sky" changed his life. Oh yeah? Is that what you were thinking of when you sculpted the "Adore" album, or had you shifted back to suck mode for the afternoon it took you to write it?

Seriously though, most any Can album is worth owning, so go ahead and get it. May as well. It's the law in some states.
The song is called "Soul Desert" and indeed is hilariously bad. I actually like that one for the wrong reasons; hearing Malcolm Mooney sing completely out of tune and high pitched. I guess it's cruel for me to find this funny also partly do to his nervous breakdown when he got caught in a 'can groove.' I just picture a guy on a different planet yelling into a microphone in no particular key.

Add your thoughts?

Tago Mago - Spoon 1971
Rating = 8

A double-album, with Can in an OVERLY experimental mood. Certainly there are plenty of excellent tunes on here ("Mushroom" was ripped off by the Flaming Lips for "Take Me Ta Mars" years later and "Halleluwah" is about as excitingly funky as an eighteen and a half minute song is going to be), but a full half hour of this release is devoted to avant-noisemaking and what may well be the invention of "Japcore" or whatever that weird Boredoms-type material is called. "Peking O"! Damo Suzuki shrieking uncontrollably as a world of ridiculous noises collapses around him! I'm totally not knocking this experimentation - if you're going to dick around, it might as well be in 1971, plus a lot of noises are really cool and I still wonder how they ran across them - I'm just trying to lay my cards on the table to make it clear that I prefer when Can keeps a backbone to their music -- the backbeat, the booma-chicka booma-chicka that makes your heart beat to their crazy psychedelic drug knell. That's all! Did you think I was saying they suck? I would never say that! This is Can we're talking about! Even when they suck, they suck so simply that you hardly notice!

Reader Comments (MJW)
Sorry, Prindy baby, but there's no such thang as "overly experimental." This is Can's 10 album, but only because I can't give it a 40. All the cool stuff is happening on here. Neato jams like "Paperhouse," and droney breakdowns like "Mushroom," and "Aumgn," the coolest, scariest, spaciest, bitchinest weirdo psychedelic drug-addled prog-rock free-jazz avant-garde experimental thingy ever writtened. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, yeah.

Plus Mr. Karoli sounds particularly bad ass on his gee-tar. What the Hell? Are these fuckers REALLY improvising? NOBODY, except perhaps the JBs in their heyday (and I wouldn't quite give them this level either, I don't think), was this tight when it came to ensemble playing. Jesus Christ, this thing is ingenious, incredible stuff. If you don't have it in your collection you're wrong.
This is experimental music!!!
Peking O makes me feel like a hole in the universe...
Can is fantastic and timeless....
WHY THE FUCK DOES EVERYONE BUT MARK WORSHIP TAGO MAGO?!? i mean it's a real good album but not all that and a bag of potato chips (if you want that buy Ege Bamyasi). "paperhouse" is great "mushroom" is great "oh yeah" is great "Halleluwah" gets boring "augmn" is phenomenal "Peking 0" sucks ass and "bring me coffee or tea" is great, this could have been a masterpiece, unfortunately the 2 worst songs are really long. I would give it a 7 but "augmn" is my favorite can song. its so frightening, it sounds like insanity! Because of the innovative and brilliant sound collage "augmn" I'll give it an 8. (Jon)
Augmn and peking 0 both are pretty terrible, this barely scrapes by with an eight, and all the other songs are fabulous. Czukay plays some really cool bass. The cool octave thing on Bring me Coffee is nice. So is the funky riff on halleluwah. leibezeit starts hitting the drums really fucking hard on this one--he's a hooligan along the lines of Wyatt, but with much more ecnomy. The best track is Oh Yeah, but halleluwah gives it some competition. The great liitle boom chik boom-boom chik somehow sunds fresh in this context, and Czukay lays down a really neat melodic minor bassline--it somehow sounds like he's playing more notes than he is, but that's the genius of a good rhythm section. Paperhous+Mushroom are pretty damn cool--Paperhouse has a fun little guitar thing that has the band playing together perfectly, and Mushorrom has some creepy lyrics. "I wah so, mushroom head, i was born, when(and) i was dead, I'm gonna keep my despair"... weird. halleluwah has a great scream-hook, a bunch of nonsense "alayalayalayas", and a cool moment where suzuki just goes "oh!" that has some weird payoff factor--the appeal of orgasmic sounds from some Japanese guy--as opposed to robert plant's, wich are just annoying. (Nathan)
I give it a low ten I guess. This shows every great aspect of Can's sound, and the songs rule. "Paperhouse" is the best of those dreamy psychedelic songs like "Deadlock" "Sing Swan Song." "Mushroom" may simply be my favorite Can song; the drums are amazing, the guitars are creepy, and Damo's melody is catchy too. "Oh Yeah!" is also great and "Halleluwah" is way more captivating than I ever thought possible of a 19 minute song. The two sound collages are the reason I give it a low ten, but I still think they're both excellent in parts. The midsection in "Aumgn" is overlong, but the beginning and the drum part are amazing, and it's creepy when you listen to it on headphones in the dark. Peking O is strangely hilarious, at least this one won't bore you. Then "Bring me Coffee or Tea" brings everything back down to earth at the end. Great album by a great band, even if I only have three of their albums right now. I give this a ten and Ege Bamyasi and Future Days nines.
This is the greatest album ever, bar none. Anyone that says that “Peking O” sucks can go to hell, and I’ll pay his or her airfare. “Halleluwah” is boring? Oh, my god, grow some ears, will ya? That song builds to emotional and psychotropic crescendos that Pink Floyd only imagined in their wildest acid trips.

Seriously, Mark, an eight? This is the kind of album that almost defies exegesis. It is a mystical, magical wonder. I’ve listened to “Paperhouse,” “Oh Yeah,” etc. so many times that I should be as bored with them as I am with my ex-wife, and yet I am completely spell-bound every single go around. I could say something similar about any of the first six Can records, but I won’t, since I should be working right now, even as I write. Suffice it to say that, if a “10” rating means anything, this record stands at about a “14.” If anyone reading this has even a moment’s hesitation about buying it, please squash that hesitation like a grape. This record is the best friend I have in the world – and it’s not like I never leave the house, you know?

As great as much of Can’s output is, this record is king shit of Can mountain.
Someone who knows about Tago Mago!

It sounds like a lost Celtic hymn written centuries ago, just a guitar and a bass recorder, nothing else

Then it becomes a laid-back jazz song

Then a phenomenal lead that WAS NOT PLAYED ON A LES PAUL but a Telecaster, and totally improvised

And then it just goes to "11" and never comes back
Tago Mago is a fantastic record. There is a LOT of weird noisemaking on here, but it's not like merzbow or anything like that. 'Aumgn' is probably the most tripped out thing here, and it's realy really engaging and interesting. I would say buy this in a heartbeat. But what really sticks in my head is how this feels like an ALBUM. Like very, very cohesive. There is a huge amount of variety on this, but it all fits together well.
This is the one that first gave me a stiffy when I read the review in my Rolling Stone Record Guide (5 stars! hot diggity!). And indeed it is great. Coulda been edited maybe a smidgen in the vicinity of side four (Peking O, with a side of egg rolls)... nahh.. leave it alone. It's a perfect album, or as perfect as double albums get anyway. I just heard "Oh Yeah" in the car yesterday and that tune really gets under my skin - like it's a living breathing organism or something. Had to go to the doctor cause it gave me a rash. Other parasitic moments occur in "Halleluwah" which gives the term "groove" back its good name (the word "groove" usually results in a red flag for me: danger! hippie territory! deadheads bound to start spinning in the vicinity! but this groove is just MEAN, unlike that benign stuff we usually attribute to the word). Much has been written of the tune "Aumgn", and I am no exception. Oh, and "Give me Coffee or Tea" is really a nice relaxing postlude with some fine guitar work from (did you say sexy? maybe in germany) Michael Karoli. Their best album? A case could be made... I'll reserve judgment on that one. 9.5/10
Ever since I was growed up I've been searching for my banjo and fluff my scrubble if I don't think I've finally found it in the Can. I regularly mow down my brain with this record and specifically recommend Aumgn and Peking O as alternatives to pronouncing OM inwardly if you're a Hindu or cleansing your colon with coffee if you're from California.
This gets a 10 out of me, but I admit it's an acquired taste. I'd also say it's the best introduction to Can, if only because it truly doesn't have any filler. Plus, the proto-breakbeats on "Mushroom" are still stunning.
Brilliant, brilliant album; the band's masterpiece. This music is almost wonderfully free and yet not a single note or beat is wasted through the whole thing, not even on the avant-noise-making on "Peking O" -- yeah, this DOES sound like a root for the Boredoms' insane stuff. Every song outside "Aumgn" and "Peking O" are strong contenders for best song, but my favourite is "Hallelulwah" -- it's so frickin' funky! It's probably the greatest double album ever.

Add your thoughts?

Ege Bamyasi - Spoon 1972.
Rating = 8

This would definitely be my favorite Can CD if there wasn't a really miserable ten-minute pile of noise called "Soup" in the middle. All the other tunes are cool as shit. Like you just fell like putting on dark sunglasses and shaking your head back and forth like a heroin user might before the dark slumber of death rolls over. Really diverse, funky record too - "One More Night" revolves around a gorgeously odd keyboard riff played in 7/4 time, "Sing Swan Song" jiggles and juggles around a series of seemingly random guitar duplets (?) in a wildass style that was totally ripped off by Pavement for use in one of the best songs on Crooked Rain Crooked Rain, "Vitamin C" features a HIP-HOP drumbeat that every rap outfit in the world would be using if they knew it existed and I'd be happy to describe the others for you, but I'll save you some time by just saying that they're all really great -- it's a totally unique style of music that they have completely mastered. Melodically minimalist, but the band members were so darned smart and well trained, they could do anything within this "limited" context - their brains and fingers were such that a single musical key was not a prison or limitation -- it was freedom to travel. Basically an old jazz concept sure, but not too many rock bands were good enough to pull it off like this. Regardless of what I may have said earlier, Can WERE a rock band. Just a non-traditional one. Pity about that annoying "Soup" song. I'd love to give this CD a 9 or 10, but that's a good quarter of the record that I can hardly listen to at all. It's just noisy and dumb. There are like four different parts and every single one of them gives me a headache.

Say, here's a question for you -- every single night I have a neck- and shoulderache and have to take Tylenol. Save me a trip to the doctor and tell me what's wrong.

Reader Comments
my favorite can album is Ege Bamyasi. it is also one of my top 10 favorite albums of all time. it was my first can album (no surprise it seems like no matter what your first can album is your favorite) and from the opening drumbeat of "pinch" i knew this was something special, all the 7 songs are great, I love each and every one of them like children! none of it is boring none of it wanks off into wanker land and it is an album of songs, I truly cannot praise it enough.

10/10 (Jon)
id ont like soup either. but the rest is good, because the basslines kick almighty ass on almost every song here. sing swan song is very pretty, but it gets a little repetitious for me (and this is can!). one more night is cool as shit, as mark says, and that bassline is sweet. vitamin C takes the halleluwah drum and expands a little on it, with a really punishing bass drum, which usually doesn't happen in can songs--this bassline is sweet too. I really love the two pop songs at the end--those are some of the finest hooks in can history--suzuki is really doing great singing on this one. I'm so green has great (intelligible!) vocals. spoon has a neat little hypnotic riff, and a sort of really japanese sounding chorus (is that partly english!?). it's neat. there are also woodblocks int hat song, or one at leadst. neat rhythm guitar, too. just CHUCKahchukaCHUCKachucka. I dont like pinch all that much. it's too samey, maybe--it just doesn't have the definition i like--yeahyeah, being a can snob makes you sound like an idiot, i know, but there it is. this might be their best thing, though. really top-notch except for soup, which descends into temple-of-doom type chants and other sheningans. the hell? id say 9
Ege Bamyasi is like 'Express Can' or something. The songs are all fantastic, but they're also much shorter. Soup is the only 'sound collage' type thing on here, and I really like it a lot. And Vitamin C is maybe my favorite Can song. It really has everything that's great about them in about 3 minutes, and Damo is in fine shape here. He's in fine shape really on the whole record.
Ege Bamyasi was my first Can album, oh, about 17 years ago or so, and I was kinda turned off by it at first. No matter - I quickly saw delight and it's up there with my favorites now. Most see it as kind of a "Tago Mago Jr." - which is both a nice endorsement and a tad unfair, for although it shares some sonic characteristics with that other release, it's got plenty of its own special yummy flavors as well.

"I'm So Green" and "Spoon" - wow wow wow! Amazing amazing songs. I mix em into my "psychedelic pop" mixes right there with "Arnold Layne", "Sunny Afternoon", "Golf Girl", and they easily hold their own as pop tunes, even while being trailblazing experimental pieces as well from an experimental band of the sort that is favored by longwinded scuzwads who write run-on sentences just because they feel that

stream-of-consciousness writing is the only true way to capture the true meaning of what I'm saying. Like me, for example. But Ege Bamyasi has other highlights too. "Sing Swan Song" and "One More Night" are Superfine McFarlane. I agree that "Soup" is kind of annoying. Although I don't dislike it per se, I usually skip over it, especially if there's someone else in the car/room. I'd only have to explain why the last 5 minutes sound like a man with his foot caught in a trash compactor, and that's just something I've grown tired of doing. It's the avant-rock fan's burden. Anyone out there with me?
This is probably Can's best album, even though "Tago Mago" had bigger highs. "Tago Mago" has the simple problem of having a genuinely terrifying, but way overlong instrumental, "Aumgn," (seriously, "Aumgn" did NOT need to cover an album side) and an 11-minute pile of horse droppings named "Peking O," which is terrible. The one questionable spot here is "Soup," which doesn't really fit in too well and feels a little unnecessary, but is still one hell of a mind-twisting display nevertheless. The rest of the album is flawless.

"Pinch" is the best album opener Can ever had, without a doubt. Who in hell could have even conceived of a groove like that, much less played it nearly that well? Only Can at their best could have. Again, everyone's integrated fully in the mix. Jaki and Holger's interplay put every other rhythm section I can think of to shame. Karoli's droning guitar stays in the back of the mix while his rhythm guitar just scritches along unobtrusively. Unless the droning, high-pitched sounds are Irmin's keyboards?! Wait a minute - I can't even tell who is doing what! God-DAMN this track fucking rules my ass. Oh wait - that's him in the right speaker with soothing organ tones. Yes, I'm listening to this as I write and it is making me feel like I'm stoned. Can = marijuana with a groove. Damo sticks out only because he's singing, and even he starts to seem more like an instrument than a singer. Holy shit, I just realized Jaki's been playing congas for the last minute or so and I never even noticed. Truly mindbending stuff - isn't that a great moment when Damo starts getting louder and more agitated and then gets cut off by what sound like slide whistles?

"Sing Swan Song" is another classic, beginning with the sound of running water, and moving into a groove where the guitar sounds completely random and completely planned out at the same time. Nice, weird bells here - in general, the auxiliary percussion is in even greater use on this album than ever before in Can's discography, but it's also fully integrated - again, nothing sticks out. It's all an organic whole. Damo's singing is the first example of the crooning that would be all over "Future Days," and it works beautifully. "Bring Me Coffee Or Tea," from "Tago Mago," pointed towards this kind of material, but I doubt anyone could have predicted that it would have turned into something this great.

"One More Night" is simply brilliant. Undoubtedly the most exquisitely sexual track Can ever cut, the song stays absolutely restrained, but it just drips sensuality. Irmin's keyboard work is gorgeous and completely offbeat - apparently, he's playing in 7/4. Damo just whispers sweet nothings in your ear while Karoli's guitar lulls you, Irmin's chiming, lush keyboards soothe you, and Holger and Jaki provide a truly human and yet otherworldly pulse, with Jaki's cymbal crashes sounding like running water and Holger's bass lines providing the dark sexy night feeling. Beautiful.

"Vitamin C" grooves along on a nearly hip-hop drumbeat, and sounds more energetic and even funkier than before - well, not counting "Pinch," that is. Damo's chorus is hilarious, and it all hinges on one of Holger's best cyclical basslines ever. Seriously, listen to that thing - it's fucking awesome. Then Irmin's organs come in playing intertwining melodies that sound like a combination of nursery rhymes and Eastern scales. Suddenly, weird noises start coming in - they sound very electronic, so I'm guessing they come from Irmin. And we get crossfaded into "Soup."

"Soup" is my least favorite song here, but the thing is much more effectively and musically demented over the course of 10 minutes than "Peking O" was over the course of 11 minutes. There are about five distinct sections. I'll list them in order. There's the squiggly electronics beginning, the brain-damaged funk with harsh distorted guitar in the background, which subsequently transitions to Jaki and Holger chugging away with wah'ed squiggly keyboard burps and bubbles in the left speaker and Karoli humming away noisily in the background of the right speaker, and then that suddenly collapses into Damo crooning pseudo-operatically in no language whatsoever over some of the most fucked-up keyboard work I've ever heard in my life. Irmin's electronics and keyboards are overdriven, phased, flanged, and generally effects-soaked far beyond the point of tonality - this is meltdown static. Then that stops, and Damo starts giving a speech in Babble 2.0 while Irmin keeps melting his keyboards and Jaki/Holger provide almost cartoonishly atonal commentary. Then it all stops. It's an amazing display, but I don't get much of a point as to why it's here - it doesn't have the kind of unified tone that, say, "Aumgn" did, but then again, it's nowhere near as boring as "Aumgn" got over 17 minutes, probably because it stops after 10 minutes.

"I'm So Green" is funkier than hell, and gets right back to that beautifully subdued but unbelievably vital, alive emotional tone that the album had right before "Soup." The title is Damo's joke on the American saying "I'm so blue." The entire band shines on the track, but here, Damo is the focus, and his free-flowing rap/singing is fantastic. This should have been released as a single - I bet they could have actually gotten some radio play out of it. I'm sitting down right now and they've got me twitching in rhythm. Damn, I love these guys.

"Spoon" was a real hit in Germany, partially because some German TV producer had the bright idea of using it as the theme for a German detective show. Go figure. It may have been a hit in the UK too, but I don't know. At that time, the song had - hell, still has - the best and most upfront drum/drum machine interplay recorded since Sly and the Family Stone cut "Family Affair," and the interlocking rhythms and Holger's trademarked droning bassline provide a steady-as-a-heartbeat backbone for Schmidt's warbly and undulatingly sharp keyboards, Karoli's completely tuneful, but somehow unearthly guitars, and Damo's multitracked and totally beautiful vocals - the multitracked falsetto vocals at the end are simply gorgeous. I still don't know why you'd want it as the theme of a detective show.

In summary, "Soup" does break up the flow of the album a little too much, and does feel a mite pointless. But even that noise-jam is really good. The other six songs are pretty much perfect. The album might have been even better if the "Spoon" B-side, "Shikako Maru Ten," had been included somewhere within the album. (As far as sequencing goes, I think it might work between "One More Night" and "Vitamin C" or between "I'm So Green" and "Spoon.") It's a fantastic, moody 3-minute number which was recorded at the same time and is as good as the other songs on here. Even as it is, though, this LP is what is commonly known as the bomb. "Ege Bamyasi" rules.
Just wanted to say the first half of Spoon is pretty good. Unfortunately around the 5 minute mark, after what sounds like a jetliner being thrown down the stairs, they decided to keep the recording going for another 5 minutes. Probably should have just ended the track there.
Bizarrely, just to emphasize that the band didn't regret this decision, the edited version that appears on "Anthology: 25 years" *starts* at the second half! Thank god this edit is only 2 minutes long!
Mind you its the kind of editing that Sonic Youth have been annoying everyone with for years. They must be fans.

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Future Days - Spoon 1973.
Rating = 8

Mellow! The most mellow Can vibes yet. Not the Floydian balladry of Soundtracks, but a quieter, more lullabying, less violently Brazilian-flavored version of Can's jig -- even Damo Suzuki sings in a gentle lilt! As rhythmically oriented as always though. Say, did I mention that when I use the word "rhythmic" in regard to Can, I don't just mean the drums? I mean all of it. Half the time, the guitarist and keyboardist just make jiggedy little noises to match the rhythm. Your whole damn head, body and soul boogaloo along with it, like you're a peace-loving hippy playing the bongos in the park while "tripping" on "marijuana."

This Can experience features four songs, one of which is shorter than 8 minutes! And by "song," I don't mean like a Yes song. I mean like a sound piece that could go on for one minute or five years. Modern bands who were obviously influenced by Can include Stereolab and The Fall. Modern bands who probably have never heard of Can include No Doubt and Smashing Pumpkins. Modern bands who simply Can't include Limp Bizkit.

Modern bands who actually aren't even bands include Erma Bombeck.

Reader Comments (Marc Sloop)
my friend andrew pointed out when i played it for him (my first exposure was 10 yrs ago) that radiohead copped a lot of this sound for kid a (particularly on "Future Days" and "Bel Air").damn if he ain't right. this is the best can album. pure rhythmic bliss. the textures are magical too.john digweed or whoever would kill to come up with something like this. (Michael J. West)
Two important things to note about this album:

1) Yes, it is a very mellow album for Can, but it's not NEARLY as mellow as it sounds. When you listen closely to any song, particularly on the bass track or Irmin Schmidt on the keyboards, you'll find there's as much alchemy happening on this album as on Tago Mago or Ege Bamyasi. It may be slow, but ain't nobody playing any lighter.

2) Is it just me, or will someone else finally notice that "Moon Shake" from this album was lifted bodily (at least the rhythm and guitar) by the Rolling Stones on "Shattered"?

Oh, and 9/10. (Jon)
this is just cool. everything but spray is great, and spray is at least not mind-numbingly dull. the drums are just, well, weird--they are way looser than before and everything is kinda calm and gentle. everything other than spray is all pentatonicy (future days n bel air) or really really poppy and swingy (mmonshake). The basslines kick only slightly less ass here than in Ege Bamyashi, but Bel Air has one for the ages (bum, bum ba da da, dwayum, dwayum, dwayum), and Future days and moonshake have cool bloppy ones--everyone should love bloppy bass, screw this runny bass shit, where drums may as well not exist. damo zuzki owns everthing on bel air, sounds great on moonshake, and is suitably neat on future days. the end to moonshake is a hook and a half, and the main bit of bel air isn't anything to forwn at either. there's a weird old-timey blues thing going on during spray that's weird, and sort of a up-the-khyber floyd organ thing going on as well--just not as cool as I expect from can. So everything but spray is great, and that deserves an 8. hee hee, too late to backpsace
Future Days is currently (and probably from here on) my favorite Can album. No other album by any artist really captures visual and emotional settings as evocatively as this deceptively low-key effort. Only 4 songs, but all of them are among their best ever (with "Spray" being the weakest link on an incredibly strong effort). They trump their prior popsong bullseyes with "Moonshake", which simply cooks like a slow boiling pot. The title track has more sonic detail and texture than most any other song I've heard (makes Another Green World sound almost 2-dimensional - and hey, that's saying a lot) with the notable exception of the centerpiece, "Bel Air." Holy crap on a whole wheat bun! 20 minutes of floating bliss, wistful regret, nervous paranoia, angry confusion, barely controlled chaos, near silence, and hesitant reconciliation. All without ever really grabbing your attention unless you pay attention. There's a lot of pressure building up on the entire release, always threatening to break loose but never quite doing it. It's all about musical tension and unresolved cadences. Beautiful, beautiful stuff. If you only buy one Can album, I recommend this one. (Dan)
Probably the best Can album, and to echo what Marc Sloop said about the obvious influence it had on Radiohead: Just listen to "Bel Air" at 4min 30 seconds, a bass line kicks in, joined by a chorus "woo-woo's". It wouldn't sound out of place on any of their post-OK Computer albums. This album, along with Tortoise's "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" and "TNT" ( you should review those, I'd like to read your take on them), I think, had a significant impact on the kind of music that Radiohead has been making of late.

I digress...

Compared to Ege Bamyasi and Tago Mago, the band seems a lot more focused on this album, and their experimentation, which had previously been hit or miss (the second half of Tago Mago is a great example of a giant miss), is almost perfect ("Spray" being the slight exception).

All in all, I'd give it a 9/10. A "10" if I'm really high and eating a bowl of lucky charms.

Dan Brookes
This is my favourite Can LP, for two reasons:

i. It has all the good things about the other good Can records (groove, good vocals, songs, experimentation, a unique vibe)
ii. It doesn't have any of the bad things about the other good Can records (trips into indulgence)

'Moonshake' is my favourite song by the group, too; it sounds barely there, yet somehow is really full-bodied. The lighter touch they had acquired, the more laid back atmosphere, really suits the band at this point. Most of the great Krautrock groups were generally the calmest and most un-rock'n'roll sounding bands you could hope to hear, really. A 10? Not quite. A low 9.

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Soon Over Babaluma - Spoon 1974.
Rating = 8

This was the first Can album I ever heard. Borrowed it from Jeff Robins along with about thirty other albums after I read that the Spin Alternative Record Guide gave it a 10 out of 10. As much as I bitch about that book, it really has helped turn me on to a lot of good music, none of which is Patti Smith's Horses. But at the time, I couldn't get into this crap at all. I was expecting it to be like The Fall, but it was this hippy funk shit! With violins and Steely Dan piano lines and songs that seemed to go nowhere. Argh! I must have thought to myself!

But years so many sweet years have passed since then and now I can easily enjoy this fine Can record - the first without Damo Suzuki! Sexy fuck god Michael Karoli has taken over most of the vocals which is nice because his voice is actually much easier on the ass than either of the two "lead singers" that the band previously employed. The songs flirt with melody and energy in a delightfully "Can" way, with more excellent "soundscapes" as no kids say -- especially "Dizzy Dizzy" and "Splash," which are blissful organic tribal trance songs that should be required listening for anybody who doesn't think that 95% of modern electronic music is boring as fuck. Vintage Can, easily. Krautrock at its Krautrockiest! Can't give it a 9 or 10 though, because I personally find "Chain Reaction" to be perhaps the least interesting Cansong ever penned. Not annoying - just strangely nondescript. And it's 11 minutes lengthy, Bill!!!! BILL?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Have you seen Bill?

Reader Comments
Spin gave this one a 10? Interesting. To my ears, this album was the beginning of the end for Can. It's often lumped together with Future Days as an example of the freer, more atmospheric mid-period Can, but really, it's a totally different animal altogether. Where Future Days was dark and tense, this one is brighter and bouncier. It starts off pretty good with "Dizzy Dizzy" (see "Isis" on Unlimited Edition for a different, better version of the same musical theme), with Karoli's vocals playfully whispering over a nice midtempo ethno-bouncer. After that, there's not much I really like. "Come Sta La Luna" annoys the crap out of me for some reason (I think the whiny vocals have a lot to do with it - thanks Irmin!), and both "Chain Reaction" (dull uptempo techno jam) and "Quantum Physics" (virtually nonexistent bass-based piece that sounds like Hugh Hopper's "1984" album but even more boring) close the album on a huge yawn. Taken out of context, if this were the first and only Can album you ever heard, I admit it would sound pretty good. But this is Can we're talking about here - I hold them to a higher standard than most bands. And it only gets shittier from here on. 6/10.

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Unlimited Edition - Spoon 1976.
Rating = 7

Seventy-nine minutes of unreleased material! As the liner notes explain in loving detail, Can had their own studio and recorded pretty much everything they ever played. So their "rehearsals" and "recording sessions" were basically the same thing. This CD compiles a bunch of "rehearsal" tunes that the band grew to feel should have actually been released. On a lot of counts, they were way right. There are some hauntingly gorgeous and groovedivesoapdish zappityboo tunes spread way throughout. There's also some "chaff" though, Chaffy. Some silly in-jokes. A 19-minute experimental piece with about 3 minutes worth listening to. A brown cover that will make you poop when you look at it because it's brown and whenever you see anything brown, you automatically poop.

What do you mean that's not the case?

Say - you're in cahoots with that bitch from my dream last night aren't you???? Well FUCK YOU!!!! I'm NOT gonna clean up the fucking sidewalk - it's not my job!!!! And maybe if the fucking professor had made it clear that we were supposed to have started making our research calls, I would have fucking DONE so!!!! Didn't you see my catch that fly ball? I'm fucking awesome!!!!!

Reader Comments
A wonderfully bowel-loosening anthology of incredibly worthy outtakes. I love the brown cover too.. Excuse me a moment....
*10 minute pause*
Ah, where was I... for those of you who think that Malcolm Mooney is a tuneless idiot, this album just might change your mind. There's four FANTASTIC Mooney-period pieces here that deserve your full attention: the simple 3-chord wonder of "Connection", the strange cacophany with recitation that is "Mother Upduff", and two more melodic masterpieces in "Fall of Another Year" and "Empress and the Ukraine King". All of these songs sound both cleaner and more musical than anything on Monster Movie, so don't give up on Mooney yet...

Those are the earlier tracks, but there's tracks going all the way up to the Babaluma era (with "Gomorrha" and "Isis" being the standouts, the latter later reworked into "Dizzy Dizzy"). Lots of short little tracks too, providing "comic relief" with their "forgery" of different ethnic styles (collectively known as the Ethnological Forgery Series"). And "Cutaway", the 19 minute audio collage, works really well in my view. All in all, this album has enough great material to put it up there in quality against any of their other albums. And it's longer than the average lifespan of some species of South American insects. 9.5/10 (a tie with Tago Mago!)

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Landed - Spoon 1975.
Rating = 7

Okay, who's the wise acre that bought Can a Patrick Hernandez album? Did it not occur to you that this finest of improv art bands might become a little too fond of that funkyass disco crap beat? Well, they did. Four of these six songs were recorded in a full-fledged studio, and of those, one sounds like a VU rocker (harmless but unnecessary, in other words) and two are just bad, BAD disco music. Simplistic and stupid, way beneath Can. Luckily they redeem themselves with the rest of the record, including the 13-minute "Unfinished," a creepy collection of synth howls, moans, squeaks and throbs that succeeds even without those patented Can polyrhythms (or even solyrhythms!) by being a freaky Throbbing Gristle type death cloud of evil darkness. But I can't give it more than a low 7. Why the simplified Cannitude? Laziness? Hope for a hit? An attempt to become the German Bob Seger?

Mmmm, workin' on those night moves. On the autobahn!!! NYYYYYYYYEEEEEEOOOOOOWWWWWW squirt!

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Flow Motion - Spoon 1976.
Rating = 7

Another really low 7. As opposed to most of the early albums, which would get a high 8. It's not so much that Can suck at this reggae/funk/disco-type music - I just personally don't like this kind of music very much. And I find it a little sad that Can would forsake their smarts for nothing more than a simple 4/4 funk beat, even if it's as dancemerizing as the ten-minute title track or catchy as "Laugh Till You Cry, Live Till You Die." This is the kind of music that Funkadelic, James Brown and other, you know, BLACK guys were born to do. Germans are stereotypically teutonic, not soulful. Give me the wild bitch suprabeats of "Smoke" any day of the week!

Yes! "Smoke"! The only film Harvey Keitel's ever made where you don't get to stare at his hairy ass for fifteen minutes, just dreaming about licking it all over!!!!

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Saw Delight - Spoon 1977.
Rating = 8

Did somebody say "ETHNIC"???

No? Shim, I'm going insane again. The last time this happened, I ended up in the Crazy Room for 18 years, got out and terrorized my hometown until I was finally blasted out the window by Donald Pleasance.

But I came back!!!! I came back and terrorized a hospital! And then I think I killed Donald Pleasance that time. Then I disappeared for a while so some company could sell Halloween masks that make worms come out of peoples' heads if they're wearing them when a special commercial comes on TV, then I came back and I didn't see any of the rest of the stuff I did, although I do know that my sister Jamie Lee Curtis returned the last time I was killing people, but I think she was just doing it to cash in on the "horror" craze of the late '90s.

The Cans added two new members for this one - an additional percussionist with the hilarious name "Reebop Kwaku Baah" and a bassist with the uproarious name "Rosko Gee." Bassist, you ask? What about Mr. Holger Czukay? Well, according to the liner notes, Mr. Holger Czukay chose to forsake his low-end stringed instrument to concentrate his efforts wholly on the business of "Wave Receiver & Special Sounds." And more power to him because, as evidenced by the pun in the album title, the band finally saw the light and realized that slick, stupid fuzz disco reggae wasn't "where it's at". I may be shooting my sights a little high here, but I'm going to go ahead and suggest that this may be the most Mexican-sounding album ever made by four German men. The two percussionists tear the house off the roof from begindo-changeo to endo-calrissian, and all of the shit sounds like classic Can - just done up all tropical Brazilian shaky-shaky like The Ventures' Latin Album which I'm sure you own, as we all do in today's society. Add in some great bass lines, fuzzy guitar solos/noise and Holger doing his "special sounds" to fill in the gaps, and you've got an underrated Jim by the Cannes Film Festival Group!

The last song is pretty fuckin dumb though.

Reader Comments
"Saw Delight" has to be the most underrated Can CD out there. I happen to fully agree with you, it is an exelent release. It's pretty hypnotic and I think it succeeds where "Soon Over Babaluma" kind of faild (which is that whole latin vibe thing). Hey isn't "Don't say no" sort of a remake of "Moonshake" from "Future Days"? Great album nevertheless.

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Can Box Music (Live 1971-1977) - Mute 1999
Rating = 7

How did this band manage to go six years without EVER getting a decent soundboard recording? This entire double-disc set is muffled, monophonic, one-dimensional blump-dump flatness without a single crisp snare or bright guitar tone in sight. Every once in a while, a sparkling bell-like organ tone will bust through the "recorded in a barn" midrange cardboard-brown anti-dynamics, but one thing's for certain: you'd better be buying this for what they're playing because the non-production sure ain't worth a dang pile a horse shit.

What we got here, ya'll, is live versions of one track each from Soon Over Babaluma, Landed, Monster Music, Flow Motion and Ege Bamyasi, along with 69 (GET IT? - Wing-Ding) minutes of just makin' shit up onstage. Interestosteroningly, the Canners weren't nearly as boring a bunch of improvisers as your usual jazz quartet or hippy jam band of note. Can's improvs tended to build along the lines of "interesting little bass riff over shuffly busy drum line accompanied by one organ chord drone and a boring guitar solo INTO cool funky part you'll dance your groove butt to INTO bass solo and weird ascending UFO-like organ noises INTO strange percussive notes and squiggly noises INTO violent aggressive drumming and guitar noise" and so forth. In other words, it's not just 12-bar blues and Jerry Garcia sucking on his guitar bong for 25 minutes. It's more like early Pink Floyd's live 'explorations' but less psychedelic and more rhythm-oriented. The drum parts are awesome throughout every track - just busy cool shuffly shiffly shake-your-head hula hoop action (if you own a hula hoop). The guitarwork isn't terribly impressive, being mostly a bunch of wah-wah dicking around bullshit, but the keyboards, drums and bass are all worthy of multiple listens. Obviously the genius sparks don't heat up EVERY made-up second of, say, the 16-minute "Jynx" or the THIRTY-SEVEN-AND-A-HALF-MINUTE "Colchester Finale," but listen close and you'll hear quite a few inspired moments in each. "Colchester Finale" even has VOCALS (!!!!), which cannot be said about most of the album. And anyone who doesn't receive a smile of delight from the Galaga-sounding circusy organ flourishes in "Fizz" needs to put a sock in it.

Even the non-improv songs drag on for quite a bit (the shortest song on here is the adorable "Cascade Waltz," which still almost reaches the five-minute mark), but it's hard to get sick of a song as hypnotic as "Dizzy Dizzy" so whatever. The more important issue is the big story in the news today. Did you hear about this? "May, Walsh Retain Beach Volleyball Title"? I tell you one thing - It wasn't easy. Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca are tough. Those girls don't make mistakes and they're fearless. That's a scary thing in a young team. They'll take you out any way they can. But May and Walsh have a lot of experience. And if they are winning, it's because they really are the best team out there. Wang Fei and Tian Jia were great this year too, but Wang tore her thigh muscle (ironically while sucking on my OWN wang) so they were unable to fight the weird-looking but athletically talented American duo. It was a real pity they had to stop playing against the Americans, so Wang wanted to win the bronze medal. All the doctors said "Don't play" but she wanted to play. Then she discovered they weren't doctors at all, but were simply naked little kids playing "Doctor" who didn't want her to play. This is why beach volleyball is so hard; everybody's out to hurt your feelings. Thank God Can is around to help cruel insults like "weird-looking but athletically talented" go down a little smoother, like a cool glass of wine or, if you're German, piss.

Reader Comments
Can and King Crimson are two of the best improvising ensembles i've ever heard. While King Crimson cranks out some menacing, avant-garde, slithery atonal jams, Can mashes together Miles Davis, the Velvet Underground, funk, Pink Floyd, and German krautrock into something amazing. It's funky, droney, noisy, psychedelic, and has a groove that could last for eternity. Interestingly enough i'm actually a big fan of the Colcester Finale (which also has a part of Halleluwah), probably because it sounds like the Velvets and Miles having a jam session. The studio CDs don't do justice enough to the ferocity of their life playing. If you want Can on maximum overdrive, check out this CD. If you're used to listening to bootlegs, the quality's fine. The musical quality completely overrides the recording quality. If you like what you hear, i recommend trading for as many Can bootlegs as you can also, they're all amazing. Unfortunately, the last two tracks on the second CD kinda pale in comparison to the throbbing beast of a rhythmic funk jam/freak-out of the first track so i'll give it a 9.

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Out Of Reach - Spoon 1978.
Rating = 6

Whoa! Where the hell did Holger Czukay go? QUIT CAN??? IT WAS HIS BAND!!! Aw sheesh. Well, the other fuggers continued on in that same funky Latin vein. Might as well have changed the name to Cantana! Ha ha ha! Get it? Like Santana? Or Cantina? Or Metacarpus?

You know, this record grooves along with a greally reat multithumpityshickashicka latin feel until track five, when the band suddenly turns into the Bee Gees. KEEP YOUR DISCO OUT OF MY GOOD BANDS, PLEASE.

Except, of course, Can. They sounded really good as a disco band.


By the way, in my dream last night, I didn't mean to make Scott Haggard feel bad by continuing to ride my bicycle after he had to quit. I simply felt that it would be the fastest way to get to that cool Hellish "red sand" part of the trail near the end. I was upset that I never got there. But it was awesome that that school classroom was all full of donuts and stuff!

Reader Comments
I "CAN"-t stand this album. I would sooner set my house on fire than listen to it again. To avoid this eventuality, I sold it (the CD, not my house... well I sold my house later, but I got another one). May it be forgotten for all eternity. It sucks the holy marrow from the saintly cornhole.

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Can - Spoon 1979.
Rating = 4

Mr. Holger Czukay might take a bit of offense to the title of this record, but hey, who quit? Me? No! Not me at all! Somebody else entirely! Doesn't matter. This album really isn't very good. Most of the songs are discoey and kind of jokey-ish with silly circus keyboards and fuzzed-out guitars playing silly "can-can" music, apparently as a pun on the band's name. It does have two great tunes - the typically Canlatin "All Gates Open" and an awesome piano piece called "Sodom." The rest of it sounds like the soundtrack to a hilarious comedy porn movie, perhaps a wacky James Bond parody featuring Mr. Ron Jeremy, the "Clown Prince" of XXX Cinema. Perhpas it has a filarious film title, such as Dr. Blow or Live And Let Diane Sawyer Lick Your Balls!

Ooh! Or Her Majesty's Secret Cervix! Or The World Is Not A Muff!

Or Octopussy!!!!!


How the hell did they get away with that?

Reader Comments
Suck suck suck suck. Ass. Ass. Ass. Ass. Up there with "Out of Reach" as one of the worst albums I've ever heard in my life. Why? Maybe it's because that fake-drum ethnic dance sound is so freakin retarded. Maybe it's because all the keyboards from the late 70s and early 80s deserve to be destroyed. Whatever the reason, both of these albums are thoroughly offensive to my ears. I'd rather drink a bowl of lava than hear it again.
Can's "self titled" album (though I've heard it refered to as "Inner Space" too). Unlike most folks, I like this album. I think the key is to not compare it to earlier Can albums. Anecdote: I had slipped "All Gates Are Open" into a dance mix at a party, and a friend of mine looked at me with a smile and said "Is this Kraftwerk?" If this were some undiscovered disco album by unkowns we'd all be raving about "a great lost classic" of "progressive disco", etc. etc., but instead we remember how much we loved Ege Bamyasi, and how this isn't Ege Bamyasi. The same can be said for Flow Motion (the title cut is worth the price of admission as far as I'm concerened), though maybe not Saw Delight or Out Of Reach.

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Delay 1968 - Mute 1981.
Rating = 7

I really like Camb. Camb are my favorite Crowt Rock band. Camb have songs that everybody can is enjoy. This is a compilation of seven early tracks featuring vocalist Malcolm Mooney. In this era of the band, they were more of a normal hippie groove acid rock band than the percussion-heavy experimenters they later became. But most of their great songs of this period were on Monster Movie. There are certainly a couple of tunes on here that are so dark and intense that it seems ridiculous that they were left off of that record ("Butterfly" and "Man Named Joe"), but most of the songs are really jokey. FUN and bound to put a smile on your umbrella, but mostly just funky groove jammin' with silly Mooney falsetting and gooping flapacrap all over the potbreath of your mind, Jack.

Sorry for the lazy review - my writing style is in the bathroom taking a shit.

Reader Comments
Some fuckhead record store owner recommended that I start with this one and then follow up chronologically. The fucking prick didn't tell me that Can really needed to work out some shit before they got influential and I almost wrote this band off entirely thanks to his wonderful recommendation. But in all honesty, the dude's a nice guy and he's right on his picks about 65% of the time. It just seemed that everything he recommended on that particular day turned out to stink like ass. The two other purchases from that day were something from the band Seely and another band called Duster. This turned out to be the only one I didn't sell back eventually, so I guess it's not that bad. I just don't dig Mooney rappin' between bong hits even after I've smoked a few hits myself. I'll give it a six and take a beatin' from future high art posters.
Great album! A fine companion piece to Monster Movie, this album is a little rougher and less heavy, but not by much. One listen to "Butterfly", the psychotic 8-minute opening track, will either have you running for cover or cranking up the volume. I think the guitar just plays an open E-chord for the whole song, with the organ throwing dissonant voicings on top, and Malcolm Mooney sounding much more focused than he does on any part of Monster Movie ("Father Cannot Yell" is a good reference point from that album). Speaking of focused, Mooney comes across like Rain-Man on the closer "Little Star of Bethlehem" which is three different nonsensical sentences repeated randomly over a slow groove. Wacky and fun! "Man Named Joe" is freakin' hilarious too - this track would not have been out of place on GodWeenSatan - mockingly terrible falsetto vocals over a mock-swing-jazz background. Lessee, what else. "Uphill"! That track cooks tomorrow's dinner! So in all, track for track, this is nearly the equal of Monster Movie, honestly. "Nineteen Century Man" is pretty stupid, though. 8/10.
Thief is one of the greatest songs ever written and alone makes this release a 9. I'm dead serious about that - just so sad, and not in an insane or angry way. I've never heard a song communicate such total despair so well and so gorgeously. It's absolutely beautiful in music and even in Mooney's shredded vocal. Really his high point with the band and a shining accomplishment for any musical group. I'm not one to say things like this, but I felt it needed to be pointed out. What do you think of the song?

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Rite Time - Spoon 1989.
Rating = 2

A piece of shit reunion album, featuring the original five members. Malcolm Mooney still sounds like he's retching up little bugs (preferably beetles) all over the studio floor. The other guys have gotten older budweiser. And boringer. They certainly sound like they're having a good time, but the music sounds more like a Talking Heads reunion than a Can reunion. The "grooves" are stupid grooves. Grooves anybody could write in 30 seconds. And there's nothing "progressive," "anarchic," "polyrhythmic" or "interesting" going on in most of the songs. It's almost like listening to a Wesley Willis album, with this ridiculously repetitive music backing up a crazy black man who appears to be rambling on about a world of his own creation. And what the hell is up with this Peter Gabriel-style production? Bring back the 2-track! The 2-track now! I can sum up this album in four words that all begin with the letter B: Bland, boring, bad, and this album sucks. Rite Time? More like Soul Asylum's Candy From A Stranger if you ask me!!!!

Reader Comments (Evan Streb)
Well I haven't heard this Can album but I HAVE heard Wesley Willis and he RULES!!!!!! Much like the awesomer Syd Barrett, his music brings up that interesting paradox that makes his body of work so damn cool. See, it's really really sad that he's like this, yet he's writing songs with lyrics like "Suck a llama's shitty asshole. Suck a panda bear's spermy nutsack. Suck a slump bear's bootyhole. Suck a greyhound's musty ass, MOTHERFUCKER!!!!! Suck a cheetah's dick!! Suck a cheetah's dick!! Suck a cheetah's dick!! Suck a cheetah's dick!! Rock over London! Rock on Chicago! Polaroid! See what develops! Dee doo dee doo doo dee doo dwee!!", so what are you supposed to do?? Are you supposed to laugh along with him? Are you supposed to laugh at him? Are you supposed to cringe at the fact that Alternative Tentacles would release his albums?? I mean if you ask me, they're being cruelly exploitative because I've heard some interviews that Wesley Willis honestly believes he is going to someday be a big rock star, and it's just not gonna happen. I mean I can understand why EMI would want to release even that lame Syd Barrett outtakes album Opel because that at least had some actual songs with acoustic guitars and melodies. But I can't understand why Alternative Tentacles would want to release this Wesley Willis stuff other than as a cruel joke.
So, as the third person in the world who legally purchased a copy of Can's brilliant reunion album 'Rite Time', (the Spoon CD reissue, nonetheless), I gotta drop my two cents on this album. I would at least give this album a five. The music is more than tolerable new age, later period Talking Heads/fake 'world beat', semi soothing background music.. and I actually do enjoy the melodies. But what puts it over the top is how every song's 'serious' elevator music is completely ruined by Malcolm Mooney's tuneless 'singing.' When I brought the CD back to my friend's apartment and played it for her, she literally fell down laughing when she heard Malcolm Mooney's first flat note - any the many more to come. I mean, this is supposedly a professionally released album and Malcolm Mooney's singing is completely flat. That's what makes it so great. I'm assuming you haven't listened to it much lately... give it another spin, you might like it even if it's for the wrong reasons.

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Cannibalism No. 3 - Spoon 1994.
Rating = 5

There are two previous albums in the Cannibalism compilation series, but this is the only one I own. It's a compilation of tracks from the four chief members' solo projects! Jaki's two tunes are great - eerie and electronic, like a Kraftwerk/Pink Floyd Jamfest! With beer! I'll bring the fatties! Michael's are hokey samba type deals, with chick singers and crap. They aren't too keen. Holger has some interesting stuff going on - his songs revolve around samples that he picked up through radio waves. Sometimes he surrounds the samples with kinda dumb disco music, but when he doesn't, it's nice! And finally Irmin, who produces smoky Leonard Cohen/Tom Waits club drunk Vienna accordian lost woman music. I don't really need this CD. I have Jaki's solo CD and like it a lot. I don't much care if I hear any solo stuff by the other fellows.

Say, does anybody out there remember Zany Zappers? If you do, drop me a line. We could share an intimate conversation.

Reader Comments
Yes, I remember Zany Zappers, I might even look for them next time I am at my dads house. I HAD, repeat, HAD, to have them after I saw them on a commercial. But in reality, they were just 99 cent sunglasses with two little red lights on the lens.

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Radio Waves - Sonic Platten 1997.
Rating = 7

This is a collection of six songs & jams from the 69-72 period, a controversial event during which the members of Can performed reciprocal oral sex acts on 72 menstruating women. Somehow finding time to record some music songs, they came up with the following:

(A) a 35-minute long groove that tapples along nicely with a neat bubbly bass line for about 15 minutes, then slows down and gets awfully boring -- and just think of the great episode of Friends you might be missing!
(N) a terrific regular-length normal moody song that should definitely have been on an early album
(A) a miserable 15-minute jam drenched in crazy yelling, fuzzy lead guitar, boogie piano and that always-enjoyable (except in this one single instant, when it makes me want to rip my eardrums out with a pair of pliers) busy Can percussion
(L) a very nice bluesy rock groove tune that could pass for a 1966 Dylan tune if the lyrics were about injustice and hypocrisy instead of Froggy and Toady

(S) a gigantic ball of fun wrapped up in a rollicking piano tune tailor-made for a dirt-floor saloon in the Old West
(E) a killer short moody mood piece
(X) memories that will last a lifetime. Unless you forget them or whatever.

High 7. Would've been an 8, but 18 minutes of the first song create yawn urges and the entire 15 minutes of track 3 makes my skin crawl.

No wait, those are lice.

Reader Comments (Michael Magill)
hey, i got a CDR of the radio waves CD and i can't find much info about it. your review cites the tracks titles as A, N, A, L, S, E, and X - was this your doing? or did the CD liners indicate this? or did can themselves entitle them? (David Leonard)
I love the song "Turtles Have Short Legs" -- I think it's one of their best ever.

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Buy some CAN CDs for your whole family and things. Be sure to click on the album covers though -- there are hidden CHEAP USED COPIES under them!

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