As we enter the third week of the club, here I am adding my second contribution after having missed week no. 1
(for a wrap-up of the initial round, check out this summary courtesy of @MusicLivesCA)
It’s been fun going through the rest of the picks. Some classics showing up as well as a few unexpected choices. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s ahead as the series progresses and hope to see some new names jumping into the game soon.
Remember, right now, we are focusing on important records released in the decade of 1963 to 1973.
And with his 2nd pick, @wreckedangle selects..
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Okay, so realistically, anyone familiar with the German-born Can knows I could have chosen any record to emerge from the Damo Suzuki years. Hell, a convincing argument can be made for Tago Mago (1971) as “most groundbreaking” Can album. However, I chose this one as it is widely considered to be the easiest part of their discography to digest, arguably their most refined body of work, and therefore, perhaps the best starting point for anyone interested in checking them out.
For those of you unfamiliar with the band, they are important for several reasons:
- Co-founders Irmin Schmidt and Holger Czukay came from a classically-trained background and were interested in creating contemporary rock music with a free-jazz aesthetic. Their improvisational style became one of the earliest incarnations of what is now referred to as Krautrock, a genre that continues to acknowledge Can as a pioneering figurehead
- Their experimental nature naturally led to an affinity for emerging technologies and a proclivity for sampling, editing to tape, and synthesizers that was far ahead of its time. The often bizarre qualities of their avant-garde compositions managed to stretch their influence across the musical spectrum – Can are considered to have had a hand in shaping the direction of everything from ambient music, to noise-rock, early industrial, and even new wave and modern electronic music
- Despite their unusual approach to songwriting, their impact was always apparent and difficult to deny, as they even managed to briefly flirt with mainstream chart recognition on a couple of occasions – once with “Spoon”, and again six years later with, “I Want More” (though, to be fair, the latter was regarded as something of a contrived effort in the eyes of their long-time supporters)
The aforementioned “Spoon” is taken from Ege Bamyasi and is notable for being the first of many songs in which the band would utilize a drum machine. Their interest in world music also bleeds through on this track. Suzuki would leave the band subsequent to recording the follow-up album, Future Days (1973).
Can saw a variety of singers come and go throughout the duration of their existence. However, it is the Suzuki-era that produced their most essential works.
Damo has managed to re-establish himself among a new generation of in-the-know listeners thanks to a prolific array of collaborations that include the likes of Broken Social Scene (@bssmusic) and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (@ORLProductions) of At the Drive-In (@AtTheDriveIn) / Mars Volta fame (@themarsvolta) among many others.
Can reunited briefly in 1991 and sadly, have been inactive ever since (dudes are like 100 years old at this point tho tbf).
Wrapping up, it is possible that I am doing the group a disservice by concluding my post with one of the most “simplistic” songs from the Can catalogue..
.. but damn, that beat.