Can

CanFrom: Cologne, Germany

Can were a band that was always ahead of the game when it came to contemporary music. The band was very avant-garde, and were very influential throughout the 1970s. Can never conformed to what were considered the norms of rock & roll music, not even those of the counterculture scene. Can were heavily influenced by classical music, far more than they were influenced by rock & roll. They did not focus on pop songs; instead, they experimented with noise, synthesizers, cut-and-paste techniques, and electronic elements. Can were one of the pioneers of what would become known as Krautrock.

The core of the band was made up of Irmin Schmidt (keyboards), Jaki Leibezeit (drums), Michael Karoli (guitar), and Holger Czukay (bass). Over the course of their career, Can featured a number of different singers. During the ’70s, the band would record as many as three albums a year. Can never received the proper recognition that they deserve, and as a result, found extremely little commercial success. However, in 1978, the band had their only U.K. Top 30 hit with “I Want More.”

In 1969, Can released their debut album, Monster Movie. This four-track album is the only LP of the band’s to feature American-born singer Malcolm Mooney. Monster Movie is a very intense album, with its raw vocals, fuzz guitar, and ever-present synthesizer. All four songs on the album are excellent, and “Mary, Mary So Contrary” is a nice piece with some psychedelic elements mixed in. The song that truly defines the band that Can would become is the closing track, “Yoo Do Right.” This 20-minute onslaught is a perfect display of the experimentation that became such a big part of the Can sound.

Can followed Monster Movie with the release of the 1970 album Soundtracks. This was a collection of film music, and introduced Japanese singer Kenji “Damo” Suzuki. In 1971, Can released the album Tago Mago, where it is said that the band hit their stride. 1972 saw Can release Ege Bamayasi, an album that incorporated much more of a jazz influence. Can would record four more albums before they split in 1978. As much as the band has never been appreciated as much as they should, they are said to offer some of the best experimental rock music ever to be recorded.

Artist information sources include: articles by Stephen Thomas Erlewine and Jason Ankeny at Allmusic.com

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1969 album Monster Movie
Monster Movie

  • Mary, Mary So Contrary