Feb 5, 2017

Sundaze 1706

Hello, drummer Jaki Liebezeit, who has died aged 78, Januari 22nd is the trigger for this Sundaze. The so-called “motorik” beat, a minimalist, relentless form of rhythm practised by groups including Neu! and Kraftwerk, became one of the most distinctive trademarks of Germany’s postwar rock groups. Liebezeit, a founding member of the Cologne-based quintet Can, was also a skilled practitioner of the motorik approach, but he was much more besides. He was able to incorporate a range of moods and styles into his playing, from African and funk rhythms to violent thrashing grooves, while always maintaining meticulous rhythmic control. His playing could veer from the heavy, pulverising beat he created on You Doo Right, from Can’s debut album Monster Movie (1969), to the lithe, off-kilter feel he brought to One More Night, from Ege Bamyasi (1972). On the title track of Flow Motion (1976), Liebezeit delivered a lesson in lean, bare-bones funkiness.
So precise and unswerving was Liebezeit’s playing, which included an ability to repeat drum patterns with uncanny precision, that he was likened to a human drum machine. To this he retorted that “the difference between a machine and me is that I can listen, I can hear and I can react to the other musicians, which a machine cannot do”. His particular gift was the ability to refine his drumming down to a compact, streamlined essence, so that when he did eventually add a fresh accent or extra beat it became a musical event of startling significance.

Today's artists are a German experimental rock band formed in Cologne, West Germany in 1968. The group cycled through several lineups in subsequent years, including vocalists Malcolm Mooney and Damo Suzuki. Drawing from backgrounds in avant-garde and jazz music, Can incorporated rock, minimalist, electronic, and world music elements into their often psychedelic and funk-inflected music.They have been widely hailed as pioneers of the German krautrock scene, exerted a considerable influence on avant-garde, experimental, underground, ambient, new wave and electronic music. ......N'Joy

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 Always at least three steps ahead of contemporary popular music, Can were the leading avant-garde rock group of the '70s. From their very beginning, their music didn't conform to any commonly held notions about rock & roll -- not even those of the countercultures. Inspired more by 20th century classical music than Chuck Berry, their closest contemporaries were Frank Zappa or possibly the Velvet Underground. Yet their music was more serious and inaccessible than either of those artists. Instead of recording tight pop songs or satire, Can experimented with noise, synthesizers, nontraditional music, cut-and-paste techniques, and, most importantly, electronic music; each album marked a significant step forward from the previous album, investigating new territories that other rock bands weren't interested in exploring.

Throughout their career, Can's lineup was fluid, featuring several different vocalists over the years; the core bandmembers remained keyboardist Irmin Schmidt, drummer Jaki Leibezeit, guitarist Michael Karoli, and bassist Holger Czukay. During the '70s, they were extremely prolific, recording as many as three albums a year at the height of their career. Apart from a surprise U.K. Top 30 hit in 1978 -- "I Want More" -- they were never much more than a cult band; even critics had a hard time appreciating their music.

Can debuted in 1969 with the primitive, bracing Monster Movie, the only full-length effort to feature American-born vocalist Malcolm Mooney. 1970's Soundtracks, a collection of film music, introduced Japanese singer Kenji "Damo" Suzuki, and featured "Mother Sky," one of the group's best-known compositions. With 1971's two-record set Tago Mago, Can hit their visionary stride, shedding the constraints of pop forms and structures to explore long improvisations, angular rhythms, and experimental textures.

1972's Ege Bamayasi refined the approach, and incorporated an increasingly jazz-like sensibility into the mix; Future Days, recorded the following year as Suzuki's swan song, traveled even further afield into minimalist, almost ambient territory. With 1974's Soon Over Babaluma, Can returned to more complicated and abrasive ground, introducing dub rhythms as well as Karoli's shrieking violin. 1976's Unlimited Edition and 1977's Saw Delight proved equally restless, and drew on a wide range of ethnic musics.

When the band split in 1978 following the success of the album Flow Motion and the hit "I Want More," they left behind a body of work that has proven surprisingly groundbreaking; echoes of Can's music can be heard in Public Image Limited, the Fall, and Einstürzende Neubauten, among others. As with much aggressive and challenging experimental music, Can's music can be difficult to appreciate, yet their albums offer some of the best experimental rock ever recorded.

Since the split, all the former members have been involved in musical projects, often as session musicians for other artists. In 1986 they briefly reformed, with original vocalist Mooney, to record Rite Time (released in 1989). There was a further reunion in 1991 by Karoli, Liebezeit, Mooney and Schmidt to record a track for the Wim Wenders film Until the End of the World and in August 1999 by Karoli, Liebezeit and Schmidt with Jono Podmore to record a cover of "The Third Man Theme" for Grönland record's compilation album Pop 2000. In 1999 the four core members of Can, Karoli, Liebezeit, Schmidt and Czukay, performed live at the same show, although playing separately with their current solo projects (Sofortkontakt, Club Off Chaos, Kumo and U-She respectively). Michael Karoli died of cancer on November 17, 2001. Can have since been the subject of numerous compilations, live albums and samples. In 2004, the band began a series of Super Audio CD remasters of its back catalog, which were finished in 2006. Jaki Liebezeit died of pneumonia on January 22, 2017.

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Though Monster Movie was the first full-length album in what would become a sprawling and often genre-defining discography, Can were on a level well ahead of the curve even in their most formative days. Recorded and released in 1969, Monster Movie bears many of the trademarks that Can would explore as they went on, as well as elements that would set the scene for the burgeoning Krautrock movement. This would be the only album Can's first singer Malcolm Mooney would sing the entirety of, as he was replaced by Damo Suzuki by the time of 1970's Soundtracks, leaving the band after going through a highly unstable time. Mooney was known for his erratic ways, and some of that mania undoubtedly comes through here, with his caterwauling howls on the unexpectedly garage-influenced "Outside My Door" as well as the sung-spoken pseudo-poetry rants of album opener "Father Cannot Yell." Riding a particularly Velvet Underground vibe, "Father Cannot Yell" sounds like post-punk before punk even existed. Irmin Schmidt's brittle keyboard squalls and dissonant rhythms and Mooney's buried recitations predated the Fall, Swell Maps, the noise scene, and generations of difficult sound by years and in some cases decades. Holger Czukay's pensive basslines are also an already distinctive calling card of the band on this debut, providing a steadfast glue for the barrages of noisy tones, edits, and pulses the record offers from all angles. The 20-minute album closer "Yoo Doo Right" is an enormous highlight, cementing the locked-in hypnotic exploration Can would extrapolate on for the rest of their time and come to be known for. Mooney's raspy vocals range from whispery incantations to throaty rock & roll shouts, building with the band into an almost mantra-level meditation as the song repeats its patterns and multi-layered grooves into what feels like infinity. Legend has it that the final side-long version of the song was edited down from a six-hour recording session focusing on that tune alone. Given the level of commitment to experimentation Can would go on to show, it's not hard to believe they'd play one song for six hours to find its core, nor is it unfathomable that Monster Movie was the more accessible album they recorded after their first attempts were deemed too out there to be commercially released. Even in their earliest phases, Can were making their name by blowing away all expectations and notions that rock & roll had limits of any kind.

Can - Monster Movie  (flac  234mb)

01 Father Cannot Yell 7:01
02 Mary, Mary So Contrary 6:16
03 Outside My Door 4:06
04 Yoo Doo Right 20:20

Can - Monster Movie    (ogg  95mb)

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Soundtracks is the second album from Can but it is also made up from many movie soundtracks that the band had contributed music to as well. The album has a kind of cut and paste feeling, as many of the songs fade in and out in a rather awkward and hurried manner. However, the big improvement is in the new singer Damo Suzuki, who sings “Tango Whiskeyman” and “Deadlock” in a style that could not be more opposite than Mooney’s: hushed, intricate, solemn, but still dynamic when needing to be. The fact that he sings in a mix of three languages- English, Japanese, and German- is a mere footnote. The lyrics are improvised and SOUND like it, but this only adds to the album’s internal mechanics. Songs such as “Don’t Turn the Light On, Leave Me Alone” have a new sonic clarity to them as the busy toms of Liebezeit merge with the whispering of Suzuki and add a new dimension the band’s moody textures.

“Mother Sky” is the band’s first monumental achievement, a 14 minute work of hypnotic beauty and forward thinking that at first uses elements of drone music (pretty much done solely by Czukay’s bass) and later elements of electric guitar noise and off kilter bass and keyboard playing to form a controlled jam of intensity where it feels like anything can happen. Unfortunately, they let two of Malcom Mooney’s last songs exist on the record as well, and “Soul Desert” and “She Brings the Rain” are truly trying experiences that recall the problems of the debut. The former song is completely unnecessary to the tone and flow of the record, bringing a kind of ragged, garage album feel to an album that is completely nuanced and flavored differently, while the latter song is simply bad beatnik poetry that any Lou Reed / Bob Dylan wanna be of the era could produce. The reprise of “Deadlock” is also slightly overlong and unwelcome so early in the record. Still, most of the record succeeds and points toward a bright future for the band with Suzuki as lead vocalist. The band sounds renewed and alive on Soundtracks, as scattershot and as inconsistent as it is.

Can - Soundtracks  (flac  213mb)

01 Deadlock 3:25
02 Tango Whiskyman 4:02
03 Deadlock 1:40
04 Don't Turn The Light On, Leave Me Alone 3:42
05 Soul Desert 3:46
06 Mother Sky 14:30
07 She Brings The Rain 4:04

Can - Soundtracks    (ogg 80mb)

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With the band in full artistic flower and Damo Suzuki's sometimes moody, sometimes frenetic speak/sing/shrieking in full effect, Can released not merely one of the best Krautrock albums of all time, but one of the best albums ever, period. Tago Mago is that rarity of the early '70s, a double album without a wasted note, ranging from sweetly gentle float to full-on monster grooves. "Paperhouse" starts things brilliantly, beginning with a low-key chime and beat, before amping up into a rumbling roll in the midsection, then calming down again before one last blast. Both "Mushroom" and "Oh Yeah," the latter with Schmidt filling out the quicker pace with nicely spooky keyboards, continue the fine vibe. After that, though, come the huge highlights -- three long examples of Can at its absolute best. "Halleluwah" -- featuring the Liebezeit/Czukay rhythm section pounding out a monster trance/funk beat; Karoli's and Schmidt's always impressive fills and leads; and Suzuki's slow-building ranting above everything -- is 19 minutes of pure genius. The near-rhythmless flow of "Aumgn" is equally mind-blowing, with swaths of sound from all the members floating from speaker to speaker in an ever-evolving wash, leading up to a final jam. "Peking O" continues that same sort of feeling, but with a touch more focus, throwing in everything from Chinese-inspired melodies and jazzy piano breaks to cheap organ rhythm boxes and near babbling from Suzuki along the way. "Bring Me Coffee or Tea" wraps things up as a fine, fun little coda to a landmark record.

Can - Tago Mago  (flac  464mb)

01 Paperhouse 7:29
02 Mushroom 4:08
03 Oh Yeah 7:22
04 Halleluwah 18:32
05 Aumgn 17:22
06 Peking O 11:35
07 Bring Me Coffee Or Tea 6:47

Can - Tago Mago   (ogg  184mb)


Can - Tago Mago Live 72 Bonus    (flac  251mb)

08 Mushroom (Live) 8:42
09 Spoon (Live) 29:55
10 Halleluwah (Live) 9:12

Can - Tago Mago Live 72 Bonus   (ogg  82mb)

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apf said...

Thank you so much Rho!

Anonymous said...

Big thanx !!!