Feb 19, 2017

Sundaze 1708

Hello, drummer Jaki Liebezeit, who has died Januari 22nd aged 78, is the trigger for these Sundaze. today two more from Can, paired to teo from the band that was the genesis of Can, The Inner Space. It was Irmin Schmidt, courtesy his connections in the West German art world as a classical conductor, musical director at der Stadttheater Aachen and part-time film critic which led proto Can to pursue soundtrack work at their onset.

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.

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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Bearing bar none the worst title pun of any Can album -- and with titles like Cannibalism, that's saying something -- 1977's Saw Delight was the German progressive group's farewell. Clearly, the core quartet had found themselves in a rut by the recording of this album, bringing in percussionist Reebop Kwaku Baah and bassist Rosko Gee from a late-era lineup of Traffic to add a sort of Afro-Cuban jazz feel to their sound. What's frustrating is that this idea could have worked brilliantly, but the execution is all wrong. Instead of the polyrhythmic fireworks expected from a drum duel between Baah and the African-influenced Jaki Liebezeit, Can's senior drummer basically rolls over, keeping time with simple beats while the percussionist takes on the hard work. Similarly, Rosko Gee's handling of the bass duties (which he performs superbly throughout, adding an almost Mingus-like rhythmic intensity to even the loosest songs) frees Holger Czukay to add electronics and sound effects to the proceedings, an opportunity he doesn't make much of. On the up side, the opening "Don't Say No" recalls the controlled fury of earlier tunes like "Moonshake," and side two, consisting of Gee's lengthy, jazz-based composition "Animal Waves" and the lovely instrumental "Fly by Night," is largely excellent, but the two lengthy tracks that close side one are melodically and rhythmically pale in comparison, the fire was gone.

Can - Saw Delight  (flac  338mb)

01 Don't Say No 6:28
02 Sunshine Day And Night 6:02
03 Call Me 5:33
04 Animal Waves 15:19
05 Fly By Night 4:07

Can - Saw Delight    (ogg  115mb)

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This collection of songs Can recorded for John Peel’s radio show find the band in its peak period (1973-75), pumping on all cylinders. A real treat for Can collectors, most of the tracks here were improvised, and none exist on studio recordings, so this is something of a “lost” Can album. Much of the album is taken up two extended pieces, “Tony Wanna Go” and “Up the Bakerloo Line With Anne,” both of which feature swaths of fuzz guitar and jazzy drumming over intense, minimalist structures. The other tracks opt for a bit of a lower-key groove and make more use of varied atmospheric textures, but all stand to prove why Can is regarded as one of the seminal outfits of German experimental rock.

Can - Peel Session  (flac  445mb)

01 Up The Bakerloo Line With Anne 18:48
02 Return To BB City 8:26
03 Tape Kebab 8:58
04 Tony Wanna Go 14:31
05 Geheim (Half Past One) 6:42
06 Mighty Girl 8:41

Can - Peel Session    (ogg 153mb)

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It's hard to believe that it took more than 40 years for this album to surface, since it's undeniably an important piece of history and arguably a bit of a lost Krautrock classic. Kamasutra was a sexually themed 1969 film by director Kobi Jaeger. Future Can keyboardist Irmin Schmidt, who by that time was both an experienced classical musician/conductor and a soundtrack composer, was hired to provide the music. The group he brought to the sessions was the Inner Space, which would become Can by the time of their 1969 debut album, Monster Movie. Recorded right around -- likely just before -- the Monster Movie sessions, this then is more or less Can's "real" debut album. Even now, details on the sessions are scant -- the booklet contains copious liner notes about the film and, curiously, nothing about the music. Album credits are also maddeningly unspecific, but it's been confirmed that Schmidt is joined here by Can men Malcolm Mooney on vocals, drummer Jaki Liebezeit, and guitarist Michael Karoli, and it's a good bet that the featured flutist is original Can/Inner Space member David C. Johnson, who departed in 1969, and that the bassist is indeed Holger Czukay. With the exception of the Mooney-fronted, Velvet Underground-on-acid "There Was a Man," the music Schmidt and company came up with for Kamasutra is different enough from Monster Movie or the contemporaneously recorded Delay...1968 that you probably wouldn't immediately guess in a blindfold test that this was Can, but there are definitely connecting threads. Much of Can's early music was, after all, written for soundtracks, and moving from the thumping, hypnotic funk-rock grooves of "In Kalkutta III" to the tumbling, Eastern-tinged psychedelia of "Im Tempel" and "Im Orient" and the bluesy, proto-Krautrock guitar workout "Mundharmonika Beat," it's not too tough to connect the dots to some of Can's first flowerings.

The Inner Space - Kamasutra  (flac  278mb)

01 Indisches Panorama I 3:16
02 I'm Hiding My Nightingale 3:23
03 There Was A Man 1:07
04 Im Tempel 7:31
05 In Kalkutta III 2:16
06 Indisches Panorama II 2:24
07 In Kalkutta I 3:49
08 Im Orient 1:34
09 Indisches Panorama III 2:07
10 Mundharmonika Beat 5:11
11 Indisches Panorama IV 2:03
12 Indisches Panorama V 3:11
13 Indisches Panorama VI 1:59
14 Indische Liebesszene 4:41
15 In Kalkutta II 2:21
16 Im Orient II 3:27

The Inner Space - Kamasutra   (ogg  114mb)

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About a month before Malcolm Mooney (and apparently Michael Karoli is missing from this too, although I gotta say that even though he isn't credited as being on here, it sure SOUNDS like Michael and Michael is a very distinctive musical voice...) joined, the musicians of Can (Irmin Schmidt, Holger Czukay, Jaki Liebezeit) recorded a soundtrack to a very obscure film. There were two singles released, both of which are very very rare, and that music and much more is included here in the film soundtrack. No, it's not really the great lost Can album, but it's better than a 40 year old lost soundtrack has any right to be, with some pretty trippy stuff going on and is definitely a pretty worthy score for any Can fan who enjoys their very early stuff (ala "Delay 1968").

The Inner Space is the stuff of legend. This obscure outfit is best known as the antecessor band of Can and not much is known about them except it featured the core members of Can (Irmin Schmidt, Holger Czukay, Michael Karoli and Jaki Liebezeit) and lasted just a few months before renaming themselves The Can and releasing Monster Movie. They left two ultra-obscure seven inches as their only recorded legacy and only the first of them is credited to The Inner Space, it contained two songs taken from the soundtrack of 1969's underground film Agilok & Blubbo. Originally released by the German Vogue label in 1969, it currently fetches prices around the 300 euro mark in the collector's circuit. Given the obscurity of both the band and its recorded output, we're proud to present, for the first time to the public, not only the aforementioned singles but the complete soundtrack to Peter F. Scheneider's offbeat political satire Agilok & Blubbo. Previously unavailable until now, the original master tapes of this soundtrack have been stored in the archives of legendary German producer and music publisher Hans Wewerka who produced the recording sessions back in 1968. Here you can hear history in the making, the first step of a group of musicians who'll go on to achieve fame, success and recognition over the '70s, helping define a sound (often called Krautrock) that has been highly influential to this day. Those familiar with Can's output will recognize some of the band's characteristic sound, albeit in an embryonic form. Songs like 'Agilok & Blubbo' or 'Kamera Song' already hint at their later pop brilliance whereas the short cues and extended free jams found elsewhere in this soundtrack reminds us from the heterogeneous roots of a bunch of musicians coming from rock, jazz and avant-garde backgrounds. All in all, an excellent glimpse into the early stages of an innovative band developing its own musical language. This reissue includes detailed liner notes by Wah Wah's very own Raül G.Pratginestós and comes illustrated by original b/w shoots from the movie production. This issue contains two bonus tracks: 'Memographie,' plus Irmin Schmidt's 1967 composition 'Hexapussy.'

The Inner Space - Agilok and Blubo    (flac  325mb)

01 Agilok And Blubbo 3:44
02 Es Zieht Herauf 4:37
03 Dialog Zwischen Birken 1:49
04 Michele Ist Da 1:38
05 Mama Mama 3:54
06 Kamerasong 2:30
07 Zwischen Den Bäumen 3:56
08 Zweige Und Sonne 0:14
09 Revolutionslied 1:48
10 Der Letzte Brief 1:26
11 Probleme 2:14
12 Flop Pop 3:33
13 Memographie 11:43
14 Apokalypse 10:25
15 Hexapussy 16:51

The Inner Space - Agilok and Blubo   (ogg  156mb)

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Anonymous said...

Great post about Van, another great Rho-Xs post as usual. I am learning every time I read your blog. Thanks ever so much for sharing so much about music.

Anonymous said...

Great post about CAN...

apf said...

More Can! Excellent! Thank you, Rho!