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Can - Future Days  CD (album) cover

FUTURE DAYS

Can

 

Krautrock

4.01 | 378 ratings

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SaltyJon
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A musical definition of the word "calm".

Can's last album with Damo Suzuki, Future Days, is incredibly different than its predecessors Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi. Where Tago Mago was intense, Future Days is relaxed. Where Tago Mago was crazy, Future days is calm. This album is one of the best relaxing efforts I own.

The album starts off with the title track, with ambient noise bringing us in. Before two minutes, we're given some rhythm to hold onto, but nothing intense or jarring here, just a nice calm beat. There are sounds of water and crashing waves in the background. Quiet vocals join in near three minutes, and some other instruments join in for a short time before we get to the main calm of the song. Damo comes back in around four minutes to sing bits, and we're given some guitar noodling to listen to. Holgar and Jaki, as always, keep up a stellar rhythmic pattern, always fitting to the piece of music. Near six minutes, there's some sound which I'm guessing is keyboards, phasing in and out. The song stays calm for the rest of its running time, with some quicker drums near the end. This is a good song to play if you want to relax, and the rest of the album mostly keeps up the same mood. 10/10

"Spray" is the most groove-filled, moving song on the album. It's more lively than the previous song, with a guitar sound that reminds me of the tone used in a lot of surf music. The percussion is fun in this song, with shakers and some pitched drums going on. Damo doesn't show up much until later on in the track, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. There's a sound which could have come straight from a PacMan game near three and a half minutes. Things calm down for a bit going into the five minute mark, with quietly throbbing bass and nearly hypnotic percussion for a while. After six minutes Damo comes in with his particular blend of singing and mumbling which, along with the good bass and drums, was one of the things which drew me into listening to Can's work. The piece continues on in its calmer way to the end. 9/10

"Moonshake" is another track with hypnotic drums and bass acting as the foundation. The shortest track on the album (by far), Damo sings throughout, with his mostly unintelligible lyrics which fit the band so well. After a minute, the band members experiment with random percussive sounds during a short interlude, which is fairly zany. After that, Damo joins in and the band finishes off the song much in the same way in which it began. 8/10, only because I wish it was longer.

Last, but certainly not least, is the "epic" of the album, "Bel Air". If you're looking for epics in the style of say, ELP or Yes, you may want to stop here. If you're looking for something softer, more calming, and infinitely relaxing, this is the place to be. The song starts off quietly and ambient, with the vocals being semi-muted as usual. This piece is, overall, very laid back and relaxed. It's easy for me to lose myself and simply zone out while listening to it, as the percussion is so hypnotic and constant. The keys in the background add a sort of symphonic texture to the piece, and the guitar occasionally soars over the proceedings like a bird over the ocean. At four and a half minutes in, the song changes up its rhythm and there are some vocals, both word-filled and wordless. Nine minutes in, birds sing, an occasional insect can be heard, and you can hear a quietly moving body of water. Things calm back down here after the quicker bit which preceded it, going back to the feel of the beginning of the tune. The song carries on, keeping up the hypnotic, nearly meditative feel of the track, and the song goes out about as quietly as the album began. 10/10

This album is exactly what I'd imagine the soundtrack for a relaxing day on a calm beach would be. The title track covers the morning, "Spray" and "Moonshake" would be the afternoon, with more activity going on, and "Bel Air" is the evening and beyond. If you're looking to relax to some good music, this is what you need to listen to. Along with Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi, this is one of Can's masterpieces, showing the calm which is absent on those two. Highly recommended, Future Days is a good introduction to the more ambient, quiet side of Krautrock and is a highly recommended addition to any collection.

SaltyJon | 4/5 |

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