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Can - Future Days  CD (album) cover

FUTURE DAYS

Can

 

Krautrock

4.00 | 369 ratings

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3 stars Can Could, but didn't really... more like Passe...

Delightful atmospherics and hypnotic rhythms with subtle inflections mashed up with dreamy half-muted vocals makes for a perfect chill-out album with an improvised, almost organic feel.

Nevertheless, the title track is only partially engaging, hanging, as it does, around a single tone base, and only deigning to change around 6:00 or so, when it loses some of the ambience and becomes slightly chaotic before going back to what seems to be a safety rail. It then dissolves into an excercise in improvised textures before a slightly unfulfilling fade- out.

"Spray" is much more like the Can I know, with layered percussion and electronic textures blending oddly with the guitars. Fortunately the focus is on the former, and this hypnotic bag of goodies takes the listener on a spacey journey akin to "Saucerful of Secrets", but several light years further. Unfortunately Karoli is no Gilmour, and the guitar pickings and noodlings slightly detract from Schmidt's incredible keyboard layers in places. Leibezi's drums are downright inspirational though, and hang the whole tapestry together superbly.

"Moonshake" goes off at a heavier tangent, deeply funky and entertainingly engaging. It's not really prog rock though, as it's just an experiment with layers over a very steady rhythm and repeated bass and guitar riffs.

"Bel Air" comprises the whole of side 2 on the vinyl LP that I am reviewing, and immediately takes us on a voyage to an island in space, replete with rolling waves. Most of the comments I made about "Spray" apply here - although this is not a simple recapitulation; this track is one of the best that Can have to offer, and almost defines a genre of "organic, ambient, funk prog".

You can feel the energy buiding up despite Karoli's insensitive noodling right up until the point that it finally breaks, around 4:30, into a fine, hypnotic groove that the ensemble manage to bring in unpredictably and stylishly. Imagine Gong set to breakbeats and you come close to what is happening here. Despite being no Hillage, Karoli manages to hang back with the guitar licks from this point, and manages to contribute to the textural goodness.

Around 9:00, there is a total dissolution into quiet ambience, with a wierd looping in the samples of birdsong, giving it the aura of "Several Small Species..." from "Ummagumma". When the music starts to make a reappearance, it is magically laid back and deeply engaging. Sadly, Karoli feels the urge to noodle around 13:30, scriblling around a bit and spoiling the texture briefly - but we can let this minute or so pass for the darker mood that is to follow.

Czukay "does a Lemmy", and assists in driving the music to foreign shores with a "Space Ritual" Hawkwind twist, with wonderful keyboard washes. The changeover at 18:30 just has to be heard to be believed - an utterly inspired dreamy drift back into a brief recapitulation of music from earlier proving that at least some thought went into structuring this piece.

Overall, a little too repetitive and not "rocky" enough to be considered prog rock - there are no symphonic structures, no epic lyrical themes, no mind-blowing time changes, and no epilogues into different musical styles - hence my decision not to mark it as an Excellent addition to any prog music collection, despite the fact that in many ways, it is!

I think 3.5 stars is more accurate than 3, as this album is Excellent, if flawed - mainly by Karoli's somewhat insensitive guitar playing - and a Good addition to any prog music collection, especially for anyone that likes ambient music - but Ege Bamyasi or Tago Mago are probably better additions and better examples of Can's great talents.

Certif1ed | 3/5 |

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