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Can - Flow Motion CD (album) cover





2.98 | 131 ratings

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3 stars Landed, the album before this one, contains some of CAN's best work ("Vernal Equinox" and "Unfinished", to name a few). So when people tell you that CAN fell off their creative horse after Soon Over Babaluma, don't believe them -- that, in fact, began to happen on THIS album, sadly enough. Despite the popular notion that it was the introduction of true multi-track recording that destroyed their muse (albums before Landed were recorded on two 2-track machines), I think it has a lot more to do with the band's yearning for even a dribble of commercial recognition. What were they thinking? CAN couldn't write a "normal" pop tune if their lives depended on it. That said, this album is still enjoyable, and is a shining masterpiece compared to what would rear its head later (oh god...). Anyway, the first obvious thing that hits you is the virtual disappearance of one of the greatest drummers ever, Jaki Liebezeit. He's still here, by the way, he just plays as if he got hit over the head with a big bag of bricks and woke up to find himself a lazy, run-of-the-mill disco drummer. His drumming was always the skeletal core of CAN's music, so now that he's in "dumb mode," 80% of the magic is gone missing. Still, the music they pull off here (mostly their misguided attempts at "disco rock" and "reggae pop") is far from offensive: Michael Karoli is still in his prime on guitar, and I like a lot of the washy keyboard sounds. And, the 10 minute title track which concludes the album is actually perfect in spite of the sparse drums: it is a big, spacious groover -- like Jimi Hendrix on a rainy day -- with masterful guitar soloing and big swipes of colorful keyboard which add up to some truly sublime music. If the whole album were in the vein of "Flow Motion," it would be one of my favorites, no problem. Overall, established fans craving more CAN goodness will probably find something to like here, but the band's golden era is clearly behind them.
corbet | 3/5 |


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