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Can - Future Days  CD (album) cover

FUTURE DAYS

Can

 

Krautrock

4.00 | 366 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Nothing makes sense and nobody cared

The album cover says it all; bright blue background, gold ancient scroll border, non- plussed font and a candelabra or trident in the centre; screams we are Can and if you don't like us, Sod off. I first encountered Can on "Tago Mago", the hugely influential experimental double album, that sounds like the soundtrack to a lunatic asylum; an album that did not impress me apart from the fact that it was experimental and iconic, I did not enjoy anything on it except 'Hallewujah' and the odd moment. Yet this was supposed to be their magnum opus, their classic work that stamped an authority of Krautrock excellence. Not for me though. So I approached "Future Days" with a great deal of trepidation. My consternation was due to the high strangeness of the music, the way it disturbs and alienates, destroying any enjoyment factor. But I was pleasantly surprised at this album as it really drew me in to the music. I think it is more accessible than "Tago Mago", though by no means is this conventional, far from it.

'Future Days', the title track begins with static sonic noise that builds slowly, ominously, and threatening to break out. It slowly builds with a mod tempo, soft bass, and strange organ. Nothing happens as you might expect, it's all random and improvisational. As the sizzling continues, an estranged muffled voice talks away jibberish and the music sounds kind of Egyptian. An ambience is created as the next section begins with laid back vocals that are actually sung and have a melody, the time sig is odd, the guitar is sporadic but the irregular style of the song is quite enticing. The serrated edge droning is hypnotic and a real feature of the track. It gets louder and more intrusive as the song progresses. There is a space rock feel that ensues towards the end. 'Future Days' resonates with me in a strange way.

'Spray' is appropriate from a band named Can. It is highly experimental and freaky with a crackerlacking rhythm, that is off kilter and alienating. It sounds like The Residents meets Gong and that's a weird combination. The sound sizzles with lashings of disturbing manic drums and irregular organ washes, at times sounds like a washing machine or a car exhaust. It's unfathomable music that you have to experience for yourself to gain any appreciation of just how enigmatic this is. There are lead guitar blasts that echo, tom tom beats and burbling vocalisations. As experimental and improvisational as a band gets, breaking all boundaries dividing loyalties to prog, Can are unsurpassed. But to sit through this is somewhat of a challenge as it is painstakingly patient and the arrangement is monotonous.

'Moonshake' sits on one note with a few variations and a driving beat motorvates along, with very soft vocals and a type of melody, indeed a chorus is mixed in there somewhere. So there's more structure but not necessarily more entertainment. I prefer their more experimental approach as i can gain a much stronger reaction; love it or hate it. I am torn as to whether this is too monotonous and dragging or whether it is absolutely compelling and hypnotic. I still don't know really but it is rather short and easier to digest, ending just before it gets too boring.

'Bel Air' is the 20 minute epic to end the album, reminiscent of the mammoth free form epics on "Tago Mago". It is guaranteed to shock some and turn them away, sending them running and screaming for something with some kind of melody and structure. I can understand that. You have to be in the mood for music like this. It is downright depressing at times and unsettling. It is stupefying but not stupid, it is rather intelligently executed, a band with a purpose. But i had no time for this epic, there are far better epics out there.

Can are outside the box but they are a compelling band. Their music became spoiled with a more commercial album during the 80s but their first 6 albums are the best according to sources. This album and "Tago Mago" made it to the strange album guide "1001 Albums To Hear Before You Die" for good reason. I prefer "Future Days" over other Can material. Taste and see for yourself. 3 stars.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |

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