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Can - Soon Over Babaluma CD (album) cover

SOON OVER BABALUMA

Can

 

Krautrock

3.59 | 139 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars Can is another prog icon that I have often neglected, save for this album which I have always adored for some obscure reason. They were always strange bedfellows, a band that, much like the German National soccer team, play together as a unit or Mannschaft. No star solo heroes here. Whereas we are used to separation between instruments to the point of immediate identification of style, Can blends all into a dense cocktail of sound where Karoli's guitar, Schmidt's keys, Czukay's bass are all blended effortlessly. Only Liebezeit keeps the beat obvious and the percussion torrential. Certainly the first series of albums are legendary but my trio remains Future Days, Soon Over Babaluma and Landed, who incidentally or not ,are natural discographic progressions. The cover artwork has been a constant source of attraction, the original vinyl yielding a silver/blue map of seismic peaks and greenish valleys. "Dizzy Dizzy" is remindful, in style and feel, of Roxy Music's masterstroke and harbinger of future electronica , 1971's The Bogus Man". How can music be minimalist and lush at the same time, you ask? Well, Eno just continued the style espoused by these Kraut rockers with his Another Green Worlds of oddball /ambient/psychedelia. Throw some vaporous violin, brisk reggae e-guitar, some obscure keyboards, oblique bass and shifting rhythmic pulsations, all together with some hushed vocalizations and you get dizzy!

"Come Sta La Luna" is creepy, choppy, dissonant, confusing and outright bizarre. Imagine a decadent electronic tango with dilettante wannabees, cheap red wine and pungent cigarettes both smeared by overflowing lipstick. Extreme sonic environment, to say the least. "Splash" is a percu-fest, Liebezeit going berserk on his kit, while Karoli ravages his violin/guitar arsenal. Nasty stuff! At times, the guitar navigates like Santana on acid, a weird and pervasive sense of lunacy invades the soul.

But the core of this sublime album is the next 2 epics, "Chain Reaction" and "Quantum Physics", both loyal to the Bogus Man feel mentioned earlier and hence highly explorative, delirious and meandering. Here are the overtly sprouting seeds of electronica, world music, funky psychedelia and so much more. I mean this is not very feminine music, no massive melodies that one can sing along and no poignant lyrics. "Chain Reaction" is shadowy, murky, greasy and rude. It is also erotic, sensual and kinky, musically speaking. Soundtrack for a dominatrix! Liebezeit in particular demonstrates a riffling technique that knows no respite, plowing mercilessly forward on some obsessive inspiration, sweat dripping down his chin, or is that drool? Not the easiest stuff to listen to, bored housewives hooked on AM radio would probably slice open their wrists at the mere thought of such cerebral sounds. "Quantum Physics" is just the natural evolution of their inspiration, impenetrable electronics, foggy rhythms, opaque bass and drums that must have duck tape on them, so cavernous is the thud. Hypnotically inclined, cleverly elliptical and expertly-mental, this is the essence of music in 1973, progressing from Chuck Berry and Bill Haley to some distant sonic heaven. Off the wall, meandering on the wood flooring, into the drain, down the pipe, across the yard and ultimately joining the river. This happens often when you are over Babaluma.

When friends ask me what is the strangest album I have, I invariably whip out this one, to go with Penguin Café Orchestra, Pavlov's Dog, Weidorje, Universal Totem Orchestra and Sparks. It causes quite a stir, so I have a straight jacket handy. You never know when someone gets dizzy dizzy.

4.5 tin tins

tszirmay | 4/5 |

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