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Can - The Lost Tapes CD (album) cover

THE LOST TAPES

Can

 

Krautrock

3.97 | 44 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars "Obviously the tapes weren't really lost..." so starts the liner notes written by Irmin Schmidt. CAN were well known for their habit of recording themselves as they jammed or played tracks they had composed. 50 hours of tapes had been locked away in a climate controlled enviroment for many decades and at the insistance of Hildegard a lady who as Irmin describes "...watches over CAN and it's work like the dragon over the gold of the Nibelungen" they were brought out into the light in 2008. First they took them all in to get cleaned and then the pains-taking duty of going through all of this disorganised music began. Disorganised because in the early days they couldn't afford to go out and buy new tape all of the time so they played over top of music they didn't think was that good. So you get sections of music from different time periods.

By the way this 3 disc set is held in a 10 by 10 inch case about the same size as those that held those tape reels. The book inside is as big and full of great info and pictures. They decided once they got it somewhat organised to listen carefully to each piece of music at least 4 times to determine what was of the highest quality and what would be sent back to the vaults. One thing Irmin says that all of the band members of CAN have in common is an unsentimental ability to judge in cold blood what's good and what isn't. Nostalgic emotions were not a part of the final decision. I had heard long before I got my box-set that the music here was as good as CAN's best and I can attest that this isn't hype. These guys have chosen songs that in their opinion are worthy of being placed beside their best. So out of 50 hours of tapes we get almost 3 1/2 hours of music over 3 discs. The music isn't laid out chronologially although the one thing they did do was make the first disc up to and including song 4 of the second disc all Malcom Moody stuff, while the rest is with Damo.

I like the story in the liner notes of when Malcom joined the band for the first times in a castle outside of Colgne made available by a friend of Irmins. "Malcom arrived expecting to find an artists' studio; instead he would seize the microphone and push CAN-virtuoso players...into fiercely new areas with the sheer force of his voice". "Holger recalls his delight and shook at this powerful new element." The first piece they recorded was "Father Cannot Yell" which turned out to be completely different than what Holger thought it would be with Malcom on board. This was new music and the band knew it. Malcom became close with Jaki right away as they formed a close bond. Malcom says "The thing I liked about Jaki was that he wasn't set on any particular genre, he could accomplish things by listening to himself. He was able to carry a rhythm until it came back over itself. The band's components of Folk, Rock, Electronic, Classical and Jazz drumming, made for an interesting mix, and I had a rhythmic quality that went well with the music we did."

Okay i'll mention some highlights for me from each disc. Disc One's "Waiting For A Streetcar" is like hearing Malcom on a loop. He repeats that line a thousand times it seems as that beat is also repeated relentlessly. I love the info in the liner notes that tells us that CAN would play in the castle I mentioned earlier often at events. Anyway Malcom loved to take an actual event or person and incorporate it into the song like someone waiting for a taxi or someone named Doris and use words related to that and repeat them over and over (haha). "Dealdly Doris" must have been hot. This is catchy with vocals. Too much ! "Graublau" is a 17 minute sountrack that is just killer ! An incredible beat this one. "Bubble Rap" has that familiar raw sounding guitar from Karolli and is the only exception of Damo being on the first disc. Just an amazing jam.

Disc Two's "True Story" is so funny with Malcom basically telling a story and it's like being at a party listening to someone who is really stoned make up this hilarious story. So funny ! "Oooh to have those juices" oh man this is good. "Spoon (Live)" is a 17 minute jam with Damo. "Abra Cada Braxas" was a spontaneous creation live on stage and man this sounds fantastic with that beat and atmosphere.

Disc Three's "Godzilla Fragment" is live and quite powerful. A definite highlight for me. "On The Way To Mother Sky" is a fragment from the track "Mother Sky" and check out the organ late. "Barnacles" is a live improv that might be my favourite track on this whole set. This is jazzy at first with prominant bass, electric piano and drums. I like when the guitar comes in and grinds away. Amazing track ! "One More Saturday Night" is live with a beat, electric piano and guitar standing out early then the vocals arrive. Love this !

Well I tried to give just my top 10 tracks but I think I did eleven. Easily the best release of 2012 for me.

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |

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