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Can - The Lost Tapes CD (album) cover





4.12 | 54 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars A long-awaited boxset that should please Krautrock fans that are hungry for seminal early Can material. Taken from as many as 30 hours of studio and concert tapes, made mostly from jams and experiments, the group condensed and rearranged the music committed to these "lost tapes", and a resulting three CDs, each filled with just over an hour's worth of music. These tapes come from the seminal years of the band, when they were at the top of the art, basically from 68 until 77, but with a predominance from 69 to 72. Does that sound enticing? The tracks are more or less regrouped by eras, with the first disc concentrating mainly on 68-69 and with a couple 72 tracks thrown in. The second disc still reaches as early as 68, but goes as far as 74, with a majority 72 material, while the third concentrates mainly on the mid-70's..

It's not like you'll recognize instantly tracks that came from such and such classic album either. Most of it is barren enough, but the Mooney-era stuff has a few bright moments that approach the shoulder height of the music that's featured on Monster Movie, Soundtracks, but nothing of the quality of Delay 68 (originally released in 82). Clearly the better disc of this boxset in terms of album-worthy material.The Suzuki-era stuff is unfortunately not really up to par with the Tago-Bamyasi albums, though it's still quite nice, but they'd only be good bonus tracks when sized up against the original albums' music. The notable exception to that comment being the lengthy Neighbourhood Whore, where Liebezit's wind instruments are enthralling. Unfortunately much of that second disc is not meeting the same level, some of it being almost ambient mumbo. We all know that Can's music became somewhat softer around the Soon Over Babaluma and their later albums, but that's not to say that these later tapes are of more exploitable quality from what one can hear in that third disc. Actually that third disc is the weaker one of the three, as a knowledgeable Can expert would easily guess, and you find much from the Traffic (Reebop and Rosko) connection of 77-78.

Despite the dramatic cuts (something like 90%), the least we can assume from what was held back for this boxset is that the average quality of these tapes were either unusable or of no interest whatsoever. Don't get me wrong here, the unconditional Can fans will most likely find their happiness in this release; but if you're a more casual fan and you like some more musical meat to sink your teeth into, you'd better seriously investigate the contents before shelling out the dough. Some uberfans will disagree vehemently, but this set is not essential at all.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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