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UNLIMITED EDITION

Can

Krautrock


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Can Unlimited Edition  album cover
3.60 | 57 ratings | 10 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Gomorrha (5:41)
2. Doko E (2:26)
3. LH 702 (2:11)
4. I'm Too Leise (5:10)
5. Musette (2:08)
6. Blue Bag (Inside Paper) (1:16)
7. Ethnological Forgery Series No. 27 (1:47)
8. TV Spot (3:02)
9. Ethnological Forgery Series No. 7 (1:05)
10. Empress And The Ukraine King (4:40)
11. Ethnological Forgery Series No. 10 (2:01)
12. Mother Upduff (4:28)
13. Ethnological Forgery Series No. 36 (1:55)
14. Cutaway (18:49)
15. Connection (2:20)
16. Fall Of Another Year (3:20)
17. Ethnological Forgery Series No. 8 (1:37)
18. Transcendental Express (4:37)
19. Ibis (5:00)

Total Time: 73:23

Line-up / Musicians

- Irmin Schmidt / synthesizer, keyboards, vocals
- Holger Czukay / bass, engineering
- Michael Karoli / guitar, violin, Shehnai
- Jaki Leibezeit / percussion, drums, Wind
- Malcolm Mooney / vocals
- Damo Suzuki / vocals

Releases information

Lps-Spoon record-SPOON 023/24

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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CAN Unlimited Edition ratings distribution


3.60
(57 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
14%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(58%)
58%
Good, but non-essential (25%)
25%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

CAN Unlimited Edition reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars Generally I don't appreciate Odds & Ends record but this one should not really considered as such because the music on here should've really been put out on their respective studio album but were probably left out for time restrictions. This compilation is a must for Can fans but should not be used as an introduction for newcomers. The limited edition theoretically is entirely included in this one.
Review by Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars All of Can's albums were recorded in their own studio, Inner Space, initially located in an old castle and subsequently in a disused cinema. When they weren't touring, they worked in the studio every day, with bassist Holger Czukay acting as producer and engineer. Their first few albums were recorded on 2-track equipment, and it was not until they were well established that multi track recording became available to them. Unlimited Edition is drawn from something like 7 years worth of work, some of it material left off mainstream releases, some of it work in progress, some of it apparently recorded for the band's own amusement and all of it fascinating.

Both of Can's lead vocalists, the American Malcolm Mooney and the Japanese Damo Suzuki, are represented on this album, and there is also plenty of instrumental work. Tracks 1 - 13 were originally released as Limited Edition a couple of years prior to this, and were combined with the remaining pieces to make an excellent value double album in 1976. Despite the hopping around betwen different line ups and different styles of music, the whole thing flows along almost seamlesly, largely because of the metronimically precise drumming of Jaki Liebezeit - no matter how far out Can went, their remarkable drummer always anchored them to the earth. The album also displays an eccentric sense of humour.The EFS (Ethnological Forgery Series) were Can's attempts at imitating various brands of world music at least a decade before the idea of world music even existed in the mainstream music industry. Not all of them work, but the sense of adventure and exploration is palpable Malcolm Mooney's darkly humorous lyrics and vocals on Mother Upduff and The Empress And The Ukraine King are also a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes. Cutaway is an 18 minute sound collage from 1968 that sees the band (particularly Czukay) fusing psychedelia with dub reggae, with some odd snippets of studio dialogue thrown in for good measure. The early years are more strongly represented, but the opening and closing tracks are good examples of the kind of icily beautiful music Can made after 1973.

This is not a great album for the Can newbie, but for anybody interested in Can or in German progressive music generally it's highly recommended.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This expanded version of "Limited Edition" is pretty interesting collection of odds and ends between 1969-75. Of particular interest are early 1969 tracks recorded with Malcolm Mooney as vocalist - presumably leftovers from the "Monster Movie" sessions. "The Empress and the Ukraine King", "Mother Upduff", "Connection" and "Fall of Another Year" are excellent songs, most of them even quite accessible on the first listen. One can imagine how the debut would have sounded had these been included instead of, say, long and sometimes boring jam "Yoo Doo Right" - it might have been a better album, but let's not speculate too much! Of the later stuff noteworthy compositions are: somewhat spacey and ambient textures of Future Days- era "Gomorrha", ethnic-oriental flavour of "Transcendental Express" and "Ibis", a close cousin of "Dizzy Dizzy". The remaining stuff is more or less an issue for CAN completists but the overall estimation of "Unlimited Edition", given its high points described above, must be quite good. You will live a happy life if you never touch this album, but getting to know it a bit may add some nice spice to your ears.
Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars CAN were known for recording tons and tons of material in their own studios over the years. Often they would simply jam, improvise and experiment, but no matter what they were doing they usually recorded it all. This particular album is a collection of songs that didn't appear on any of their studio records. For me it's very hit and miss but for the CAN fanboy i'm sure this is essential.

"Gomorrah" is a standout track and I can see why it's the lead off track. Lots of atmosphere and this instrumental is experimental sounding. "Dokoe" is mainly a beat with Damo on vocals. Other highlights are "I'm Too Leise" with the percussion and flute-like sounds before bass, acoustic guitar and Damo's vocals join in. Organ later on.

"The Empress And The Ukraine King" is catchy with Malcom on vocals, sax 2 1/2 minutes in. "Mother Upduff" is cool with Malcom trelling a story as the music seems to get more tense as it plays out. "Cutaway" is by far the longest song at 17 minutes. "Connection" is better with Malcom singing. I like the guitar after a minute. "Fall Of Another Year" is classic Damo and the music to match. One of my favourites.

A good album but definitely for the die hard fan.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars This intriguing collection of Can-dementia was actually my introduction to the band. Right back in the days when I only listened to symphonic prog (yes I once was innocent too). Needless to say I hated the guts out of this thing and stayed clear of all things Can for almost 10 more years. But for the initiated, this is quite an interesting collection of leftovers, brimming with ideas, sketches, creativity and, well, sheer madness.

This album presents Can's music in an embryonic state, with few of the pieces entirely developed, but that's exactly what makes it an interesting release and must-have for Can-ophiles, as they add interesting new sonic explorations, alternate takes and other useful additions to the known body of Can works. The 'Ethnological Forgery Series' being the obvious examples, showing experiments with world music reminding me slightly of Embryo. The opener 'Gomorrha' is one of the few fully formed Can tracks, a little cosmic masterpiece unique to their discography. Much of the songs with vocals are from the Malcolm Mooney years, which is a plus as far as I'm concerned. The 17 minute 'Cutaway' is a bit of a disappointment though.

I don't fancy all tracks here equally, but the mix of experimental successes as well as the failures is a big part of the charm of this release. Besides, since I digitalized my entire catalog this year, a playlist with 50 very strong minutes can be easily compiled from what's on offer here. You could say this is for fans only, but well, that's what many people think of the entire Can discography anyway. So 4 it is!

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars An intriguing odds-and-sods collection from CAN, who arrange various snippets collected from the cutting room floor into a new album. Opening with the atmospheric Gomorrah, the album takes the listener through a bewildering variety of styles, ambushed at points by vocals from the departed Malcolm Mooney and Damo Suzuki. It's a fun enough experiment, though to be honest I find the world music-leaning side of krautrock (as represented by the likes of Embryo) to be the least interesting part of the genre, so I didn't get much out of the Ethnological Forgery series of tracks - and to be honest, you'd have to have very broad tastes indeed to enjoy this one from beginning to end.
Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars NOTE: "Limited Edition" is the first release of "Unlimited Edition" which offered six other tracks.

The former featured 13 tracks whereas the second reissue featured 19.

CAN was formed in 1968 and released five albums with two distinct vocalists, US born Malcom Mooney and the Japanese noisemaker Damo Suzuki. After the release of the band's fifth album "Future Days," Damo Suzuki left the band so he could both marry his girlfriend and to become a Jehovah's Witness. While the band carried on without a new lead singer as it was becoming more focused on the instrumental workouts, CAN decided to unleash some of the more experimental tracks from the vault before taking things to the next phase. In May of 1974, the compilation of unreleased tracks LIMITED EDITION emerged with a limited release of 15,000 copies that featured oddball tracks ranging from the band's inception in 1968 to the "Future Days" sessions in 1973. It featured 13 random tracks with both lead singers as well as a wide range of styles and sounds not heard on the official albums.

These tracks were culled from thousands of hours of recording time and showcases the wide range of styles and sounds that CAN covered outside the context of the five album run. While the original LIMITED EDITION was released just prior to the band's next album "Soon After Babaluma" released in the following November 1974, after the band signed to Virgin Records in 1976, the album was released a second time as UNLIMITED EDITION shortly after the release of the "Flow Motion" album. The new edition hosted an additional six additional tracks including one of CAN's most eclectic and freaky collage giants in the form of the near 19 minute "Cutaway." Other than the original pressing titled LIMITED EDITION which donned the rather unflattering cover art of several mice in a tiny house (what it represents we may never know), the album has been released as UNLIMITED EDITION ever since and given that all the tracks of the original are on the newer editions, there is really no need to track down the mousy version unless you are the most rabid collector.

While often skipped over in CAN's discography due to its status as a collection of so-called throwaway tracks, (UN)LIMITED EDITION actually contains some of CAN's wildest and most experimental cuts taken from its massive run of recordings and offers a sneak peak into the band's strategy for crafting its unique blend of Krautrock that stood apart from virtually every other German band of the same era. While some tracks like the opening "Gomorrha" may evoke a familiarity as heard on some of the weirder tracks on album's such as "Tago Mago" which are entirely instrumental and host a unique mix of heady keyboard and guitar workouts laced with a funk laden bass groove and busy percussive section, other tracks strip bare the piling up of effects and expose the true nature of CAN's secret weapon, namely a diverse palette of world ethnic sounds that were twisted and coerced into performing psychedelic mind tricks and created repetitive looping effects and oscillating swirls of sound. Of these, the "E.F.S." series of tracks which referred to the "Ethnological Forgery Series" featured many world music sounds that more resembled the African, Asian and Middle Eastern folk genera that they were borrowed from. These were some of the band's earliest experiments.

The album hosts many unique features that would never fit on any given album. For example on "Doko E" Damo Suzuki sang in his native Japanese and "Mother Upduff" featured Malcolm Mooney's impromptu storytelling in spoken word vocals along with an uncharacteristic jazzy musical accompaniment. There are also other examples of instruments such as the violin and shehni, an Indian reed instrument that give many tracks a completely different flavor than most of what CAN offered however despite the wildly experimental improvisational flavors that seemed somewhat random in freeform, Jaki Liebezeit still maintains firm control of the rhythmic drive with his distinct percussive style that never deviates too far from his status quo however on some tracks he has more of a license to incubate some exotically technical drum rolls that are allowed to wander off the leash. Another unusual instrument featured is the schizophone on "The Empress And The Ukraine King" which sounds like a xylophone if it's the exotic instrument that i think it is.

Many tracks such as the aforementioned also deliver a much more progressive rock oriented sound with more angular instrumental workouts that develop more intricate melodic counterpoints. The instruments also play off of each other in different keys and tunings which offers distinct bouts of dissonance and complex harmonic interplay. While CAN's albums can sound uniform in stylistic approach save the bizarre nature of "Tago Mago," on (UN)LIMITED EDITION, each track is completely unique and that's the beauty of this grab bag of disparate ideas that displayed the band on creative highs that for whatever reason were deemed to alienating to appear side by side with the more distinguished tracks that made it onto albums. Some of the tracks, especially the "E.F.S." series sound like a completely different band while some of the early tracks like "Connection" show a gestating band still connected to the 60s psychedelic scene but hadn't quite found its own distinct way.

The highlight of the album is one of the extra tracks on UNLIMITED EDITION. The lengthy powerhouse "Cutaway" was recorded all the way back in March 1969 during the "Monster Movie" sessions and is by far one of CAN's most interesting tracks. Unlike many behemoth monstrosities that veer toward the 20 minute mark (this one is just over 18), this track is in reality several shorter tracks stitched together in seemingly random ways and is in effect a collage of various experiments that fit in quite well with the wild and crazy creative uptick that was exploding in 1969. Overall the tracks on (UN)LIMITED EDITION are excellent with only a very few throwaway tracks ("Blue Bag" is rather pointless for example). This album is not just a collection of substandard tracks at all but rather tracks that were just too far outside the context of what the album's were going for as these standalone tracks are really bizarre for the most part. This is highly recommended for those who cherish the most experimental aspects of CAN. While not an "official" studio album per se, this one is chock full of entertaining musical tidbits and the wide range of styles makes this THEEEE most diverse CAN album that has seen the light of day.

It's most likely you will encounter the UNLIMITED EDITION version since every reissue has appeared in that format.

It's also more fruitful in that it offers six extra tracks that are well worth it so unless you are a collector of all things CAN, the remastered version of this CD is the way to go.

Latest members reviews

4 stars LIMITED EDITION is my favorite CAN album by far. Many of most creative ideas from CAN's other work are expressed here without the baggage of trying to fit them into standard rock song format. If you enjoy CAN for their explorations into the avant-garde, then this is the album to seek out. Put ano ... (read more)

Report this review (#243274) | Posted by pkazee | Tuesday, October 6, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In a sense, every album that CAN made was an "odds and ends" record. It's just that this one took a lot longer to put together than most of them. For me, CUTAWAY is CAN's masterpiece. As fine an example of sonic sculpture as will ever be heard, and to follow it with the utterly brilliant CONNE ... (read more)

Report this review (#35305) | Posted by | Sunday, June 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The sound of an era, the end of an era...German rock was a great invention, but Can was the first group ever to transcend its genre. This album seems a little experimental, but is a great collection of big, tribal touch. Like it or not, Can were miles ahead of other groups, like XTC + Stockhau ... (read more)

Report this review (#23293) | Posted by | Sunday, January 2, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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