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Can Can [Aka: Inner Space] album cover
2.70 | 101 ratings | 9 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. All Gates Open (8:16)
2. Safe (8:36)
3. Sunday Jam (4:17)
4. Sodom (5:43)
5. Aspectacle (5:52)
6. EFS No. 99 "Can Can" (3:16)
7. Ping Pong (0:25)
8. Can Be (3:00)

Total Time: 39:25

Line-up / Musicians

- Michael Karoli / guitar, bass (8), vocals
- Irmin Schmidt / keyboards, synth
- Rosko Gee / bass
- Jaki Liebezeit / drums
- Reebop Kwaku Baah / percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Werbegruppe Kochlowski with Arke (photo)

LP Harvest ‎- 1C 066-45 099 (1978, Germany)
LP Thunderbolt ‎- THBL-020 (1985, UK) Re-entitled "Inner Space"

CD Thunderbolt ‎- CDTB 020 (1988, UK) Re-entitled "Inner Space"
SACD Spoon Records ‎- SPOONSA 28 (2006, Europe) Remastered by Andreas Torkler

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CAN Can [Aka: Inner Space] ratings distribution

(101 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(16%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (26%)
Poor. Only for completionists (12%)

CAN Can [Aka: Inner Space] reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by soundsweird
2 stars I guess the inspiration had run out by this time. "Saw Delight" was pretty good, even with the lower-profile contributions of Holger Czukay, but this album finds the group doing a contractual-obligation snoozer. It's been some time since I sold this CD, so it's hard to give a precise post-mortem. I guess the best advice I can give is to stay away from anything after "Saw Delight".
Review by obiter
1 stars Time to review a couple of my least favourite albums ... it could get ugly (well at least it's not Amon Dull)

Cleverly Can lull you into a false sense of security at the opening. All Gates Open is actually quite passable. Not a lot happens, passable in this context is really a euphemism for not mind-numbingly awful. I can't help but think of waling in on a friends' we sister who was playing the family electric organ with a frighteningly annoying drum rhythm playing, and plonking a few keys with a disproportionate sense of glee. Safe is actually worse.

Sunday Jam is a welcome surprise. I found myself getting up and making a cup of tea as I thought the CD had stalled and inane elevator music was filling the gap. No, Sunday Jam is that elevator music. The lack of an elevator in my house should have given it away earlier.

Spectacle is actually quite a pleasant funky Starsky and Hutch number with an echoing mouth harp and some quite smart bass. Despite my prejudice I've got to admit this one is just a little bit groovy.

Ping pong is half a minute a ping pong ball bouncing on a table tennis table, You might think that's a pile of BS but you have to reserve that accolade for the truly dreadful cringe worthy Can Be (Can-can) number. How could anyone think this was a good idea? And even if they did, surely, but surely someone must have realised how hideously irritating and Goon Bay Dance Band this is. The Birdy Song and Grandad sound like prog classics in comparison.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars When I listen to this album, I keep feeling that I should be seeing Mike Myers, as Dieter on Saturday Night, whining, "Now iss ze time on Sprockets vhen ve dance."

This isn't a completely terrible Can album, it does have some listenable jams, but it in no way stands up to the better Can albums. Karoli, Schmidt and company are by no means virtuosos, but with the use of a studio full of effects, they come up with an album full of odd sounding dance tunes, but not terribly progressive ones.

Can? I'm not very certain they could at that point in their history.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Can's last album exists under three different titles. I've come to know it as Inner Space, but it is also listed as Can and it exists as a package where it is crammed onto one CD together with Out Of Reach. I've always loved this album so as a special tribute I'll post a review for this edition as well.

All Gates Open is a laid-back song on an entrancing chill-out groove. Almost sounding like Legendary Pink Dots, with that combination of bouncy, almost happy rhythms with melancholic layers of sound on top of it. Not entirely different from what they had done before but still quite a step further into new wave and dance territory. Excellent tune.

Next on is one of my favorite Can songs: Safe. It opens right into a very unsettling passage with hesitating, almost longing vocals on top of a complex drum and bass background. Then it gradually shifts into a cool funk groove with very simple but effective guitars. Another good minute further on the track gets very experimental. Still funky but with layers of sonics on top of it: guitars, vocals and tons of effects washing in and out like the waves of the sea. As far as I'm concerned they could have maintained this groove for 10 more minutes.

Sunday Jam is a great instrumental. Latin meets Kraut on this spaced-out guitar salsa. Sodom is another fluid guitar piece but more menacing. Almost a funeral march with cosmic electronics and bluesy guitar.

A Spectacle concludes this unbelievable consistent string of songs. Excellent funky beats. I could enjoy this tune for just the drum track alone. But on top of it you get that typical crazy Can ranting and weird electronics. Prog you can boogie to. Oh yes!

The remaining 7 minutes of the album are less spectacular. EFS Nr 99 is a cheesy bit of fun that is guaranteed to bring a smile on your face but not much more. It kind of breaks the gloomy atmosphere of the album and it's followed by 21 equally silly minutes of ping pong and the short album outro Can Be that kind of continues the tone set with EFS Nr 99.

Can went through many phases, this album is an example of their smoother and funkier style. It doesn't contain as much innovative aspects as the previous couple of albums but with 5 strong tracks amounting to 30 great minutes it's a solid 4 star again.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars I guess the iceberg credited with sinking the titanic is destined to have all subsequent achievements measured unfavourably against its coup de grace. CAN is highly regarded among the prog elite and far beyond prog - many artists of the 1970s, 1980s and beyond name CAN as a significant influence, and these include both other Krautrockers as well as those further afield. While I am only familiar with a small portion of their output, I actually find this late 1970s effort to be superior to the contemporaneous work by many of the prog giants of the day.

The playing is inspired, at times virtuous, the beats are infectious, albeit a bit too regular for the average elite prog fan, and the musicality of the exercises shine through all the period trappings in "Safe" and "Sunday Jam". These showcase Michael Karoli's guitar work and Irmin Schmidt's keys. There's generally a lot going on here but it succeeds in being mellow and groovy at the same time. Then again, "Sodom" and "Aspectacled" might be what detractors were referring to, trying too hard to establish a cool vibe, but the latter does have a decent synth theme. Luckily "Can Can", another installment of the ethnological forgery series kicks off its heels and provides welcome levity and clarity.

As someone who is not a fan of Kraut rock per se, my opinion might have more or less value to you depending on where you sit, but it seems that what CAN can do at their erstwhile worst is a pretty decent kick at the can.

Review by tarkus1980
3 stars I actually kinda like this album, as opposed to the last two which I kinda loathed. It's the same lineup as before, so there are certainly many instances of the same noodly boring stuff (or, in the case of "A Spectacle," ill-conceived and incompetent attempts at pop) that I didn't like from these guys before, but there are also tracks where the band's new jamming style seems to mesh. In particular, the opening two tracks, the longest on the album, each manage to keep my attention through almost their entire lengths, which definitely couldn't be said about "Animal Waves" from Saw Delight (which ran almost as long on its own as these two tracks put together). "All Gates Open" combines harmonica in the first part with some actual warmth in Schmidt's tone and note choices, and "Safe" kinda works as a 1979 update of the Flow Motion vibe. It's gritty, it's groovy, and it's sooooo German, (in a Kraftwerk way more than a typical Can way), and I like it, dagnabbit.

The next three tracks take the band into (by now) typical territory, which of course means that the rating inevitably goes down, though at least "Sodom" has somewhat of an air of morbidity. Just when I've resigned myself to the same ole head drooping, though, the album takes the ultimate left turn. Yes, I am speaking of the band's cover of "Can-Can," a track so wrong on every level that I nearly keel over laughing every time, and that's a good thing. I can see why many fans would hate it, of course; this is the kind of thing that Mannheim Steamroller spent their whole career doing, and the kind of thing people hate ELP for bringing about in the first place. But man, this isn't something the band did on a regular basis; this is a one-time joke from a band that never showed on-the-job humor, and it's an opportunity to make complete fools of themselves that the band takes full advantage of. Oh man, Karoli doesn't even try to show any "good taste" or restraint in his guitar sounds on this, a basically note-for-note cover of the original, and it's all for the better. The last track, which is basically variations on "Can-Can," is a hoot too.

A brief review of a largely insignificant album, yes, but an album I'm not sorry to have heard. The band really had no future at this point, and it was a good thing for them to break up, but there have been far worse farewell albums in history, and I'm glad to say that I really like more than twenty minutes of this.

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars The penultimate album by the late, great Krautrockers of CAN (before their final mid- 1980s reunion) originally appeared twice (actually two-and-a-half times) on their page here at Prog Archives. My copy is the cheesy 1985 Thunder Records re-package of the untitled 1979 original, one of the first compact discs I ever bought, which is only fitting, since the LP marked my initial exposure to arguably the best musical group of the late 20th Century.

In retrospect it wasn't an ideal introduction, and I wouldn't recommend it as such to anyone else. Can had been treading water for several years at that point, drifting a little too far from their more exploratory Krautrock roots after signing to Virgin Records in 1975. But this self-titled album (only later re-christened "Inner Space", the name of their home studio) at least marked a rehabilitation of sorts, sounding like a breath of fresh air compared to the uninspired doodling of their previous "Out of Reach" (the two albums were subsequently combined and sold on a single CD, a decent bargain for Can completists with money to burn).

First the good news: Holger Czukay, the band's irrepressible radio wave surfer and occasional bass guitarist, was back in the fold, although he doesn't actually touch a musical instrument here (this throwaway CD re-issue doesn't even mention it, but on the original vinyl he was listed as an "editor"). You can still detect his presence, however, not least on the oddball interlude "Ping Pong", believe it or not one of the highlights of the album.

This is pure Czukay: a 20-second (or so) audio-verité documentary of, you guessed it, a game of ping-pong, rather sloppily played while someone thumbs a kalimba in the background. Czukay's deadpan sense of humor also animates the faux-punk demolition of Offenbach's "Can-Can", an obvious choice for the band's periodic "Ethnological Forgery Series" of cultural facsimiles, and the best musical joke of its kind since Thijs Van Leer yodeled his way through "Hocus Pocus".

It was probably this track, and its ragged epilogue "Can Be", that sold my unrefined ears on the album in the first place, in much the same way that ELP's energetic update of Aaron Copeland's "Hoedown" jump-started my earliest interest in Prog Rock years before. "Can-Can", by the way, is listed as EFS #99, one of only a handful in the ongoing series to appear throughout the band's history. So where are all the rest?

The balance of the album is built on impeccably played but undemanding dance music for people (like me) with two left feet. "All Gates Open" is the best of the lot, with a sinuous subterranean groove, some funky chunky guitar, and a shifting wall of keyboard noise, always a Can specialty. But the other tracks tend to follow the example set by "Sunday Jam", a pleasant enough diversion with an all-too literal title, and like a lot of later Can music notably a jam, unlike the more challenging "instant composition" improvs of their earlier years.

In all, not the best swan song for such a groundbreaking and influential band (and a premature ending anyway: see 1989's more improved "Rite Time"), but in the context of their late '70s downward career arc a much better effort than could have been expected.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I find I am always a dissenter when it comes to this album. I own most of the early stuff, and though it is great in it's own way, alot of it was recorded on primitive equipment. And if you haven't figured it out by now, Can was basically an improvising band...what you heard on their albums was ... (read more)

Report this review (#159778) | Posted by ProggaWogga | Friday, January 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I remember hoping and praying for a return to form with this album, and you can tell that the band are trying. But without Czukay it's a hard slog. There's none of the inventive power of the early albums. Nothing here astonishes or delights. In parts the album is almost unlistenably bland. The ... (read more)

Report this review (#35309) | Posted by | Sunday, June 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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