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CAN

Krautrock • Germany


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Can biography
CAN is one of a few internationally known "Krautrock" groups; they are famous for their repetitive and hallucinatory sound. CAN was founded in 1968 by LIEBEZEIT, Irmin SCHMIDT and Holger CZUKAY, and in their early days they also included American singer Malcolm MOONEY or Japanese vocalist Damo SUZUKI. They transformed progressive-rock into a science. By bridging classical music, jazz music and rock music of their times, CAN accomplished the first organic study on rhythm and texture. Their hypnotic and glacial instrumental jams straddled the line between free-jazz, acid-rock and chamber music. CAN's music can be difficult to appreciate, yet their albums offer some of the best experimental rock ever recorded. Then there are always the myths, the legends and the fascination.

Here's a synopsis of most of their albums. I can recommend "Delay" through to Soon over Babaluma. "Delay" was the first album recorded although it was not released until 1981. Most of their albums are great, particularly "Monster Movie", "Soundtracks", "Tago Mago", "Future Days", and "Ege Bamyasi". After "Soon over Babaluma" I'd say forget it as CAN loose there fresh approach for which they were reknown. 1997 becomes the year where other musicians show the timeless aspect of CAN's music in the new remix album "Sacrilege". And this is the Sound of CAN in the nineties.

"Limited" and "Unlimited Edition" are a collection from 1968 to 1974. In the autumn of 1978, a double CD retrospective "Cannibalism 1" was issued on United Artists, and, for many, still stands today as the definitive CAN collection. It drew from the band's first six albums, but a tremendous sampling of songs from their essential early albums. "Cannibalism 1" is the best CD to buy to first experience the incredible music of CAN.

CAN's legacy still resounds clearly across the landscape of contemporary music. As Julian Cope concludes, "CAN will be remembered as one of the great 20th century bands. I've listened to their music for over 23 years, and I still freak out at their staying power... Every one of CAN's members is a hero, and a true star."

With due acknowledgement to Piero Scaruffi's book "A History of Rock Music" for some of the information and text quoted.

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CAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.78 | 240 ratings
Monster Movie
1969
3.79 | 191 ratings
Soundtracks
1970
3.93 | 447 ratings
Tago Mago
1971
3.88 | 304 ratings
Ege Bamyasi
1972
4.01 | 377 ratings
Future Days
1973
3.60 | 146 ratings
Soon Over Babaluma
1974
3.50 | 98 ratings
Landed
1975
2.95 | 81 ratings
Flow Motion
1976
3.32 | 71 ratings
Saw Delight
1977
2.36 | 51 ratings
Out Of Reach
1978
2.60 | 58 ratings
Can
1979
3.58 | 100 ratings
Delay 1968
1981
3.22 | 29 ratings
Inner Space
1985
3.01 | 42 ratings
Rite Time
1989

CAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 37 ratings
The Peel Sessions
1995
4.01 | 20 ratings
Box Music (Live 1971-1977)
1999

CAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.71 | 31 ratings
Can
2005

CAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.36 | 11 ratings
Limited Edition 1974
1974
3.53 | 41 ratings
Unlimited Edition
1976
2.88 | 13 ratings
Cannibalism 1
1978
3.09 | 3 ratings
Cannibalism
1978
4.14 | 5 ratings
Cannibalism 2
1990
4.59 | 16 ratings
Can Anthology
1994
4.00 | 3 ratings
Cannibalism 3
1994
2.78 | 11 ratings
Sacrilege
1997
2.00 | 2 ratings
Inner Space / Out of Reach
1998
2.38 | 4 ratings
Box (Compilation)
1999
4.09 | 39 ratings
The Lost Tapes
2012

CAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 5 ratings
Spoon
1972

CAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Saw Delight by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.32 | 71 ratings

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Saw Delight
Can Krautrock

Review by Fido73

4 stars No, Saw Delight is not a bad album, not in the same league as Tago, Ege or Future Days but still, it's a good album. I came to this album after hearing the previously mention, amazing albums. I thought I would be disappointed but no, it may sound a little more accessible but the groove are really great. Made in 1977 you can ear that sonically it's more modern than the early seventies release. It's start well with Don't Say No, a great groove that don't let go of your head long after hearing it. Sunshine Day And Night feels musically like you're in a caribbean island, that may sound un-prog, but it's done in a good way, Can style. The 3rd song, Call Me, sound closer to the old Can, very good song, short but good. Animal Waves is the long one, 15:30, love the drums on that track, the chord progression is simple but it let the drums shine thru, in fact, the drums may be the best thing on the album, so if you are a drum/percussion fan and like Can, this is a good album for you. Fly By Night, the last song is the only ok song of the album, it's not bad just ok. So, in conclusion, if you like Krautrock & Can, it's a safe bet, not a masterpiece like Tago, Ege or Future Days but it's a great addition to your Can collection.

4 Stars, Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

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 The Lost Tapes by CAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
4.09 | 39 ratings

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The Lost Tapes
Can Krautrock

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I know it may be a shock to hear that a 3-hour collection of Can rarities, early versions and live tracks would be messy as hell, but this 3-hour collection of Can rarities, early versions and live tracks is messy as hell. Yes, there's some nice previously unheard material from the Suzuki era of the band, but this collection also spends an extensive amount of time in the Mooney era, and there's also a good chunk of post-Suzuki material as well. A good chunk of this collection is essential or close to it, but there's also a good chunk that I would be perfectly fine never hearing again.

The Mooney-era material, taken from both the 1968 Delay 1968 era and the 1969 Monster Movie era, has especially tremendous variance in quality. On the plus side, this era contributes what may be the best track on the set: the 17-minute "Grablau," a monstrous jam sorta in the vein of "Mother Sky," with a brief vocal section in the middle so distorted and screwed up that it's impossible to tell it comes from Mooney, and which undergoes tremendous variation from start to finish. The set begins on a strong note in this era as well, thanks to a great mostly instrumental jam in the Monster Movie style (starting quiet and atmospheric before picking up speed and centering around a bassline that sounds like something out of a spy movie) called "Millionspiel." There are some other nice tracks from this era as well, such as the weirdly up-beat "Deadly Doris," the gentle guitar-centric "Oscura Primavera," and the hilarious "Midnight Sky," which sounds like Captain Beefheart doing blues rock in a slightly less screwed up way than usual for him. On the negative side, well, there's pretty much everything else from this chunk. "Waiting for the Streetcar" is quintessential bad Mooney-era Can, featuring instrumental backing that might be pretty decent but is completely obscured by the way that Mooney basically sings "Are you waiting for the streetcar?" (or close variations, with occasional other lyrics) repeatedly for ten minutes. Other Mooney-era material here is a little less stereotypical, but not much more listenable. "When Darkness Comes" and "Blind Mirror Surf" each feature a lot of ugly squealing noises without much payoff, and putting them back-to-back makes for a really difficult 12 minutes to endure. "Your Friendly Neigborhood Whore" is at least cheery and upbeat, but Mooney's ugly singing makes it no better than an average Delay 1968 number, and that means it's not very good. "True Story" is Mooney telling a story over an ugly keyboard sound for four minutes, and finally "Desert" is an early version of "Soul Desert," which was the worst song on Soundtracks by a good distance. Material like this only serves to remind me just how glad I am that Mooney left the band.

The Suzuki-era material doesn't exactly contribute a lot to the band's legacy, but it's definitely the most enjoyable era of the collection. There are fine live versions of "Spoon" (extended to 17 minutes!!), "Mushroom," and "One More Night" (here called "One More Saturday Night"), and they all show that the band's amazing jamming power during this era translated just fine out of the studio and into live performance. On the first CD, one rarity ("Evening All Day") is a bunch of go-nowhere noise-making, but another rarity, "Bubble Rap," is a great Ege Bamyasi-era track, with Damo preaching whatever over guitar growlings with an awesome strong tone and the rhythm section in peak form. Otherwise, the Suzuki material here consists of early versions of later classics (aside from the :37 of "The Agreement," which seems to be somebody talking while peeing): "Dead Pigeon Suite" is alternately beautiful, exotic and intense jamming that eventually turns into "Vitamin C"; "Abra Cada Braxas" sounds like an early version of "Bring Me Coffee or Tea"; "A Swan is Born" is an early version of "Sing Swan Song"; "On the Way to Mother Sky" is just what it says; "Messer, Scissors, Fork and Light" would eventually condense down into "Spoon." It's very interesting to hear these tracks in work-in-progress mode, and for the most part they would have been just fine even if the band hadn't refined them further, but these are hardly superior to the versions that actually made it onto the albums themselves.

The post-Suzuki material reflects the corresponding releases pretty well, in that it tends to still show a nice amount of creative spark but a little lack of focus. There's an early version of "Vernal Equinox" called "Midnight Men," and it has the basic skeleton in place but isn't quite the destroyer of worlds that "Vernal Equinox" would be. The one really long track from this era is a live performance of a track called "Networks of Foam," and what it lacks in structure it makes up in terrifying aggression and energy (Jaki and Michael, good grief), and it's definitely a keeper. The rest consists of short ideas not explored to full potential ("The Loop," "Godzilla Fragment," and "Alice," which is gorgeous and really needed a full song built around it), a short idea explored to full potential and still found wanting ("E.F.S. 108"), a gorgeous atmospheric meandering (with some singing but done so quietly that it may as well not be there) in "Private Nocturnal," and a silly funk/disco number from the Saw Delight era ("Barnacles," which probably would have been the best number on that album). Still, while this section of the set can't live up to the Suzuki section, it says something that there's clear keeper material in here.

In a way, it's fitting that this collection didn't come out until a very late date, because this is a set made for the iPod/digital library era. As irritating as a good chunk of this set may be, there's still a very nice collection as long as 2 CDs buried within here, and that material is worth keeping around. Any Can fan should acquire and hear the best material from this set, and if that means getting the full set and having a CD's worth of dead weight, then so be it, but it would be better just to hear the good stuff. And besides, indications were from Schmidt that this might be the end of viable releasable material from the band, and thus it's worth savoring these remnants of the band's career.

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 The Lost Tapes by CAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
4.09 | 39 ratings

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The Lost Tapes
Can Krautrock

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Can - The Lost Tapes (2012, recordings between 1968-1976)

I've been a fan of the Can's music for years now and I love their first five records. To me Can is perhaps the only rightful heir of the Beatles, being one of the most creative groups of music history. Furthermore, drummer Jaki Liebezeit is one of my favorite musicians. Listening to this German krautrock group you can hear all kinds of things to come later; psychobeat, breakbeats, minimal music, electronic music, moviesoundtracks, hip-hop, punk, spacerock, avant-garde. The list just goes on. The creative process of Can is distinctly different from other progressive groups, with an emphasis on improvisation and a playful interplay of minimal and chaotic elements. The sound of the band has always been very organic and 'in the moment', an element lacking in most progressive music.

In 2008 the process started of recovering 50 hours of 'lost tapes', though they were neglected or forgotten about. Can had it's own studio and they recorded almost everything. Most of time tapes were re-used, only things they really liked (in a 'non-sentimental way') were kept. Out of this Irmin Schmidt (keyboards) and Jono Podmore (editor) took more then three hours of material of which the tapes would be restored, transferred and remastered. The quality of the recordings is therefore no less then that of other Can albums. The live with audience recordings differ somewhat in quality, not in intensity though.

The material covers a wide time-span, yet this new triple record (of 5lp in my case) doesn't feel disconnected at all. The first vocalist, the American Malcolm Mooney with his eccentric, punchy and intense performance style can be heard on no less then seven tracks! The equally yet different Damo Suzuki appears on eight tracks. The others are instrumental. The material is made up of different aspects of the Can; the punchy heavy rock, the wild experimentation/avant-prog side, spacey rock, some composition and of course movie soundtracks. Now I myself often don't care to much for the avant-garde or free music parts, but some of these tracks are really amazing. The organ and spoken word track 'True Story' comes to mind.

At first it was a bit strange to realize, but this new release is actually as great as Monstermovie, Tago Mago and Soundtracks combined. Especially with the vinyl edition it feel like you have five new albums of one of your favorite bands from its best era. The bookwork is also nice & informative and the box is great looking. Standout tracks are Graublau (17 minutes of inventive psychobeat space rock), Obscura Primavera (short composition), True Story (before mentioned), Dead Pigeon Suite (a perfectly original and elegant remix of Vitamin C), Abra Cada Braxis (ten minutes of more Future Days!), Godzilla Fragment, Midnight Man (progressive spacerock!) and the Malcolm Mooney tracks like Waiting for a Streetcar, Deadly Doris and Desert.

Conclusion. This is perhaps the biggest treasure ever to be unearthed from the classic progressive rock era. Highly recommended to fans who will like almost every second of. Perhaps the minor fans - who have embraced the digital era - can make a shorter compilation of their own. I'm myself going to give this the highest rating! Brilliant music, well packaged and remastered. Unique experience and it came as a total surprise.

PS I think this record should considered to be an album instead of boxset/compilation. All the material is new.

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 The Lost Tapes by CAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
4.09 | 39 ratings

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The Lost Tapes
Can Krautrock

Review by javajeff

5 stars This album really deserves some love. If these tapes were lost, that would be a travesty. This is one of Can's best albums if not the best. The 3 CDs are loaded with music and contain some of Can's best songs. CD 1 alone has Millionenspiel, Waiting for the Streetcar, and Graublau that are favorites of mine. I listen to this album more than others due to the raw nature of the music. It can be experimental at times, jazzy, tribal, minimalistic, and pyschadelic. It is unmistakably Can. I am not a Krautrock fanatic or collect Krautrock bands, but I do love Can's early stuff. This is more of a good thing for any level Can fan, and a must buy.

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 The Lost Tapes by CAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
4.09 | 39 ratings

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The Lost Tapes
Can Krautrock

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I am not really a Can-fan. It is true that I have never delved deep into their secrets. I have only been scratching ever so lightly on their, as I have perceived it, rather inaccessible door. Still they have managed to keep me in their grip, always fascinating me, screaming in the back of my head. That is in itself quite a thing to give them credit for. To make things worse I have never been all that curious about so-called "lost tapes": What the hell are they? Really? Many times these "lost tapes" are nothing more than a clear-out of ones basement, packaged and sold under the presumption that the album(s) contain material of invaluable importance. In this occasion two things seem to be the case. First, the very existence of these "lost tapes" blew me off my feet, possessing my imagination and want. Secondly, everyone who knew anything seemed to be sharing the same bath-tub, all wallowing in the same lather of unashamed awe. So, what I felt, then, must be of some truth, albeit subjective in the view of objectiveness. Can was always, as is well known, a seldom seen oddity in progressive (or other) rock. They plowed their own furrow with their very own brand of musical conviction. "We'll play anything in any way we like and we don't care what you think about it", they seemed to say. Though I am not, as stated, a Can-fan of any rank, I am aware that their music, as any proud proggers would do, changed over time, becoming less free and "difficult". Their albums turned more easily accessible. When listening to their albums, Can's progression and eclectic approach to recording, isn't quite as clear as on this compilation. On this 3-disc Collection you find, as often stated, material that equals much of their regular output. As a showcase for Can's multifacetted talents it is precious and very interesting indeed, even for someone like me, only slightly acquainted with the band. You get every aspect of the bands musical adventures in the 60's and most of the 70's. Anything from soundtracks (Millionenspiel), pre-punk (Deadly Doris), sonic mayhem and free-form (Blind mirror surf), hard rock jamming (On the way to mother Sky), progressive rock (Dead pigeon suite), infective funk (Barnacles), ambient (Private nocturnal), beauty (Oscura primavera) and everything in between. I can't embrace everything but I like a lot on here and it shows their many faces in a grand way. This collection may appeal to already fans of Can but I can honestly say, being somewhat more of a casual admirer, that these discs are just as appealing for anyone interested in one of the greatest progressive bands in history. "The lost tapes" constitute a wonderful tapestry of originality and ingenuity. Art is a feeling and this is art. Whether or not you are able to appreciate all of it or bits and pieces, you can't help feeling increasingly impressed by the art created. Many a true fan would point, possibly, to "Tago mago" or some of the other classics of their discography but I feel this is as good a place to start as any. Impressive, engaging, enthralling and utterly original.

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 Soundtracks by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.79 | 191 ratings

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Soundtracks
Can Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars SOUNDTRACKS was a transitional album for CAN being not only a crossroads from the heavy psych jams of their first couple albums (i'm counting DELAY here) to the more experimental electronic and stranger albums that follow. Malcolm Mooney was on his way out and only appears on two tracks here, those being "Soul Desert" and the least CAN sounding track i've ever heard "She Brings The Rain" that actually reminds me more of a Stray Cats rockabilly sound than anything in the Krautrock world. This album marked the beginning of the new singer David Suzuki who really fits quite well with the sound and arrives at the time where he contributed to the new experimental phase.

Like the title suggests this album is a collection of tracks that were written for various films, the first three tracks being for the film "Deadlock" alone. Despite being composed for different sources, this album still feels like it could have been a real CAN album with the exception of the final track. The two singers on the album don't feel in conflict with another and actually adds a more diverse feel. My favorite track has to be the 14 minute plus "Mother Sky" which has the honor of being both hypnotically spacey and a serious rocker as well with a seriously beefy bass and a smokin' guitar which is some of the hardest rock CAN has ever indulged in. Not as good as the albums that precede and follow but still a good listen.

CAN isn't without their influences. This is Krautrock but for example "Dont Turn The Light On" reminds me a bit of "Sympathy For The Devil" by the Rolling Stones and I keep expecting a little "ooo, ooo" back-up vocals to take place. Basically don't expect a uniform album with this one but don't be surprised if it actually holds up as one. This is what it says, namely SOUNDTRACKS. This is a hodge-podge of tracks that are totally unrelated and are simply put together in a composite form to be released for consumption by fans, although I really wonder how many fans CAN had at this point being far removed from this place and time. Many decades after this release I find this to be a very worthy listen.

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 Tago Mago by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.93 | 447 ratings

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Tago Mago
Can Krautrock

Review by jeromach

5 stars It's interesting to realize how I (re-)reacted to this album.

Somewhere end of the nineties - through an Italian music afficionado I shortly e-mailed with - I came into contact with bands as Can, Amon Düül II and Faust. They were a revelation to me, after slightly earlier having become impressible to the more complex and out of the box kinds of music through listening (and accepting!) Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band.

I did enjoy Can a lot, but somehow got really and completely addicted to Amon Düül II that I played until I could dream it, resulting in more or less forsaking other music, including then of course Can.

It took me a couple of years to get rid of my addiction to the Düül and to spend time on listening to other interesting music. I - to my happy surprise - discovered RPI beyond PFM, a true rich world of fantastic music, but I also took some time to return in my own footsteps to "rediscover" the neglected music I liked some time ago.

So, I just now listened to Can's Tago Mago. I remembered Oh Yeah and Halleluwah of course, tracks I liked back then and still do. While listening to the tracks I was reading the reviews. Someone already noticed this is either a 1 to 2 or 4 to 5 star album, it either hits you, or it hits you (Good or bad that is :)). Apparently Aumgn and Peking O were responsible mostly for the 1 to 2 star ratings; a lot of people dislike these tracks, while other people that rated higher did like them but thought these tracks were "difficult". So, while listening to the first part of the album and getting on my way to Aumgn and Peking O I started getting a little afraid of having to wade through two quite long extending pieces of difficult or bad sounding music. I couldn't remember what these songs were musically about anymore, but I did remember that back then they hadn't been my most favourite songs.

But much to my surprise I had worried for nothing; I did LIKE Aumgn. And then Peking O - having been painted off as even more difficult - well, I even liked it better!

More or less this means that my musical taste is (has become in fact) different than that of most reviewers here, while a couple of years ago I probably would have thought the same about the two "difficult" songs. Beefheart taught me to open up my mind to different sounding music (and the enormous rich musical world that lied behind), this what now happened with Tago Mago more or less tells me that "training" makes you recognize the "value" of these "difficult" songs a lot faster than initially, if at all. So, I do understand those reviewers having diffuculties with this album, but I also think it takes a musically more matured mind to fully comprehend it. And that's much more an observation than a recommendation.

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 Future Days  by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 377 ratings

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Future Days
Can Krautrock

Review by ebil0505

5 stars Can plays with such a unique chemistry, they stand out so well among other prog bands. Both chill and trippy, they have solidified themselves as a succulent sounding group of musicians. Each breath of every drumbeat and all strums of the wavy guitar make Can send your mind to foreign landscapes. As relaxing as they are catchy, this was my first exposure to them and I was immediately hooked. The title track in particular sent me shivers by the time it reached the higher pitched singing, courtesy of Damo Suzuki, who actually tricked me into thinking there were two vocalists, such is his range. "Spray" was out there; it didn't appeal to me at first but over time I grew to appreciate as a stand-alone track on this album. "Moonshake" is a catchy hit single (at least in my mind) and offers a refreshing breath of rhythm before coming to the amazing paradise of "Bel-Air". With this sidelong suite, Can traverses psychedelic soundscapes with their ever-present rhythmic melodies. This song will make anyone's day brighter and I value it as one of prog's great suites. I'd recommend this album to anyone who likes music in general. The appeal is too broad to ignore and this album should be cherished by listeners of multiple genres.

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 Monster Movie  by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.78 | 240 ratings

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Monster Movie
Can Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Although CAN had enough previous material recorded earlier in the form of DELAY 1968 which wouldn't see the light of day until 1981, they felt they needed to record more accessible material. Really? Was this accessible even in 1969?!! Anyway they would be amongst the first of the Krautrock bands who would put the emphasis on a hypnotic, repetitive and often improvised layering of sounds to make some pretty groovin' music.

It seems that mainman and bassist Holger Czukay picked up a bunch of influences when he visited New York City in 1966 and returned to Germany transfixed by the possibilities of a new sounding rock form. By blending the minimalism of Steve Reich with the psychedelics of The Velvet Underground with some healthy doses of blues, free jazz and world music he succeeded in creating a new music form that would become a major influence in not only the nascent Krautrock scene but on such disparate genres as post-punk, indie rock and even some electronic artists.

This album has a unique sound all right even within CAN's own discography. It is mostly high energy hypnotic funk and rock with the focus on repetitive drumming. I find this a very interesting experience with the weak link possibly being Malcolm Mooney's less than outstanding vocal abilities. The final track 'Yoo Doo Right' which clocks in at 20:27 on the album is actually the edited version. The original was a 6-hour improvisation. I can only imagine what kind of mass quantities of drugs that must have been consumed to sustain such a thing for that long!

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 Monster Movie  by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.78 | 240 ratings

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Monster Movie
Can Krautrock

Review by VOTOMS

4 stars Everytime I heard of Krautrock the first thing to come in my mind is Monster Movie cover art. This is the definition of the "kraut rock" term for me, maybe because it was my first german prog album. Two points led me to curiousity about this record: 1- The giant robot at the cover. I really love giant robots. Is it a giant robot? 2- I heard that Yoo Doo Right was originally a SIX hours jam. That's insane!!! Listening to this album nowadays, you will probably think of post- punk. The repetitive beats, and the guitar tune, noise, everything is there. Actually, they are playing this a decade before the worldwide punk generation, and they knew what they were playing. Different than "normal" music, the rhythmic jam and repetitive sound of the krautrock can be very trippy, psychedelic and progressive, drilling your ears till your brain.

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