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Can Rite Time album cover
3.04 | 90 ratings | 8 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. On the Beautiful Side of a Romance (7:27)
2. The Withoutlaw Man (5:00)
3. Below This Level (Patient's Song) (3:43)
4. Movin' Right Along (3:24)
5. Like a New Child (7:41)
6. Hoolah Hoolah (4:31)
7. Give the Drummer Some (6:44)

Total Time 38:30

Bonus track on CD editions:
8. In the Distance Lies the Future (4:02)

Line-up / Musicians

- Malcom Mooney / lead vocals
- Michael Karoli / guitar, pocket organ, bass, chorus vocals, co-producer
- Irmin Schmidt / keyboards, kalimba
- Holger Czukay / bass, French horn, dictaphone, synthesizer, co-producer
- Jaki Liebezeit / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Werner O. Richter

LP Mercury ‎- 838 883-1 (1989, Germany)

CD Mercury ‎- 838 883-2 (1989, Europe) With a bonus track
SACD Spoon Records ‎- SPOONSA 29 (2006, Europe) Remastered by Andreas Torkler

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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CAN Rite Time ratings distribution

(90 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(19%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (32%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

CAN Rite Time reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by corbet
2 stars uhh, what is this album? Before I bought it, I remember reading reviews calling it "CAN's return to form." If this is CAN's form, then CAN's form sucks horribly. However, the pure retardedness of this music makes it somehow soothing in a chaotic world, and I will throw it on every now and then just to comfort myself. I love these weirdos.
Review by soundsweird
2 stars One would think that a 10-year layoff would have those creative juices flowing at maximum, but such is not the case. It looks like Can, it sounds like Can.... I think this album was the result of one of the many spikes in Can interest that are generated periodically, with money being the main impetus for its creation. Once again, I'll say avoid anything after "Saw Delight", except for some good solo albums, of course.
Review by Neu!mann
4 stars The surprise reunion in the mid-1980s of the original late '60s line-up of CAN must have caught a lot of fans by surprise, arriving as it did after a decade of silence from the band at large. And it sounded like nothing the group had ever done before, least of all the crude but quintessential Krautrock of their debut album "Monster Movie", released a full generation earlier, back when the band was (unfortunately, to native English speakers) still known as THE CAN.

But how could it have sounded the same? CAN was a band that rarely (if ever) repeated itself, and this particular set of musicians hadn't played together for something close to 15 years, ever since vocalist Malcolm Mooney was forced to quit the music business (at the insistence of his shrink, according to CAN legend).

The chance discovery years later of an unused airline ticket voucher behind his couch led Mooney to resume contact with his erstwhile bandmates, who by then had all but abandoned the spent force of their once formidable alliance. But a recording session in southern France soon followed, and the resulting album has to rank among the most belated follow-up efforts in rock music history.

The years apart at least seemed to have recharged their creative batteries, showing some of the energy and intuition conspicuously missing in the band's last few studio albums. The music is certainly more song-driven than before, but each track was clearly built out of some impromptu collective jamming, over which Mooney improvised his meandering, stream-of-consciousness (and typically out of tune) vocals. The singer's strictly amateur "performance" is (as in "Monster Movie") an acquired taste, but it fits snugly within the CAN ideal of pure, unrehearsed musicianship: "instant composition", in CAN vernacular. And there's something uniquely endearing about his habit of singing "something, something." when he can't think of any actual words.

The remaining instrumentation is, as always, flexible. Guitarist Michael Karoli could sub on violin when needed; drummer Jaki Liebezeit doubled on trumpet and piano. And Holger Czukay was always more comfortable "playing" a short-wave radio rather than his bass guitar, when he wasn't indulging his perverse fascination with the French horn (played with all the enthusiasm and skill of a grade school band beginner, and all the more vital for it).

Don't expect anything like the raw Krautrock thrashes of their early LPs. But anyone wanting to compare apples to oranges might find more similarities than expected. The production here has a polished, high-gloss sheen unheard of in the band's two-track tape days, but with only a slight stretch of imagination you can still draw a (relatively) straight line from older Mooney tunes like "Fall of Another Year" and "Connection" (both off the 1976 "Unlimited Edition" set) to the new album opener "On the Beautiful Side of a Romance" or the driving groove of "Movin' Right Along".

The element of chance, so invaluable to CAN's best recordings (but lacking from later efforts), is also alive and well, albeit in a more (dare I say it?) mature form. But on closer inspection the album may not be as haphazard as it likes to sound. Look at the odd chronology: it was recorded in 1986, mixed in 1988, and finally "edited" and released in 1989. Why the long delay? My guess is that the songs were painstakingly assembled, bar by bar, on the editing table from a jumble of loosely organized segments. If it's true, someone (probably Holger Czukay, whose solo albums are monuments to early sampling technology) made a heroic effort to make the album sound as cohesive as it does.

And the symmetry of the project makes perfect sense, rounding off twenty years of sometimes startling creative music-making with the same quintet that started it all. It's a fitting bookend to a long and (still) influential career, and not a bad encore for a bunch of guys all (with the exception of the younger Michael Karoli) near 50 years old when the album was finally released.

Review by Tom Ozric
3 stars The name 'Can' within the music world was almost something relating to a bygone era by the time 'Rite Time' had appeared in 1989. This album, actually recorded in '87, shelved, mixed in '88, shelved, finally prepared for release during '89 by Holger Czukay, demonstrated a group of musicians that had polished their 'chops' and releasing something which was almost a convincing, mainstream product that was (possibly) aimed at winning a legion of new fans, and maybe becoming a new lease-of-life for the fans of old - that's the way I understand it to be, but it didn't quite work out that way. 'Rite Time' tried too hard to be an acceptable item, both commercially, and nostalgically, and hence only featured shades of brilliance. The line-up was once again the 'classic' one of MONSTER MOVIE infamy with dear Malcolm Mooney on vox, Czukay on Bass and Horn, Liebezeit on Percussion, Karoli on Guitars and Schmidt handling the modern keyboards (no trippy Farfisa Organs or Alpha 77 synthi this time around) , the choice tunes of the album are the longer cuts : 'On The Beautiful Side of a Romance' being one of Can's most accomplished compositions, 'Like a New Child' and 'Give The Drummer Some' showing elements of the free-spirited jamming that was their trademark during the 70's. The shorter tunes are quirky, catchy and slightly demented thanks to Mooney's ranting - for me, I say it's worth it for the Beautiful Romance track alone, so, generously award it a 3 star rating.
Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's hard to make sense of the hate Can keeps receiving on PA. Ok, they are possibly at the farthest end from mainstream prog as you can get, but Rite Time is such an original and deserving album that gets close to no recognition again, despite the excellent material it has to offer.

Rite Time welcomes the return of Malcolm Mooney, the Can vocalist of the earliest days. Mental problems made him break with the band in 1970, but he sounds like he's back in great shape here (at least if you are attracted to the idea of Captain Beefheart in a delirious state). The album features a new sound and a wide variety of styles that preceding Can albums only hinted at. Which is logical, Can wouldn't have reunited if they didn't have something new to offer.

This album is one of a kind in their discography and while it aligns with innovative spirit of Can, the approach is more restrained and takes Can's known affinity with avant-garde, new-wave and world music to a new 80s context. The two Tuxedo Moon fans and three Japan/Sylvian fans on this site should watch out for this one. There are multiple essential Can pieces here. The opener for instance is certainly amongst my favorite 'songs' from the band. Also the demented reggae of The Without Law Man , the bouncy Moving Right Along, the spacious Like a New Child and the mysterious In the Distance Lies the Future register as mandatory Can to me.

Even for fans of the band it's nearly impossible to predict if you would appreciate this album or not. Not because the quality is questionable, but because this David Sylvian type of avant-garde rock might be too far removed from the vintage free-form 70s Can sound. It certainly took me a couple of tries over the years but I'm so glad I kept trying.

Review by tarkus1980
3 stars The Monster Movie lineup, together again. Mooney apparently felt the grip of nostalgia after finding an old airplane ticket dating to his days in the band, but I'm not sure what exactly drove the others to decide to get back together for this (it wasn't for commercial reasons, that's for sure). My guess, though, is that it was decided early on that this was just going to be a one time thing, that they weren't going to try and make this into a serious 'renaissance,' but instead would just get together, have another fling, and that would be that. The result will naturally disappoint any fan hoping for a return to the good ole days, but come on; the band hadn't made one of those kinds of albums for well over a decade by the time they got together to start recording this.

This isn't a particularly good album, but it isn't a bad one either, and given the choice between having to listen to all of Monster Movie or this again, I'd likely pick this one. Mooney, surprisingly, is in good form throughout; I mean, he doesn't have much of a voice, but he never goes into overboard screaming fits or into endless repeated mumbling, and that's at least something. The rest of the band basically sounds like what you'd expect Can crossed (to varying degrees) with generic 80's music to sound like. Jaki isn't his former beast self, and he's got some electronic augmentation, but heck, he had some of that in the 70's, and he doesn't sound like a hack, so he's fine. Schmidt's gotten a bit too fond of generic adult contemporary sounds (especially in the longest song on the album, "Like a New Child," which oddly enough also has some really ugly noises as well), but he gets a couple of moments where you can tell it's him. And Karoli and Czukay, well, they're what they've always been.

Since nobody really cares about track-by-track analysis for a late 80's Can album, I'll just mention a select few standouts. The opening "On the Beautiful Side of a Romance" would be better if it were shorter and didn't have so many parts where the limitations of Mooney's voice are put on full display, but it has a nice atmosphere and just a little bit of the "danger" feel of old. "The Withoutlaw Man" is an amusing piece that kinda sounds like late-90's Tom Waits, except slightly cheerier and two octaves higher (and with more guitar), "Below This Level (Patient's Song)" is a sorta jazzy-poppy sci-fi number that's definitely ... unique ... and "Hoolah Hoolah" is the best I could imagine a track being that features Mooney and backing harmonies 'singing' lines like "They do wear pants in the southern side of France." And dig the circus organs in the background!

The other tracks aren't so great, but they're not horrendous, and in the end I can safely give this a decent grade. The world could have survived had a song like "Hoolah Hoolah" never been done, but it's one of the more delightful absurdities I've taken part of in my life, and quite a bit of this album is recommendable to an eclectic. Of course, hardcore Can fans will probably hate it, and non-hardcore Can fans probably wouldn't be looking for albums like this in the first place, but whatever.

Latest members reviews

4 stars 3.5 Stars, with the rounding going to 4! Pleasantly surprised, much better than expected!! To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect from a late 80's Can album, but I can say for sure the artwork doesn't give the slightest hint to how much fun this album is, it's one you can feel they ... (read more)

Report this review (#3035950) | Posted by BeamZappa | Saturday, April 6, 2024 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Frank Zappa once pondered - Does Humour Belong In Music? RITE TIME is one of the funniest records I know of. If you take it seriously you'll miss the whole point. The lyrics are more important here than the music (a first for this band), and since they were written by a guy with moderately s ... (read more)

Report this review (#35312) | Posted by | Sunday, June 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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