Saturday, February 20, 2010

I want more....

Well, it took me 30 yrs 2 hear them, but I think it was worth the wait.
Can's 2-CD ANTHOLOGY (2007) is the best new-2-me music I've heard in 4ever -- lighter & brighter than Van der Graaf, more involving than Fleet Foxes, way funkier than Norah Jones, tho not as hitbound as Jordin Sparks. Probly the best "new" stuff I've heard since the Dixie Dregs or Amazing Blondel's ENGLAND.
I like them. At their best, they sound like no1 else. I lean more toward their earlier, louder, more primitive stuff & would actually like some of it 2 B louder, wilder, more outta control. But I'm a sucker 4 Jaki Liebezeit's tribal-rhythm drumming & Michael Karoli's tasty & sometimes twisted guitar.
& the ... um ... vocalists? Malcolm Mooney & Damo Suzuki R both OK w/ me. Their twisted yowling & chanting & mumbling WORKS w/ this music -- if Liebezeit's drum patterns Rn't propulsive enuf, the vocals work up their own rhythm that keeps things moving. This is the 1st music I've heard in awhile that makes me WANT 2 move, tap my feet, bounce around the room.
A lot of this collection -- especially the earlier stuff -- is edited segments from longer pieces, & I'm keeping that in mind. I realize I may not B getting the full effect of these guys' work, but judging by the best stuff here, I'd like 2 hear more.
It mighta turned-out diffrently. The assemblers wisely opened the set w/ the hypnotic, repetitive "Father Cannot Yell," B4 plunging the listener (me) in2 the atonal gtr-chopping noise of "Soup." If they'd tried 2 B smart-asses & led the 1st disc w/ "Soup," I might not B writing this now. Instead, by the time I got 2 the track & heard Karoli apparently chopping in2 his gtr w/ a chainsaw, I was sorta ... ready 4 it & all I could do was laff.
Then came Suzuki's twisted mumbling on "Mother Sky," actually very pleasant. In this context, Mooney's singing on "She Brings the Rain" turns that song in2 a sorta gentle blues-jazz #, no big deal tho pleasant. MayB the compilers wanted 2 show all sides of the band. & that's fine. But from what I've read in other reviews, wouldn't "Deadlock" have been a better choice 4 another piece from SOUNDTRACKS?
More Suzuki on "Mushroom," more good mumbling & hypnotic rhythms. The repeating chorus-lines of "Outside My Door" coulda made it a hit (so what if that line's Bing shouted over & over?), & "Spoon" apparently went 2 #1 in Germany. I Blieve it -- also quite hypnotic.
I can't actually remember "Halleluwah" without playing it again (which I'll B doing soon), tho I Cm 2 remember more hypnotic rhythms. As 4 the abyss of noise that is "Aumgn," I find what sounds 2 me like a deep, delighted, demonic laff 2 B VERY disturbing, & I wonder what the full 18-min piece sounds like. & whether I'd survive it.
"Dizzy Dizzy" is very pleasant, w/ some nice murmured vocals by Karoli, possibly the 1st sign of these guys mellowing a little. Then the 1st disc closes w/ a big slab of "Yoo Doo Right," which has all the drive & great rhythms of the earlier stuff, but never Cms 2 get where it's going -- or the version I've got here has the climax edited off the Nd. As this long piece built slightly in in10sity, I wanted it 2 just get louder & wilder -- I wanted more thrashing, bashing, shrieking, freaking CRAZINESS ... & I was mildly disappointed when that didn't happen.
The 2nd disc plunges us back in2 more of the group's early recordings, from DELAY 1968 & UNLIMITED EDITION. "Uphill" is abrasive & jerky & loud, like much of the stuff here from MONSTER MOVIE. At 1st I wasn't sure, but I like it more each time I play it -- both the jerky, propulsive rhythms & the way Mooney sings it.
"Mother Upduff" is amusingly odd, & there's some great musical chaos going on Bhind Mooney's recitation & at the Nd. & summa the lyrics R just inXplicably hilarious: "Mother Upduff hadn't been out of Dusseldorf in 80 years...."
I skipped a few of the shorter trax from UNLIMITED EDITION & LANDED 2 get 2 summa the later highlights. & then Can started mellowing: In this context, "Moonshake," "Future Days" & "Cascade Waltz" R all quite pretty, & "Future Days" is very ... wet, like it coulda bn recorded in a bathroom. Or at the seashore. & the vocals on it R very nice....
& then they mellowed some more. "I Want More," "Don't Say No" & "Aspectacle" R pleasant enuf 4 what they R, but they show Can sorta Dvolving in2 pleasant, bouncy-disco mood-music w/ kinda nice murmured vocals & brief, catchy lyric lines ("No one can/Understand/You're dealing with/A crazy man...."). OK, but U can hear this kinda stuff elsewhere. It's pleasant, but it's not distinctive.
Liebezeit is still moving stuff along, but he sounds kinda "normal" now, not like a possessed master tribal drummer. Karoli's gtr is still pleasant & shows occasional noisy signs of life, & Irmin Schmidt's keyboards sometimes make some neat noises, but....
There's still 9 trax on this collection that I haven't played yet. There was a hint of some more attractive atonal noise at the start of "Below This Level," but I hadta go 2 work so I couldn't finish it. I'll listen 2 the rest (& go back 4 more on stuff like "Halleluwah") & if I stumble over NEthing major I'll add it here.
NE music that can get me bouncing around the room is pretty impressive 2 me, no matter what kinda noise they're making. The fact that Can at its best is propulsive, hypnotic, powerful, grating -- & I haven't had 2 turn NE of it off yet -- well, I'll B looking 4 more early stuff by these guys: MONSTER MOVIE, TAGO MAGO, SOUNDTRACKS, EGE BAMYASI, FUTURE DAYS, SOON OVER BABALUMA. From what I've read, there's a lot more great stuff out there 2 hear.
...& who's next? Oh I dunno -- mayB I'll try some early Brian Eno like Rastro urged me 2 do awhile back....

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