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4.0 out of 5 stars Major post punk influence, 21 July 2013
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This review is from: Anthology (Audio CD)
Great intro. to the varied world of the highly significant German Art-rockers. Incorporates all of their best work which was popular with many later musicians, particularly those labelled "post-punk".
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reissue of classic Can primer..., 6 Dec 2007
Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Anthology (Audio CD)
This two disc compilation, which like much of Can's back catalogue bar Out of Reach, was originally on cd in the mid 1990s - now it's lovingly remastered and tweaked and definitely worthy of attention. These days Krautrock is very well known, we're a decade or so on from Julian Cope's Krautrocksampler (reprint and annotate from the present day please Mr Cope!)and mungbeans like Kasabian mention Faust now...But if you're not yet acquainted with the wonder that was Can, this two disc Anthology is a pretty decent primer - taking in most of their career and a precursor to the excellent two disc compilation of remixes that tied in with the splendid Can DVD a few years ago.

Can were, for the most part, Holger Czukay, Michael Karoli (RIP), Jaki Liebezeit, and Irmin Schmidt - and of course their two great frontmen, Malcolm Mooney and Damo Suzuki (and Tim Rose was almost a member, as were members of PIL, and then there was that dude Rosco Gee). But Can always seemed to me Czukay-Karoli-Liebezeit&Schmidt - and often were - having a definite chemistry that managed to fuse their respective styles. This sounds easy, but it's surprising how few bands have that - not that it always worked, and apart from 1989's late flower Rite Time, there is quite a bit of debate over the value of the Can output following 1974's Soon Over Babaluma (...though there are some odd great moments, which this compilation captures, as well as some great solo works, notably Czukay's grounbreaking Movies, also reissued in 2007). I'd still recommend getting all the reissues of all Can albums though...they were Can, after all.

Can remain one of the most groundbreaking, influential and referenced bands of all time, they have been cited and can be detected in work by the following: PIL (the improvisation & oddness of the first three albums and Lydon's great radio broadcast), Radiohead (have covered Thief and used the Can approach of recording on Dollars & Cents), Sonic Youth (cited Ege Bamyasi on their first e.p.), Happy Mondays (Halleluwah=Hallelujah & Madchester), Kanye West (sampled Sing Swan Song on his latest LP), David Sylvian (worked with Czukay & Liebezeit , Japan's Ghosts probably stems partly from Aumgn), Jah Wobble (worked with Czukay & Liebezeit - get those records too!), Talk Talk (Mark Hollis cited Tago Mago as an influence on masterpiece Laughing Stock), The Stone Roses (just play Fools Gold 953 or Something's Burning against early 70s Can), Lo Fidelity All Stars, Julian Cope, Loop (covered Mother Sky), Brian Eno (paid tribute to them on the Can DVD, obviously a fan of Czukay's editing techniques), Blur (think of the stranger Blur albums or the world elements on Think Tank or much of Albarn's other careers), Primal Scream (Burning Wheel sounds like Future Days at the start & Liebezeit played on Xtrmntr), Depeche Mode (Liebezeit played on Ultra), Talking Heads (Eno-produced TH was a tighter take on Soon Over Babaluma-Can), The Fall (wrote I am Damo Suzuki, Mark E Smith reportedly a big fan of Suzuki's solo work), The Jesus & Mary Chain (covered Mushroom - probably Gillepsie's doing), 23 Skidoo, This Heat, Joy Division (have mentioned listening to Tago Mago at the time), David Bowie (has named Future Days as one of his favourite albums), U2 (took Can approaches and sounds into their interesting years, from Achtung Baby! to Pop), The Flaming Lips (wrote a Mushroom-inspired song on one of their early records), UNKLE (one of the many remixers on Sacrilege), Spoon (wonder where they got their name from?), The Mooney-Suzuki (ditto Spoon), The Pop Group (was reminded of the out there bits on Tago Mago when listening to the reissue of Y earlier this year) etc. Can are a big deal...

These two discs are packed, though I think every Can album from Delay 1968 to Babaluma should be owned (at least) - you should only settle for the full length/infinite version of Mother Sky, a wonder of a song influenced by the Velvet Underground's Sister Ray and a song that blows my mind (still!) years after hearing it. Some of Can's material might make you think of post-Syd/pre-Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd, or The Doors playing He Loved Him Madly, or some post-punk or baggy. They probably have always been here before, if you think about it...

But so many joys here (labelled parts one to ten): 1. Halleluwah (Fools Gold 9.53 + Martin Hannett x Happy Mondays), which displays Can's minimal approach that could seemingly go anywhere, rivalling certain Ennio Morricone. 2. Spoon 3. Moonshake - both examples of space funk, the former was kind of a hit in West Germany at the time and always makes me think of the great adaptation of Alan 'biggest Can fan in the universe' Warner's Morvern Callar 4. Mother Sky, it might be edited for space purposes, but it's Mother Sky? 5. She Brings the Rain, one of Mooney's greatest moments, great to compare that acoustic-jazz vibe with Suzuki's more out there moments that followed 6. Last Night Sleep, the latest song here from the Rite Time line-up and gorgeous stuff from Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World soundtrack - a shame they didn't record a whole LP like this song! A bit world, odd chants that sound like foreign languages, and something very Can present and correct 7. I Want More, one of the greatest pop songs ever and one of my favourite TOTP performances (shame about the Noel Edmonds joke before they mimed!). The repetition here setting the mode for great pop from Kylie and Girls Aloud, obviously...I WANT MORE AND MORE AND MORE AND MORE...8. Below this Level, though I think Rite Time deserves its reputation as a late classic and warrants purchase as much as Monster Movie or Future Days 9. Mushroom, one of Suzuki's greatest moments - is he singing "I gotta keep my despair" or "I gotta keep my distance?" - makes you think of Hiroshima and that great thing in rock and roll of the last thirty odd years where a new language is created, or at the very least, spoken in 10. Aumgn, the epic instrumental that slays many a listener who had previously coped with the first four songs on Tago Mago - it sounds quite normal these days and set the tone that bands like Cabaret Voltaire, The Pop Group and Throbbing Gristle would continue over the next few years (the strange violin noise here recurs on Y by the Pop Group and makes me think of Genesis P Orridge's violin playing in TG).

This is the very least Can you should own - though it's a lot more funky and organic, for the most part, that the motorik joys of Cluster, Harmonia, Kraftwerk and Neu! Salute those great bands of West Germany in the 60s and 70s who went beyond inner space and created the future as we know it...
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