Customer Review

15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Time Goes Marching On, 24 July 2012
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This review is from: Lost Tapes Box Set (Audio CD)
Can is a band I have loved since before I even heard them. It was the
original sleeve of their Unlimited Edition album that did it for me.
The weird looking people. The strange museum-like setting. Mind you,
was only 16.

This boxed set/big download is real value for money for Can Fans, as
the other reviews here will testify. But I'm torn, because a lot of
water has flowed under the musical bridge since Can's heyday, and what
was once forcefully original and musically adventurous may sometimes
now sound brash and difficult.

Of the four primary members time has been the least kind to Michael
Karoli, the guitarist who made it OK to play "wrong" notes. Not only
has he departed this life, his legacy now sounds extremely ungainly,
and his contribution probably accounts for most of the difficulty
"normal" music fans have with Can. Certainly, the sonic quality and
intonation of his guitar work grates on my ear, and I can't help
wondering if most of these tracks were left in the vault simply
because Karoli had no idea what he was doing. Folks, his guitar is out
of tune!

Whilst I'm being picky let me point out that most of what Malcolm
Mooney was doing also sounds somewhat awkward now. OK, he's making a
lot of it up on the spot, and so a little licence should be given, but
his endless repetition and hesitant flight of fancy techniques seem at
times nothing more than amateurish. Again, time has not been kind.

But there is no doubt that Czukay is a kind of genius, and Liebzeit
and Schmidt are each without peer in their respective fields. It is a
testament to the solidity of their input that it was not overwhelmed
by the less professional work of Karoli and Mooney.

I think there is a killer single album in here somewhere, but much of
the boxed set is filler and of interest only to long time fans. Ditch
the alternative/live/emerging versions of well known tunes and make
them available as free downloads. Remaster and blend the half dozen
brilliant tracks and charge the going price for them.

This isn't a dreadful album, but neither does it make a lasting final
testament to one of the great pioneering bands.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Aug 2012 13:13:21 BDT
Aysedasi says:
Man, you must be tone deaf to insult Karoli like that.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Aug 2012 22:28:02 BDT
Peri Urban says:
I understand. It's difficult to think that someone as iconic as Karoli was to me and many others might simply have been floundering, but that's what my ears tell me. I have very good relative pitch recognition, perhaps too good. I don't mean to denigrate Karoli's legacy in its entirity. Many of the original releases were vital and sparkling with a kind of raw untamed energy, but remember that the boxed set under review contains tracks that didn't make it onto those albums. At least some of the reason (in my view) was that the tracks didn't hang together quite as well as the ones we now call classic, and in large part this is down to some sloppy guitar work. Just my opinion, and no insult intended. (In fact, Karoli himself complained that until Landed he could never hear himself properly, since the studio was somewhat primitive.)

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Sep 2012 17:42:46 BDT
Dr Lapelle says:
Are we talking about the same guy that played the amazing guitar stuff on "Mother Sky"?

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Sep 2012 22:00:50 BDT
Peri Urban says:
Yeah. Now THAT was a classic. Just a shame that there is so much sub standard stuff on the boxed set under review here.

Posted on 14 Dec 2012 00:49:22 GMT
AK 1957-05 says:
Good review. There's a lot of snobbery around Can, and people seem to delight in declaring their love for the most atonal, least listenable items in their oeuvre. I do love Karoli however - in fact, Karoli IS Can for me, but I'm not a huge fan of the shouty era of Mooney and Suzuki. OK, I'm a pleb - as the aliens in Stardust Memory might have said, I prefer their later, more accessible stuff. I love "Can" (the album), Soon Over Babaluma, Landed, even Flow Motion and especially the fabulous Out Of Reach. There's plenty of stuff on Lost tapes I enjoy, but how I would have loved a triple disc collection of Karoli/Schmidt/Liebezeit/Czukay (with Rosko and Rebop) unheard tunes.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Dec 2012 05:45:17 GMT
Peri Urban says:
I love Karoli too. It's just that he seems a wee but exposed on this collection.

Posted on 9 Mar 2013 20:12:35 GMT
mcleod says:
Maybe it was the equipment I listened to the original albums on, but sometimes Michael Karoli's guitar was too loud in the mix and Irmin's keyboards too low in the mix. Somehow, listening the Lost Tapes on MP3 Irmin's contribution is so much clearer and the way those two guys are complementing each other in what they're playing is much more apparent to me. Yes I also hear some notes that appear not in tune, but Michael was the kind of player who could work with that, and I like the out of tune bits from him. Malcolm sings some good stuff on the Lost Tapes, equal to anything on Monster Movie, he just ENGAGES you so much with his singing and his vision even though he's hard to listen to at times : he is unique, what he puts out is so full of feeling. I am thrilled at how much wonderful material is on this box set, but I've no problem with you saying otherwise.
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