Can - 'The Lost Tapes'
The Holy Grail of krautrock still tastes bloody good
Can released 12 albums, and a number of outtakes have dribbled forth since. But for the krautrock aficionado, the tease that 100 tapes of unreleased material was sitting around was almost unbearable: akin to knowing the Holy Grail was sat in a cupboard in Cologne. Finally, Can keyboardist Irmin Schmidt and band associate Jono Podmore have dug in, and the results are pretty stunning: three CDs drawing on film soundtrack work, live material, experimental segments and sprawling jams that show the workings of later Can favourites.
Moments betray their difficult ‘new music’ beginnings: see ‘Blind Mirror Surf’, something like the sound of an exorcism played backwards as someone fastidiously detunes a room full of assorted string instruments. But much is brilliant. ‘Millionenspiel’ is a scorching spy-movie squall. ‘Dead Pigeon Suite’ is a haunted, raw, 12-minute prototype of ‘Ege Bamyasi’’s ‘Vitamin C’. And ‘Midnight Men’ and ‘Messer, Scissors, Fork And Light’ sound like two of their all-time great pieces, the former all frothy synth and gravity-defying percussion, the latter a super-dense Jaki Liebezeit drum jam apparently stitched together by Dr Frankenstein. ‘The Lost Tapes’ is no barrel-scraping… it’s more dark magic straight from the source.
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