Can | Artist

Can | Artist

Tags: Era_1970s, Genre_Kosmische, Origin_Germany, Type_Artist

Can was a German experimental Kosmiche rock band formed 1968 in Cologne, West Germany, by core members Holger Czukay (bass, tapes), Irmin Schmidt (keyboards), Michael Karoli (guitar, violin, vocals), and Jaki Liebezeit (drums). American Malcolm Mooney was the first vocalist and he sung on their excellent debut album Monster Movie from 1969. Japanese avant-garde musician Damo Suzuki then became vocalist between 1970-73 and sung on their four masterpiece albums of that period: Soundtracks, Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi and Future Days. Coming from backgrounds in the avant-garde and jazz, the members of Can blended elements of psychedelic rock, fun and noise on influential early albums. Starting out, the inclinations of the group founders had been exclusively avant-garde classical. In fact, both Schmidt and Czukay had directly studied under the influential composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Schmidt chose to play organ and piano, while Czukay played bass and was able to record their music with a basic two-track machine. The group was soon fleshed out by guitarist Michael Karoli, a 19-year-old pupil of Czukay, and drummer Jaki Liebezeit, who had grown disenchanted with his work in free jazz groups. As the group evolved they developed a more rock-oriented sound. Mooney made his last recordings with Can in December 1969 before returning to America, on advice from his psychiatrist that getting away from Can's chaotic music would be good for his mental health. He was replaced in May 1970 by Kenji "Damo" Suzuki, a young Japanese traveller Czukay and Liebezeit found busking outside a Munich café. Though he knew only a handful of guitar chords and improvised most of his lyrics Damo was asked to perform with the band. Although Can remained almost unheard of in the mainstream until many years later, they did enjoy the occasional commercial success, with singles such as "Spoon" and "I Want More" reaching national charts. Retrospectively, they have been widely hailed as pioneers of the German krautrock (Kosmiche) scene, and a considerable influence on subsequent rock, post-rock, ambient and electronic music. The band released a total of thirteen studio albums plus live albums, EPs and singles. Much of their non-album studio and live work has also been collected in various excellent archival releases. Outstanding albums include Monster Movie (1969), Tago Mago (1971), Ege Bamyasi (1972), Soundtracks (1973), Future Days (1973), Soon Over Babaluma (1974), Delay 1968 (1981), Music Live 1971-77 (1999), Live in Stuttgart 1975 (2021), and two superb archival releases; The Peel Sessions (1995) and The Lost Tapes (2012). The 2017 compilation album The Singles is also excellent. The roots of Can can be traced back to Irmin Schmidt and a trip which he made to New York City in 1966. While Schmidt initially spent his time with avant-garde musicians such as Steve Reich, La Monte Young and Terry Riley, he was also eventually exposed to the world of Andy Warhol and the Chelsea Hotel. In his own words, the trip "corrupted" him, sparking a fascination with the possibilities of rock music. Can effectively ended in 1977 with the departure of Holger Czukay, although they did release two further albums. All of the individual members of Can have released various solo works and collaborations.

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Featured Albums: Can

Related Artists: Irmin Schmidt, Holger Czukay, Jaki Liebezeit, The Inner Space, Damo Suzuki

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