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Can - Music (Live 1971 - 1977) (1999)

Rock, Progressive Rock | Author: artmuss | 20-01-2015, 16:53
Can - Music (Live 1971 - 1977) (1999)
Artist: Can
Title Of Album: Music (Live 1971 - 1977)
Year Of Release: 1999
Label: Mute/Spoon Records / 9102-2
Genre: Krautrock, Psychedelic, Progressive, Experimental Rock
Total Time: 2:02:58
Format: FLAC (tracks +.cue, log-file)
Quality: Lossless
Total Size: 606 mb (Covers)

1-1 - Giessen - Universit?t 14/10/75
1-2 - Brighton - Sussex University 19/11/75
1-3 - Brighton - Sussex University 19/11/75
1-4 - Keele - University of Keele 2/3/77
1-5 - Croydon - Greyhound 4/5/75
1-6 - London - Sound Circus 23/3/77
2-1 - Colchester - University Of Essex 8/5/72
2-2 - Hatfield - Hatfield Polytechnic 21/11/75
2-3 - Cologne - Sporthalle 3/2/72


Disc 1:
1. Jynx (16:06)
2. Dizzy Dizzy (8:02)
3. Vernal Equinox (12:44)
4. Fizz (6:27)
5. Yoo Doo Right (14:26)
6. Cascade Waltz (4:48)

Disc 2:
1. Colchester Finale (37:24)
2. Kata Kong (8:28)
3. Spoon (14:23)

This is a selection from the limited-edition Can boxset, concentrating, as the title makes clear, on live recordings from the Seventies. A gift for the Can fanatics? Yup - but only for the really diehard ones. This lengthy 2-CD set is entirely dedicated to the band's superhuman jamming power, downplaying their strengths as wizards of technology and noise experimentators. (I mean, there's plenty of noise in this package, but it's usually just the result of the band's overplaying). And these are long jams, too - the 'Colchester Finale' on the second CD drags over thirty seven minutes (!), and few of the others are shorter than eight or ten.
The tracks themselves are more or less divided 'half in half' - about a half are live versions of the band's studio originals, and the other half are fully spontaneous improvisations without any apparent connections. That said, even the "well-known" songs are often reworked beyond recognition, often preserving as much as the main riff and nothing else. It's pretty hard to recognize 'Dizzy Dizzy', for instance, apart from the main 'shaking' rhythm, or 'Vernal Equinox', or 'Spoon'. And I guess it's not even necessary to try to recognize them; Live just emphasizes Can the Jammers, it has nothing to do with recreating the studio stuff note for note (not to mention that the "studio" stuff itself was for the most part recorded live as well).

Overall, this is some terrific musical stuff you got here, but it's not without its problems. First of all, it may say 1971-1977 for all I care, but the first CD is entirely dedicated to the post-Suzuki era; and the Suzuki-era is mainly represented by the already mention 'Colchester Finale' (the band's encore performance at the University of Essex in May '72), which is really the least intriguing track on the album, and the most abysmally recorded one, with trashy audience bottleg quality. Thirty seven minutes of poorly recorded "chaos within structure" isn't my personal idea of a good time, and it's really not until the last five or seven minutes or so that the band really goes into kickass mode. Not to mention that Suzuki himself is almost inaudible. My advice is to skip the first twenty minutes of the track so that you could initially get closer to the mind-blowing conclusion of the track, with the synthesizer roaring as if it were an exploding nuclear bomb. The fourteen-minute version of 'Spoon' is far better, but still can get tedious halway through.

So my main money is on the first CD of the two. I'm pretty sure that with a little more care and elaboration, they could have easily plunked out some prime Suzuki era material, but then again if it all sounds as shitty as 'Finale', maybe not. But at least the stuff from 1975-77, occupying the first CD, while nowhere near as "wild" as Can used to have it with Suzuki, is far more clearly recorded. Now if your jamming tolerance is low, you'll probably hate the first CD as well. But let's get this straight - in the Seventies, Can used to be the jam band number one, and if you hate this stuff, then I guess improvisation is just not your warhorse. Not that I ever was a huge improvisation fan, you understand, but in Can's case I make an obvious exception.

I'd say the main star of these proceedings, once again, is Herr Karoli (may he rest in peace). His playing onstage is essentially bluesy/jazzy and he doesn't seem to be using many particularly untrivial licks, but he's got a great feel for what he's doing and he builds up the atmosphere masterfully - beginning from syncopated, almost minimalistic phrasing and then slowly, but faithfully piling one super-heroic passage over another until you're ready to scream bloody mercy. The fully improvised 'Jynx' which opens the album is easily the best example of his style, with Karoli going nuts over his wah-wah... until it culminates in a series of "synthesizer orgasms" from Herr Schmidt. Who is, by the way, hero number two of the proceedings, whenever Karoli shuts himself down for a moment and lets Irmin take over. Of course, one wouldn't want to downplay the role of Czukay either, and Jaki Liebezeit sums up the picture with his immaculate drumming, although I must confess I like him much better when he's acting like the human drum machine than when he's actually trying to 'experiment' with his beats. Sometimes it's wiser to cling to the minimalistic kick-snare kick-snare scheme, you know.

Not much can be said about the individual tracks, actually. Quite frankly, I'd rather be reviewing Limp Bizkit than trying to describe an actual jam, let alone a Cam jan, er, Can jam. It's wonderful, ominous, dreadful, terrifying music, especially when you blast it out loud of your window sending all the neighbours to run for cover. But it's all based on more or less the same emotional expectations throughout (with a few minor exceptions like the almost "mellow" performance of 'Cascade Waltz' at the end of CD 1), and while Can were able to reflect a whole spectrum of emotions from dread to bliss on their original studio albums, Can Live concentrates on just one part o' that spectrum. But it's a fascinating part all the same.

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