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Can - The Lost Tapes CD (album) cover

THE LOST TAPES

Can

 

Krautrock

4.12 | 55 ratings

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friso
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Can - The Lost Tapes (2012, recordings between 1968-1976)

I've been a fan of the Can's music for years now and I love their first five records. To me Can is perhaps the only rightful heir of the Beatles, being one of the most creative groups of music history. Furthermore, drummer Jaki Liebezeit is one of my favorite musicians. Listening to this German krautrock group you can hear all kinds of things to come later; psychobeat, breakbeats, minimal music, electronic music, moviesoundtracks, hip-hop, punk, spacerock, avant-garde. The list just goes on. The creative process of Can is distinctly different from other progressive groups, with an emphasis on improvisation and a playful interplay of minimal and chaotic elements. The sound of the band has always been very organic and 'in the moment', an element lacking in most progressive music.

In 2008 the process started of recovering 50 hours of 'lost tapes', though they were neglected or forgotten about. Can had it's own studio and they recorded almost everything. Most of time tapes were re-used, only things they really liked (in a 'non-sentimental way') were kept. Out of this Irmin Schmidt (keyboards) and Jono Podmore (editor) took more then three hours of material of which the tapes would be restored, transferred and remastered. The quality of the recordings is therefore no less then that of other Can albums. The live with audience recordings differ somewhat in quality, not in intensity though.

The material covers a wide time-span, yet this new triple record (of 5lp in my case) doesn't feel disconnected at all. The first vocalist, the American Malcolm Mooney with his eccentric, punchy and intense performance style can be heard on no less then seven tracks! The equally yet different Damo Suzuki appears on eight tracks. The others are instrumental. The material is made up of different aspects of the Can; the punchy heavy rock, the wild experimentation/avant-prog side, spacey rock, some composition and of course movie soundtracks. Now I myself often don't care to much for the avant-garde or free music parts, but some of these tracks are really amazing. The organ and spoken word track 'True Story' comes to mind.

At first it was a bit strange to realize, but this new release is actually as great as Monstermovie, Tago Mago and Soundtracks combined. Especially with the vinyl edition it feel like you have five new albums of one of your favorite bands from its best era. The bookwork is also nice & informative and the box is great looking. Standout tracks are Graublau (17 minutes of inventive psychobeat space rock), Obscura Primavera (short composition), True Story (before mentioned), Dead Pigeon Suite (a perfectly original and elegant remix of Vitamin C), Abra Cada Braxis (ten minutes of more Future Days!), Godzilla Fragment, Midnight Man (progressive spacerock!) and the Malcolm Mooney tracks like Waiting for a Streetcar, Deadly Doris and Desert.

Conclusion. This is perhaps the biggest treasure ever to be unearthed from the classic progressive rock era. Highly recommended to fans who will like almost every second of. Perhaps the minor fans - who have embraced the digital era - can make a shorter compilation of their own. I'm myself going to give this the highest rating! Brilliant music, well packaged and remastered. Unique experience and it came as a total surprise.

PS I think this record should considered to be an album instead of boxset/compilation. All the material is new.

friso | 5/5 |

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