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Can - Sacrilege CD (album) cover

SACRILEGE

Can

 

Krautrock

2.90 | 15 ratings

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Lewian
4 stars This is a collection of remixes of Can tracks, mainly by people who did techno of the alternative non-mainstream varieties in the nineties, with some for the prog listener familiar names thrown in (Brian Eno, Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy, Sonic Youth). A "remix" here means that parts of the original tracks were cannibalised to create something more or less new and autonomous. The title "Sacrilege" testifies the huge respect that the participants of this project have for Can's work and the influence that the band has had on musicians of various genres and over a long time.

The remixes are quite different regarding how much of the original track was kept and how much they're dominated by it. In A Guy Called Gerald's Tango Whiskeyman one need to look hard for traces of the original, whereas for example Sunroof's Oh Yeah follows the concept of the original quite closely.

I have always enjoyed this double-CD big time, from start to finish, despite the presence of some weaker pieces or at least some pieces that in itself don't tell me that much. Surely there is enough strong material here, although it definitely helps if nineties techno music doesn't make you run away screaming for mercy. Many of the remixes are dominated by heavy rhythms, some pretty dancefloor-proof, split up between sampling and looping the mighty man machine Jaki Liebezeit (RIP), making him even more machine-like, and some techno rhythms created by the remixers themselves. The use of samples and sounds is generally inspired by how the masters themselves did it with material from other sources, and consequently the Can members have enjoyed this collection, too, as far as I know (except Damo, who in the booklet is just cited saying that this is "not his cup of tea").

Overall, despite its dancefloor credentials, this is quite experimental and playful and not always an easy ride. Also in this respect, the collection is varied; 3P's Yoo Doo Right could have been hit single material, so smooth and nice to the ears it is, whereas Hiller/Kaiser/Leda's Unfinished and Bruce Gilbert's TV Sport are rather noise avantgarde, although at least the former treats the listener to some rhythm toward the end. A number of pieces are generous with the rhythm but more modest with melody and harmony (i.e., Father Cannot Yell by Pete Shelley); but melody and harmony aren't necessarily what the Can fan is looking for.

I could nominate quite a number of these as highlights; by and large more of them are on the second CD. The already mentioned Unfinished and Father Cannot Yell are bold and adventurous and pretty autonomous constructions. I also love the addictive underground dance orgy that System 7 (that's Hillage and Giraudy formerly of Gong) made of Dizzy Spoon; these prog veterans surely know how to produce an attractive techno rhythm.

Surely part of the listener's joy comes from looking for and recognising their Can favourites; U.N.C.L.E.'s Vitamin C and both remixes of Oh Yeah make heavy enough use of the original material that they are basically failproof (still there is enough artistic freedom in them to justify their existence in the face of the original) and of course I can listen day in day out to Jaki's drumming, even looping him does not hurt him much. There's a case though for not attributing all the quality that can be found here to the remix collection, a good deal is of course claimed by the originals.

I am really in love with the whole concept and how it plays out, and also some of the highlights. It would be a far stretch to call this "a masterpiece of progressive rock", firstly because it is a far stretch to call this "progressive rock" at all and secondly because this kind of project can of course never reach a sufficiently monolithic experience and everyone can certainly find the odd low point here. Never mind, personally I am fascinated and delighted from start to finish, and so I give it four stars and feel rather stingy.

Lewian | 4/5 |

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