Thursday 14 May 2020

Can - Cannulation 1974-79

About 10 years ago I had a discussion with someone who said they hadn't heard much of Can's music after the departure of vocalist Damo Suzuki in 1973, and what he had heard he didn't like at all. While the band never quite reached the heights of the albums featuring original vocalist Malcolm Mooney and his replacement Suzuki, the subsequent 5 studio albums did contain some excellent music, some of which I have compiled here. I think most would agree the first release after Suzuki left, Soon Over Babaluma (released in 1974), was a fine piece of work. American music journalist Ned Raggett stated: "With Suzuki departed, vocal responsibilities were now split between (Michael) Karoli and (Irmin) Schmidt. Wisely, neither try to clone Mooney or Suzuki, instead aiming for their own low-key way around things. Musically, if things are a touch less intense on Babaluma, the sense of a band perfectly living in each other's musical pocket and able to react on a dime hasn't changed at all.", giving the album a rating of four stars out of five.

The album after, Landed (1975), was also very good, musician Barry Adamson included the album in a list of his 13 favourite albums, saying: "It's one of those albums where, in terms of production, there's something transcendental about the average rock song.... I believe that this one of Can's more poppier records – their earlier stuff was much more out there - and I must admit that I love experimentalism wrapped around pop and wrapped around catchiness and wrapped around things that you can remember but still with that avant-garde approach, if you like."

For me there was quite a decline with the next 3 albums, Flow Motion (1976), Saw Delight (1977) and Out of Reach (1978), but each album did feature the odd inspired moments. Saw Delight introduced two new additions to the band, Rosko Gee and Rebop Kwaku Baah (ex-members of the band Traffic), with Can's bassist Holger Czukay giving up the bass in favour of "experimental effects". Out of Reach is probably their most infamous release, Czukay leaving the band during recording. Being the only Can album that features no input from Czukay, it was disowned by the band for many years,  and was not listed as part of their discography on their official website. It wasn't until 2014 it saw an official reissue. 

Their final self-titled album (1979), also known as Inner Space, before the reunion album Rite Time was released 10 years later, saw Czukay rejoin the band, but only as a "tape editor". After the quite disastrous previous two albums this was something of a return to form, the first 5 tracks I think are of high quality, unfortunately the remainder of the album is rather dire. Michael G. Nastos said in his review of the album on "While Can emerged in ensuing years with different lineups and further sub-developments, this last vestige of the initial band holds firm in resolve, and is at the least an intriguing aside to their more potent earlier albums."

I decided to compile tracks from these 5 studio albums for this collection. There are many good post-Suzuki tracks to be found on the Peel Sessions album and the box set The Lost Tapes, plus various live recordings, maybe one day I'll compile my favourites from those releases. Thanks once again for the comments, luckily no music was lost as I back everything up. Also a big heads up to my pals Manerg (for his continual good advice) and Moonglum, who very kindly helped me out in obtaining a replacement PC. Stay safe, and enjoy!

  1. Splash (7:43) From the album "Soon Over Babaluma", 1974
  2. All Gates Open (8:16) From the album "Can", 1979
  3. Red Hot Indians (5:37) From the album "Landed", 1975
  4. Smoke (E.F.S. No. 59) (5:16) From the album "Flow Motion", 1976
  5. Don't Say No (6:32) From the album "Saw Delight", 1977
  6. Sunday Jam (4:26) From the album "Can", 1979
  7. I Want More (3:30) From the album "Flow Motion", 1976
  8. Full Moon on the Highway (3:30) From the album "Landed", 1975
  9. Come Sta, La Luna (5:42) From the album "Soon Over Babaluma", 1974
10. November (7:45) From the album "Out of Reach", 1978
11. Half Past One (4:38) From the album "Landed", 1975
12. Safe (8:32) From the album "Can", 1979
13. Quantum Physics (8:28) From the album "Soon Over Babaluma", 1974