Can (band)

Can (band)

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Can was an experimental rock
Experimental rock
Experimental rock or avant-garde rock is a type of music based on rock which experiments with the basic elements of the genre, or which pushes the boundaries of common composition and performance technique....

 band formed in Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, West Germany in 1968. Later labeled as one of the first "krautrock
Krautrock
Krautrock is a generic name for the experimental music scenes that appeared in Germany in the late 1960s and gained popularity throughout the 1970s, especially in Britain. The term is a result of the English-speaking world's reception of the music at the time and not a reference to any one...

" groups, they transcended mainstream influences and incorporated strong minimalist and world music
World music
World music is a term with widely varying definitions, often encompassing music which is primarily identified as another genre. This is evidenced by world music definitions such as "all of the music in the world" or "somebody else's local music"...

 elements into their often psychedelic
Psychedelic music
Psychedelic music covers a range of popular music styles and genres, which are inspired by or influenced by psychedelic culture and which attempt to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. It emerged during the mid 1960s among folk rock and blues-rock bands in the...

 music.

Can constructed their music largely through collective spontaneous composition –– which the band differentiated from improvisation in the jazz sense –– sampling themselves in the studio and editing down the results; bassist/chief engineer Holger Czukay
Holger Czukay
Holger Czukay is a German musician, probably best known as a co-founder of the krautrock group Can. Described by critic Jason Ankeny as "successfully bridg[ing] the gap between pop and the avant-garde," Czukay is also notable for creating early important examples of ambient music, for exploring...

 referred to Can's live and studio performances as "instant compositions". They had occasional commercial success, with singles such as "Spoon
Spoon (song)
"Spoon" is the name of a song by the krautrock group Can, recorded in 1972. It was originally released as a single with the song "Shikaku Maru Ten" on the b-side. "Spoon" also appeared as the final track to the band's album Ege Bamyasi later that year....

" and "I Want More" reaching national singles
Single (music)
In music, a single or record single is a type of release, typically a recording of fewer tracks than an LP or a CD. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, the single is a song that is released separately from an album, but it can still appear...

 charts. Through albums such as Monster Movie (1969), Tago Mago
Tago Mago
Tago Mago is the third studio album by the German experimental rock band Can, and was originally released as a double LP in 1971 by United Artists...

(1971), Ege Bamyasi
Ege Bamyasi
Ege Bamyası is the fourth studio album by the German experimental rock band Can which was originally released as an LP in 1972 by United Artists. The album contains the single "Spoon", which charted in the Top 10 in Germany, largely because of its use as the theme of a German TV thriller series...

(1972) and Future Days
Future Days
Future Days is the fifth studio album by the rock music group Can. This is the last album to feature Japanese vocalist Damo Suzuki. On Future Days, the band employs more of an ambient sound than on their previous efforts, especially on the title track and the twenty-minute "Bel Air".-Track...

(1973), the band exerted a considerable influence on avant-garde
Avant-garde music
Avant-garde music is a term used to characterize music which is thought to be ahead of its time, i.e. containing innovative elements or fusing different genres....

, experimental
Experimental music
Experimental music refers, in the English-language literature, to a compositional tradition which arose in the mid-20th century, applied particularly in North America to music composed in such a way that its outcome is unforeseeable. Its most famous and influential exponent was John Cage...

, underground
Underground music
Underground music comprises a range of different musical genres that operate outside of mainstream culture. Such music can typically share common values, such as the valuing of sincerity and intimacy; an emphasis on freedom of creative expression; an appreciation of artistic creativity...

, ambient
Ambient music
Ambient music is a musical genre that focuses largely on the timbral characteristics of sounds, often organized or performed to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual" or "unobtrusive" quality.- History :...

, punk
Punk rock
Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed between 1974 and 1976 in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in garage rock and other forms of what is now known as protopunk music, punk rock bands eschewed perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock...

, post-punk
Post-punk
Post-punk is a rock music movement with its roots in the late 1970s, following on the heels of the initial punk rock explosion of the mid-1970s. The genre retains its roots in the punk movement but is more introverted, complex and experimental...

, new wave
New Wave music
New Wave is a subgenre of :rock music that emerged in the mid to late 1970s alongside punk rock. The term at first generally was synonymous with punk rock before being considered a genre in its own right that incorporated aspects of electronic and experimental music, mod subculture, disco and 1960s...

 and electronic music
Electronic music
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronic technology. Examples of electromechanical sound...

.

Early years: 1968–1970


The roots of Can can be traced back to Irmin Schmidt
Irmin Schmidt
Irmin Schmidt is a German keyboard player and composer, probably best known as a founding member of the band Can.-Biography:...

 and a trip that he made to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 in 1968. While Schmidt initially spent his time with avant-garde
Avant-garde music
Avant-garde music is a term used to characterize music which is thought to be ahead of its time, i.e. containing innovative elements or fusing different genres....

 musicians such as Steve Reich
Steve Reich
Stephen Michael "Steve" Reich is an American composer who together with La Monte Young, Terry Riley, and Philip Glass is a pioneering composer of minimal music...

, La Monte Young
La Monte Young
La Monte Thornton Young is an American avant-garde composer, musician, and artist.Young is generally recognized as the first minimalist composer. His works have been included among the most important and radical post-World War II avant-garde, experimental, and contemporary music. Young is...

 and Terry Riley
Terry Riley
Terrence Mitchell Riley, is an American composer intrinsically associated with the minimalist school of Western classical music and was a pioneer of the movement...

, he was also eventually exposed to the world of Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol
Andrew Warhola , known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art...

, Hotel Chelsea
Hotel Chelsea
The Hotel Chelsea, also known as the Chelsea Hotel, or simply the Chelsea, is a historic New York City hotel and landmark, known primarily for its history of notable residents...

 and, perhaps most importantly, The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in New York City. First active from 1964 to 1973, their best-known members were Lou Reed and John Cale, who both went on to find success as solo artists. Although experiencing little commercial success while together, the band is often cited...

. In his own words, the trip "corrupted" him, sparking a fascination with the possibilities of rock music
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

. Upon his return to Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

 later that year, an inspired Schmidt formed a group with American avant-garde composer and flautist David C. Johnson and music teacher Holger Czukay
Holger Czukay
Holger Czukay is a German musician, probably best known as a co-founder of the krautrock group Can. Described by critic Jason Ankeny as "successfully bridg[ing] the gap between pop and the avant-garde," Czukay is also notable for creating early important examples of ambient music, for exploring...

 with the intention of exploring his newly broadened horizons.
Up to that point, the inclinations of all three musicians had been exclusively avant-garde classical. In fact, both Schmidt and Czukay had directly studied under the influential composer Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Another critic calls him "one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music"...

. Schmidt chose to play organ and piano, while Czukay played bass and was able to record their music with a basic two-track tape machine
Multitrack recording
Multitrack recording is a method of sound recording that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources to create a cohesive whole...

. The group was soon fleshed out by with guitarist Michael Karoli
Michael Karoli
Michael Karoli was a German guitarist, violinist and composer. He was a founding member of the influential krautrock band Can....

, a 19-year-old pupil of Czukay, and drummer Jaki Liebezeit
Jaki Liebezeit
Jaki Liebezeit is a drummer probably best known as a founding member of Can who has been called "one of the few drummers to convincingly meld the funky and the cerebral"....

, who had grown disenchanted with his work in free jazz groups. As the group developed a more rock-oriented sound, a disappointed Johnson left the group at the end of 1968.

The band used the names "Inner Space" and "The Can" before finally settling on "CAN". Liebezeit subsequently suggested the backronym
Backronym
A backronym or bacronym is a phrase constructed purposely, such that an acronym can be formed to a specific desired word. Backronyms may be invented with serious or humorous intent, or may be a type of false or folk etymology....

 "communism, anarchism, nihilism" for the band's name. In mid-1968, the band enlisted the creative, highly rhythmic, but unstable and often confrontational American vocalist Malcolm Mooney
Malcolm Mooney
Malcolm Mooney is an American singer, poet, and artist, probably best known as the original vocalist for German krautrock band Can.-Biography:Mooney began singing in high school, and was a member of an a cappella vocal group known as the Six Fifths...

, a New York-based sculptor, with whom they recorded the material for an album, Prepared to Meet Thy Pnoom. Unable to find a recording company willing to release the album, the group continued their studio work until they had material for what became their first release, Monster Movie, released in 1969. This album contained new versions of two songs previously recorded for Prepared to Meet Thy Pnoom, "Father Cannot Yell" and "Outside My Door". Other material recorded around the same time was released in 1981 as Delay 1968
Delay 1968
-Personnel:*Holger Czukay – bass*Michael Karoli – guitar*Jaki Liebezeit – drums, percussion*Irmin Schmidt – keyboards*Malcolm Mooney – vocals...

. Mooney's bizarre ranting vocals emphasized the sheer strangeness and hypnotic quality of the music, which was influenced particularly by garage rock
Garage rock
Garage rock is a raw form of rock and roll that was first popular in the United States and Canada from about 1963 to 1967. During the 1960s, it was not recognized as a separate music genre and had no specific name...

, psychedelic rock
Psychedelic rock
Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. It emerged during the mid 1960s among folk rock and blues rock bands in United States and the United Kingdom...

 and funk
Funk
Funk is a music genre that originated in the mid-late 1960s when African American musicians blended soul music, jazz and R&B into a rhythmic, danceable new form of music. Funk de-emphasizes melody and harmony and brings a strong rhythmic groove of electric bass and drums to the foreground...

. Repetition was stressed on bass and drums, particularly on the epic "Yoo Doo Right
Yoo Doo Right
"Yoo Doo Right" is a song on Can's 1969 debut album, Monster Movie, which had been edited down from a six-hour improvisation to a mere twenty minutes...

", which had been edited down from a six-hour improvisation to take up a mere single side of vinyl. Liebezeit's tight but multifarious drumming was crucial in carrying the music.

Mooney returned to America soon afterwards on the advice of a psychiatrist, having been told that getting away from the chaotic music of Can would be better for his mental health. The liner notes of Monster Movie claim that Mooney suffered a nervous breakdown ("caught in a Can groove"), shouting "upstairs, downstairs" repeatedly. He was replaced by the more understated Kenji "Damo" Suzuki, a young Japanese traveller found busking
Busking
Street performance or busking is the practice of performing in public places, for gratuities, which are generally in the form of money and edibles...

 outside a Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 cafe by Czukay and Liebezeit. Though he only knew a handful of guitar chords and improvised the majority of his lyrics (as opposed to committing them to paper), Suzuki was asked to perform with the band that same night. The band's first record with Suzuki was Soundtracks
Soundtracks (Can album)
Soundtracks is a soundtrack album by the Krautrock group Can. It was first released in 1970 and consists of tracks written for various films. The album marks the departure of the band's original vocalist Malcolm Mooney, who sings on two tracks, to be replaced by new member Damo Suzuki...

, released in 1970, a compilation of music made for films that also contained two earlier tracks recorded with Mooney. Suzuki's lyrics were usually in English, though sometimes in Japanese (for example, in "Oh Yeah" and "Doko E").

Classic years: 1971–1973


The next few years saw Can release their most acclaimed works. While their earlier recordings tended to be at least loosely based on traditional song structures, on their mid-career albums the band reverted to an extremely fluid improvisational style. The double album Tago Mago
Tago Mago
Tago Mago is the third studio album by the German experimental rock band Can, and was originally released as a double LP in 1971 by United Artists...

(1971) is often seen as a groundbreaking, influential and deeply unconventional record, based on intensely rhythmic jazz-inspired drumming, improvised guitar and keyboard soloing (frequently intertwining each other), tape edits as composition, and Suzuki's idiosyncratic vocalisms. Czukay: "(Tago Mago) was an attempt in achieving a mystery musical world from light to darkness and return."

Tago Mago was followed in 1972 by Ege Bamyasi
Ege Bamyasi
Ege Bamyası is the fourth studio album by the German experimental rock band Can which was originally released as an LP in 1972 by United Artists. The album contains the single "Spoon", which charted in the Top 10 in Germany, largely because of its use as the theme of a German TV thriller series...

, a more accessible but still avant-garde record which featured the catchy "Vitamin C
Vitamin C (song)
"Vitamin C" is a song by the krautrock band Can on their 1972 album Ege Bamyasi. It is known for its thick bass line, bouncy percussion and catchy chorus, which has Damo Suzuki repeating the line "Hey you! You're losing your Vitamin C"...

" and the Top 40 German hit "Spoon
Spoon (song)
"Spoon" is the name of a song by the krautrock group Can, recorded in 1972. It was originally released as a single with the song "Shikaku Maru Ten" on the b-side. "Spoon" also appeared as the final track to the band's album Ege Bamyasi later that year....

". Czukay: "We could achieve an excellent dry and ambient sound... (Ege Bamyasi) reflects the group being in a lighter mood."

It was followed by Future Days
Future Days
Future Days is the fifth studio album by the rock music group Can. This is the last album to feature Japanese vocalist Damo Suzuki. On Future Days, the band employs more of an ambient sound than on their previous efforts, especially on the title track and the twenty-minute "Bel Air".-Track...

in 1973, which represents an early example of ambient music
Ambient music
Ambient music is a musical genre that focuses largely on the timbral characteristics of sounds, often organized or performed to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual" or "unobtrusive" quality.- History :...

, as well as including the pop song "Moonshake
Moonshake (song)
"Moonshake" is a song by the krautrock band Can, on their 1973 album Future Days. Unusually for this album, known for its ambient, lengthy tracks, the song is short and has a pop structure, and was released as a single....

". Czukay: "'Bel Air' (the 20 minute-long track which took up the whole of side two on the Future Days original vinyl LP) showed Can in a state of being an electric symphony group performing a peaceful though sometimes dramatic landscape painting."

Suzuki left soon after the recording of Future Days to marry his German girlfriend, and become a Jehovah's Witness. Vocals were taken over by Karoli and Schmidt; however, after the departure of Suzuki, fewer of their tracks featured vocals, as Can found themselves experimenting with the ambient music they had begun with Future Days.

Later years: 1974–1979


Soon Over Babaluma
Soon Over Babaluma
Soon Over Babaluma is the sixth studio album by the rock music group Can. This is the band's first album without a lead vocalist who does not play an instrument, following the departure of Damo Suzuki in 1973 during which he married his German girlfriend. The vocals are taken care of by guitarist...

from 1974 continued in the ambient style of Future Days
Future Days
Future Days is the fifth studio album by the rock music group Can. This is the last album to feature Japanese vocalist Damo Suzuki. On Future Days, the band employs more of an ambient sound than on their previous efforts, especially on the title track and the twenty-minute "Bel Air".-Track...

, yet it regained some of the abrasive edge of Tago Mago
Tago Mago
Tago Mago is the third studio album by the German experimental rock band Can, and was originally released as a double LP in 1971 by United Artists...

and Ege Bamyasi
Ege Bamyasi
Ege Bamyası is the fourth studio album by the German experimental rock band Can which was originally released as an LP in 1972 by United Artists. The album contains the single "Spoon", which charted in the Top 10 in Germany, largely because of its use as the theme of a German TV thriller series...

. In 1975, Can signed to Virgin Records
Virgin Records
Virgin Records is a British record label founded by English entrepreneur Richard Branson, Simon Draper, and Nik Powell in 1972. The company grew to be a worldwide music phenomenon, with platinum performers such as Roy Orbison, Devo, Genesis, Keith Richards, Janet Jackson, Culture Club, Lenny...

 in the UK and EMI/Harvest in Germany, appearing the same year on BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test
Old Grey Whistle Test
The Old Grey Whistle Test was an influential BBC2 television music show that ran from 1971 to 1987. It took over the BBC2 late night slot from "Disco Two", which had been running since January 1970, while continuing to feature non-chart music. It was devised by BBC producer Rowan Ayers...

 where a memorable performance of Vernal Equinox involved Schmidt playing one keyboard section with a series of rapid karate chops. Shortly after the appearance Schmidt suffered a broken leg which led to cancellation of the band's UK tour.

The later albums Landed
Landed (album)
Landed is the band Can's seventh studio album, released in 1975. It is said to be the beginning of their poppier, less experimental era.The album has been described as the band's attempt at glam rock, and the upbeat nature of most of the tracks do give the album this feel...

(1975) and Flow Motion
Flow Motion
Flow Motion is the eighth Can studio album, and features the UK hit single "I Want More".It was mixed using "Artificial Head" binaural stereo.The cover features a photograph taken by band member Michael Karoli.-Track listing:-Personnel:...

(1976) saw Can moving towards a somewhat more conventional style as their recording technology improved. Accordingly, the disco single "I Want More" from Flow Motion became their only hit record outside Germany. Co-written by their live sound mixer Peter Gilmour, it reached No 26 in the UK charts in October 1976, which prompted an appearance on Top of the Pops
Top of the Pops
Top of the Pops, also known as TOTP, is a British music chart television programme, made by the BBC and originally broadcast weekly from 1 January 1964 to 30 July 2006. After 25 December 2006 it became a radio program, now hosted by Tony Blackburn...

, where Czukay performed with a double bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

. In 1977 Can were joined by former Traffic
Traffic (band)
Traffic were an English rock band whose members came from the West Midlands. The group formed in April 1967 by Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason...

 bassist Rosko Gee
Rosko Gee
Rosko Gee is a Jamaican bassist who has played with the English band Traffic on their albums When the Eagle Flies and The Last Great Traffic Jam , with the supergroup Go conceived by Stomu Yamashta, which also included Steve Winwood, Al Di Meola, Klaus Schulze and Michael Shrieve, and with the...

 and percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah
Rebop Kwaku Baah
Anthony "Reebop" Kwaku Baah was a Ghanaian percussionist perhaps best known for working with the 1970s rock groups Traffic and Can.-Biography:...

, both of whom provided vocals to Can's music, appearing on the albums Saw Delight
Saw Delight
Saw Delight is the ninth Can studio album, and features two new band members who were ex-members of the band Traffic, with Can's bassist Holger Czukay giving up the bass in favour of experimental effects....

(1977), Out of Reach (1978) and Can
Can (album)
Can, also known as Inner Space, is the eleventh studio album by Can, released in 1979. Former bassist Holger Czukay's involvement with this album is limited to tape editing...

(1979). During this period Holger Czukay was pushed to the fringes of the group's activity; in fact he just made sounds using shortwave radios
Shortwave
Shortwave radio refers to the upper MF and all of the HF portion of the radio spectrum, between 1,800–30,000 kHz. Shortwave radio received its name because the wavelengths in this band are shorter than 200 m which marked the original upper limit of the medium frequency band first used...

, Morse code keys
Morse code
Morse code is a method of transmitting textual information as a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks that can be directly understood by a skilled listener or observer without special equipment...

, tape recorder
Tape recorder
An audio tape recorder, tape deck, reel-to-reel tape deck, cassette deck or tape machine is an audio storage device that records and plays back sounds, including articulated voices, usually using magnetic tape, either wound on a reel or in a cassette, for storage...

s and other sundry objects. He left Can in late 1977 and did not appear on the albums Out of Reach or Can, although he was involved with production work for the latter album. The band seemed to be in a hiatus shortly afterwards, but reunions have taken place on several occasions since.

After the split and reunion


Since the split, all the former members have been involved in musical projects, often as session musicians for other artists. In 1986 they briefly reformed, with original vocalist Mooney, to record Rite Time
Rite Time
Rite Time is Can's twelfth and last studio album, considered a reunion album because of the time elapsed since the band's previous album, Can, which had been released in 1979. The album consists of sessions recorded in the South of France in late 1986, edited extensively by the band over the course...

(released in 1989). There was a further reunion in 1991 to record a track for the Wim Wenders
Wim Wenders
Ernst Wilhelm "Wim" Wenders is a German film director, playwright, author, photographer and producer.-Early life:Wenders was born in Düsseldorf. He graduated from high school in Oberhausen in the Ruhr area. He then studied medicine and philosophy in Freiburg and Düsseldorf...

 film Until the End of the World
Until the End of the World
Until the End of the World is a 1991 film by the German film director Wim Wenders; the screenplay was written by Wenders and Peter Carey, from a story by Wenders and Solveig Dommartin. An initial draft of the screenplay was written by American filmmaker Michael Almereyda...

, and Can have since been the subject of numerous compilations, live albums and samples.

In 1999 the four core members of Can, Karoli, Liebezeit, Schmidt and Czukay, performed live at the same show, although playing separately with their current solo projects (Sofortkontakt, Club Off Chaos, Kumo and U-She respectively). Michael Karoli died of cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 on 17 November 2001. In 2004, the band began a series of Super Audio CD
Super Audio CD
Super Audio CD is a high-resolution, read-only optical disc for audio storage. Sony and Philips Electronics jointly developed the technology, and publicized it in 1999. It is designated as the Scarlet Book standard. Sony and Philips previously collaborated to define the Compact Disc standard...

 remasters of its back catalog, which were finished in 2006.

Holger Czukay has recorded several ambient albums and collaborated with David Sylvian
David Sylvian
David Sylvian is an English singer-songwriter and musician who came to prominence in the late 1970s as the lead vocalist and main songwriter in the group Japan...

 among others, while Jaki Liebezeit has played extensively with bassists Jah Wobble
Jah Wobble
Jah Wobble is an English bass guitarist, singer, poet and composer. He became known to a wider audience as the original bass player in Public Image Ltd in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but left the band after two albums...

 and Bill Laswell
Bill Laswell
Bill Laswell is an American bassist, producer and record label owner....

, and in a drum ensemble called Drums of Chaos, and in 2005 with Datenverarbeiter on the online album Givt. Michael Karoli recorded a reggae album with Polly Eltes before his passing, and Irmin Schmidt has begun working with the acclaimed drummer Martin Atkins
Martin Atkins
Martin Clive Atkins is an English drummer and session musician, best known for his work in post-punk and industrial groups including Public Image Ltd., Ministry, Pigface, and Killing Joke...

, producing a remix for the industrial
Industrial music
Industrial music is a style of experimental music that draws on transgressive and provocative themes. The term was coined in the mid-1970s with the founding of Industrial Records by the band Throbbing Gristle, and the creation of the slogan "industrial music for industrial people". In general, the...

 band The Damage Manual
The Damage Manual
The Damage Manual is an industrial supergroup that originally formed in 2000. It featured Martin Atkins on drums and loops, Chris Connelly on vocals, Geordie Walker on guitar and Jah Wobble on bass.-History:...

, and a cover of "Banging the Door" for a Public Image Ltd tribute album, both released on Atkins' label, Invisible Records
Invisible Records
Invisible Records is a Chicago based record label founded by Martin Atkins to support and distribute the works of artists who preferred to work with a smaller, artist driven label.-Artist Roster:* Ashtrayhead* Attrition* Bagman* Bizarre Sex Trio...

. Karoli formed Sofortkontakt! for the Can reunion shows in 1999 with Mark Spybey, who had previously been associated with Dead Voices on Air
Dead Voices on Air
Dead Voices on Air is Mark Spybey's Experimental and Industrial project formed after his departure from Zoviet France. Many people classify a large portion of his works as Ambient, but Spybey insists his music is not ambient music of any sort and calls it "music for the eyes"...

, Zoviet France
Zoviet France
Zoviet France is a prolific music group from Newcastle upon Tyne in north east England. While often dissonant and made of industrial textures, their music also falls into the ambient music category...

, Reformed Faction
Reformed Faction
Reformed Faction is a musical group formed in 2005 by three former members of Zoviet France: Andy Eardley, Mark Spybey and Robin Storey. The band's original name was The Reformed Faction of Soviet France. They played one concert, in Vienna on 10 November 2005, and released a self-titled album on...

 and Download
Download (band)
Download is an electronic music group formed by Dwayne Goettel and cEvin Key of Skinny Puppy in 1994. The initial lineup also included Off & Gone's Phil Western and Mark Spybey of Dead Voices on Air, but has since been particularly fluid, with Key and Western being the only constant members...

. The band also featured Alexander Schoenert, Felix Guttierez of Jelly Planet and Mandjao Fati. Karoli also performed on numerous occasions with Damo Suzuki's Network. Damo Suzuki returned to music in 1983, and since then he has been playing live improvisational shows around the world with local musicians and members of touring bands at various points, sometimes issuing live albums. Malcolm Mooney recorded an album as singer for the band Tenth Planet in 1998. Rosko Gee has been the bassist in the live band on Harald Schmidt
Harald Schmidt
Harald Franz Schmidt is a German actor, writer, comedian and television entertainer best known as host of two popular German late-night shows.- Early life :...

's TV show in Germany since 1995. Rebop Kwaku Baah died in 1983 following a brain hemorrhage.

Music


Holger Czukay
Holger Czukay
Holger Czukay is a German musician, probably best known as a co-founder of the krautrock group Can. Described by critic Jason Ankeny as "successfully bridg[ing] the gap between pop and the avant-garde," Czukay is also notable for creating early important examples of ambient music, for exploring...

 and Irmin Schmidt
Irmin Schmidt
Irmin Schmidt is a German keyboard player and composer, probably best known as a founding member of the band Can.-Biography:...

 were both pupils of Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Another critic calls him "one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music"...

, and Can inherited a strong grounding in his musical theory; the latter was trained as a classical
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 pianist, while Michael Karoli
Michael Karoli
Michael Karoli was a German guitarist, violinist and composer. He was a founding member of the influential krautrock band Can....

 was a pupil of Holger Czukay
Holger Czukay
Holger Czukay is a German musician, probably best known as a co-founder of the krautrock group Can. Described by critic Jason Ankeny as "successfully bridg[ing] the gap between pop and the avant-garde," Czukay is also notable for creating early important examples of ambient music, for exploring...

 and brought the influence of gypsy music through his esoteric studies. Drummer Jaki Liebezeit
Jaki Liebezeit
Jaki Liebezeit is a drummer probably best known as a founding member of Can who has been called "one of the few drummers to convincingly meld the funky and the cerebral"....

 had strong jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 leanings. The band's sound was originally intended to be based on the sound of ethnic music, so when the band decided to pick up the garage rock
Garage rock
Garage rock is a raw form of rock and roll that was first popular in the United States and Canada from about 1963 to 1967. During the 1960s, it was not recognized as a separate music genre and had no specific name...

 sound, original member David Johnson left. This world music
World music
World music is a term with widely varying definitions, often encompassing music which is primarily identified as another genre. This is evidenced by world music definitions such as "all of the music in the world" or "somebody else's local music"...

 trend was later exemplified on albums such as Ege Bamyasi
Ege Bamyasi
Ege Bamyası is the fourth studio album by the German experimental rock band Can which was originally released as an LP in 1972 by United Artists. The album contains the single "Spoon", which charted in the Top 10 in Germany, largely because of its use as the theme of a German TV thriller series...

(the name meaning "Aegean
Aegean Islands
The Aegean Islands are the group of islands in the Aegean Sea, with mainland Greece to the west and north and Turkey to the east; the island of Crete delimits the sea to the south, those of Rhodes, Karpathos and Kasos to the southeast...

 okra
Okra
Okra is a flowering plant in the mallow family. It is valued for its edible green seed pods. The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of South Asian, Ethiopian and West African origins...

" in Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

), Future Days
Future Days
Future Days is the fifth studio album by the rock music group Can. This is the last album to feature Japanese vocalist Damo Suzuki. On Future Days, the band employs more of an ambient sound than on their previous efforts, especially on the title track and the twenty-minute "Bel Air".-Track...

and Saw Delight
Saw Delight
Saw Delight is the ninth Can studio album, and features two new band members who were ex-members of the band Traffic, with Can's bassist Holger Czukay giving up the bass in favour of experimental effects....

, and by incorporating new band members with different nationalities
Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

. A series of tracks on Can albums, known as "Ethnological Forgery Series", abbreviated to "E.F.S", demonstrated the band's ability to successfully recreate ethnic-sounding music.

The band's early rock influences include The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 and The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in New York City. First active from 1964 to 1973, their best-known members were Lou Reed and John Cale, who both went on to find success as solo artists. Although experiencing little commercial success while together, the band is often cited...

 as well as Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter...

, Sly Stone
Sly Stone
Sly Stone is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer, most famous for his role as frontman for Sly & the Family Stone, a band which played a critical role in the development of soul, funk and psychedelia in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1993, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of...

 and Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa
Frank Vincent Zappa was an American composer, singer-songwriter, electric guitarist, record producer and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, orchestral and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed...

. The band have admitted that the beginning of Can's "Father Cannot Yell" was inspired by the Velvet Underground's "European Son". Malcolm Mooney
Malcolm Mooney
Malcolm Mooney is an American singer, poet, and artist, probably best known as the original vocalist for German krautrock band Can.-Biography:Mooney began singing in high school, and was a member of an a cappella vocal group known as the Six Fifths...

's voice has been compared to that of James Brown
James Brown
James Joseph Brown was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and recording artist. He is the originator of Funk and is recognized as a major figure in the 20th century popular music for both his vocals and dancing. He has been referred to as "The Godfather of Soul," "Mr...

 (an acknowledged hero of the band members) and their early style, rooted in psychedelic music, drew comparisons with Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd were an English rock band that achieved worldwide success with their progressive and psychedelic rock music. Their work is marked by the use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. Pink Floyd are one of the most commercially...

. Along with their peers in the krautrock scene, they were under the influence of the wider progressive rock movement taking place in England and elsewhere during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Czukay's extensive editing has occasionally been compared to the late-'60s music of trumpeter Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz,...

 (such as In a Silent Way
In a Silent Way
In a Silent Way is a studio album by American jazz musician Miles Davis, released July 30, 1969 on Columbia Records. Produced by Teo Macero, the album was recorded in one session date on February 18, 1969 at CBS 30th Street Studio B in New York City. Incorporating elements of classical sonata form,...

and Bitches Brew
Bitches Brew
Bitches Brew is a studio double album by jazz musician Miles Davis, released in April 1970 on Columbia Records. The album continued his experimentation with electric instruments previously featured on his critically acclaimed In a Silent Way album...

): Can and Davis both would record long groove-intensive improvisations, then edit the best bits together for their albums. Czukay and Teo Macero
Teo Macero
Teo Macero , born Attilio Joseph Macero, was an American jazz saxophonist, composer, and record producer...

 (Davis's producer and editor) both had roots in the musique concrète
Musique concrète
Musique concrète is a form of electroacoustic music that utilises acousmatic sound as a compositional resource. The compositional material is not restricted to the inclusion of sounds derived from musical instruments or voices, nor to elements traditionally thought of as "musical"...

of the 1940s and '50s. Irmin Schmidt stated in a discussion with Michael Karoli in 1996 concerning the various citations of influences upon their music: "You know, it's funny that in spite of all the supposed influences on us that have been written about, the one overriding influence has never been mentioned: Michael von Biel
Michael von Biel
Michael von Biel is a German composer, cellist, and graphic artist.Von Biel studied piano, theory, and composition in Toronto , Vienna , New York , London , and Cologne...

".

Damo Suzuki
Damo Suzuki
, universally known as Damo Suzuki , is a singer best known for his membership in the German krautrock group Can.-Biography:As a teenager, Suzuki spent the late 1960s wandering around Europe, often busking....

 was a very different singer from Mooney, with a multilingual (he claimed to sing in "the language of the Stone Age") and often inscrutable vocal style. With Suzuki, the band made their most critically and commercially successful albums. The rhythm section's work on Tago Mago has been especially praised: one critic writes that much of the album is based on "long improvisations built around hypnotic rhythm patterns"; another writes that "Halleluhwah
Halleluhwah
"Halleluhwah" is a song by the krautrock band Can, on their 1971 album Tago Mago. The track, which originally took up a whole side of long-playing vinyl, lasts for 18 minutes and 28 seconds and is characteristic of the band's sound around 1971 in that it features a vast array of improvised guitars...

" finds them "pounding out a monster trance/funk beat". The band's post–Damo Suzuki period has been criticised for not being as groundbreaking and genre-defining as the earlier albums: although critics had praised Can's sound in the early 1970s as being ahead of its time, the band just used a two track recorder
Multitrack recording
Multitrack recording is a method of sound recording that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources to create a cohesive whole...

 until the release of Landed in 1975. However, they do try out styles they hadn't done before: Landed
Landed (album)
Landed is the band Can's seventh studio album, released in 1975. It is said to be the beginning of their poppier, less experimental era.The album has been described as the band's attempt at glam rock, and the upbeat nature of most of the tracks do give the album this feel...

sees them influenced by glam rock, Flow Motion
Flow Motion
Flow Motion is the eighth Can studio album, and features the UK hit single "I Want More".It was mixed using "Artificial Head" binaural stereo.The cover features a photograph taken by band member Michael Karoli.-Track listing:-Personnel:...

by reggae, Saw Delight
Saw Delight
Saw Delight is the ninth Can studio album, and features two new band members who were ex-members of the band Traffic, with Can's bassist Holger Czukay giving up the bass in favour of experimental effects....

and Out of Reach by world music again, and the guitar of Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana
Carlos Augusto Alves Santana is a Mexican rock guitarist. Santana became famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered rock, salsa and jazz fusion...

.

Influence


Major artists working in the post-punk
Post-punk
Post-punk is a rock music movement with its roots in the late 1970s, following on the heels of the initial punk rock explosion of the mid-1970s. The genre retains its roots in the punk movement but is more introverted, complex and experimental...

 genre such as The Fall, Public Image Ltd.
Public Image Ltd.
Public Image Ltd are an English post-punk band formed by vocalist John Lydon , guitarist Keith Levene and bassist Jah Wobble, with frequent subsequent personnel changes. Lydon is the sole constant member of the band....

, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division
Joy Division
Joy Division were an English rock band formed in 1976 in Salford, Greater Manchester. Originally named Warsaw, the band primarily consisted of Ian Curtis , Bernard Sumner , Peter Hook and Stephen Morris .Joy Division rapidly evolved from their initial punk rock influences...

, Suicide
Suicide (band)
Suicide is an American electronic protopunk musical duo, intermittently active since 1970 and composed of vocalist Alan Vega and Martin Rev on synthesizers and drum machines. They are an early synthesizer/vocal musical duo....

 and other acts like David Bowie
David Bowie
David Bowie is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s...

, Talking Heads
Talking Heads
Talking Heads were an American New Wave and avant-garde band formed in 1975 in New York City and active until 1991. The band comprised David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison...

, Pavement
Pavement (band)
Pavement is an American alternative rock band that formed in Stockton, California in 1989. In their career, they achieved a significant cult following, and they were called the best band of the 1990s by prominent music critics Robert Christgau and Stephen Thomas Erlewine...

, The Stone Roses
The Stone Roses
The Stone Roses are an English alternative rock band formed in Manchester in 1983. They were one of the pioneering groups of the Madchester movement that was active during the late 1980s and early 1990s...

, Lumerians
Lumerians
Lumerians is a San Francisco Bay Area based five-member band which has a psychedelic "mindbender" space rock sound. The group is notable for performances characterized by "transcendent live video projections" and having "incredible visuals," according to one music critic. One critic described the...

, Talk Talk
Talk Talk
Talk Talk were an English musical group, active from 1981 to 1991. The group had a string of international hit singles including "Today", "Talk Talk", "It's My Life", "Such a Shame", "Dum Dum Girl", "Life's What You Make It" and "Living in Another World"....

 and Primal Scream
Primal Scream
Primal Scream are a Scottish alternative rock band originally formed in 1982 in Glasgow by Bobby Gillespie and Jim Beattie and now based in London. The current lineup consists of Gillespie, Andrew Innes , Martin Duffy , and Darrin Mooney...

 have cited Can as an influence. Brian Eno
Brian Eno
Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno , commonly known as Brian Eno or simply as Eno , is an English musician, composer, record producer, singer and visual artist, known as one of the principal innovators of ambient music.Eno studied at Colchester Institute art school in Essex,...

 made a short film in tribute to Can, while John Frusciante
John Frusciante
John Anthony Frusciante is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, record and film producer. He is best known as the former lead guitarist of the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, with whom he had been for a number of years and recorded five studio albums...

 of the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers is an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles in 1983. The group's musical style primarily consists of rock with an emphasis on funk, as well as elements from other genres such as punk, hip hop and psychedelic rock...

 appeared at the Echo Awards ceremony, at which Can were awarded the most prestigious music award in Germany, to pay tribute to guitarist Michael Karoli
Michael Karoli
Michael Karoli was a German guitarist, violinist and composer. He was a founding member of the influential krautrock band Can....

.

John Lydon
John Lydon
John Joseph Lydon , also known by the former stage name Johnny Rotten, is a singer-songwriter and television presenter, best known as the lead singer of punk rock band the Sex Pistols from 1975 until 1978, and again for various revivals during the 1990s and 2000s...

, formerly of the Sex Pistols
Sex Pistols
The Sex Pistols were an English punk rock band that formed in London in 1975. They were responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians...

, formed Public Image Limited patterned after Can's early 1970s five-member lineup. Lydon was mooted as a possible singer for the band, but initial conversations amounted to nothing, much to Can addict Jah Wobble
Jah Wobble
Jah Wobble is an English bass guitarist, singer, poet and composer. He became known to a wider audience as the original bass player in Public Image Ltd in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but left the band after two albums...

's dismay (though he went on to many collaborations with the constituent members of Can himself). Lydon also mentioned Tago Mago as being his favourite record in his autobiography. In the early 2000's, Radiohead
Radiohead
Radiohead are an English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke , Jonny Greenwood , Ed O'Brien , Colin Greenwood and Phil Selway .Radiohead released their debut single "Creep" in 1992...

 performed a cover of the song "Thief" from Delay 1968
Delay 1968
-Personnel:*Holger Czukay – bass*Michael Karoli – guitar*Jaki Liebezeit – drums, percussion*Irmin Schmidt – keyboards*Malcolm Mooney – vocals...

, and have claimed Can as an influence. Mark E. Smith
Mark E. Smith
Mark Edward Smith is the lead singer, lyricist, frontman, and only constant member of the English post-punk band The Fall.-Early life:...

 of The Fall pays tribute to Damo Suzuki with the track "I Am Damo Suzuki" on the 1985 album This Nation's Saving Grace
This Nation's Saving Grace
This Nation's Saving Grace is a 1985 LP by The Fall. It reached number 54 in the UK charts. The album is frequently cited as one of the group's strongest and most consistent...

. The Jesus and Mary Chain
The Jesus and Mary Chain
The Jesus and Mary Chain are a Scottish alternative rock band formed in East Kilbride, Glasgow in 1983. The band revolves around the songwriting partnership of brothers Jim and William Reid...

 used to cover "Mushroom" live in the mid-1980s. The Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips are an American alternative rock band, formed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1983.Melodically, their sound contains lush, multi-layered, psychedelic rock arrangements, but lyrically their compositions show elements of space rock, including unusual song and album titles—such as "What...

 wrote their song "Take Meta Mars" off their album In a Priest Driven Ambulance
In a Priest Driven Ambulance
In a Priest Driven Ambulance is the fourth album by The Flaming Lips, released in 1990 . It is a concept album primarily focused on frontman Wayne Coyne's fascination with religion. It is generally considered among critics to be one of the best early period Flaming Lips albums...

after hearing "Mushroom" just once. The songs bear great resemblance.

At least five notable bands have named themselves in tribute to Can: The Mooney Suzuki
The Mooney Suzuki
The Mooney Suzuki is an American garage rock band that formed in New York City in 1996. Originally comprising vocalist and guitarist Sammy James, Jr., guitarist Graham Tyler, bassist John Paul Ribas and drummer Will Rockwell-Scott, the band has released four studio albums – People Get Ready ,...

 for Malcolm Mooney and Damo Suzuki; the indie rock
Indie rock
Indie rock is a genre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. Indie rock is extremely diverse, with sub-genres that include lo-fi, post-rock, math rock, indie pop, dream pop, noise rock, space rock, sadcore, riot grrrl and emo, among others...

 band Spoon
Spoon (band)
Spoon is an American rock band formed in Austin, Texas. The band is composed of Britt Daniel ; Jim Eno ; Rob Pope and Eric Harvey .-History:...

 after the hit "Spoon
Spoon (song)
"Spoon" is the name of a song by the krautrock group Can, recorded in 1972. It was originally released as a single with the song "Shikaku Maru Ten" on the b-side. "Spoon" also appeared as the final track to the band's album Ege Bamyasi later that year....

"; the electronic band Egebamyasi, formed by Scottish musician Mr Egg
Mr Egg
Matthew Egbert Wand, better known as Mr Egg is a musician credited as being one of the founding fathers of UK Acid House music...

 in 1984, after Can's album Ege Bamyasi
Ege Bamyasi
Ege Bamyası is the fourth studio album by the German experimental rock band Can which was originally released as an LP in 1972 by United Artists. The album contains the single "Spoon", which charted in the Top 10 in Germany, largely because of its use as the theme of a German TV thriller series...

; Hunters & Collectors
Hunters & Collectors
Hunters & Collectors were an Australian rock music band formed in Melbourne in 1981, fronted by singer-songwriter and guitarist Mark Seymour, they developed a blend of pub rock and art-funk...

 after a song on the Landed
Landed (album)
Landed is the band Can's seventh studio album, released in 1975. It is said to be the beginning of their poppier, less experimental era.The album has been described as the band's attempt at glam rock, and the upbeat nature of most of the tracks do give the album this feel...

album; and Moonshake
Moonshake
Moonshake was a UK-based experimental rock/post-rock band existing between 1991 and 1997. The only consistent member was singer/sampler player/occasional guitarist David Callahan, who initially co-led the project with Margaret Fiedler...

, named for a track on Future Days
Future Days
Future Days is the fifth studio album by the rock music group Can. This is the last album to feature Japanese vocalist Damo Suzuki. On Future Days, the band employs more of an ambient sound than on their previous efforts, especially on the title track and the twenty-minute "Bel Air".-Track...

, and formed by ex-Wolfhounds frontman David Callahan. The Scottish writer Alan Warner
Alan Warner
Alan Warner , a Scottish novelist, grew up in Connel, near Oban.He is the author of six novels: the acclaimed Morvern Callar , winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; These Demented Lands , winner of the Encore Award; The Sopranos , winner of the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award; The Man...

 has written two novels in tribute to two different Can members (Morvern Callar
Morvern Callar
Morvern Callar was the debut novel by Scottish author Alan Warner, first published in 1995. Narrated in the first person, it tells the story of Morvern, who wakes up near Christmas to find her boyfriend dead in the kitchen:...

to Holger Czukay and The Man Who Walks to Michael Karoli respectively). The Sacrilege
Sacrilege (album)
Sacrilege is a double remix album by the band Can, released in 1997. It features remixes of many of the band's most well-known songs from the 1960s and 70s, remixed by contemporary recording artists.-Track listing:# "PNOOM" – 0:56...

remix album features remixes of Can tracks by artists who were influenced by Can, including Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth is an American alternative rock band from New York City, formed in 1981. The current lineup consists of Thurston Moore , Kim Gordon , Lee Ranaldo , Steve Shelley , and Mark Ibold .In their early career, Sonic Youth was associated with the No Wave art and music scene in New York City...

 and U.N.K.L.E.. Their ethnomusicological tendencies pre-date the craze for world music
World music
World music is a term with widely varying definitions, often encompassing music which is primarily identified as another genre. This is evidenced by world music definitions such as "all of the music in the world" or "somebody else's local music"...

 in the 1980s. While not nearly as influential on electronic music as Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk is an influential electronic music band from Düsseldorf, Germany. The group was formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1970, and was fronted by them until Schneider's departure in 2008...

, they were important early pioneers of ambient music
Ambient music
Ambient music is a musical genre that focuses largely on the timbral characteristics of sounds, often organized or performed to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual" or "unobtrusive" quality.- History :...

, along with Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music group founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The band has undergone many personnel changes over the years, with Froese being the only continuous member...

 and the aforementioned band. Many groups working in the post-rock
Post-rock
Post-rock is a subgenre of rock music characterized by the influence and use of instruments commonly associated with rock, but using rhythms and "guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures" not traditionally found in rock...

 genre can look to Can as an influence as part of the larger krautrock scene, as can New Prog
New prog
New prog is a term used to describe a number of recent alternative rock/experimental bands who incorporate elements from progressive rock.Most notable bands described as new prog include:...

 bands such as The Mars Volta
The Mars Volta
The Mars Volta is a Grammy award winning American progressive rock band from El Paso, Texas. Founded in 2001 by guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López and vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala, the band incorporates various influences including progressive rock, krautrock, jazz fusion, Latin American music, and...

. Kanye West
Kanye West
Kanye Omari West is an American rapper, singer, and record producer. West first rose to fame as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, where he eventually achieved recognition for his work on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint, as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and...

 has sampled "Sing Swan Song" on his song "Drunk & Hot Girls" from his 2007 album Graduation
Graduation (album)
Graduation is the third studio album by American hip hop artist Kanye West, released September 11, 2007 on Roc-A-Fella Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during 2005 to 2007 at Chung King Studios and Sony Music Studios in New York City and at Chalice Studios and The Record Plant...

. Nu-Krautrock pioneers Die Plankton cite Can as one of their main influences alongside Faust
Faust (band)
Faust are a German krautrock band. Formed in 1971 in Wümme, the group was originally composed of Werner "Zappi" Diermaier, Hans Joachim Irmler, Arnulf Meifert, Jean-Hervé Péron, Rudolf Sosna and Gunther Wüsthoff, working with record producer Uwe Nettelbeck and engineer Kurt Graupner.-History:Faust...

 and Neu!
Neu!
Neu! was a German band formed by Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother after their split from Kraftwerk in the early 1970s...

. The UK band Loop
Loop (band)
Loop was a South London band founded in 1986 by Robert Hampson and his wife, Bex, and active until 1991.-Career:The band was formed in 1986 by Robert Hampson , with wife Bex on drums. Bex was soon replaced by John Wills and Glen Ray, with James Endeacott on guitar...

 was deeply influenced by Can for their repetitive polyrhythmic style, covering Can's "Mother Sky" on their Fade Out album.

In addition, Can also influenced "classical" avant-garde composers such as Bernhard Lang
Bernhard Lang
Bernhard Lang is an Austrian composer of the experimental and avant-garde school, particularly advocating a style he has self-termed "repetition-perpetrator"....

 and Karlheinz Essl
Karlheinz Essl
Karlheinz Essl is an Austrian composer, performer, sound artist, improviser and composition teacher.- Biography :Essl was born in Vienna. His studies at the University of Music in Vienna included: composition , electro-acoustic music and double bass...

.

Their music has been used on the soundtracks of films including Deep End
Deep End (film)
Deep End is a 1970 British-West German drama film directed by Jerzy Skolimowski and starring Jane Asher, John Moulder Brown and Diana Dors. The film is set in the suburbs of London and is perhaps best known for featuring the song "Mother Sky" by the band Can and "But I Might Die Tonight", the Cat...

, Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street, Morvern Callar
Morvern Callar
Morvern Callar was the debut novel by Scottish author Alan Warner, first published in 1995. Narrated in the first person, it tells the story of Morvern, who wakes up near Christmas to find her boyfriend dead in the kitchen:...

, Norwegian Wood
Norwegian Wood
Norwegian Wood is a 1965 song by The Beatles.Norwegian Wood may also refer to:* Norwegian Wood , an annual music festival in Oslo, Norway* Norwegian Wood , by Haruki Murakami...

, and Los Abrazos Rotos
Los Abrazos Rotos
Broken Embraces is a 2009 Spanish romantic thriller film written, produced, and directed by Pedro Almodóvar; a four-way tale of dangerous love, and was shot in the style of a hard-boiled 1950s American film noir, or its descendant, the neo-noir genre...

.

Improvisation, recording and live shows


Much of Can's music was based on free improvisation
Free improvisation
Free improvisation or free music is improvised music without any rules beyond the logic or inclination of the musician involved. The term can refer to both a technique and as a recognizable genre in its own right....

 and then edited for the studio albums. For example, when preparing a soundtrack, only Irmin Schmidt would view the film and then give the rest of the band a general description of the scenes they would be scoring. This assisted in the improvised soundtrack being successful both inside and outside the film's context. Also, the epic track "Cutaway" from Unlimited Edition
Unlimited Edition (album)
Unlimited Edition is a compilation album by the band Can. Released in 1976 as a double album, it was an expanded version of the 1974 LP Limited Edition on United Artists Records which, as the name suggests, was a limited release of 15,000 copies...

demonstrates how tape editing and extensive jamming could be used to create a sound collage that doesn't gel perfectly, and that the flashes of genius in the improvisation needed to be cut from long, unconsolidated recordings.

Can's live shows often melded spontaneous improvisation of this kind with songs appearing on their albums. The track "Colchester Finale", appearing on the Can Live
Can Live
Can Live Music is a double live album by the band Can, released in 1999 and recorded in the UK and West Germany between 1972 and 1977...

album, incorporates portions of "Halleluhwah
Halleluhwah
"Halleluhwah" is a song by the krautrock band Can, on their 1971 album Tago Mago. The track, which originally took up a whole side of long-playing vinyl, lasts for 18 minutes and 28 seconds and is characteristic of the band's sound around 1971 in that it features a vast array of improvised guitars...

" into a composition lasting over half an hour. Early concerts found Mooney and Suzuki often able to shock audiences with their unusual vocal styles, as different as they were from one another; Suzuki's debut performance with Can in 1970 nearly frightened an audience to the point of rioting due to his odd style of vocalizing. The actor David Niven
David Niven
James David Graham Niven , known as David Niven, was a British actor and novelist, best known for his roles as Phileas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days and Sir Charles Lytton, a.k.a. "the Phantom", in The Pink Panther...

 was amongst the crowd who remained to hear what Can and Damo would do next. After the departure of Suzuki, the music grew in intensity without a vocal centre. The band maintained their ability to collectively improvise with or without central themes for hours at a time (their longest performance, in Berlin, lasted over six hours), resulting in a large archive of performances.

Can made attempts to find a new vocalist after the departure of Damo Suzuki, although no one quite fit the position. In 1975, folk singer Tim Hardin
Tim Hardin
James Timothy "Tim" Hardin was an American folk musician and composer. He wrote the Top 40 hits "If I Were a Carpenter", covered by, among others, Joan Baez, Bobby Darin, Johnny Cash, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, and Robert Plant, and "Reason to Believe", covered by many, including Rod Stewart, as well...

 took the lead vocal spot and played guitar with Can for one song, at two gigs, performing his own "The Lady Came From Baltimore". Malaysian Thaiga Raj Raja Ratnam played four dates with the band between January and March 1976, all of which were recorded, and did considerable studio work with them. Another vocalist, Englishman Michael Cousins, toured with Can in March (France) and April (Germany) 1976. Audiences in France disapproved of his presence and literally spat at him while on stage. There are eight recordings of Cousins performing with the band.

Core

  • Holger Czukay
    Holger Czukay
    Holger Czukay is a German musician, probably best known as a co-founder of the krautrock group Can. Described by critic Jason Ankeny as "successfully bridg[ing] the gap between pop and the avant-garde," Czukay is also notable for creating early important examples of ambient music, for exploring...

     – bass guitar, sound engineer, electronics (1968–1977, 1986–1991)
  • Michael Karoli
    Michael Karoli
    Michael Karoli was a German guitarist, violinist and composer. He was a founding member of the influential krautrock band Can....

     – guitar, vocals, violin (1968–1979, 1986–1991)
  • Jaki Liebezeit
    Jaki Liebezeit
    Jaki Liebezeit is a drummer probably best known as a founding member of Can who has been called "one of the few drummers to convincingly meld the funky and the cerebral"....

     – drums, percussion (1968–1979, 1986–1991)
  • Irmin Schmidt
    Irmin Schmidt
    Irmin Schmidt is a German keyboard player and composer, probably best known as a founding member of the band Can.-Biography:...

     – keyboards, vocals (1968–1979, 1986–1991)

Other members

  • Malcolm Mooney
    Malcolm Mooney
    Malcolm Mooney is an American singer, poet, and artist, probably best known as the original vocalist for German krautrock band Can.-Biography:Mooney began singing in high school, and was a member of an a cappella vocal group known as the Six Fifths...

     – vocals (1968–1969, 1986, 1991)
  • Damo Suzuki
    Damo Suzuki
    , universally known as Damo Suzuki , is a singer best known for his membership in the German krautrock group Can.-Biography:As a teenager, Suzuki spent the late 1960s wandering around Europe, often busking....

     – vocals (1970–1973)
  • Rosko Gee
    Rosko Gee
    Rosko Gee is a Jamaican bassist who has played with the English band Traffic on their albums When the Eagle Flies and The Last Great Traffic Jam , with the supergroup Go conceived by Stomu Yamashta, which also included Steve Winwood, Al Di Meola, Klaus Schulze and Michael Shrieve, and with the...

     – bass, vocals (1977–1979)
  • Rebop Kwaku Baah
    Rebop Kwaku Baah
    Anthony "Reebop" Kwaku Baah was a Ghanaian percussionist perhaps best known for working with the 1970s rock groups Traffic and Can.-Biography:...

     – percussion, vocals (1977–1979)

Additional collaborators

  • David C. Johnson – reeds, winds, electronics and tape manipulation (1968–1969)
  • Manni Löhe – vocals, percussion and flute (1968)
  • Duncan Fallowell
    Duncan Fallowell
    Duncan Fallowell is a novelist, travel writer and cultural commentator. Born in London in 1948, he graduated from Oxford in 1970, and at the age of 21 was given a rock column in the Spectator. He was subsequently the magazine's film critic and fiction critic...

     – lyrics (1974)
  • Peter Gilmour – lyrics (later 1970s)
  • René Tinner – recording engineer (later 1970s)
  • Olaf Kübler of Amon Düül
    Amon Düül
    -External links:* - Extensive bio @ Perfect Sound Forever* mainly focussed on their collaboration with Robert Calvert of Hawkwind...

     – tenor saxophone (1975)
  • Tim Hardin
    Tim Hardin
    James Timothy "Tim" Hardin was an American folk musician and composer. He wrote the Top 40 hits "If I Were a Carpenter", covered by, among others, Joan Baez, Bobby Darin, Johnny Cash, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, and Robert Plant, and "Reason to Believe", covered by many, including Rod Stewart, as well...

     – vocals & guitar (November 1975)
  • Thaiga Raj Raja Ratnam – vocals (January–March 1976)
  • Michael Cousins – vocals (March–April 1976)

Discography


  • Monster Movie (1969)
  • Soundtracks
    Soundtracks (Can album)
    Soundtracks is a soundtrack album by the Krautrock group Can. It was first released in 1970 and consists of tracks written for various films. The album marks the departure of the band's original vocalist Malcolm Mooney, who sings on two tracks, to be replaced by new member Damo Suzuki...

    (1970)
  • Tago Mago
    Tago Mago
    Tago Mago is the third studio album by the German experimental rock band Can, and was originally released as a double LP in 1971 by United Artists...

    (1971)
  • Ege Bamyasi
    Ege Bamyasi
    Ege Bamyası is the fourth studio album by the German experimental rock band Can which was originally released as an LP in 1972 by United Artists. The album contains the single "Spoon", which charted in the Top 10 in Germany, largely because of its use as the theme of a German TV thriller series...

    (1972)
  • Future Days
    Future Days
    Future Days is the fifth studio album by the rock music group Can. This is the last album to feature Japanese vocalist Damo Suzuki. On Future Days, the band employs more of an ambient sound than on their previous efforts, especially on the title track and the twenty-minute "Bel Air".-Track...

    (1973)
  • Soon Over Babaluma
    Soon Over Babaluma
    Soon Over Babaluma is the sixth studio album by the rock music group Can. This is the band's first album without a lead vocalist who does not play an instrument, following the departure of Damo Suzuki in 1973 during which he married his German girlfriend. The vocals are taken care of by guitarist...

    (1974)
  • Landed
    Landed (album)
    Landed is the band Can's seventh studio album, released in 1975. It is said to be the beginning of their poppier, less experimental era.The album has been described as the band's attempt at glam rock, and the upbeat nature of most of the tracks do give the album this feel...

    (1975)
  • Flow Motion
    Flow Motion
    Flow Motion is the eighth Can studio album, and features the UK hit single "I Want More".It was mixed using "Artificial Head" binaural stereo.The cover features a photograph taken by band member Michael Karoli.-Track listing:-Personnel:...

    (1976)
  • Saw Delight
    Saw Delight
    Saw Delight is the ninth Can studio album, and features two new band members who were ex-members of the band Traffic, with Can's bassist Holger Czukay giving up the bass in favour of experimental effects....

    (1977)
  • Out of Reach (1978)
  • Can
    Can (album)
    Can, also known as Inner Space, is the eleventh studio album by Can, released in 1979. Former bassist Holger Czukay's involvement with this album is limited to tape editing...

    (1979)
  • Rite Time
    Rite Time
    Rite Time is Can's twelfth and last studio album, considered a reunion album because of the time elapsed since the band's previous album, Can, which had been released in 1979. The album consists of sessions recorded in the South of France in late 1986, edited extensively by the band over the course...

    (1989)

External links