Sonic Curiosity Logo

Can: Still Out of Reach

decorative rule

Anyone who remains ignorant of the music of Can and their contributions to pushing the sonic envelope during the 70s and 80s has clearly been in primordial hibernation too long.

While many European bands sought to define a new musical genre with exclusive electronic content during the 70s, Can dedicated themselves to forging a surprising bridge between Stockhausian wildness and traditional rock'n'roll structure. Their freeform performances transformed conventional rock into an art-form that was unique and dazzling, a forerunner to trance music.

For more background on Can visit the band's official Website.

decorative rule

CAN: Out of Reach (CD on Marginal Talent)

Originally release in 1978, this classic album (one of Can's last releases before their fracture later that year) was finally reissued on CD in 1999, and features 36 minutes of searing trance rock.

The line-up for this album was: the late Michael Karoli on guitars and violin, Jaki Liebezeit on drums, Irmin Schmidt on keyboards, blues maestro Rosko Gee on bass, voice, and fender piano, and Reebop Kwaku Baah (from Traffic) on percussion, polymoog, and voice. The recording was mixed by the late great Conny Plank and Can.

Expect engagingly complex percussive patterns laced with bongo punctuations. The guitar riffs sear with a lasting burn that is pleasantly chilled. Basslines rumble in the thick of the mix, spreading their foundational support like eager honey. The keyboards walk a hazy line between recognizable keys and mesmerizing electronics, providing constant slippery slopes of sound for the audience's rollercoaster ride through the melodies.

The congenial vocals bestow an accessibility to this outré music. But fear not, there are numerous instrumental pieces that afford ample testament to the band's experimental predilections. These tunes blaze with cohesion and thrilling harmonics, creating sonic pinnacles effortlessly and with masterful accomplishment.

During these instrumental excursions, Can display their finest capacities. The molten guitar oozes with extraterrestrial attitudes, fusing bonds between flesh and transcendental inner space. The percussion is often so fluid as to defy human manipulation, generating cascading waves of rhythms that batter the sensibilities with friendly tempos. The atmospheric keyboards free matter from the constraints of gravity, lifting the melodies to high altitudes. The earthy bass grounds the entirety to the soil. The unity of these sounds creates an astounding whole that is not just more than its component pieces but belongs to an altogether loftier plane of existence.

Bands today aspire in vain to create music like this with celestial impact and human appeal.

decorative rule
Entire page © 2004 Matt Howarth.
All rights reserved.
Webpage design by Stasy