Can, a German band begun by a forward thinking orchestral conductor and student, Irmin Schmidt, laid a foundation of experimental music that is still in use today. There are multiple elements within the fabric of Can songs that sound, at times, like late ‘60s underground, and then like late ‘70s art-punk. Can opened the door for all of us who found excitement by their songs, allowing us commerce with other pioneers in experimental music such as Tangerine Dream, Steve Roach, and yes, even Talking Heads by way of Eno, AND Velvet Undergorund. Can was influenced by bands and thought but maintained an originality that makes up the structures of their own songs.
This recently re-released Can Anthology, like Shout! Factory’s developing ELP remasters, precedes the revitalization of Can albums that begin with the reissue of Tago Mago (1971), and Ege Bamyasi (1972). Can Anthology is a 2CD set that explores early period Can and later period Can with one stop for Can circa 1988. Otherwise, the best Can years began in the late ‘60s and ended a decade later in the late ‘70s.
This previously released 2CD retrospective approaches the music of Can well, culling the standout tracks from their 13 albums, and presenting them to us in a bounce-around pattern, from one album to another, regardless of any chronological release phase. Can changed and matured, the songs taking on differences that are recognizable. However, with this collection’s track-listing, there is little to do but sit back and enjoy Can in their imaginative settings, one period to another and then back again.
The Can albums were remastered not long ago and released as SACDs. If you can acquire these, you are encouraged to do so, as they will soon become collector items, fetching far more money than you would pay for them now. For those on the edge, not yet sure if Can is a band to pay attention to, this Anthology is a perfect set to introduce you to this unique band. You’ll be amazed at what you hear.