Can -‘The Lost Tapes’ (Mute)
Quite often, compilations of ‘lost’ music or demos can present an all too obvious and uncomfortable truth: that the music contained within is simply not good enough to have made it onto regular albums and is simply released for completists. It is, therefore, very much a relief to be able to say that these three CDs of material very much deserve to see the light of day, and have some utter gems contained within. They were recorded between 1968 and 1977 and were compiled by Can keyboardist Irmin Schmidt and Mute head honcho Daniel Miller.
It’s not that there aren’t a few tracks that the world might not have missed. ‘Evening All Day’ and ‘Buble Rap’ (yes, ‘Buble’) have some wonderfully atmospheric parts while at other times descend into self-indulgent tosh. ‘Blind Mirror Surf’ is particularly trying.
But there are so many wonderful songs on here. The opening ‘Millionspeil’ with its flutes and jazzy feel. Excellent live version of ‘Spoon’ and ‘Mushroom.’ The insanely named ‘Dead Pigeon Suite’ is beautiful for six and a half minutes and then suddenly gets even funkier than ‘I Want More’ and goes like a Germanic James Brown. Other highlights include ‘Oscura Primavera’ ‘Your Friendly Neighborhood’ and ‘Midnight Sky.’
Inevitably, it may not be the best place to start for those new to Can (may I suggest Future Days or Tago Mago?, but it is a fascinating document that definitely reveals so much of what this fantastic band produced.
The Lost Tapes is out now on Mute.