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Damo Suzuki's last album with Can is a definite highpoint from the band's incredible ouvre. All the elements that make the band so timelss and radical sounding even now are here in abundance: experimentation with all manner of electronic and organic sound textures and atmospherics pinned down by Jaki Liebezeit's jawdropping rhythms and augmented by an advanced melodic sensibility. As with all the recent Can reissues on Mute, all the stops have been pulled out in remastering this for vinyl to ensure optimum sound quality.
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This job can truly be a bind at times. “We need all the Can albums reviewing” Phil says. Sigh...well if I have to.
To make this chore easier we’ve got an album each and I’ve lucked out with ‘Future Days’ their glistening and gliding 1973 album which was the last one to feature vocalist Damo Suzuki. It really is a quite remarkable thing and different to anything in their catalogue. Its more drifty, more spaced out and the the four lengthy tracks seem to form parts of a whole whereas other albums tend to veer all over the place. Save to say they do enough on the title track to attain ‘classic’ status. The rhythms are just extra-ordinary, I can barely bring myself to call it drumming - its like a whole new percussive language, the drums almost being a melodic instrument and locking in superbly with the sparse bass notes which suddenly drop into the mix changing the entire emphasis of the track.
‘Spray’ is not affecting in the same way but what it lacks in melody it makes up in jazz inflected rhythmic excellence. Its basically a showcase for Jaki Liebezeit’s brilliance - absolutely stupendous. ‘Moonshake’ is classic Can. I won’t mention the drums again but you should hear what they are doing on this track. Over this busy incredibly complex rhythm there are sparse descending bass notes and haunting organ and the vocals are mixed way down and are like another instrument rather than anything that stands on top. The closing lengthy ‘Bel Air’ is another masterclass in minimalism and repetition, this time featuring warm bass notes and eerie discordant synth. I do take issue with some of Michael Karoli’s more wibbly guitar parts - he’s generally subdued here which makes me wonder if Can would have been even better with a guitarist who didn’t over-play.
That might be heresy to some but the remaining instruments are so wonderfully subtle and minimal the bended strings can sometime jar. Its a minor gripe and really this is Liebezeit’s album -he’s on fire throughout and this is a must-have for anyone interested in progressive experimental music. If nothing else just buy it for the drumming.
9/10 Ian Customer review, 11th August 2014
Hey, Clinton. Be thankful Phil didn't ask you to review 'Out Of Reach'. That is one seriously bad album.
'Future Days' is brilliant of course. And you are sooooooooo right: this is Liebezeit's album. Hell, on the basis of this album I think we can say it's Liebezeit's world and we just happen to live in it. Mainly as receptacles for Liebezeit's amazingness.
Liebezeit. It sometimes feels like there's not much else to say. Maybe there isn't anything meaningful to be said about this LP that hasn't been said before. Even your observation about Karoli's tendency to the noodle sounds very familiar to these ears. The arguments I have had with fellow proggers about this would fill a very dull book.
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