The year is 1973, and five German musicians, some former students of avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, at least one found on a street corner, picked up at the last minute to sing at a show that night. These musicians make up Can, the perpetually-ahead-of-their-time group whose music has stood as a shining example of artistry and the power of musicianship to create something wholly unique. Where Can’s previous three albums – the brilliantly shambolic Monster Movie, the wild and jammy Tago Mago, and the frenetic, minimalist funk of Ege Bamyasi – were delirious exercises in the music’s monolithic power, for their fourth album (and final album with vocalist Damo Suzuki), Future Days, the band took possibly the most surprising left turn they could: they mellowed out. Where many groups might have lost their spark in these circumstances, Can were able to gracefully adapt their sound into a proto-ambient mix of mellow guitars, swirling keyboards, siren-call vocals, warm bass, and the best drumming you will ever hear. From the opening track (also the title track), with its vocals like a beam from a heaven where the angels drop acid, all the way through the final monumental twenty minutes of “Bel Air”, Future Days ebbs like transmissions from the depths of the ocean, interstellar whale songs holding the secrets to the universe. Four decades later, the album still sounds fresh, and is a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the band. Listen to each of the four songs below, and bask in the sweet glow of Can.
“Future Days”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXX5-p6sUwI
“Bel Air”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGQKGpjl1Fg