Every Record I Own - Day 183: Can s/t
If you’re still reading these Can posts, I can only assume it’s because you’re already a fan of the krautrock icons. And if you’re reading a post about Can’s last album before breaking up, then you either want new insight on a record you’re familiar with or you’re curious if this LP, which always seems to linger in a coat of dust in record store bins, is actually worth investigating.
Let’s make this short. I don’t have a particularly hot take on this seldom discussed entry in the Can discography. A lot of people don’t pay attention to the post-Suzuki records, but for me, the quality doesn’t really wane until the last three albums, when Holger Czukay is relieved of bass duties. Saw Delight is often seen as the first uninspired Can record, Out of Reach is frequently cited as their only truly bad record, and Can is simply not talked about. It’s a little strange, considering Can was their swan song, and it’s certainly better than the preceding Out of Reach or the reunion record Rite Time. It’s neither as mysterious as everything up through Soon Over Babaluma nor as unapologetically buoyant as Flow Motion, but aside from “Can Can”—the painfully campy entry into their Ethnological Forgery Series—their self-titled album is a decent overview of the band’s signature sound: repetitive grooves with undulating waves of continuously evolving instrumentation.
Can’s strongest material stemmed from jam sessions recorded straight to tape and pieced together into songs in the editing process; their weakest material came later in their career when multi-tracking allowed them to piece songs together one instrument at a time. This album falls under the latter category, but of all the post-Holger multi-tracked albums, it’s the most successful approximation of the early records’ spontaneous and unpredictable magic. If you’ve already fully absorbed everything up through Flow Motion, then you might be ready for Can.