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REVIEW: Can - "A Swan Is Born"

By: Jeff Daily
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June 20, 2012
One of the most innovative groups to come out of the Germany's Krautrock scene of the late 60s/early 70s, Can's music is the sweet spot where electronic tinkering, modern classical, and rock music collide. The band's influence on The Fall, Radiohead, The Flaming Lips, and many others makes the band's studio creations all the more interesting because the strange grooves the group concocted sound as potently original today as they sounded alien in their own time.

Can are releasing a 3-CD set titled The Lost Tapes (Mute) June 19th, which contains unreleased recordings from 1968-1977, and a track from the goliath collection, "A Swan is Born," is streaming now. The song is classic Can...well, it developed into a classic song called "Sing Swan Song" from the band's Ege Bamyasi (1972). This recording, probably a studio jam, is both loose and tight at the same time and it's interesting to hear how the band took melodies and riffs and refined them into the finished song. Singer Damo Suzuki mumbles his way through a vocal as only he can get away with (stop what you're doing, halt your life, and rush out to the record store to buy the band's essential 1971 LP Tago Mago - um, finish reading, THEN race to the store). The rhythm section takes the idea of "jazz-rock" to a trippy wonderland like no US group could ever hope to do, then or now. If this piece is indicative of the album I will soon be swooning with the swans, but remember The Lost Tapes is for hardcore fans first. Neophytes should already be at the store, "Rock" section - letter C.

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