Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Unique Cosmos of Sound

Can, Unknown Studio Fragment, 1973

My friend Victoria slags Can off as the quintessential boy band - the appeal of the group being mostly to males, like most other obscure German bands of a certain period of time, or (realistically), any period of time. I can see the argument, it's essentially true, but that's a terrible, terrible reason to dismiss what has to be the best German-Japanese collaboration since World War II!

The date on this song indicates that it probably would have been recorded during the sessions for Future Days, the final Can album to feature Damo Suzuki's vocals, at their own Inner Space studios. The great thing about a Can track like this - jamming, lengthy, is that essentially, one would simply clean up the production, and it could easily appear on a majority of the group's albums. This is what I imagined, before I was introduced to the grim reality of the situation, the Grateful Dead would sound like - 10 minute long songs with psyched-and-fuzzed out guitars, reverbed vocals, LSD freak-out, right? Unfortunately, the Grateful Dead played limp, hayseed boogie rock that only very confused American teenagers (and very stoned) born many years past the eclipse of a youth culture they idolize and pine for could love, and their best song was their only chart-topper, and embarassment to all true deadheads, Touch of Grey. Thurston Moore speaks their praises, though. I have a theory that, given all that time spent in New York at Marc Jacobs' shows and gallery openings, he needed a fairly large stick to weild against the preening and affected elite, and what better than an indigenous boogie-blues ensemble, terrible enough to withstand ironic detournement?

Can - Unknown Studio Fragment 1973.mp3

UP NEXT That new Eno album Another Day On Earth has leaked, we'll take a look!


Andrew Rose said...

At the risk of losing all my WattsCred, I present the following: the Grateful Dead were a good band, Jay. A different kind of band, but a good one nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

I must concur- though worthy of some degree of scorn, The Grateful Dead have a clutch of fantastic songs to their credit. I take it you've never given more than a cursory listen to "American Beauty" or "Workingman's Dead"? There are some gems, and I wouldn't necessarily count "Touch Of Gey" among them. Balogh

Helmut said...

What?!! Watts hasn't yet crossed over to the dark Dead side? Give it time, it took me many, many long years to see the light. Perhaps it goes hand in hand with getting old and shitty.

Kevin said...

Although I like to think that I have pretty wide-ranging tastes, I have to side with Jay on the Dead-hate. Their stuff is, at best, aggressively boring. Although, if the Dead never existed, what quotes would high school seniors have to scrawl in each others' yearbooks ("what a long, strange trip it's been")?

Anonymous said...

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,
Would you hear my voice come thru the music,
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken,
Perhaps they’re better left unsung.
I don’t know, don’t really care
Let there be songs to fill the air.

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow.

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
If your cup is full may it be again,
Let it be known there is a fountain,
That was not made by the hands of men.

There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone.

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow.

But if you fall you fall alone,
If you should stand then who’s to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home.

Anonymous said...

has your friend victoria heard of electrelane? hello...!

20jazzfunkgreats said...

Before you hear them you imagine the Grateful Dead are some zonked out blow your mind psychedelic outfit that drove people crazy with there acid induced noise jams, and then you hear them and its like - oh, folk rock hippies form America.

Not a bad thing, but a bit disappointing.

Pink Floyd in the 60s and Hawkwind in the 70s jamming with Lightning Bolt and James Brown and The Butthole Surfers, is what you really want them to be. Some kind of insparing new music from another dimension.

Can almost live up to this trip and if you believe people helped invent dance music and The Fall on the way. Lots of is still prog nonce though, and girls who are not stoned Iron Butterfly fans don’t generally dig that.

I live in Brighton and can confirm the rumor, Electrelane are men in drag.

I was introduced to Can by a girl(not in drag), but she is from Leeds and they do make them a bit odd up there.

Do you think if Can were sexy or had an image like Roxy Music Victoria would change her mind?

Anonymous said...

You should really check out the albums Live Dead and Anthem of The Sun. I don't think you have ever heard them. Some great psychedelic wizardry in action. Having said that, the Grateful Dead really and truly did suck after 1975.