Thursday, 26 April 2018

Can “The Peel Sessions” 1995 Germany Kraut Rock Experimental


Can “The Peel Sessions” 1995 Germany Kraut Rock Experimental
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Recorded for John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 programme, the sessions took place in February 1973 (track 1), January 1974 (track 4), October 1974 (tracks 2 & 3), and May 1975 (tracks 5 & 6). The songs are mostly unreleased improvisations. “Geheim” is released as “Half Past One” on Landed and “Mighty Girl” as “November” on Out of Reach. …~


In the early 70s, British DJ John Peel was a great supporter of what later became known as Krautrock and Can recorded four sessions for his show (15 - 20 minutes recorded live at BBC studios) from 1973 - 5. Can’s albums were all recorded at their own studio with Holger Czukay producing, so this really captures them in an unfamiliar setting. Can always incorporated a lot of improvisation in their shows, and most of the music on this CD is what Holger Czukay called ‘spontaneous compositions.’ 
The CD starts with a lengthy piece from what is generally regarded as the classic Can line up with Damo Suzuki on vocals. Up The Bakerloo Line With Anne (possibly named for DJ Anne Nightingale) starts rather tentatively with some of Karoli’s trademark blues raga guitar, before quickly hitting a Future Days style groove. Czukay and Liebezeit hold down the rhythm, while Karoli and Suzuki free form all over the place and Schmidt adds odd washes of colour from his keyboards. This is Can at the top of their game, demonstrating an almost telepathic interplay and conjuring up mind spinning sounds apparently out of thin air, although the fact that they had been playing together 10 hours a day for several years probably helped. When the piece fades out at 18.46 you’re left with the feeling that they’d just got started and there was much more to come. The next two tracks were recorded 18 months later, and bear a strong resemblance to side 2 of Soon Over Babaluma. Return to BB City is a low key piece which recalls Quantum Physics, dominated by Schmidt’s ghostly keyboards and Liebezeit’s understated percussion. Tape Kebab is a fuzz guitar led freak out in the mould of Chain Reaction, but even more intense - this is one of Karoli’s finest moments as a guitarist. Tony Wanna Go was recorded 9 months earlier, and is another long improvisation with some jaw dropping moments. Suzuki may have left, but in 1974 Can had lost none of their drive and fire. The last two tracks were recorded in 1975 at around the time of Landed, and show the band just past their peak. Geheim (Half Past One), as the title implies, is a reworking of Half Past One from Landed and features Michael Karoli on vocals - it’s atmospheric stuff, but lacks the intensity of what went before. The last track is based around Irmin Schmidt’s piano playing, and there is a splendid interplay with Karoli’s guitar. It’s highly structured and probably the closest thing to mainstream prog on the album, but as with Geheim there’s a feeling that the band have lost some of their other worldliness and that they have started playing safe. 

This is an excellent collection of largely original material from one of the seminal Krautrock bands, and shows their development over 2 years and 3 studio albums. Few of their contemporaries had such a talent for improvisation - King Crimson were probably the only other band at the time who had the same kind of interplay - but very little of their spontaneous music has been officially released. This album shows just how good they could be. Strongly recommended…….by Syzygy …~


It’s such a shame that CAN didn’t release some official live albums during their peak in the seventies. This was really the first one but it wasn’t released until 1995. The Peel Sessions that these tracks were taken from happened from four different visits by the band between February of 1973 to May of 1975. Only one track features Damo on vocals and all but one of these tracks is a improv, so all new material for the CAN fan. It just seems so adventerous to me for these guys to go to the UK and go on John Peel’s show and not play songs that they and their fans were familiar with. These guys rank right up there with KING CRIMSON for having balls of steel in doing such things. I must admit that at times this doesn’t even sound like CAN. 
“Up The Bakerloo Line With Anne” is the almost 19 minute opener with Damo on vocals.This is from February of 1973. A beat with vocals kicks in just before a minute as bass and guitar help out as well. It settles back just before 5 minutes. Guitar and drums to the fore around 7 minutes. Check out Damo a minute later ! They continue to jam the rest of the way. “Return To BB City” and the next track are from October of 1974. Atmosphere to start as different sounds come and go. I’m surprised at how spacey and atmospheric this is as Schmidt works his magic. “Tape Kebab” has this relaxed beat with laid back guitar. The sound becomes fuller. I really like this. An electronic sounding beat after 6 minutes joins in. Karoli starts to rip it up after 7 minutes. Great track ! 

“Tony Wanna Go” is from January of 1974 and is the second longest track at 14 ½ minutes. A relaxed beat with guitar leads as spacey sounds sweep through. The guitar and beat become more prominant as they continue to jam. “Geheim (Half Past One)” is a re-worked version of “Half Past One” from “Landed”. This and the final track are from May of 1975. We get reserved vocals from Karoli as intricate sounds including xylophone-like sounds come and go. “Mighty Girl” has this piano led intro. This is CAN ?! Guitar joins in as well. 
Without question a must for CAN fans although right now this is a tough one to track down….by Mellotron Storm …~


For me, the single best Can album, even though it’s an archival live compilation. Encompassing the years from 1973 - 1975, we catch Can at their most inventive, entirely within an instrumental mindset. Only the near 19 minute opener features the familiar Damo ranting, and even then, the majority of the track features an overt instrumental jamming motif. Otherwise it’s psychedelic guitar, organ, bass and drum jams - wild, woolly and unpredictable - exactly what you would want to hear from a Krautrock legend. Well, OK true, Karoli puts in a few words on Geheim, but it’s easy to overlook. A phenomenal anthology of work. A must own CD….by…ashratom…~


Like the great lost Can album that should have been released in 75’ instead of “Landing”. This is amazing Improvisation on par with King Crimson’s mid-70’s Free Form run. I really love this one because it has Can channeling different sounds than they usually do like the aforementioned King Crimson, Amon Duul II and even Hawkwind but it’s still unmistakeably Can. One my favorite Can releases period….by….lovesthemetals ….~


An interesting all over the map release, much of which sounds purely improvised. “Up The Bakerloo” bears little resemblance to the longer version on “Radio Waves” (I prefer that one but this is nice too)- Damo really goes for it on this one. “Return To BB City” is my favorite track, unique in the Can canon- a showcase for Schmidt’s cascading crystalline keyboard lines and a reminder of what a great musician he was (I always wish he’d been used a more prominently). “Tape Kebab” and “Tony Wanna Go” are classic reptative, meditative Can grooves. The version of “Half Past One” is good but doesn’t add much to the “Landed” version and the closing “Mighty Girl” is another song on which Schmidt is the focus (shit, he’s practically the whole song), playing a rolling line that recalls the one on “Turtles Have Short Legs”….by…hellaguru ….~


“Up the Bakerloo Line With Anne” is the only track with Damo Suzuki and it rivals anything else on the official albums with Damo. Performed with intensity that was absent on the magically subdued Future Days. Next three tracks come from two different 1974 sessions. “Return to BB City” is more subdued and abstract, whereas “Tape Kebab” has a bit more of a drive to it with Karoli soloing on guitar, while Schmidt performs insistent counterpoint. “Tony Wanna Go” proves that Can managed to fire on all cylinders even months after Suzuki’s departure. 

“Geheim” is “Half Past One” from Landed and can’t say if it is any better or worse compared to the studio version. But “Mighty Girl” is a revelation: essentially a slower take of what would eventually become “November” on the quintessential past-one’s-prime LP Out of Reach three years later. It differs in a sense that one does not detect the Santana’s influence (as per studio version) so much as noticing a slightly different direction with the classically influenced piano part’s prominence. 

It was, however, obvious that by 1975 Can had indeed changed. The freeform fury that was still there on the 1974 sessions had dissipated. It was not necessarily Damo Suzuki’s departure that changed Can as it was some other factor that made Landed so different in feel from Soon Over Babaluma….by…stereomouse …~


This collection of songs Can recorded for John Peel’s radio show find the band in its peak period (1973-75), pumping on all cylinders. A real treat for Can collectors, most of the tracks here were improvised, and none exist on studio recordings, so this is something of a “lost” Can album. Much of the album is taken up two extended pieces, “Tony Wanna Go” and “Up the Bakerloo Line With Anne,” both of which feature swaths of fuzz guitar and jazzy drumming over intense, minimalist structures. The other tracks opt for a bit of a lower-key groove and make more use of varied atmospheric textures, but all stand to prove why Can is regarded as one of the seminal outfits of German experimental rock…by Jim Allen….~.


Credits 
Bass – Holger Czukay 
Drums – Jaki Liebezeit 
Guitar – Michael Karoli 
Keyboards – Irmin Schmidt 
Vocals – Damo Suzuki

Tracklist
1 Up The Bakerloo Line With Anne 18:48 
2 Return To BB City 8:26 
3 Tape Kebab 8:58 
4 Tony Wanna Go 14:31 
5 Geheim (Half Past One) 6:42 
6 Mighty Girl 8:41 

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