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Monster Movie – Can

Monster Movie Artist: “The” Can
Album: Monster Movie
Released: 1969 | Mute
Recorded: 1968-1969 | Bodenstein Castle, Köln, Germany
Players: Holger Czukay (bass guitar, sound engineer, electronics), Michael Karoli (guitar, violin), Jaki Liebezeit (drums), Malcolm Mooney (vocals), Irmin Schmidt (keyboards, vocals)

Track Listing:

  1. Father Cannot Yell (7:01)
  2. Mary, Mary So Contrary (6:16)
  3. Outside My Door (4:11)
  4. You Doo Right (20:20)

Can’s debut album, Monster Movie, opens with the sounds of a Lou Reed-style side-project exploring punk and electronic music. The high highs and dissonant, feedback-laden guitar quickly bring to mind Cloud Taste Metallic-era Lips. As the drum and bass take things for an intense, slightly loopy twist, Mooney (half of the inspiration for the name of modern quintet, The Mooney Suzuki, Mooney’s replacement Damo Suzuki being, of course, the other) begins a Morrison-esque poetry/chanting session. “Father Cannot Yell” ends with nothing short of punching, pounding and squealing ecstasy.

Again sounding a bit like the Velvet Underground in steady, jangle-rock production, Can uses a common, traditional nursery rhyme for inspiration on “Mary, Mary So Contrary.” Karoli’s violin and Mooney’s emotion and spontaneity hold things together for an otherwise fairly straightforward piece, actually slightly reminiscent of “Heroin” towards the end.

“Outside My Door” really rocks my ass off for four straight minutes. It reminds me of some sort of pre-punk southern rock symphony written by a bunch of European lads. Though the chorus recalls Manzarek and The Doors, listening to “Outside My Door” is like seeing fossils of the ancestors of all garage, punk and progressive bands since the late sixties.

The final track checks in at just over twenty minutes, allegedly cut from a jam session originally running between six and twelve hours long (depending whom you ask), mixed and mastered by bassist Holger Czukay. A playful and uplifting track, “You Doo Right” highlights the repertoire of player Jaki Liebezet better than the previous three. What seems to be a heartfelt, lyrical celebration of love, Malcolm Mooney’s yelping draws comparisons to early Gordon Gano at times. Any one song that can seem to combine this with Mogwai-like progressive qualities and flicks and splatters of Pearl Jam’s No Code, all while being very entrenched in the roots of African tribal music, should be respected for the important part in musical history that it is.

“You Doo Right” did in fact stir up the new sound, the future of Can, heard on the following albums, Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi. The only drawback I have with Monster Movie is the lacking production at some key moments. As far as debut’s are concerned, however, this one is as ground-breaking as any other rock group’s from this era.

 

Can, 1968
Can in 1968
Jaki Liebezeit, Michael Karoli, Irmin Schmidt, Holger Czukay, Malcolm Mooney

 

Can, 1989
Can in 1989
Holger Czukay, Michael Karoli, Irmin Schmidt, Malcolm Mooney, Jaki Liebezeit

 

Can, “Vernal Equinox” on the BBC, 1975

 

Brian Eno’s Tribute to Can


Album Unity: 7
Longevity: 9
Musicianship: 7
Originality: 10
Production: 5

Total Score: 38

23 August, 2006 Posted by | electronic, experimental, experimental rock, kraut rock, progressive-rock, rock | 7 Comments