Quality: 5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 5 out of 5
Future Days isn't much representative of Can's signature sound, but I'm willing to call it their best album. Here the band completely melds into a single, ego-less entity and conjures a sonic journey along the waves of the cosmic ocean. Can goes even more into the jazz end of the spectrum, finding inspiration particularly in Bitches' Brew-era Miles Davis. "Spray" almost sounds like it could be an outtake from that jazz-fusion masterpiece.
I've often heard Can cited as a major influence on electronic music. On Future Days, Holger Czukay attempts some early sampling on "Moonshake." Even more rudimentary is Can's approach to music. Earlier tracks like "Mother Sky" and "Halleluhwah" provides a repetitive and hypnotic pulse upon which layers of sound were plastered, much like modern electronica. It didn't hurt that Jaki Leibezeit probably keeps better time than a computer. Here Can gives us the flip side to those epic tracks with "Bel Air." Where the earlier tracks focused in polyrhythmic or propulsive robotic percussion, "Bel Air" simply glides upon the clouds for 20 minutes. It's the dreamy brother among Can's epic tracks. Along with Brian Eno and Manuel Gottsching's contemporary efforts, I feel like Future Days is one of the foundation blocks for ambient and chilll-out music.
On the poppier end of the spectrum we find the title track at a, uh, short nine minutes. Damo Suzuki's practically whispered melody continually haunts my mind and keyboardist Irmin Schmidt's slightly out of time churning synth threatens to warp reality. Later on side one we find "Moonshake," which might be my favorite single Can track. "Moonshake" comes about as close to pop as classic Can would get, Suzuki intoning another great melody over Czukay locked single-note bass line (could to "Bel Air" to hear him play something difficult on bass) and Leibezeit's robotic pulse. Karoli and Schmidt add the sunshine to the melody. The sampling in the middle section is innovative, but in an almost comical way. In my alternate universe this was a number one hit, and in the real world it often ends up on mix tapes that I put together for folks.
Future Days is a floating journey for the listener, showcasing an altered Can but one playing at their absolute fused best. It gets my highest recommendation.
Can - 1973 - Future Days