04 July 2007

Can - 1972 - Ege Bamyasi

Quality: 5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

This seems to be Can's concept album about a can of okra; okra destined for soup I suppose. Really, the concept doesn't matter at all. What matters is that this is the second album at Can at their absolute best. This time out Can only went for a single album as opposed to the mammoth Tago Mago, so Ege Bamyasi is a lot more focused too.

Whereas the last album was in large part drummer Jaki Leibezeit's showcase, this one puts vocalist Damo Suzuki front and center. Often there are long stetches of Can's music where we don't necessarily hear Mr. Suzuki for long stretches, but he's definitely splattered liberally across this album. That's not to say you should listen for lyrics. Suzuki continues to sing in a mumbly mixture of English, Japanese, and gibberish, but it's all about the feeling and how he melds in with the rest of the band as basically another instrument.

The basic sound gets a little jazzier here. While still providing perfect time, Leibezeit loosens up and reveals his original status as a jazz drummer and Michael Karoli manages some languid, fluid lines on guitar. "Pinch" is a precursor to the lighter, spacier sound that Can would explore on their next album, while "Sing Swan Song" does a fine job of reshuffling elements of Can's earlier approach to a quieter sound.

Unlike the majority of krautrockers, Can has an uncanny ability to sound a little loose and funky. Leibezeit and bassist Holger Czukay are still at the top of their game as a rhythm section and the amazing breakbeats of "Pinch," "Vitamin C," and "I'm So Green" are just waiting for a modern hip-hop producer to sample. As an added plus, these songs are much more accessible than a lot of Can's music and makes Ege Bamyasi the closest thing to a pop album that Can would make in their prime (late period Can tries to get poppy to disasterous results).

And one track here actually did have a slight taste of pop success. The closing track "Spoon" actually charted as a single and was apparently added to the album in post production. It's a fine tune, but part of me wishes that "Vitamin C" or "I'm So Green" had even more success on the charts.

Instead of devoting an entire album to insane experimental noise, Can plunges it all into the ten minute "Soup." It's much better integrated into the album than somethng like Tago Mago's "Peking O" and doesn't overstay it's welcome, at least not for me.

If you're new to Can, I'd say that Ege Bamyasi is probably the best place to start. It's a great summation of where the band had been while laying the groundwork for the equally classic Future Days. This is quintessential Can. And just for the record, I totally dig the goofy cover art.

Buy Me:
Can - 1972 - Ege Bamyasi


Anonymous said...

Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I'm out here, and I've been reading and listening... and purchasing the stuff I like. So far, I think my very favorite has been Rainbow Ffolly.

I know of a few other people who've been using your site to discover new music, too.

Thank you so much.

Dr. Schluss said...

Thanks for the comment! If I know that people are frequenting the site, then I'm much more stoked to keep writing and posting.

Anonymous said...

Yep, your audience is bigger than you realize. It's just that a lot of people aren't into commenting. I'm not either, actually, but some of the music that I have found through you has given me far too much listening joy for me to continue without at least saying thank you.

You really do a great job with your reviews, too.

Anonymous said...


ElementaryPenguin said...

Most of your "Can" links are down. I think "shareonall.com" is gone. I was just interested to check out some of them before purchasing. I've heard a lot about them, but I just don't know...

Either way, thanks for your reviews. I think I can trust your judgment.

srecko ujka said...



Dr. Schluss said...

As always, thanks for providing all of those links, srecko ujka!

srecko ujka said...

No need 2 thank, you gave me whole lotta wider perspective with some completely unknown peformers, that's just a small gratitude in return! I'm glad if it's worthed (also sorry 4 bad English, but I'm really doing my current best)!

Andrew said...

Great site, thanks for all the pointers & appreciate & enjoy your writing alot too. You might be interested in the odd piece of my own like this one:
though then again you mightn't.

Andrew said...

To add, a day or so later, thanks for the Can pointers. Till now I'd not really checked them out, about the only brief encounter'd given me the idea they were on a hypnotic but heavy oppressive vibe but listening to Future Days last night was an unexpected light & groovier thing. Can see what all teh fuss is about. If you're not aware of it a very spaced out album of early 90s by Czech band Ecstasy of fSaint Theresa is I'd consider a psychedelic classic. . . . a quick check yields this link for starters:


Assuming you already have KLF's Chill Out, Space by Jimmy Cauty is worth having also

Andrew said...

Space :

Anonymous said...

I really dig CAN. My favorites, like many other music freaks, is the trilogy of Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi and Future Days. I know this blog post is a few years expired, but can anyone comment on the sound quality of the 2007 spoon/mute remasters? I only have the 1989 spoon/mute cd's of the trilogy and I'm looking to upgrade. The drums sound so thin on those pressings. Thanks in advance. Any blog that reviews CAN in a favorable tone rules!!

Daddy-O '73