INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Shindig! JULY 2017 - by Kris Needs
CAN: THE SINGLES
During their initial stampede the last thing Can were known for was singles. Witnessing them live in the early '70s saw them playing over three hours and their records constructed from similar epic improvisations. Can exercised similar editing principles on singles, such as Halleluwah; the monolithic space-funk jam that became an eighteen-minute behemoth on 1971's Tago Mago, then shortened to two hundred and ten seconds for the B-side of jaunty non-album 45, Turtles Have Short Legs.
These much-sought collectors' items are corralled in a largely immaculate collection starting with '69's parched Soul Desert and languid She Brings The Rain, featuring original singer Malcolm Mooney. This astonishing sequence continues with the shape-shifting future-funk of '71's Spoon (soon to appear on '72's more concise Ege Bamyasi) and non-album B-side Shikaku Maru Ten (another 'One More Night splice), Turtles Have Short Legs and Halleluwah, '72's luminous exercise in minimal beauty Vitamin C and I'm So Green, Tago Mago's Mushroom as B-side to a UK Spoon 45 and Moonshake; seemingly created as a single when it appeared on '73's transcendent Future Days, whose shimmering title track provided a frustratingly curtailed B-side.
Can acquired a more accessible song-based hue on '74's Soon Over Babaluma, Michael Karoli replacing Damo Suzuki as singer on the spectral Dizzy Dizzy (c/w with the jazz-attack of Splash). 1975's Landed produced Hunters And Collectors (backed by techno-predicting Vernal Equinox). 1976 saw Can's only UK chart hit with Flow Motion's disco-infused I Want More (c/w ...And More) before Silent Night became their one-off Christmas single (c/w Cascade Waltz). By '77's Saw Delight (which allowed Don't Say No on 45), Can had become the world's weirdest pop group, compounded by their novelty romp through Can Can. The set ends with '90's near-throwaway Hoolah Hoolah.
While presenting the other side of their original epic jamming ethos, this endlessly compelling set serves as a concise picture of Can's rapid evolution and almost-demoralising demise. Its first two thirds still ignites chills down a spine that has long regarded this music as DNA. In this unlikely context, Can's incandescent space rites and parallel dimension pop music sound more audaciously innovative and downright mind-blowing than ever.