CAN - SOLO ­ PROJECTS ­ LIVE
CONCERT AT THE BARBICAN ­HALL LONDON ON 9 TH. OCTOBER 1999

 

Krautrockers Can's influence on modern music has been more profound perhaps even than Kraftwerk's. Way back in 1973, with "Moonshake" they were making prototype techno, while every reconstructed aspect of the '90s sound, from post-rock to trip-hop, owes something to their studied understanding in rock of the relationship between freedom and order, repetition and chaos.

Tonight, three of the four founder members showcase thir present-day projects successively. Only Holger Czukay is missing, unfortunately. The sit-down crowd is a largely elderly mix of academic baldies, stoned beatniks and, three seats down, looking like a green-haired cabbie, Charlie Harper of UK Subs.

Drummer Jaki Liebzeit is first up, with his Club Off Chaos. His open-ended rhythmical riffs ran through Can's work like a metal cylinder and tonight, accompanied by two sidekicks providing DAF-style technoid riffs and treated guitar, he's still working to the same principles. Excellent stuff, though a tad stretched at an hour.

Irmin Schmidt, now 60-something, is still blazing a path for today's relatively timid sonic "terrorists" if his two-piece project Kumo is anything to go by. Like sheets of metal reverberating in mid-air, Kumo deliver skilfully non-cacophonous shock waves of Theremin, quantum-leap sampling, jet-engine drones and grand piano flourishes.

Finally, violinist/guitarist Michael Karoli and Sofortkontakt. The youngest member of Can and always closest to rock's free spirit he twirls like an ageing dervish delivering flourishes of gypsy violin and upper-register guitar alternately, against his band's unrelenting waterfall of grunge-tinged avant-noise.

No middle-aged musical complacency tonight. The word Can is still a vital one in the present-day musical vocabulary.

David Stubbs
NME 30 October 1999

 


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