The Story of Can – a playlist by Rob Young
May 10, 2018 | by James Stone
Can remain one of the twentieth century’s most revered and influential avant-garde band, credited with inspiring numerous music stars from Mark E. Smith to Bobby Gillespie to James Murphy. Rob Young, co-author of the new Can book All Gates Open: The Story of Can has curated a playlist which celebrates the incredible and lasting impact the band has had on music over the last fifty years. Listen to the the selection and read Rob’s commentary below.
Rob Young’s The Story of Can playlist
Rob Young: Even after spending four years writing a book about them, I still can’t get tired of listening to Can. Here’s a playlist mixing up some essential Can moments with related music covering a fifty-year span. Can was formed by men who were on the run from generic sounds, and their music has inspired others to do the same.
Can – ‘Outside My Door’ (1969)
Garage-band Can. Sounded great in Ben Wheatley’s High Rise movie.
Hapshash & the Coloured Coat featuring the Human Host – ‘H-O-P-P- Why?’ (1967)
Ritualistic Brit psych, one of Can’s lesser-known influences.
Can –‘Thief’ (1969)
Love the mournful quality. Radiohead occasionally play this live.
Terry Riley – ‘You’re Nogood’ (1967)
Both Can and composers like Riley were stretching pop in unknown directions in the late 60s.
Loop – ‘Mother Sky’ (1988)
Made me seek out Can LPs in my teens.
Can – ‘Halleluwah (Live 1972)’
Can at its heaviest and funkiest. Maybe a mechanical, Teutonic version of . . .
James Brown – ‘Escape-ism (Pt. 1)’ (1971) (1967)
Like Can, JB treated his band like a machine and kept the rhythms rolling for hours.
Can – ‘One More Night’ (1972)
Clockwork Can: elegant, spacey, spacious.
LCD Soundsystem – ‘Yeah (Crass Version)’ (2004)
Majestically monotonous, and keeps piling on the pressure.
Can – ‘Doko E’ (1973)
A misanthropic rant from Damo Suzuki. Three months later he left Can.
The Fall – ‘I Am Damo Suzuki’ (1985)
Demented homage to Mark E. Smith’s favourite krautrockers.
Can – ‘Future Days’ (1973)
Streamlined and melancholic: a personal favourite.
David Sylvian – ‘Backwaters’ (1984)
Holger Czukay is the ghost voice.
Irmin Schmidt – ‘Rote Erde’ (1983)
Lovely pan-European vibe from one of Irmin’s best post-Can TV soundtracks.
Orang – ‘Mind On Pleasure’ (1994)
Shamanic post-rock from Talk Talk’s rhythm section.
Mouse On Mars – ‘Tamagnocchi’(1997)
The new Germany picks up the groove where Can left off.
Can – ‘All Gates Open’ (1978)
This optimistic manifesto was Can’s swansong. Hmm, that would make a great book title . . .
All Gates Open: The Story of Can by Rob Young & Irmin Schmidt is out now in hardback and limited edition.