Can – The Lost Tapes (Mute Records)

Calling this 3-CD set The Lost Tapes is a misnomer since none of the material on it was ever really “lost” per se; but I guess calling it “The Best Of The Tapes That Sat In Storage Until We Had The Time To Listen To Them” isn’t as enticing. Culled from 40+ hours of old Ampex tapes, The Lost Tapes represents an alternate history of Can’s first decade (1968-1977), with over three hours of previously unreleased material getting a long overdue  airing. Everything fans have loved about Can’s music is present – the raw-throated mantra-punk of the Malcolm Mooney era, the spooky atmospheric kraut-rock of the Damo Suzuki era, the lengthy instrumentals, the sound collages and the stoned experiments are all here in wonderfully clear sound quality.

As for the songs, many are good enough that perhaps they could have been on Can’s regular albums, but only a couple should have: “Waiting For The Streetcar” is a fascinating 10-minute Malcom Mooney meltdown that would have worked well on Monster Movie, and “Bubble Rap” (which sounds like it dates from 1971/72) is as good as anything on Ege Bamyasi and Tago Mago. However, if anything, The Lost Tapes is a testament to the brilliance of Can’s editing process, and how well they paired endless hours of jamming and experimentation down into albums that have been staples of many music collections for decades. For as much as the songs on The Lost Tapes are fascinating to hear, they don’t have the same magical quality of the officially released material. If you’re a fan you’ll want to pick this up though, if for no other reason than the downright apocalyptic live version of “Spoon” which checks in at 16:47, and makes a convincing argument for Can as one of the all-time great jam bands.


Part 1

1. Millionenspiel

2. Waiting For The Streetcar

3. Evening All Day

4. Deadly Doris

5. Graublau

6. When Darkness Comes

7. Blind Mirror Surf

8. Oscura Primavera

9. Bubble Rap

Part 2

1. Your Friendly Neighbourhood Whore

2. Waiting For The Streetcar

3. The Agreement

4. Midnight Sky

5. Desert

6. Spoon (Live)

7. Dead Pigeon Suite

8. Abra Cada Braxas

9. A Swan Is Born

10. The Loop

Part 3

1. Godzilla Fragment

2. On The Way To Mother Sky

3. Midnight Men

4. Networks Of Foam

5. Messers, Scissors, Fork and Light

6. Barnacles

7. E.F.S 108

8. Private Nocturnal

9. Alice

10. Mushroom (Live)

11. One More Saturday Night (Live)

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