Record #321: Can – Ege Bamyasi (1972)

The last time I wrote about Can, I worried if the internet could handle anymore of its finite data being used to write about the legendary Krautrock pioneers.

Because friends, there have been terrabytes written on their importance and influence.

​The lion’s share of that code is occupied with musings on this album.

Ege Bamyasi is, with no room for debate, Can’s most long-reaching record. It found the group tightening their free-form, chaotic noodling into slicker, more sophisticated arrangements. While they would perfect this approach on their next album, Future Days (my personal favorite), Ege Bamyasi is absolutely unparalleled in its cultural importance. It’s been covered by Stephen Malkmus and Beck, sampled by Kanye West, and offered Spoon their band name. And it’s not for no reason: the songs contained on this disc are incredible. Pinch creeps darkly across a hardbop shuffle. Sing Swan Song is as morose and soothing a ballad the group ever wrote. One More Night writes Stereolab a love letter twenty years in advance. Vitamin C shivers with manic energy. Soup rocks and rolls heavier with a tempo that accelerates until it crashes into whooshing and whirling tape effects and formless improvisation. I’m So Green is as far from that as you can get–a simple, short, happy pop song (remember: Beck covered it). Spoon is a nocturnal, half-asleep chant set to a slow samba. Every minute of this record is brilliant, and it is deserving of its crown as King of the Krautrock Albums.