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date: 08 April 2020


  • David Buckley


German experimental band. They were formed in Cologne in June 1968 by Holger Czukay (b Gdańsk, March 24, 1938; d Weilerswist, Germany, Sept 5, 2017; bass) and Irmin Schmidt (b Berlin, May 29, 1937; keyboards). This nucleus was augmented in 1968 by Michael Karoli (b Straubing, Lower Bavaria, April 29, 1948; guitar), Jaki Liebezeit (b Dresden, May 26, 1938; d Cologne, Jan 22, 2017; drums), and David Johnson (flute). Johnson left the group in late 1968, just as their début album Monster Movie (United Artists, 1969) was about to be released and was replaced by the vocalist Michael Mooney. Czukay had studied under Stockhausen (1963–6) and much of Can’s early work elided the boundaries between classical and popular music utilizing drones, repetitive musical figures, and tape loops as in musique concrète. An eccentric, pulsing rhythm section driven by Czukay’s bass and the percussive work of Liebezeit often underpinned these experimental techniques. Of their contemporaries, the only band working in a similar artistic terrain was the American-based Velvet Underground, which also featured a classically trained avant-garde musician in John Cale....

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