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Can Biography


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Birth Place: Cologne, West Germany
Years Active: 1968–1979, 1986, 1991
Genres: Krautrock, Experimental Rock, Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Ambient, Avant-garde, Electronic Music


Can was an experimental rock band formed in Cologne, West Germany in 1968. Later labeled as one of the first krautrock groups, they transcended mainstream influences and incorporated strong minimalist and world music elements into their often psychedelic music. Can constructed their music largely through collective spontaneous composition, which the band differentiated from improvisation in the jazz sense, sampling themselves in the studio and editing down the results.

Through albums such as their 1969 debut, “Monster Movie,” 1971’s “Tago Mago,” 1972’s “Ege Bamyasi,” and 1973’s “Future Days,” the band exerted a considerable influence on avant-garde, experimental, underground, ambient, punk, post-punk, new wave and electronic music. They had occasional commercial success, with singles such as “Spoon” and “I Want More"” reaching national singles charts.

The later albums like 1975’s “Landed” and 1976’s “Flow Motion” saw Can moving towards a somewhat more conventional style as their recording technology improved. Accordingly, the disco single “I Want More” from “Flow Motion” became their only hit record outside Germany. Co-written by their live sound mixer Peter Gilmour, it reached No 26 in the UK charts in

In 1977 Can was joined by former Traffic bassist Rosko Gee and percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah, both of whom provided vocals to Can's music, appearing on the albums “Saw Delight” in 1977, “Out of Reach” in 1978 and “Can” in 1979. During this period Holger Czukay was pushed to the fringes of the group's activity. In fact he just made sounds using shortwave radios, Morse code keys, tape recorders and other sundry objects.

Czukay left Can in late 1977 and did not appear on the albums “Out of Reach” or “Can,” although he did do some production work on the latter album. Can went on hiatus shortly afterwards, but reunions have taken place on several occasions since.

Since the split, all the former members have been involved in musical projects, often as session musicians for other artists. In 1986 they briefly reformed, to record “Rite Time,” released in 1989. There was a further reunion in 1991 to record a track for the Wim Wenders film “Until the End of the World,” and Can has since been the subject of numerous compilations, live albums and samples.