The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
someday I hope to hear a Can album that I want to hear again. I've heard 3 or 4 of them and every time its harder to give em another chance.
While it seemed that the original Mothers of Invention counted as one of the key influence for early Can, it is safe to say that these Krautrockers' aesthetic was in fact far removed from what Zappa was really after. Zappa was after humanly impossible rhythmic compositional techniques, yet he could not achieve such ideals with players that were more prone to inarticulacy, mantric repetition, grunginess and extraneous noise as were the musicians of Can. No, he had to make do with conservatory trained players, who's normally the only bunch in the USA that could ever hope to be exposed to all sorts of hard rhythmic modulations! So essentially many post-Mothers Zappa groups just sounded a bit polished, even clinical. Even their improvisations were more steeped in standard soloistic jazz, unless Zappa of course conducted them to be a bit more off the wall. This is different from Can's style of improv, which perhaps indicated more of a "nobody solos, everybody improvises" approach. I'm listening to Can's "The Peel Sessions" compilation, containing recordings from 1973-75 and it's unbelievable how these guys could crank off fluid yet edgy "instant compositions" (as Holger Czukay would call them) on the spot. Zappa would have to tell his cats what to do (the one example: the Imaginary Diseases lecture on the Arlington 1973 concert where FZ would give instructions for playing "virus music"). Can could play more telepathically.
Many die-hard Zappaphiles get a little defensive when all other bands than the 60s Mothers of Invention are routinely slagged off. Then again, it was this first group with which Zappa influenced a future generation of musicians to come. Including some of the German kraut-rock scene. Who in turn gave rise to a fair generation of post-punk musicians both rock and electronic. Perhaps many people's musical needs here are being met the best by the highly polished Helsinki period Duke/Brock Mothers. However, in terms of revolutionising the music scene, the first batch of Mothers full of raw, intuitive and somewhat grungy players, was where it was at. After that, the only way Frank Zappa as a musician stood out was that he was arguably the first rock composer who proved to be equally fluent in classical/orchestral/art music.
of that. Maybe later I'll listen to some Can and comment more. Maybe that one with the green beans.