2021 Song Draft- Round 6 Pick 10- Aphoristical selects- ‘Halleluwah’-Can.
Germany’s Can were too ahead of their time, and too weird, to enjoy a hit record. They were hugely influential; when Radiohead ditched guitar rock in favour of more experimental work, Can were one of the bands that they cited as an influence. Can synthesised a lot of different ideas; their studio tracks were often derived from improvisations. Their members had backgrounds in jazz and classical – keyboardist Irwin Schmidt and bassist Holger Czukay studied with Stockhausen. They were also inspired by the rock music of psychedelic-era Beatles and The Velvet Underground.
Can’s peak period is often reckoned to be the years when Japan’s Damo Suzuki fronted the band. Can released four albums between 1970 and 1973, and ‘Halleluwah’ is drawn from this period.
It’s an 18 minute behemoth that took up an entire side of 1971’s Tago Mago. The most noticeable feature is Jaki Liebezeit’s monster drum groove, which powers the song, while Damo Suzuki’s performance is typically charismatic and cryptic. Most of Suzuki’s lyrics are ostensibly in English, but they’re difficult to understand. It’s difficult to believe ‘Halleluwah’ was recorded in 1971 – the rhythm-heavy and improvisational sound is forward thinking and still sounds fresh and exciting.