Collected Works: Music
Words are uttered in a steady, sighing pattern, their contents barely discernible. A jumpy bass riff is joined by a restless drum pedal judder. An electric guitar stabs in crude dissonance. A call is shot in our direction: ‘Hey you! You’re losing your vitamin C!’ The ensemble embarks upon a collective crescendo, intensifying to reach a fiery peak. Then, a cymbal crash saps all tension, only for the process of build and climax to repeat.
Can formed in the late sixties, boasting brave new soundworlds and deviating from established song structures. Their style is knowingly multifaceted, a jumbled recipe of rock, the avant-garde, minimalism, jazz, and influences from North Africa and South Asia. Blended together by eager experimentation and an improvisatory sensibility, this assortment of inspirations is tossed liberally into a bubbling broth.
The album’s opening track, ‘Pinch’, adopts the guise of a lengthy jam, flaunting Can’s self-conscious spontaneity. Unpredictable, irregular interjections of keyboard and guitar are joined by strident noises, in clear avoidance of standard form or motivic consistency. The misty overture of ‘Soup’ veers off-course to seemingly hurtle towards chaos, driven by pulsating percussion, throbbing synth sequences, and yet more cryptic vocalisations.
These sonic cacophonies and inviting grooves may form the album’s meat and bones, but they sit alongside softer elements. The ensemble interplay and genre-hopping serve to create rich textures, each flavoursome offering different to the last, while the generous portion sizes provide us with sustained sustenance. Mixed as its ingredients may be, Ege Bamyasi ensures that all dimensions of the sensory scope are, at some point, sated.
Words by Hugh Maloney
Question of the day
Acabou Chorare by Os Novos Baianos. Infectious Brazilian pop. The chirpy arrangements invite heads to nod and feet to tap; alternating boy/girl vocals only add to the energy. (→)
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