Flow Motion

Irmin Schmidth (classical composer, conductor and pianist) made a trip to New York in 1966 where he was influenced by Avant Garde musicians Steve Reich, La Monte Young and Terry Riley. When he came home he decided to form a band with Avant-Garde flautist and composer David C. Johnson and music teacher Holger Czukay. Holger and Irmin studied under the legendary Karlheinz Stockhausen. Holger played bass guitar and recorded everything on a 2 track tape machine, Irmin played piano and organs. The group was expanded by guitarist Michael Karoli (a student from Holger) and drummer Jaki Liebezeit (who played in various free jazz groups). The music moved further into rock music and that's where David Johnson decided to leave them. At first the band was named "Inner Space" and then "The Can". Finally the name became CAN. Which could be a abbreviation for Communism, Anarchism, Nihilism and in turkey the word can means: soul, life, heart or spirit.

Can with first vocalist: Malcolm Mooney

In 1968 they recorded material for the album "Prepared to Meet Thy Pnoom" with Malcolm Mooney (a New York-based sculptor) on vocals but was not released at that time. Finally in 1969 they released their first album "Monster Movie" which included 2 of the songs recorded for "Prepared to Meet Thy Pnoom". Mooney left the band in 1969 on the advice of his psychiatrist. Working with the band had a bad influence of his mental health.`

Can with Suzuki on the left

Mooney was replaced by young traveler Kenji "Damo" Suzuki who Holger and Jaki discovered out on the streets of Munich. The next album "Soundtracks" also included songs with Mooney. The double album "Tago Mago" was a breakthrough for the band. In 1971 they composed music for the german television crime miniseries "Das Messer" directed by Rolf von Sydow. The song "Spoon" was used as the theme song and became #6 in the German charts when it was released as a single. "Spoon" ended up on their next album "Ege Bamyasi" in 1972 which was more accessible. Followed by "Future Days" in 1973 which was an early interpretation of ambient music. Suzuki left after recording this album to marry his German girlfriend and become a Jehova's Witness. Michaell and Irmin took over vocals. The terrific album "Soon Over Babaluma" was released in 1974 and then "Landed" in 1975.

The band in 1976

In 1976 the german Krautrock band CAN released their seventh album. It was recorded in their own Inner Space Studio in Cologne (Germany).  For the first time a single of CAN reached the UK charts reaching #26. It resulted in appearing in the BBC TV show Top Of The Pops.

This is where reggae and krautrock meet each other. They were experimenting with disco and reggae. It is probably their most accessible album ever. Which is why some Can fans didn't like the album.

I Want More - single cover

The album opens with "I Want More" followed by "Cascade Waltz" which is a reggae waltz. Guitarist Michael Karoli played a turkish bağlama on "Laugh Till You Cry, Live Till You Die". "...And More" is a reprise of the opening song. Irmin Schmidt sings on the song "Babylonian Pearl" and describes a girl who "comes from a land where woman is man". "Smoke (E.F.S. Nr. 59)" includes Jaki Liebezeit's intense ethnic tom-tom beat. It was the last album with Holger Czukay on bass guitar. He also appeared on the next album "Saw Delight" where he only handles tapes and creates sound effects. Holger started his solo career in 1978 and released his debut album "Movies" in 1979.

The picture on the album cover was taken by Michael Karoli.

If you want to explore the sound of CAN this is where to start!

original album cover

Flow Motion (1976)
I Want More / Cascade Waltz / Laugh Till You Cry, Live Till You Die / ...And More / Babylonian Pearl / Smoke (E.F.S. No. 59) / Flow Motion


I Want More - at TOTP

Flow Motion
Cascade Waltz

Armand Wilhelm

I am a professional blogger from the Netherlands born in 1970 and my name is Armand Wilhelm. My passions are music and visual art as you might have noticed in my blog. I also like other pop culture things like watching movies.

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