Meanwhile in Germany another Japanese expatriate was at the cutting edge of rock music in 1971. Kenji ‘Damo’ Suzuki was a wandering busker when Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit spotted him outside a street cafe in Munich just hours before a gig. With previous singer Malcolm Mooney back to the US after a nervous breakdown allegedly suffered while 'caught in a Can groove’ the band were in urgent need of a replacement. Suzuki’s singing, or ’praying’, impressed them and they invited him to join the group on the spot. And he did, performing that evening even though he only knew a few guitar chords and improvised most of his lyrics. The spirit of the times. After bedding in with Soundtracks, the full Suzuki-era Can experience began with Tago Mago. Around Liebezeit’s amazing tribal wave of immersive drumming the band built worlds of surreal unease, psychedelic inner spaces, druggy, improvised grooves spliced together in the studio by Czukay using tape edits to compose the music from epic jams.
This song pretty much changed my entire taste in music when I first heard it.
I listened to things that were relatively musically complicated, but dabbled a bit in some punk, but not much. I was more on the prog-rock/free jazz side (which I still like, don’t get me wrong). But I stumbled upon this song on an unofficial MySpace account when I was…what, 17? 18? And it single-handedly made me fall in love with minimalism and repetition in music. Krautrock and post-punk have taken over my life since.