Only a few days after the band formed, Can improvised live before an audience of mostly artists in June of 1968, and Prehistoric Future contains much of that recording. This is Can at its primitive roots, the bandmembers spontaneously inventing themselves from the raw elements of rock, jazz, ethnic music, and avant-garde. The music sprawls all over the map, as the group veers from one style to another and is far more unfocused -- especially compared to the razor-sharp purity of Can's later work -- but quite fascinating in its own right. Side one begins with a free-form psychedelic jam, with droning vocals from guest musician Manni Lohe as well as plenty of flutes, and then this shifts to a rhythmic piece that hints at Can's later minimalist funk beats before going into some cluttered amorphous piece with strange effects, and they add in some taped music of Renaissance choral music. This is followed by a bit of Floyd-esque space rock, and eventually ends up on a jazz groove with a funky walking bassline while guitar and keyboard pump out a vampy blues. The more focused side two begins with a slow rhythm of scraping noises, almost like early industrial music, before the group again starts rocking out with another archetypal Can beat, very precise and deceptively simple. It eventually gets denser as the rhythms pound more loudly, contrasted with the flute tooting out a simple little tune, until finally the piece ends in a stampede of drums. The album may be a little rough around the edges, but when one considers the group had only been together for a few days, this is pretty remarkable stuff.
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