Inner Space / Irmin Schmidt

Kamasutra: Vollendung der Liebe

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It's hard to believe that it took more than 40 years for this album to surface, since it's undeniably an important piece of history and arguably a bit of a lost Krautrock classic. Kamasutra was a sexually themed 1969 film by director Kobi Jaeger. Future Can keyboardist Irmin Schmidt, who by that time was both an experienced classical musician/conductor and a soundtrack composer, was hired to provide the music. The group he brought to the sessions was the Inner Space, which would become Can by the time of their 1969 debut album, Monster Movie. Recorded right around -- likely just before -- the Monster Movie sessions, this then is more or less Can's "real" debut album. Even now, details on the sessions are scant -- the CD booklet contains copious liner notes about the film and, curiously, nothing about the music. Album credits are also maddeningly unspecific, but it's been confirmed that Schmidt is joined here by Can men Malcolm Mooney on vocals, drummer Jaki Liebezeit, and guitarist Michael Karoli, and it's a good bet that the featured flutist is original Can/Inner Space member David C. Johnson, who departed in 1969, and that the bassist is indeed Holger Czukay. With the exception of the Mooney-fronted, Velvet Underground-on-acid "There Was a Man," the music Schmidt and company came up with for Kamasutra is different enough from Monster Movie or the contemporaneously recorded Delay...1968 that you probably wouldn't immediately guess in a blindfold test that this was Can, but there are definitely connecting threads. Much of Can's early music was, after all, written for soundtracks, and moving from the thumping, hypnotic funk-rock grooves of "In Kalkutta III" to the tumbling, Eastern-tinged psychedelia of "Im Tempel" and "Im Orient" and the bluesy, proto-Krautrock guitar workout "Mundharmonika Beat," it's not too tough to connect the dots to some of Can's first flowerings.

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