Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Can - Ege Bamyasi

Can
Ege Bamyasi


Released 1972 on United Artists
Reviewed by Julian Cope, 15/03/2000ce


Ege Bamyasi was the closest to a pop LP that Can ever got. That's not to say that it is pop, but there are at least clear cut songs with grooves of delightful melody and moment, plus a teen-appeal that still leaves me gasping with love for Damo Suzuki. Ege Bamyasi opens with the percussive rush of 'Pinch', nine minutes of groove in which the whole group seems to stand around the direction of Jaki Leibezeit's fury of drumming. Only Damo's vocal monologue edges out of the taut melee and one of the group hangs a hook on his vocals with a retarded but ultra-catchy mechanical bird-whistle. 'Sing Swan Song' follows in its devotional mid-tempo wake, like a fast funeral barge rowed by warriors, sculling to the music. Damo's vocals are breathily soaring and always his half English sounding, half-unconscious lyrical pronouncements end in the words '...Sing Swan Song' to give the strong impression of something divine being lost. 'One More Night' completes Side 1's drum-led groove down a narrow alley where one chord is enough for Damo to coo "One more Saturday night, one more suck o' your head" over and over. Behind him, the most sexual ethereality enfolds the listener, as Suicidey distantness sends him to sleep. The bedroom mood continues on to Side 2 with the pleading chorus of "Hey you, you're losing, you're losing, you're losing, you're losing your Vitamin C." Again the drums clatter and bounce as Holger Czukay’s abrupt bass scatters hard low percussives into the arena. The album is then cut in half by the wild trance-funk of 'Soup', a 10-minute freakout back in Tago Mago land. I didn't love it as a 14-year old except for its ability to empty rooms. Harmonically, I wish now that it were at the end of the album, but what a fucking carve up. When Damo starts raving like Kevin Rowland from Dexy's it gets really funny. Then it's into 'I'm So Green', my favourite-ever Can song. This light breeze of a song is so flimsy that it threatens to blow away at any minute. Here's where the David Cassidy comparisons compare most favourably. And then 'Spoon' closes Ege Bamyasi with just about the most unusual "Making love in the afternoon" hit song of all time. This was the first Can LP I bought brand new (Torquay 1972) and it is still my favourite.


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