MUTE/SPOON, LP, $36.99

Canadian Art - - Reviews -

Col­lect­ing records is, in many re­spects, a form of in­dul­gent nos­tal­gia. Think of the al­bums we never had, but wish we did, the ones loaned out but never re­turned and oth­ers that sim­ply dis­ap­peared into the dust­bin of his­tory. With vinyl back in fash­ion, it’s eas­ier than ever to fill in that per­sonal back cat­a­logue. Record stores abound with re-is­sued LP clas­sics and out-of-print rar­i­ties pressed on heavy-duty vinyl with ex­ten­sive liner notes, al­bum art­work and bonus dig­i­tal ver­sions. Yet no mat­ter how deluxe th­ese new edi­tions might be, can they ever re­place the lin­ger­ing mem­o­ries of the first?

This triple-lp set of B-side sin­gles by “krautrock” pi­o­neers CAN is a per­fect case in point. Founded in the late 1960s in Cologne, with in­flu­ences that range from key­boardist Ir­min Sch­midt’s “cor­rup­tion” by Fluxus art and the War­holera Chelsea Ho­tel to Sch­midt and bassist Hol­ger Czukay’s stud­ies with com­poser Karl­heinz Stock­hausen, CAN has long been con­sid­ered a sem­i­nal fu­sion group, an art-rock col­li­sion of com­po­si­tional sen­si­bil­i­ties and spon­ta­neous ex­per­i­men­ta­tion driven by the im­pro­vised vo­cals of Mal­colm Mooney, then Damo Suzuki, and the re­lent­less, ma­chine-like pulse of the late drum­mer Jaki Liebezeit.

The first three sides of this set de­liver the CAN of mem­ory: psy­che­delic/ funk-in­fused hits along­side lesser-known, equally trance-in­duc­ing tracks. From there, mem­ory be­gins to fade, par­tic­u­larly on the disco and in­stru­men­tal tracks from the late 1970s and ’80s, where edge gives way to ex­cess, and the mind drifts to the next for­got­ten record on the list. —BRYNE MCLAUGH­LIN

In­stal­la­tion view of Joi T. Ar­cand’s il­lu­mi­nated sign at the Wal­ter Phillips Gallery, Banff, 2017 PHOTO RITA TAY­LOR

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