Can - Unlimited Edition 2xLP


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Label: Mute/Spoon

Our Review:

Limited Edition (so-called because originally they only made 15,000 of the LPs when it first came out in 1974) was an album of unreleased bits from Can's recording sessions up to just before Soon Over Babaluma. And now, these "sound polaroids" are remastered and rereleased for us to enjoy once again, in the expanded form of Unlimited Edition! Yay! While other, maybe not-so-legit, Can out-take albums that have been released have sometimes bordered on the unlistenable in terms of recording/production quality, Unlimited Edition maintains the pristinely clear sound of their most notable releases like Ege Bamyasi and Future Days. How engineers Holger Czukay (also Can's bassist) and Rene Tinner got their sound to be this good in the Can studio remains a longstanding mystery; but man, it is eternally impressive! If you follow them as a band, Unlimited Edition seems much different than other albums. It does not lack direction in any way, though the songs seem to be an assemblage of either exercises in different styles of music making (i.e "Ethnic Forgery Series No. 36" - a loose New Orleans-style jazz number or "Cutaway" - a tape-spliced collage piece) or intuitively crafted with more cerebral/artful emphasis in rhythm, synth layers, improv and space. There's much more of a stoney experimental intensity in many of these tracks, leaving those on our other favorite Can albums to sound like crazy, catchy funk jams in comparison. The tracks compiled here are from '68 to '75. Throughout, Unlimited Edition demonstrates Can's intuition and entropic ingenuity balanced by both an incredible sense of form in sound and impressive self-engineering. This is highly highly recommended.