Can – Future Days

I like to think of myself as relatively experienced when it comes to music, and it’s rare that I find records as bewildering as this is. ‘Future Days’ sounds like it’s been recorded in a small bathroom; it’s distant and quiet, but turn the volume up and let it wash over you for a few listens. Seamlessly blending jazz, rock and avant-garde oddities (while sounding like none of the above), ‘Future Days’ eventualy reveals itself to be endlessly creative and intricate. The brushing drum rhythms propel the record along like someone kicking up sand on some endless deserted beach. Holger Czukay’s bass sounds as listless and lazy as it does focused and controlled. Damo Suzuki’s ranting vocals are as poetically nonsensical as usual are but unusually, they are shoved to the back of the mix, making them sound like radio broadcasts heard from passing ships. Though it may be a slightly pretentious way to describe it, ‘Future Days’ sounds like one long string of thoughts; it changes gradually, slips in and out of dreams and has no fixed destination. While the majority of it may sound optimistic or even cheerful, there are moments where it sounds a little doubtful, or amused or tired or nauseous; it seems to take on a personality of its own. It glows with a dreamy, oceanic wash of delicately arranged sound and colour. Guitars are used sparingly but when they appear they give this strangely liberating feel, like swimming in open water. The true crowning glory of the record though is how natural and alive it feels; it almost feels like it’s breathing.

It took me a while to not think of ‘Future Days’ as harmless background noise. While it could be this if you want it to be, it rewards tenfold if actively listened to. Perched on the verge of consciousness, it sounds oceanic, calm, but very much alive and exciting. Can’s attention to detail on this record is quite staggering; it’s hard to find a record with something new to notice each and every time you play it. ‘Future Days’ sounds as alien and transporting now as it ever did.

Key Track: Future Days
Listen to this: on a deserted beachfuture-days


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