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German experimental prog-rock band, active in the 1970s, who released a number of sf-themed albums. Founded in 1968 by bassist Holger Czukay (1938-2017), keyboard-player Irmin Schmidt (1937- ) who had both studied under avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, together with guitarist Michael Karoli (1948-2001), and drummer Jaki Liebezeit (1939- ). Initially the band worked with the American vocalist and lyricist David Johnson; but he was replaced in 1968 by another American, Malcolm Mooney (credited on his first album as "linguistic space communicator"). The debut album Monster Movie (1969) featured the Marvel Comics Villain Galacticus on the cover, and was characterized by Mooney's rather ranting vocal style over a chuggy, improvised musical base. Mooney was replaced during the recording of the next album Soundtracks (1970) by Japanese vocalist and lyricist Kenji Suzuki (1950- ), whose self-styled "stone age" vocal mannerisms, whilst often incomprehensible, possess a frenetic energy. Several subsequent albums explored science-fictional themes: particularly Future Days (1973), which riffs sometimes wildly over various futuristic notions, and Soon Over Babaluma (1974) which sets a jazzier tone though tracks (such as "Come sta, La Luna" and "Quantum Physics") that concern space exploration (see Space Flight) and technological advance. Can disbanded at the end of the 1970s, but remain perhaps the most influential exponent of what is called "krautrock".
The band reformed in 1986 with the same lineup as for Monster Movie to record Rite Time (1989), a final album containing the obliquely sf-related tracks "Below This Level (Patient's Song)" (seemingly about an experiment involving Parallel Worlds) and "In The Distance Lies The Future", the latter in CD versions only. [AR]
Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 17:35 pm on 24 September 2022.