Sorry, El Dorado, missing “Confederate gold,” and Ark of the Covenant. You too, Lost City of Z. A bona fide REAL missing treasure has been unearthed, and Krautrock fans are gonna want to lay down their metal detectors and Gemm.com log-ins for this one. For, in a storied land far far away (Germany. Obviously), unsuspecting historians unearthed a wealth of musical gold, what has now been dubbed Can’s Lost Tapes. Head here for more info (or just read the next few paragraphs), but the important thing now is that fans in LA and New York become aware of a couple special events to celebrate its release! Tonight, Los Angeles residents can partake in the wonders of Irmin Schmidt and Kumo’s Podmore doing the DJ set thang, meeting fans, and previewing tracks from the box set at Amoeba Music in Hollywood at 6 PM. New York fans can check out an April 17 event at Le Poisson Rouge entitled “The Music of Can: An Evening of Unreleased Music and Discussion,” during which the pair will talk music and answer fan questions about topics ranging from recording to Renaissance Festivals.
A little background on these lost tapes: a while back, Germany’s Rock ‘n’ Pop Museum bought Can’s studio in Weilerswist and everything in it. Even the army mattresses leaning against the walls for sound protection — they bought those. And it seems they bought a trove of master tapes with illegible labels and a whole lot of mystery. Those tapes would soon become a legend.
After sifting through 30 hours of rediscovered tunes, Can founder Irmin Schmidt, along with Jono Podmore and Mute Records boss Daniel Miller, found a vast quantity of top-notch archived material, including soundtracks to unreleased films, tracks that didn’t fit onto albums, and live material. So together, the group worked to arrange a 3-CD box set of the unheard works, which fans can discover as part of The Lost Tapes once it hits stores on June 19. The material dates from 1968-1977 and includes studio recordings from Schloss Nörvenich and Can’s Weilerswist studio. The lineup features Holger Czukay on bass, guitarist Michael Karoli, dummer Jaki Liebezeit, Irmin Schmidt on keyboards, and vocals from Malcolm Mooney or Damo Suzuki on the majority of tracks.
“Obviously the tapes weren’t really lost, but were left in the cupboards of the studio archives for so long everybody just forgot about them,” Schmidt said. “Everybody except Hildegard, who watches over Can and its work like the dragon over the gold of the Nibelungen and doesn’t allow forgetting.”
And here’s that awesome preview track again for good measure: