Essential Can

Get an earful of Can with these tunes that showcase guitarist Michael Karoli and bassist Holger Czukay.

Bassist Holger Czukay applies the white-glove test to the The Old Grey Whistle Test in this 1975 live BBC-TV performance. Dig the intensity—and Michael Karoli’s off-axis blues-rock soloing on his trusty Stratocaster.

The psychedelic side of Can leaps out in this tune from Tago Mago, the band’s first album with Damo Suzuki. Michael Karoli drives the performance with his era-perfect fuzz solos and funky chording, and the band is framed by their Italian Farfisa amps.

“Hey you! You’re losing your vitamin C,” Damo Suzuki cries over the airy arrangement of, naturally, the song “Vitamin C,” from Ege Bamyasi. Michael Karoli keeps it minimal on guitar while Holger Czukay exercises one of his trademark bass strategies: repeating a handful of notes.

At this point, Rosko Gee had replaced Holger Czukay on bass, allowing Czukay to create the tape manipulations in this live version of “Moonshake” from Future Days. The beauty and surprising accessibility of Can results from the band’s belief in the power of the groove.