German band Can established themselves as pioneers of experimental avant-garde by seamlessly combining their influences, from the tape-splicing technique of electronic composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, the trance-like drone of The Velvet Underground, the minimalism of composer mavericks like Terry Riley as well as the jazz rhythms of James Brown.
When Can formed in Cologne in 1968, the members had little experience with rock. Two former students of avant-garde classical composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, the bassist Holger Czukayand keyboardist Irmin Schmidt wanted to merge free jazz, contemporary classical music, and worldbeat.
They were joined by drummer Jaki Liebezeit, a free jazz drummer interested in math, and later by one of Czukay’s students, guitarist Michael Karoli who was 10 years younger than the others.
It was Karoli, a passionate fan of rock music, who suggested that The Beatles was a better influence to take from than Stockhausen, and the band began their first months together by jamming at a 14th-century castle called Schloss Norvenich.
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