Psychedelic rock that hints at things to come
Jeffrey J.Park | Massachusetts, USA | 09/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Released in 1970, Soundtracks brings together various tracks recorded for the films Cream; Deadlock; Bottom; Deep End; and Madchen mit Gewalt. I think that in general, this is a nice compilation of psychedelic tracks that each feature hints of the distinctive Can sound; a sound that would become more fully developed over successive albums and reach a peak with Future Days (1973).
The lineup at this point was transitional and featured singer Malcolm Mooney on two tracks including Soul Desert and She Brings the Rain along with vocalist Damo Suzuki on the remainder of the tracks. Damo went on to record with the band for their definitive works released during the 1971-1973 timeframe. Of the two singers I prefer Damo's vocal style and texture, although both use a similarly "avant-garde" approach. The core band included Holger Czukay (bass guitar); Michael Karoli (electric guitar); Jaki Liebzeit (drums and percussion); and Irmin Schmidt (keyboards).
The seven tracks on the album range in length from 1:40 to the wild, psychedelic freakout jam on Mother Sky (14:30). I think that all of the tunes are great, although I definitely prefer the spacey/trippy Deadlock pieces and the track from Cream. Deadlock, Tango Whiskeyman, Soul Desert, Mother Sky, and the fantastic Don't Turn the Light On, Leave me Alone come the closest to the hypnotic grooves that characterized their later work, although still remaining very psychedelic. Deadlock is an excellent instrumental that features some pretty good playing on a pipe organ and She brings the Rain (with Malcolm Mooney in one of his more restrained performances) is an extremely jazzy piece complete with acoustic bass and jazzy "comping" on a clean sounding electric.
All in all, this is a good Can album despite being a compilation. There is continuity to the tracks selected, such that the album works as a whole, although the instrumental Deadlock ends a bit abruptly. Recommended along with the trilogy of albums that found the band at a peak including Tago Mago (1971), Ege Bamyasi (1972); and the excellent Future Days (1973)."