Song of the day: CAN – Deadlock (1970)

Can’s 1970 album Soundtracks is often overlooked – and if it is discussed, it’s usually the fourteen minute meisterwerk “Mother Sky” which gets all the attention. The first three tracks on the album were all used on the soundtrack of a largely forgotten West German heist movie called Deadlock. The film was produced and directed by Roland Klick and shot in the Israeli desert.

The title track is almost a traditional rock song by Can’s standards. It’s relatively short, and is dominated by Michael Karoli’s soaring guitar, juxtaposed against Irmin Schmidt’s blaring organ. The track marks the debut of Damo Suzuki who replaced Malcolm Mooney as the group’s singer earlier in the year. He brings a relatively calm, almost pop approach to the vocals, contrasting with Mooney’s apocalyptic improvisations. Suzuki’s gift for melody is even more apparent on the track “Tango Whiskyman” from the same movie.

There is also a second, instrumental version of “Deadlock” on Soundtracks. It’s shorter, and Karoli is less prominent. The video below shows the band playing the song live on West German TV in 1970.

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