Christmas brings out the daftness in everyone — even if you’re a group of avant-garde experimentalists with a few free hours in the studio.
Krautrock pioneers Can released the novelty single Silent Night in 1976 around the time of their album Flow Motion, adding a rudimentary motorik beat and naive synth lines to the festive standard.
By 1976 Can were in transition after their Japanese vocal alchemist Damo Suzuki had left after Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi and Future Days — one of the most inspired three-album runs of the decade.
Flow Motion also spawned I Want More, one of their most playful and groove-based tracks that turned into an unlikely hit single, and they had even more of a laugh with the standalone single Silent Night.
Far from being a hipster krautrock curio, Can’s Silent Night is a lovely left turn from the Cologne maestros. Its twinkly music box synths and rattly tramline beat nods to their fellow countrymen Kluster/Harmonia or the meandering second side of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn LP.
They even keep the melody intact, even if they throw you off slightly by holding the first note too long. It is Can, after all.
All together now: “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, Alles schläft; einsam wacht.”