Phantom Band – Phantom Band + Freedom of Speech

January 01, 1970

(Bureau B)

 

www.bureau-b.com

 

Jaki Liebezeit might not be as prolific a name in the Can
family spectrum as, say Holger Czukay or Damo Suzuki.  But without his tectonically patterned drumming,
the legendary German Krautrock icons would only be a fraction of the band that
revolutionized the sound of psychedelic rock in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s.

 

Phantom Band is the group Liebezeit formed following Can’s
first dissolution in 1979, and one whose accomplishments in expanding his old
band’s sound have gone unsung for far too long. Reissued on the Bureau B
imprint, the Phantom Band’s first two albums prove to be highly intriguing
curios for Can fans. The group’s 1980 eponymous debut (8 out of 10 stars) saw
Liebezeit surround himself with an impressive lineup of old and new friends,
including Dominik von Senger of the Damo Suzuki Band, one-time Traffic bassist
Rosko Gee and former bandmate Czukay, among others. Together, this particular
version of Phantom blended strong elements of Afrobeat, fusion jazz, white funk
and even a touch of disco into the classic Can sound, punctuated by Gee’s
smooth vocals and fluid basslines, creating the closest thing to pure pop music
that any member of Can had ever touched upon.

 

1981’s Freedom of
Speech
(7 out of 10 stars), meanwhile, is markedly different from its
predecessor, as Gee’s vocals are replaced by the harsh, spoken word monotone of
Sheldon Ancel, whose voice helped steer The Phantom Band’s sound in a darker, more
dubwise direction reminiscent of early Public Image Ltd. Both of these titles
are must-haves for any fan of Can or the outstanding hypnotic drumming of
Liebezeit.

 

Standout
Tracks:
“I’m The One”, “Absolutely Straight”, “Rolling” (Phantom Band); “Freedom of Speech”,
“Brain Police”, “Gravity” (Freedom of
Speech
) RON HART

 

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