Just as Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox’s well-documented adoration for the Breeders has finally borne fruit for music listeners everywhere, Stephen Malkmus’ decades-old love of krautrock is also redounding to the public benefit.
As Pitchfork points out, the Pavement frontman and Jicks leader performed Can’s classic Ege Bamyasi in full over the weekend in Cologne, Germany, backed by local band Von Spar. Cologne’s Week-End Fest reportedly filmed the full set, with plans to release it as a concert movie, and here we have footage of “One More Night,” “Pinch,” and “Soup.” It’s a thrill to see such an oft-geeked-out-about indie rocker playing some of the strange music he has geeked out to for so long, and the influence of the German prog-rockers’ free-flowing, dissociative approach on Pavement’s records is clear — though part of what’s fun here is hearing Malkmus get funky.
Fellow Pavement member Bob Nastanovich recalls Malkmus spinning Can records during their days together at the University of Virginia’s noncommercial radio station, WTJU. “Back when I was listening to grunge (in 1986-87) like Cows and Bastards and doing his 2 a.m.-6 a.m. WTJU radio show, Malk was listening to Can and Faust in Studio B,” Nastanovich says via Facebook message. “He was always more sophisticated. As a Can fan for over 25 years, he’d be the right man to tackle Ege Bamyasi.” Nastanovich isn’t kidding.