Irmin Schmidt

When I founded the group I was a classical composer and conductor and pianist making piano recitals, playing a lot of contemporary music but also Brahms, Chopin and Beethoven and everything. And when we got together I wanted to do something in which all contemporary music becomes one thing. Contemporary music in Europe especially, the new music was classical music– was Boulez, Stockhausen and all that. I studied all that, I studied Stockhausen but nobody talked about rock music like Sly Stone, James Brown or the Velvet Underground as being contemporary music. Then there was jazz and all these elements were our contemporary music, it was new. It was, in a way, much newer than the new classical music which claimed to be ‘the new music’.

Irmin Schmidt (founder of CAN), in 2004.

This quote sums up everything I believe in as a musician and aspiring musicologist, and also everything I hate about the academic formalization of music.  OTHER SHIT MATTERS, ART MUSIC SNOBS. 


can- shikaku maru ten (1971)

What’s that Cologne you’re hearing? Krautrock enthusiasts have to be über-geeked about tonight’s festivities at Le Poisson Rouge. Keyboardist and composer Irmin Schmidt will be joined by “Kumo,” i.e., Jono Podmore, for “An Evening of Unreleased Music and Discussion.” Their central theme: Can, the seminal Köln outfit that Schmidt co-founded (in addition to scoring over 40 films). Wipe the drool from your chin and get yourself to 158 Bleecker Street tonight.


Millionenspiel – An unreleased, original track from Can that opens the upcoming box set The Lost Tapes

Cyclopean - Fingers (Edit)

Cyclopean is a collaboration from Burnt Friedman, Jono Podmore and Can founding members Jaki Liebezeit, and Irmin Schmidt. The four track EP will be available on 12" Vinyl & Download on 11 Feb 2013.

After the release of The Lost Tapes, Can’s legacy has never felt more apparent than now, and Cyclopean brings together two giants from this legendary band, Jaki Liebezeit and Irmin Schmidt alongside long time collaborators Jono Podmore (Kumo / Metamono) and musician and producer Burnt Friedman. Cyclopean is the first time that Friedman, Liebezeit, Podmore and Schmidt have worked together.


Irmin Schmidt & Kumo - Kick on The Floods

Album: Axolotl Eyes (2008)

Yeah, 71 year old krautrock legend doing insane electronic music!


Irmin Schmidt & Innerspace (1968) - Before CAN became CAN they made this record, A must hear if you haven’t before.

Having previously collaborated with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds amongst other indie luminaries, the video artist dream team comprising Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard here turn their attentions to Dead Pigeon Suite, a highlight from Can’s recently excavated The Lost Tapes that’s holed away midway through its second part of three. A frenetic few minutes that provide more heady experience than purely conventional song, they’re here perfectly offset by the knee-jerk jolting of mechanical cowboys and the hypnotic thuddery of tin soldiers caught up in the midst of an hypnotic haze.

In the words of keyboard then-wunderkind Irmin Schmidt: “Obviously the tapes weren’t really lost, but were left in the cupboards of the studio archives for so long everybody just forgot about them. Everybody except Hildegard, who watches over Can and its work like the dragon over the gold of the Nibelungen and doesn’t allow forgetting.”

Conversely, we spoke of it as thus: ‘It’s a baffling and indeed at times befuddling mélange that is, most aptly, rather easy to lose marbles to; to lose oneself in entirely, perhaps never to return. At the very least The Lost Tapes will irrevocably alter your perception of music and what it ought to provide.' 

Dots & Dashes review The Lost Tapes here…