Irmin Schmidt & Kumo

Irmin Schmidt & Kumo

The Masters of Confusion project was born out of the studio work around Irmin Schmidt's fantasy opera Gormenghast when Kumo, a.k.a producer, programmer and sound-designer Jono Podmore, was drafted in in 1997 on the recomendation of manager and impressario Jazz Summers to assist Schmidt with recording the work. The duo, who make an intense and unique form of music that feeds off their respective musical histories, first played live on the Can-Solo-Projects tour which marked the 30th anniversary of the group. In 2001 work began on the first Irmin Schmidt and Kumo album alongside extensive touring in Europe. The album Masters of Confusion was released worldwide in September 2001 on Spoon/Mute records. The same year they created a sound installation, Flies, Guys and Choirs, for the Barbican Centre as part of the Elektronik festival, held in October 2001. The installation is now available as a sonic experience for public spaces. The duo performed further concerts including the Montreux Jazz Festival and tours in France and Italy. Irmin Schmidt & Kumo are managed by Hildegard Schmidt, who also runs Spoon records. She has been the manager of Can, their back catalogue and various solo projects since 1969. Irmin Schmidt & Kumo are currently working on their 2nd album.


          Irmin Schmidt's work with the seminal and highly respected Can is well documented, but between 1957 and 1964, Schmidt studied piano and french horn, composition under Ligeti and Stockhausen alongside conducting with Istvan Kertesz amongst others. As a conductor he won several prestigious awards including the Folkwang Leistungs-Preis in 1963 and the 1st Prize at the Mozarteum, Salzburg in 1964.
Between 1962 and 1969 Schmidt conducted numerous orchestras including Wiener Sinfoniker, Bochumer Sinfoniker, Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Norddeutscher Rundfunk Hannover and the Dortmunder Ensemble für Neue Musik which he founded. Schmidt also gave numerous new music recitals and was amongst the first German pianists to interpret the work of John Cage.
His compositions Hexapussy and Ilgom were premiered in 1967 and 1968 by Radio Stuttgart. He worked as a musical director at the Stadttheater Aachen and taught at the Bochum stage school. He also composed music for various film and theatre productions.
His post-Can work includes three solo albums (Toy Planet, Musk at Dusk and Impossible Holidays), 120 film scores (20 of which in the last 4 years alone), the three CD anthology Soundtracks 1978-1993, the opera Gormenghast and Masters of Confusion with Kumo. Throughout this body of work, Schmidt continues his habit of making music that embraces all forms while sounding like nobody else.
The fantasy opera Gormenghast premiered in the Wuppertal Opera House in 1999. A second production premiered in Saarbrücken and Luxembourg in 2004.
Times critic Rodney Milnes wrote about Schmidt's opera: "If Richard Strauss had written rock music, this is what it would have sounded like - gloriously, unashamedly lush." Excerpts were released as a CD in January 2000 (Spoon 44). Schmidt is currently composing a Ballet for full orchestra, comissioned by the Ballett der Deutschen Oper Am Rhein Düsseldorf. Choreographed by Youri Vamos, the ballet is scheduled to be premiered in Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Tallin, Prague and Riga throughout 2008.

Jono Podmore a.k.a Kumo began to play violin at the age of 10 and studied electronic music at Middlesex University. By 1986 Podmore was composing music for theatre and TV (Eugene Ionesco´s Journeys Among The Dead and Stanley´s Vision for Channel 4) and together with Peter Hope released the album Dry Hip Rotation.

In 1987 Podmore joined The Corn Dollies as violinist and string arranger. Following the split-up of the band in 1990, he went to Japan to continue his studies in Karate. On returning to London he began working as an engineer, producer and string arranger with artists such as Jamiroquai, The Shamen, Ian McCulloch, Robert Owens, Republica and Sunship whilst continuing to compose and produce music for stage and screen.

In 1994, together with Mr. C of The Shamen, he set up Watershed Studios and began to work with Plink Plonk Records. Podmore also started to compose and record under the name Kumo and founded 2 labels - Autoi and Psychomat.

In 1997 after a string of singles and remixes as Kumo he released his first album Kaminari - to significant critical acclaim. A series of live dates followed (including Essential Music Festival, Sonar festival, and Graz Biennale). He then moved temporarily to France to work with Irmin Schmidt on the Gormenghast project.

In 2000 he worked with Tim Simenon and with Jose Padilla on major album projects and produced a number of tracks for Jaki Liebezeit's band Club Off Chaos. October 2000 saw the release of Kumo's 2nd album 1+1=1 on Spoon Records (Spoon 46) as part of the Can Connection Edition series. A 12" single Kumo and Friends is currently available on Electric Tones Records.

In 2003 Podmore mixed 5.1 Surround mixes of several Can tracks for the Can DVD. Alongside work with Irmin Schmidt he has continued with collaborations and productions with artists and film-makers worldwide including the film The Hamburg Cell by Antonia Bird, a new album project with Tim Simenon, a collaboration with BJ Cole for his album Trouble in Paradise, and lectures at the Red Bull Music Academy.

In November 2004 he was appointed Professor of Popular Music at the Musikhochschule, Köln and continues to work as composer, arranger, producer and mix engineer worldwide.

Irmin and Hildegard´s daughter Sandra and Jono were married in 2001 and live with their daughter Lara in London and Cologne.





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