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Irmin Schmidt & Kumo

Performance Profile

1. Live performance by Irmin Schmidt & Kumo.
2. Multi channel sound installation Flys, Guys and Choirs - depending on suitable venues.
3. University lecture tour, involving Irmin and Kumo holding workshops in Composing for film,
    Opera/Classical compositions, CAN, Improvisation, Theremin, etc.

4. CAN DVD Screening and screening of promotional Gormenghast DVD followed by a Question
    and Answer session, to take place in a cinema or digital media space.

5. DJing - The Sound of Can with the re-mastered CAN SACDs in venues or clubs.




Aptly titled, Masters Of Confusion is the first recorded fruit of the collaboration between Irmin Schmidt, founder member of the legendary German avant garde rock group Can, and Kumo, the artist name of drum programmer, sound engineer and producer Jono Podmore. For this album Kumo spontaneously constructs, collapses and reshuffles towercards of rhythms sprayed with pointillist beats, over, under and between which Irmin's grand piano and keyboards dance with the poise of a Nuevo Tango player, the reflex of a gymnast and the wit of a joker on the run. Quite naturally the music carries traces of their combined experiences, which range over raging rock and incantatory trance improvisations, contemporary composition, Techno and drum 'n' bass. But fully aware of the failure of the Fusion con of mid 70s jazz-rock, these two Masters of Confusion characteristically create running dialogues between the different components they bring into play. The most immediately noticeable contrast is that between the very specific cultural/classical resonances of Irmin's grand piano (his main instrument, which went untouched through all his years with Can) and Kumo's dancehall-trained electronic circuit rhythms.




This installation, specially comissioned by the Barbican Centre and now available for further performance, focuses on the idea of transformation - transformation of sound, transformation of space, transformation of perception. A loudspeaker array sonically defines the installational space and familiar soundworlds dissolve into the imaginary through electronic processing. The babble of conversation becomes the buzz of insects, private spaces become public, one voice becomes many.

16 channels of sound on tape are projected through over 30 loudspeakers and in addition several microphones will capture the ambient sounds of the space. This real-time material will be processed by the artists and fed into the system creating layers of temporal shifting much like the 'Studio Conversation' in Region II of Hymnen. The presence of the artists and their manipulation of live sound lends a strong element of performance to the installation. There is also a layer of pre-recorded choral material that Irmin Schmidt compares to Roman columns plundered and recycled in later European building work. Again this material is presented as 'found' and then transformed into a completely new artefact. A strata of rhythmic material, with a regular underlying pulse, is generated from electronic and concrete sounds but this pulse is grouped into irregular metres creating isometric and polyrhythmic structures that glide in and out of the texture.

System for the sound installation as used for the originial comission at the Barbican Centre, London - as part of the "Electronik" festival : 13 - 18th October 2001

30 full range speakers running from 10 separate circuits arranged across three levels of the building
5 Low frequency cabinets running from 1 circuit
Midas XL3 desk
2 x Tascam DA-88 tape machines for playback
2 x Eventide DSP4000 effects generators
4 X AKG 414 ULS with stands
2 x Shure hand-held radio mics



Irmin and Kumo visit leading Arts/New Media/Music Universities discussing all facets of their work to date, and holding workshops in subjects including Composing for Film, Opera/Classical composition, CAN, Improvisation etc..



(Promotional DVD) and CAN DVD

Irmin Schmidt, founder of the legendary group CAN, has written an opera: Gormenghast Inspired by Mervyn Peake's masterpiece of gothic fantasy, English novelist Duncan Fallowell wrote the libretto in St. Petersburg, combining romance, comedy and futurism into an adventure of epic strangeness peopled by unforgettable characters. The opera is in 3 acts and centres on the rise and fall of Steerpike, a courageous, clever and charming kitchen-boy who becomes by degrees the murderous tyrant of Gormenghast Castle and its domain. In the process he bewitches and destroys Fuchsia the daughter of Gormenghast's opium-addicted ruler. Finally he meets his own dramatic death as the other inhabitants of this vivid decaying realm are drawn into the terrible tale. In both libretto and music, the integration of high culture and popular culture is not like anything which has gone before: it is achieved with perfect naturalness, carrying the art of opera forward into a new phase. The result is both accessible and magically unexpected: Gormenghast is a major addition to the world of musical theatre.

Gormenghast CD (extracts of the opera) available on EMI/MUTE (Spoon 44).


Always at least three steps ahead of contemporary popular music, Can was the leading avant-garde rock group of the 70s. From their very beginning, their music didn't conform to any commonly held notions about rock & roll -- not even those of the counter-cultures. Inspired more by 20th century classical music than Chuck Berry, their closest contemporaries were Frank Zappa or possibly the Velvet Underground. Yet their music was more serious and inaccessible than either of those artists. Instead of recording tight pop songs or satire, Can experimented with noise, synthesizers, non-traditional music, cut-and-paste techniques, and, most importantly, electronic music; each album marked a significant step forward than the previous album, investigating new territories that other rock bands weren't interested in exploring. Released in 2004, The Can DVD has received rave reviews worldwide further cementing their universal cult status. A screening of the DVD followed by a Question and Answer session with Irmin Schmidt and Kumo will take place in connection with the Live Performance Tour.

- 2 DVDs/1 Audio CD: Total of Film Footage = 256 Min. including:
- Can-Free-Concert: A film by Peter Przygodda. Filmed live at the Cologne Sporthalle in 1972 .
- Can Notes: An intimate film by Hildegard Schmidt, edited and compiled by Peter Przygodda
- Can - Documentary: Compiled by Rudi Dolezal & Hannes Rossacher
- A short tribute film to Can by Brian Eno / Echo Awards Presentation Footage / Award speech by Herbert Grönemeyer / Presentation by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

- 5.1 Remixes:
Smoke by Holger Czukay
Get The Can by Holger Czukay
Below This Level by Jaki Liebezeit
Half Past One by Irmin Schmidt
plus The Making of... and Interviews.



Spoon Records, in collaboration with Mute/EMI Records London, are releasing world wide remastered versions of the classic CAN albums. All 14 remastered CDs will also play on SACD players and SACD compatible DVD players, and will include exclusive unseen photos from the time and new sleeve notes. The release of the first four albums Monster Movie, Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi and Soundtracks in October 2004 has been a great critical and commmercial success. The rest of the catalogue is scheduled for release in 2005 and 2006. The albums were all remastered from the original master tapes and were overseen and attended by Holger, Irmin and Jono Podmore, so that they finally sounded on CD how they were always intended to sound. The sound of this high class product makes ideal DJ material for clubs or venues, and Irmin and Kumo successfully DJ'ed with the 1st 4 albums as part of the Scottish Triptych Festival 2004: Irmin Schmidt & Kumo DJing The Sound Of CAN.