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Irmin Schmidt on the CAN Biography

March 31, 2014 | by Faber Social

Tags: Biography, CAN, Irmin Schmidt, Julian Cope

Every morning Hildegard wakes up with the sentence: ‘I have an idea!’ Exhausting. In the morning I only want to the listen to the emptiness of my head and stare into the mysterious world behind my bedroom window. This time her idea was: ‘We really need a proper Can biography. THE Can biography.’

The British novelist, good friend and since Can-times collaborator Duncan Fallowell (who also wrote all the lyrics for my solo albums and the wonderful libretto for my opera Gormenghast) had the next great idea: why not make it two books in one? A biography and – what he called – a symposium. He made the first contact with Faber & Faber and they were excited by the project. No, they ARE excited! Lee Brackstone suggested Rob Young as the writer for the biography. We have known Rob for a long time and regard him highly. He knows Can, the music and all the band members very well, so we were straight away extremely happy about this choice and are delighted to have him on board.

The idea of the symposium fascinated me so much that I decided to make it myself (meaning to curate it, edit it . . .). To use Can as a starting-point for a wild selection of stories, statements and interviews seemed like a really exciting project. A collage of talks not only with musicians (like Bobby Gillespie, Julian Cope, Geoff Barrow) and
people from the music-business side of things (Daniel Miller, Jazz Summers, Hartwig Masuch) but also people in other arts, like writers, philosophers, film-makers, painters and other nerds and neuroscientists . . .

And pictures. In 2011 there was a great exhibition in Berlin called HALLELUHWAH! Hommage à CAN, with paintings, photos, installations, sculptures, etc., by over forty artists (including Malcolm Mooney) all based around the theme of Can. Some of these will also be included in the symposium.

I am also very happy that Max Dax, editor-in-chief of Electronic Beats, will join me in working on this project.

Looking forward to being surprised!

Irmin Schmidt
Bandol, France – 16 March 2014