Thursday, July 31, 2008

Irmin Schmidt & Kumo

"So we finish up as we began, in the studio, artificially making the unplayable a reality, or on stage making the studio into a performance."
-Kumo, from the liner notes to Axolotl Eyes

"Already as a five year old I would often sit quietly in the corner of a room and simply listen to my surroundings. All sounds, noises, voices became a deep and constantly transforming world; nothing else existed anymore - I was 'all ears.' "
-Irmin Schmidt, from the liner notes to Axolotl Eyes

Irmin Schmidt, founding member of the legendary experimental German krautrock group Can, has once again teamed up with breakbeat pioneer and producer Kumo (aka Jono Podmore) to release another joint effort titled Axolotl Eyes. Unlike 2001's Masters of Confusion, which was taken from three live sets, this album is a product of the studio. The project started with Kumo recording improvised pieces of music which the pair then edited into the seven tracks on the album.

As with Schmidt's earlier work with Can, the result defies attempts to place it in a particular genre. You certainly still feel the German avante-garde overtones here, but it certainly goes beyond that. While much of the album was produced and manipulated digitally, you still find the offsetting horn or piano to provide balance. You'll also encounter long stretches of hazy being - unknown noises protracted until the main line of the song comes into being. And then you'll be jarred by an electric guitar before a solitary horn pipes up. To wrap it up is an unearthly waltz. It's really tough to completely desribe all of the elements that the pair work into these songs.

Also included in the package is a bonus DVD of the sound installation Flies, Guys and Choirs, an artistic presentation first assembled for London's Barbican Centre in 2001.

Visit their website, their label Mute Records, and become their friend on MySpace.


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