Founding member Irmin Schmidt premieres an orchestral reinterpretation of classic Can material alongside new work with the London Symphony Orchestra, before an all-star band of former Can members and long-time admirers pay tribute to their pioneering music.
Assembling their music through improvisation and studio editing, Can’s writing process resembled collage. Tonight, Can founder Irmin Schmidt takes that approach to their entire oeuvre, conducting the world premiere of his piece An homage to Can, written with Gregor Schwellenbach, which weaves together quotations and abstractions of some of the band’s most renowned pieces.
After an extended interval screening of Can’s 1972 performance at Cologne Sporthalle, the second half of the show brings together a supergroup led by Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), featuring ex-Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit, as well as Can’s first singer Malcolm Mooney, realising and reinterpreting the band’s music.
Laying the foundations of what came to be known as Krautrock, Can became one of the most influential avant-rock groups of all time, and echoes of their work is audible in everything from Joy Division, to Radiohead, to Kanye West. Can combined the deconstructed rock’n’roll of The Velvet Underground, the determined rhythmic propulsion of Sly & the Family Stone, and the appetite for studio experimentation of their former teacher Karlheinz Stockhausen to create a new kind of rock music – something avant-garde and groovy, both wildly experimental and utterly compelling.
The show will be preceded by a Q&A with Rob Young, author of a new book devoted to Can, published by Faber & Faber – one-part biography, one part memoir by Schmidt himself.
Tickets: £25 £30 £35
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Produced by the Barbican
Supported by the Goethe-Institut London