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Can members reuniting for 50th anniversary show in London

Schmidt (2nd from left) with Can, back in the day.
Schmidt (2nd from left) with Can, back in the day.

Krautrock icons Can will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2017. Founding member Irmin Schmidt is organizing a concert under the name The Can Project that will take place April 8 at The Barbican in London, featuring onetime Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit, original vocalist Malcolm Mooney, as well as Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley along with The London Symphony Orchestra.

More details on this unsurprisingly sold-out show:

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.

In other news, A Tribe Called Quest sampled Can’s classic “Halleluhwah” on “Dis Generation” and “Lost Somebody” from their brand-new LP (those weren’t either of the songs they played on SNL, though).

Speaking of Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon’s duo with Bill Nace, Body/Head, just played National Sawdust. You may remember that Shelley was also tapped for the Hallogallo band which featured Neu’s Michael Rother performing that band’s songs.

Listen to Can’s Tago Mago (which features “Halleluhwah”) below.

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