Irmin Schmidt, founder of Can, the experimental rock group whose music has inspired hundreds of popular acts over the last 30 years from Talking Heads and Public Image Limited to LCD Sound System and Kasabian, has once again teamed up with breakbeat pioneer Kumo on Axolotl Eyes.
The duo originally got together in 1997 when Psychomat recording artist Kumo was drafted in by Schmidt to work on his operatic version of Gormenghast as a co-producer and programmer. As a result of that collaboration, the duo started work on Masters of Confusion, their 2001 debut LP. Kumo has since been appointed Professor of Popular Music at the Köln Musikhochschule (Cologne University of Music) where he runs regular practical workshops ranging from dub to music business, composing for film to house music.
Axolotl Eyes also marks a return to the extended improvisation followed by painstaking editing methods pioneered by Can. Opener Kick On The Floods rapidly evolves into a churning sea of ghostly, filmic melancholy lightly shaded by menace, while Drifting Days, Crime Pays kicks in with a melody that could grace any classic detective series underpinned by subtle atmospherics. The mysterious and dense Umbilicus Clear was inspired by sounds from outer space and Raketenstadt melds the vocals of Paul J Fredericks with industrial strength synths, drifting melodic fragments and trumpeter Dixon summoning the spirit of Dizzy Gillespie.
As a bonus, the studio album is accompanied by a 5.1 surround sound DVD of the sound installation Flies, Guys and Choirs, first conceived for London's Barbican Centre in 2001. The work combines surreally treated images from nature with subtle, quietly forceful environmental music.