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The Can Project review – warm tribute to avant-rock innovators | Musique Non Stop

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Monday, April 10, 2017

The Can Project review – warm tribute to avant-rock innovators

Barbican, London
The London Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Can founder Irwin Schmidt, before Thurston Moore led a more freestyle rock jam in an amiable homage

German avant-rock innovators Can may have influenced some big-time fans – from David Bowie and John Lydon to Joy Division – but as their biographer Rob Young has noted, theirs was “an anarchic democracy and everyone who joined it had sacrificed another, surer path to be there”. The Barbican and Goethe Institute’s 50th anniversary gig reflected their eclecticism by presenting the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Can founder/composer Irmin Schmidt alongside a freely jamming band led by longtime fan Thurston Moore – and it was a warmly ambitious accolade, even if the originators’ mix of anarchic democracy and the liberating monotony of classic krautrock’s machine-mimicking grooves was a hard balance to catch.

The 79-year-old Schmidt opened the show with the LSO to perform his symphony Can Dialog (co-written with Gregor Schwellenbach), and 2008 ballet suite La Fermosa. Can Dialog wove classics including Halleluwah and Sing Swan Song into percussively spiky minimalism, and densely layered orchestral structures, sometimes echoing Schmidt’s former teachers Karlheinz Stockhausen and György Ligeti in music of sonically fascinating, if rather inchoate, glimpses.

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by John Fordham via Electronic music | The Guardian
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