Earlier this year Burnt Friedman and Jaki Liebezeit, Irmin Schmidt and Jono Podmore came together for their first collaboration and released the 4 track Cyclopean EP. Liebezeit and Schmidt had worked together as members of CAN. Liebezeit and Friedman had worked together with their Secret Rhythms project and Podmore had worked with Schmidt for many years under his artist name Kumo. This interesting collaboration seems to cover similar ground to the Secret Rhythms albums mainly because Liebezeit’s drumming is so distinctive. Schmidt and Podmore contribute a different electronic soundscape than Liebezeit and Friedman do as a duo but Friedman’s production gives the project a similar sound. This is not a criticism, just an observation.
The music is a mesmerising coming together of World Music and electronics. A fascinating hybrid of old and new world technologies. The opener Apostles is a footapper for the brain, it’s organic and electronic and on the second track Fingers the same elements are prevalent but add, comforting and scary, obscure and accessible. It reminds me that Kraftwerk somehow stopped evolving as everyone caught up with them – CAN and anyone associated with the ex members, didn’t, haven’t and can’t. Knuckels is the tribal, Aboriginal Radiohead punctuated by soft Talk Talk piano stabs, but it grows and grows and is an intriguing adventure in sound. Here you find Irmin Schmidt’s profound classical influence. The final track Weeks reminds me of Balinese Gamelan sounds and rhythms with added sub bass and drum rhythms and a European melody motif on top. Sounds drift in and out, both keyboard swirls and subtly mixed growling sounds.
This EP is a journey through native villages in a space ship, a collaboration with aliens. At the end of Weeks you hear the visitors mimicking birds and animals with their electronic gadgets as a gesture of friendliness and communication. As all the generations from the sixties onward (and perhaps the universe) have taken CAN and its members into their heads and their hearts this EP is a timeless representation of now.
You can hear the EP here but you can buy the 12inch vinyl at the Can Official website listed below.
The Official CAN website: