The Best Of Irmin Schmidt's Solo Work

Schmidt enjoyed stepping out from behind the keyboards and into the limelight as vocalist on Musk At Dusk and Impossible Holidays.

Tracks such as Tango-soaked Cliff Into Silence and Time The Dreamkiller display a wry romanticism, while The Great Escape is instantly recognisable to Can fans, featuring both Jaki Liebezeit and Michael Karoli. “Their contributions to both albums are incredibly important,” Schmidt remarks. “Though Gormenghast is very close to my heart, and it’s the biggest work I’ve done, Impossible Holidays, I like very much.”

Duncan Fallowell, who wrote the words for both albums, recalls: “I particularly loved the way Irmin often would take my lyrics and introduce a completely different rhythmic emphasis, but one which worked marvelously well. Usually his musical interpretation was quite unlike what I had been imagining in my head when I wrote the original words. It was a most wonderful experience.”

By contrast to such eclectic song-based records, Schmidt’s collaboration with Kumo (also known as son-in-law, Jono Podmore) on Masters Of Confusion (2001) and Axolotl Eyes (2008) return to, and celebrate free-wheeling adventure that combines Schmidt’s acoustic and electric keyboards with techno dance moves and startling bursts of avant-prog, groove-infused, haunted space-jazz bricolage.

Schmidt’s Filmmusik anthologies, especially the beautiful, uplifting themes of Enigmatikman and mournful reveries of Why Not, featuring the trumpet-playing son of his old music tutor, Karlheinz Stockhausen, from the previously unreleased Volume Six, showcase a thoughtful composer expertly providing light and shade and emotional depth while avoiding the obvious tropes associated with the genre. “My first concern is architectural; I want to give the film support. I don’t want to tell people how to feel when they are watching a movie.”

Sid Smith

Sid's feature articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Prog, Classic Rock, Record Collector, Q, Mojo and Uncut. A full-time freelance writer with hundreds of sleevenotes and essays for both indie and major record labels to his credit, his book, In The Court Of King Crimson, an acclaimed biography of King Crimson, was substantially revised and expanded in 2019 to coincide with the band’s 50th Anniversary. Alongside appearances on radio and TV, he has lectured on jazz and progressive music in the UK and Europe.  

A resident of Whitley Bay in north-east England, he spends far too much time posting photographs of LPs he's listening to on Twitter and Facebook.