Irmin Schmidt - Electro Violet

by Steve Reynolds Rating:8 Release Date:2015-12-04

Irmin Schmidt sounds like just another ordinary German name right? Wrong - Irmin Schmidt was a founding member of the legendary krautrockers Can. Can were formed in the late 1960s and captured their own summer of love soundscapes with experimental arrangements and trippe- out rhythms. They were the vanguard for electronic music and were shortly followed by their fellow countrymen Kraftwerk and Neu!

During the bands active years and numerous albums, Schmidt was working away in the background creating his own solo adventurous projects. This 12-album deluxe boxset covers his work from 1981 to the present day.

There are a huge amount of tracks here and they range from the eerie ‘Heimkehr’ with its haunting saxophone and maudlin piano to the climbing funereal harmonica laden ‘Rote Erde’. Schmidt has a steady pace about his music, none of it tries to beat you to death and roar up on you unexpectedly and the layered electronic arrangement is seen as a template for most modern artists who are akin to similar states of knob twiddling.

‘Etruian Waltz’ is from the ‘Axolotl Eyes’ album that he did with Kumo in 2008 and he revels in an avant-garde state as the contemporary motorik poly-rhythms stack up ensuing that Schmidt remains infallible in his composition and uncanny ability to continuous push the musical boundaries.

When you step back to his 1987 LP ‘Musk At Dusk’ Schmidt even tickles us with his own vocal on the jazz infused ‘Villa Wunderbar’.  The songs from this album certainly influenced the early 90s ambient sounds that were released by the likes of Ultramarine and Banco De Gaia, such is the influence of Schmidt’s tireless sweat and toil.

Schmidt could have been overtly self indulgent throughout his solo career but he seems more conditioned to give the listener the opportunity to make their own judgement on whether that is the case.  ‘Electro Violet’ is a great summary of a man hugely involved in the burgeoning years of experimental and electronic music and for that we have to salute him.

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