Faber & Faber have announced All Gates Open, the definitive story of the most influential and revered avant-garde band of the late twentieth century: Can. It consists of two books and previously unseen art and photos.
In book one, All Gates Open, Rob Young gives us the full biography of a band that emerged at the vanguard of the Krautrock scene in late sixties Cologne. Can’s studio and live performances burned an incendiary trail through the decade that followed, and left a legacy that is still reverberating today in hip hop, post-rock, ambient, and countless other genres. Rob Young’s account draws on unique interviews with all the founding members of Can, their vocalists, friends and music industry associates. And he revisits the music, which is still deliriously innovative and unclassifiable more than four decades on. All Gates Open is a portrait of a group who worked with visionary intensity and belief, outside the system and inside their own inner space.
Book two, Can Kiosk, has been assembled by Irmin Schmidt, founding member and guiding spirit of the band, as a ‘collage’ – a technique long associated with Can’s approach to recording. There is an oral history of the band, collated by former Electronic Beats and Spex editor Max Dax, and Robert Defcon, drawing on interviews Irmin conducted with musicians who see Can as an influence, like Bobby Gillespie, Geoff Barrow, Mark E. Smith, Daniel Miller and many others, but also with artists and film-makers like Wim Wenders and John Malkovich, where he reflects on more personal matters and his work with film. Extracts from Irmin’s notebooks and diaries from 2013–14 are also reproduced as a reflection on the creative process, and the memories, dreams and epiphanies it entails. Can Kiosk offers further perspectives on a band that has inspired several generations of musicians and film-makers.
Irmin Schmidt is a composer and founding member of Can, and has scored more than one hundred soundtracks, released a dozen solo albums and written an opera, Gormenghast, based on the novels of Mervyn Peake. In 2015, he was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in southern France.
Rob Young’s books include the acclaimed Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music, and histories of record labels Rough Trade and Warp. A former editor of The Wire magazine, he has contributed to publications including Uncut, the Guardian, Sight & Sound, Frieze and Art Review. He lives in Oslo.
The hardback edition of All Gates Open is available now to pre-order. The limited edition will be available to pre-order from Thursday 5 April from www.faber.co.uk.
Hardback, £25 - Limited Edition, £250