On the heels of the announcement that Scritti Politti’s Green Gartside would be taking over from Andrew Weatherall as its artist in residence, Faber Social is continuing to delight a certain kind of music nerd (<—–this one) with the news that it is set to release an official two-volume biography of krautrock OGs Can, with the first instalment due in the spring of 2016. That initial volume will be a standard history of the group written by former editor of The Wire Rob Young, featuring interviews with the band’s members. It will be followed by what’s being called a ‘symposium’ volume, a collection of essays curated in part by band member Irmin Schmidt and written by a selection of the many who have been influenced by Can over the past 40 years, including the aforementioned Weatherall, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Portishead’s Geoff Barrow and Daniel Miller, founder of Mute Records, which has reissued Can’s discography.
Writing on Faber Social’s blog, Schmidt credits his wife Hildegard (who has been in charge of Can’s record label, Spoon, since the 70s) with the idea for the book, saying ‘Every morning Hildegard wakes up with the sentence: ‘I have an idea!’ Exhausting […] This time her idea was: ‘We really need a proper Can biography. THE Can biography.’’
Then came the idea for the second volume:
The British novelist, good friend and since Can-times collaborator Duncan Fallowell (who also wrote all the lyrics for my solo albums and the wonderful libretto for my opera Gormenghast) had the next great idea: why not make it two books in one? A biography and – what he called – a symposium. He made the first contact with Faber & Faber and they were excited by the project. No, they ARE excited! Lee Brackstone suggested Rob Young as the writer for the biography. We have known Rob for a long time and regard him highly. He knows Can, the music and all the band members very well, so we were straight away extremely happy about this choice and are delighted to have him on board.
The symposium’s participants, he says, will not just be limited to musicians and other industry bods, ‘but also people in other arts, like writers, philosophers, film-makers, painters and other nerds and neuroscientists…’ Schmidt also suggests the book will contain artwork previously featured in the 2011 Berlin exhibition Halleluhwah! Hommage à CAN. Needless to say, for those who like this sort of thing, this all sounds like it will very much be the sort of thing they like.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.