Irmin Schmidt: Nocturne (2LP, Mute, May 2020)

Irmin Schmidt · Nocturne (Live at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival)

I feel like Irmin Schmidt would be justified in being a bit bored of being referred to as the keyboardist from Can after all this time, but there it is. In the four decades since the Krautrock pioneers were in regular business, he seems to have mostly done soundtrack work. But in 2019 he turned up to the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival with three pre-prepared soundscapes and a prepared piano, and he did this.

This wouldn’t normally be my sort of thing, and I figured that my liking for it was some strange passing fancy, and I resisted buying it for quite a long time; but somehow I kept coming back to it, and after a couple of months I figured that, actually, it genuinely is a keeper, and here we are. The piano playing combines just the right amount of spiky abstraction with some surprisingly catchy melodic elements and a pleasing rhythmic drive. Where the soundscapes come in, they duet with the piano seamlessly, whether they are bucolic atmospherics, or an impressively spatially articulate dripping noise, or an altogether more raucous cacophony of bells. None of which fully explains why I enjoy this so much. It may just be that it is, dare I say it, a huge amount of fun. Maybe there’s a lesson for me here: I should be less hung up on whether I like this sort of thing and just be happy that I really really like this.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Electronic (which/ seems wrong).

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