Rough Trade Books of the Year 2018 No.9
All Gates Open is a music book like no other. Its subject is Can, arguably the most important experimental group of the twentieth century.
Formed in Cologne in 1968, Can drew their influences from the avant-garde - founding members Irmin Schmidt and Holger Czukay both studied under Stockhausen - and jazz traditions to create a heavily rhythmic, minimal music that redefined what it meant to be a popular band.
The book comprises two elements of equal weight: a biography of the group by Rob Young and a Symposium curated by Irmin Schmidt. The latter explores, in Irmin's own voice and that of his collaborators and admirers, the tentacular influence Can have had upon not just popular music, but also the visual arts, poetry and film.
Can have been a direct source of inspiration for numerous genres, notably ambient, post-punk and electronica. Their music was created entirely on its own terms, and All Gates Open defines both their story and their continuing legacy with parallel originality and insight.
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