Can
Tago Mago


4.5
superb

Review

by Jared W. Dillon USER (118 Reviews)
July 24th, 2006 | 22 replies


Release Date: 1971 | Tracklist


I'm sure there is an album like Tago Mago lying around somewhere right now. An album that has gone completely unnoticed except by a hip few. An album that is of an entirely new and unique sound in the current age of clicheness. An album which is simplistic in its execution, but virtuoso in its ideas. Tago Mago helped further the thought process of progressive rock, it helped nuture the birth of electronic, and it experimented in the realms of drone and noise rock, and most of all it had some really fucking good music on it. Drawing mainly on the skills of vocalist Damo Suzuki and drummer Jaki Liebezeit, Tago Mago is a swirl of surreal satisfaction accented with a variety of genres. Funk, rock, jazz, various world music, it is all found on Tago Mago and that is where its success as an album comes from. It's aimless yet perfectly constructed combination of an eccentric blend of genres.

If somebody heard Tago Mago out of the blue, I'm sure they would be able to tell it came from the '70s. The stench of psychedelic and the hippie era is very evident through out all ninety or so minutes of it. The introduction to the album "Paperhouse" basically splices the psychedelic sound of the time right down the middle and sews the punk influence of groups like the Velvet Underground into the sound of music that is Can. In turn this creates what seems to be a torrid and aggressive trip through a spectrum of political dreamlike imagery. Further demonstrating the versatility of the band is track "Oh Yeah" which seamlessly crafts the electronic meanderings of bands like Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk with the progressive power of rock titans King Crimson and Yes. The pounding rhythm of the track provides a gorgeous backdrop for Damo's quietly sung ramblings as well as the various swells of volume provided by the guitars/keyboard duo of Irmin Schmidt and Michael Karoli. Tracks "Aumgn"and "Peking O" are certainly competitors for the '70s most bizarre album cuts. Their combination of free form vocals from Damo, sampled noise clips, free-jazz styled keyboard parts, and rhythm less drumming make them what same may call "non-musical" but in reality they are just another piece of the puzzle of Can's brilliance.

Tago Mago, is certainly superior in its ample combination of various genres as well as its technical prowess, but its production does hinder its ability to an extent. While I do understand that the band was working off of a two track recorder, some of the guitar parts seem under mixed as well as the keys which at times are even hard to pick out. The drums are probably highest in the mix which creates for an interesting sound, but I still feel that if Can had been given the right production tools this album could've been refined into a complete masterpiece, instead of just a really great album. Although I am certainly praising the album a lot for its combination of genres, I can see this also hindering some listener's enjoyment of the album. Especially the two "noise" tracks "Aumgn" and "Peking O". Can was certainly flirting with the avant garde music being thrown around during their time and thus listeners who enjoy easily digestible music will probably not enjoy Tago Mago as much as a listener who is familiar with the various realms of music.

In short Can was a breath of fresh air in the '70s and also an influential force to be reckoned with. Leaving their marks on groups ranging from Brian Eno to the Mars Volta, their recordings have certainly aged extremely well. Yet, unlike most influential bands of the past they are just as experimental as bands that exist today. Basically, Can was light years ahead of their time, and the ideas they present in Tago Mago and sequential albums are still incomprehensible even in today's eclectic and varied music scene.



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user ratings (502)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
inpraiseoffolly (5)
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Tangy zizzle (5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
The Jungler
July 24th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Can has been on my bands to check out list for a while, and will probably continue to be, due to their absence from Rhapsody. Great review.

Robert Crumb
Emeritus
July 25th 2006


165 Comments


Yay Can!

Excursions
July 26th 2006


24 Comments


I enjoy Tago Mago, not my favourite Can album however. That would go to Future Days or something. Anyway, well written review.

rhyno
November 11th 2006


28 Comments


This album has some awesome stuff on it. The first 4 songs, as well as the last are flawless.

This album would be an easy 5 without Aumgn and Peking O.

Neoteric
August 17th 2007


3243 Comments


Most of this is great, some of the songs just go on a bit too long though.

The Jungler
September 4th 2007


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome album, it could stand to be a little shorter, but I'm sure my rating will go up with repeated listens.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
September 4th 2007


16089 Comments


I thought Can were pretty well known. Guess I was wrong.
This was a really good album, I need to find my copy of it in storage.

pixiesfanyo
September 5th 2007


1223 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think with TMV reppin' them they've gotten bigger. But, they certainly aren't "popular".

blackmilk
September 5th 2007


584 Comments


future days is better

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
September 5th 2007


16089 Comments


I guess my dads circle of friends is not well representative of the mass public once again =(.

LearntoSwim
December 18th 2007


68 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

at illuvatar: that just means yr dads friends are really fucking cool and are with it, not just pop rock music drones

Meatplow
June 22nd 2008


5524 Comments


Wow.

Sabottheory
December 4th 2009


355 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So this is what awesomeness sounds like.

GiaNXGX
August 28th 2013


4867 Comments


bmup

ButteryBiscuitBass
August 28th 2013


10049 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome album trippy/

GiaNXGX
August 28th 2013


4867 Comments


THE SHROOMERY

Ricochet
October 12th 2013


1795 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

AAAAAAAAUUU UUUUUUUUHGGMMMM

GiaNXGX
October 12th 2013


4867 Comments


luk thun hon, luk thun honey

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 12th 2013


16057 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

could listen to oh Yeah on repeat for a week and not get bored

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

Atrophy
November 13th 2013


819 Comments


i fell asleep to my first listen of this

woke up in the middle of the night during the vocal freakout on peking o and just about shit my bed



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