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Can - Tago Mago CD (album) cover





3.94 | 598 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars seaLching foh ma blotha yes i AH !!

CAN, what a unique band! They have the guts to release such albums without being ashamed of looking pretentious by the strenght of their art. Yes, this album is art, in the purest sense of the word. I don't see any money ambition here, sure such ambitions are necessary, but it was the excess of it that caused many modern bands to produce such generic and uninspired music lately, only wanting to have their presence on the radio and their pockets filled, letting us progheads ashamed of the course music is taking nowadays. Imagine a "song" like "Augmn" on the radio. Now, why i put the " " around the word song? It's because it's not really a song, it is in fact an experience, which i'd wish that more people would have the patience to travel through and discover its charm. The entire record is a wonderful (and why not "schizophrenic"?) experience. DAMO SUZUKI's vocals reveal that well, the way his voice changes tones during the voyage, rising from almost quiet mumbling to crazy shouts, and also the repetitive and groovy drum beats, making your mind feel sucked by it as it was a black hole leading you to "weirdness land". What a magnificent land you'll discover it is, after giving this album a couple of spins (i don't think the first three songs are that hard to get into, it's from the fourth onwards that the real treat begins!) and discovering its wonderful face.

"Paperhouse" is clearly the most accessible tune from here. Actually i didn't believe it was from this album when i first heard it, it seemed so inoffensive and quite catchy with its moving opening melody. But then the song was advancing to a long instrumental section, and this part was a bit harder to grasp, but of course not as challenging as i thought it would be. And then "Mushroom" started. My first reaction was: geez, i don't like the sound of the repetitive music at all! The drum (?) sound also kind of annoyed me, and then i decided to give it some more chances. It now has became one of my fav songs ever, and the once irritating drum pattern became an addictive one to me. "Oh Yeah" is in the same vein, and it's even better. The drums just stick your ears to the song, and DAMO's vocal performance is really nice here. The first verse is recorded backwards, the second is sung in "Engrish" (he has a neat japanese accent, actually. I think it fits for the non-conventional music found here very well!), and then in Japanese. After this, the majestic "Halleluhwah" (or something like that) starts. This is another song that i was let down on first listen. I thought "what is the point on making a 18-minute long track without many variation? Just the basic groovy melody followed with some psychedelic noises and vocals around!". Well, following the "rule of every proghead who is being faced against an inaccesible song", i gave it more listens. And now i am completely hooked by it! This is probably the band's best work, and works very well as a groovy and catchy song. Repetitive? A bit, but who am i to judge its minimalism since i just feel completely addicted to the wonderful melody found here. And, if you pay attention, it quite progresses! It is not as minimalist as NEU!'s work, for example. Of course it's based on that same drum rhythm all along, but what a great rhythm is that! But hold your sits, because now the real craziness begins. "Augmn" is twisted, insane and may be "offensive" to many ears. It's basically a crazy experiment featuring lots of scary vocalization and electronic sounds all around for almost 18 minutes. Now this may scream pretentious, but just change the p word (that can turn someone off) to "art". It is not pretentious, it is art! They had the guts to make this kind of music on the begining of the 70's! And did that quite well, since "Augmn" allows your brain to explore its corners, you can imagine a situation of it, make a story yourself, the musicians are so free with their music that they allow you to be free with your own impressions about it! The same thing applies for "Peking O", which is even more inaccesible, in contrast of the softer closing track, "Bring me Coffee or Tea" (i prefer coffee sometimes...), which is like a refresh from the scary last two numbers. It has a beautiful melody (just pay attention...), and ends the album on a high note.

This is CAN's masterpiece. They'll do it great on Future Days too, but all the quitessential works by the band and their creative peak are here. It's amazing how they progressed from Soundtracks to this one. Also, they predicted a lot of genres in music found on the next decades, so this album is both historically important and also a masterpiece of prog rock that can be enjoyed if a little effort is put into. Just don't be turned off by "Augmn", think of it as an experience, try to create your own images of it, the song will work much better. And this album won't turn you schizophrenic!! It is actually the kind of music that will work as a mind / creativity exercise, so don't start questioning how sane you are for enjoying such unique music. This is an excellet gem, so, with no fear, i give the full rating to this seminal album of progressive music.

Eclipse | 5/5 |


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