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Can - Tago Mago CD (album) cover





3.94 | 600 ratings

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2 stars Either you get it or you don't, right? In that case, maybe I don't. After being through this album many times and in many moods (though admittedly no chemically-induced ones), words such as genius and masterpiece simply don't come to mind when I think of Tago Mago. Whatever you do, don't make the mistake I did, which is to apply the traditional prog rule-of-thumb that longer tracks are generally better. The exact opposite rule applies to this album in fact.

I think some reviewers have failed to fully appreciate that there is some good music to be found on this album, even in the traditional sense. Paperhouse and Mushroom are both very enjoyable tracks, as they build up to the main rhythm and have plenty of enjoyable, twangy guitar as well as minimal yet essential keys. The closer, Bring Me Coffee or Tea is also a highlight, building up enjoyably to a very spacey tribal drum and dual guitar conclusion. These three songs made the album worth my money to buy.

Then we come to the longer tracks, starting with Halleluhwah, which is an 18-minute long drum beat with some decent melody throughout and some moderately spacey effects. How people can call this great drumming is beyond me, unless greatness is measured more by how long you can keep a beat rather than if you can put enough variation on a beat to keep it interesting. I also wonder how the record execs allowed this to happen. I get the feeling that Can decided they would keep going as long as they wanted, and not stop a moment sooner--on a different day they may been in the mood to make a double album just of this beat. I'm glad they didn't!

Finally we have Aumgn and Peking O, which are just long runs of sound effects and noodling. They are truly terrible, though I have to say I at least enjoy them more than Crimson's Moonchild meanderings.

Like most albums, Tago Mago should have been condensed into one. There is good music here that many people do not seem to see. There is also some truly worthless music that different people seem willing to overlook. The result is a decent but flawed album--in the end you don't have to love it or hate it.

Flucktrot | 2/5 |


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