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Can - Tago Mago CD (album) cover





3.94 | 600 ratings

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4 stars Can - Tago Mago 1971

This album is a series of experiences. Nothing like most other listeners ever get to hear. It is obscure, difficult and possibly determined to annoy... (Peking O). The two tracks that are the usual bane of this album are this and Aumgn. Aumgn is something where you have to listen to it on a lateral thought mode as most of the effect of this track happens as a consequence of the playing. By this I mean that the double bowed bass, the drawn out vocals, analogue synths and the percussion take arrangement into a new void. Oh yes, this one I like very much. This is source music and really quite fabulous. The second part of Aumgn features a suite of drumming and percussion that should be another track as it bears no resemblance to the previous section but it does have a drawn out segue into the percussion. It's like Granchester Meadows and Several Small Creatures in the way the two parts of Aumgn merge.

Tago Mago is an album you do have to be in a certain mood to enjoy. Mainly because we are all trained or brought up to hear melodies, rhythms in an arranged, acceptable manner - dare I say format?

Oddly perhaps, it's what I do not hear that I regret not hearing; I really enjoy Karoli's guitar work, his soloing is quite out of this world but this aspect is just not really a part of this album, it's there in part, just not as prevalent as later on. This album probably is Czukay's work as the studio is most certainly an instrument and Holger wielded the studio. The drumming on this album, especially Aumgn and the 18m Halleluhwah is both economical (dynamic) contrasting with percussive flourishes of stunning dexterity and imagination.

It is psychedelic, spaced out, yet oddly not dated as it is music that uses it's technology rather than vice versa. The effect is textural and the moods often at odds with one another. With Peking O laughter is probably the intended effect by Can.

There are those that will never like this and think little of it. Certainly if you are used to hearing standard music verse, chorus etc this will not find favour there. But if abstract avant garde, RIO, pyschedelia is to your taste then here is a very good listen. I like all the symphonic progressive rock bands as well for the most part. I like them for their own progressiveness as I like Can who will go along with the more experimental side of Pink Floyd if you need something to compare.

This album is brave, adventurous and well considered, it is difficult, progressive, weird (in the good way as I find people that want to listen to Top 40 and only Top 40 to be truly odd). There are no climaxes that a Floyd fan often appreciates / anticipates, the Echoes, Comfortably Numb type of guitar thrill. This music is out there and a few listens will prime you. But be prepared to be primed.

I will not say listen without prejudice, but Can did not make this album to not be enjoyed. However it is very rewarding if you dare allow it. It is daring and perhaps you have to be as well.

One last thing, I must emphasize, there is nothing dated about it. This is seriously timeless music, not for everyone, true, but adventurous and an incredible head-trip. I can't say you cannot go wrong because this may never grab you. But it's worth a whole lot of listens to find out...

It is excellent, probably essential but above all it is progressive... still... 4.5 stars. Too eclectic for perfection, maybe Aumgn does it for you as it does for me. Or Halleluhwah. Or not...

Thanks for reading, hope this helps you.

uduwudu | 4/5 |


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