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Can - Tago Mago CD (album) cover





3.94 | 598 ratings

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4 stars This album is a brilliant example of fun, groovy and experimental rock music. It stems from the early 70's: a period of music Europe-wide that brought so much exciting sonic adventure. Tago Mago offers infectious and likeable vocal work with drum beats that inspired the modern electronic breakbeat and drum n bass scenes (Mushroom & Oh Yeah especially). The guitar play overall is not so strong but it complements well enough. Production values are pretty good, some excellent use of panning and reverb to create big spaces, but there is a bit too much treble. Sound effects are used illiberally to good effect.

Here a track-by-track:

Paperhouse - 5

The opener is actually quite lifeless, it features too much tinny guitar play and is never allowed to get into a groove. The structure of this 7-minute piece is promising but the execution is not diverting. Paperhouse is the kind of song you don't remember how it sounds like even after listening to it a dozen times.

Mushroom - 8

This is good, funky stuff. The vocal work laconically delivers nonsense while subtle guitar licks increase the infectiousness of the music. The drumming reminds of modern electro funk beats.

Oh Yeah - 9

Oh yeah! This is a real-earpricker. A groover that makes you move featuring determined drumming, reversed and then (presumably) japanese vocals, excited guitar picking and driving bass. You dance and swing to this one: Oh Yeah stands out as an immediate classic of 'rock music that inspires booty-shaking' (or arse-wiggling if you prefer).

Halleluwah - 7

A chunky and funky drum drives this number for a good 18 minutes. It won't hold your attention for that long tho', as some of the complementary action from vocals, guitars, pianos, violins and the odd effect aren't always that interesting. This piece would sound good in a bar, where dancing with a drink in your hand is the order. Halleluwah does end very well: rock-out percussionism then finally some memorable cries from Damo the singer.

Aumgn - 8

This is great! Horror-style abstractism with the medium of sound. Lights off, headphones on and trip away darkly (imagine a weird torture scene).

Peking - 8

The beginning isn't that great, but before you press skip wait until the hawaiian groove after two-and-a-half minutes sets in. Warm, mumbling and attractively-insane vocals wash over the sunshine. After 5 minutes it all goes strange, but the percussion work is (again) brilliant as is the communication between singer and instrumentation. Peking ends sounding like an extension to Aumgn.

Bring Me Coffee Or Tea - 6

Sounds quite nice, the sounds are warm but the piece overall lacks something interesting. It reminds of later Sonic Youth.


I only discovered Can and Tago Mago a month go, but it's been a quite regular companion. I hear from long-time Can fans that this albums' appeal never tires, so that's promising. I really like it, I would prefer a more bass-heavy production (possible with a re-mastering). I would also like the guitar licks to be a bit more adventurerous and full (no longer possible!). But other than that Tago Mago is an exciting piece of music to listen to and will appeal to fans of early Floyd and Gong as well as music-lovers looking for something that is groovy, funny, abstract and is soaked in the colour of yellow dipped in orange.

dholl | 4/5 |


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