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Can - Tago Mago CD (album) cover

TAGO MAGO

Can

 

Krautrock

3.93 | 447 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I've been putting off this review for quite some time now in hopes of me finally comprehending more of what I've heard. Since this has not yet occurred I might as well scribble down my thoughts and impressions in order to adjust them later on when Tago Mago finally dawns on me.

There is really point for me to go through these compositions since this is not really an album consisting of individual compositions but more as a coherent experience of sounds and music like you've never heard before. It will also be impossible to give Tago Mago a rating based on the general guidelines since, like any piece of modern art, it can't be limited to constraints of a general rating. Let me therefore tell you of my experience of this piece of music and review it completely from a subjective point of view.

Since I really have no clue how to start this let's kick things off with a short Q&A with yours truly: Is this my favorite Can album? No. Is this an album I would recommend to other people? Definitely. Does it call for active or passive listening? I'd say a mix of both since there are quite a few sections that might drive you up the wall if not experienced actively. Any tips for beginners? This album requires an open-minded listener with a lot of time and energy!

Just like a few other critically acclaimed albums, like Univers Zero's Heresie or Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, Tago Mago is a tough cookie to crack upon the first visit. Instead it might take years or even decades for this material to grow on the listener which automatically limits the audience scope of people who would willingly devote their time to appreciating these very demanding works. Although it is arguable if Tago Mago can actually be compared to the other two releases I mentioned in terms of intensional structure since most of the longer pieces can easily be labeled as freeform improvisations. But this issue becomes even more complicated when considering that some of the shorter pieces have actually been later covered by other bands.

While it's true that the first part of the record is not nearly as daring and experimental as the second part, it's still difficult to separate them from one another. The feel I get is that Can slowly expands upon the barriers that the music's format limits them to until they finally go beyond what can be labeled as music. Eventually the band finds their way back to the familiar territory on the album's final piece but, as a listener, one has to wonder what really happened throughout this 70+ minutes journey. There is really no use to dissect the specific tracks and listen to them individually since it only creates even more questions. Therefore I recommend taking out at least 2 hours of your time to experience this performance from the beginning to the end, including a half hour of complete silence to contemplate upon the matter (and 10-15 minutes to set the mood before the experience). Tago Mago is as avant-garde an album can get but even though it's been almost 40 years since the release this material sounds surprisingly fresh and out of place in the the scheme of time. For all I know this music might just be found flowing in space by our future generations and hopefully they will make more sense out of it than what I can at this moment.

**** star songs: Paperhouse (7:27) Mushroom (4:04) Oh Yeah (7:22) Halleluhwah (18:31) Aumgn (17:30) Peking O (11:36) Bring Me Coffee Or Tea (6:47)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |

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