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Can - Tago Mago CD (album) cover

TAGO MAGO

Can

 

Krautrock

3.92 | 428 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

JJLehto
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I will admit, my entry into "krautrock" is still fairly new. Personally, I really loved this album, but it's reviews appears to be quite mixed. Frankly, I'm not sure why. Well, actually I can see why. This is difficult music. Not in its technicality or complexity. In fact it's the opposite case! This album really has no structure to it. That is because this album was pretty much a giant improv jam, which was then taken and edited into songs. I love it. The album is really free flowing. While it may have no structure it does not feel chaotic or disjointed, it is really smooth and mellow. This album is basically a giant psychedelic rock improv jam. What's not too love?

While this may be a big improv, don't think these guys are not talented. They are, and make some really great music. Every instrument is great but what really stands out are the drums. They are brilliant! More so the drumming, as it should be, is the foundation that holds the album together, and really helps give it that free, jam feeling. His drumming is very jazzy and almost mechanic. This album is best enjoyed when sitting back and relaxing, preferably laying down with headphones, and when you just let it all soak in, the drumming can become hypnotic! This album is really a trip!

Adding to the feel are the vocals. They are chill. Sometimes they frightening outbursts. Always they fit the music perfectly. The lyrics, just like the music, are improv. Think of it like chill scat singing. His vocals are not about the message, but just another instrument, one that can he improv with along to the music. Though he does use lyrics, (opposed to scat singing) so I guess free form is a better way to put it. Sometimes they are in English, sometimes Japanese, sometimes...nothing. The icing on the cake.

OK, the first 3 songs are not too difficult. Really, they sound like...well, improv psychedelic songs. Real mellow. If you just listen it will sound like nice, but boring, elevator music. You need to really listen, by doing nothing, to hear all the little things, all the subtleties, that really make these songs great. Cool and trippy guitar solos, funky groove, awesome vocals, and of course that hypnotic drumming. Oh, lets not forget some classic space rock keyboard!

"Halleluwah" this is the highpoint of the album. Best song by miles, (and the others are still really good!). An 18 minute long jam, it can be quite minimal, (again really listen) sometimes for lengthy segments. I keep saying hypnotic drumming, but really this song is the prime example. A brilliant song. Moreso, this song is a transition. The first 3 were fairly orthodox considering. Halleluwah is more minimal and experimental. Think of it as a bridge.

Because the last 3 songs are more experimental. "Aumgn" begins strangely, but kind of cool, before delving into a very minimalist section which is kind of eerie, especially with what is basically Buddhist droning over it. This continues, alternating with what sounds like John Cage work and some free jazz drumming. Ends on a POWERFUL note!

"Peking O" mellow and beautiful. Harsh and unnerving. Random. SNES on steroids. Frantic ramblings of a lunatic. Classical music gone wrong. Free Jazz. All I can say.

"Bring Me Coffee or Tea" A much milder song. Though still, enough variation that I could list them for pages. Yet its not clustered or choppy. Always smooth. Really nice song.

Wow, that was a trip. I hate saying it again but the only way to describe this album: One big trip. Seriously, not only a mind trip, but almost a spiritual one. You will hear a little bit of everything. A little flavor from all over the world can be sampled. A real experimental album, but not in the over the top, avant garde way (though it can be). A super smooth, chill, cool album that flows seemlessly like water. Indeed it may feel like your floating on a raft through the ocean. Not a river, but the ocean since this album is devoid of any real structure or rhythm and when you hit land who knows where you will be!

Keep an open mind and try this album. Give it a few listens, and make sure you really listen. I don't think you will disappointed. Some parts could be a bit slow/boring and I'm sure some will be turned off by its more outright experimental sections, but please try it. A truly truly unique album!

FOUR AND A HALF STARS (Bump: Four)

JJLehto | 4/5 |

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