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Can Tago Mago album cover
3.97 | 777 ratings | 82 reviews | 53% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Paperhouse (7:29)
2. Mushroom (4:08)
3. Oh Yeah (7:22)
4. Halleluhwah (18:32)
5. Aumgn (17:22)
6. Peking O (11:35)
7. Bring Me Coffee or Tea (6:47)

Total Time 73:15

Line-up / Musicians

- Damo Suzuki / vocals
- Michael Karoli / guitar, violin (?)
- Irmin Schmidt / organ, electric piano, chanting vocals (5)
- Holger Czukay / bass
- Jaki Liebezeit / drums, double bass, piano

Releases information

Artwork: Uli Eichberger

2LP United Artists Records ‎- UAS 29 211/12 X (1971, Germany)

CD Spoon Records ‎- spoon CD 006/7 (1989, Germany)
SACD Spoon Records ‎- SPOONSA6/7 (2004, Europe) Remastered by Andreas Torkler

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CAN Tago Mago ratings distribution

(777 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(53%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

CAN Tago Mago reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by corbet
4 stars This is one of those albums that everyone just needs to own, like Dark Side of the Moon, or something. CAN may not have the same kind of universal appeal as good ol' Floyd, but I just can't imagine life without a song like "Halleluhwah." If you've never heard it, it's basically just one fat drum groove -- actually the fattest drum groove ever -- for 18 minutes straight, with every damn artifact of psychedelic weirdness possible in the universe floating in and out of the mix like some sort of big sonic stew. There are guitar solos, yelling Japanese guys, tortured violins, tom-tom extravaganzas... it's simply amazing. And the funny thing is, the next song makes that one look normal! Simply own it, listen to it.
Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Although not an easy listen (if you're only into symphonic prog , you probably will not like/understand this. The first side is made of three accessible tracks and the second is 18.5 minutes splendid epic, all of thesenumbers are quite enjoyable and do not require effort to get into. The second disc is another cup of tea and not so much accessible. The Aumgn tracks starts off the famous meditation aum-sound and ends in total mayhem/chaos not unlike floyd in Saucerfull of Secrets or Ummagumma in about 17.5minutes . Side 4 (as it was called in the double vinyl) starts as Mayhem still happeing and IMOHO is probably the weak point of this essential krautrock. The last track is however on of the most pleasant from Can.
Review by loserboy
4 stars I believe "Tago Mago" was CAN's 4th official album released, which was originally a double album set and I am told was actually a soundtrack written for some cheesie 70's B - movie. Fans of BRAINTICKET and AMON DUUL II will love this album to death, as it combines experimental gadgetry with space and psychedelic imagery and soundscapes. Led by the creative mind of Holger Czukay, "Tago Mago" would certainly rank as one of most original "headmusic" albums of all time. This album ranges from droned-out minimalistic moments to the most wonderful exploratory interludes. Lead vocalist Damo Suzuki must suffer from schizophrenia as he too sings in many styles from soft controlled almost meditative in nature to screeching psychedlia. To many I suppose this album will sound a wee bit dated, but for me it is a wonderful and highly experimental avant garde piece of German progressive rock.

Review by Proghead
5 stars Things are really looking up for CAN at this point. Malcolm Mooney, now history thanks to his mental illness that forced him back to the United States, Damo Suzuki (who already appeared on all but two cuts on Soundtracks) of course, filling in. A lot of this still sounds quite psychedelic, as "Paperhouse" demonstrates, with Michael Karoli's guitar work. Plus there's lots of great percussion work from Jaki Liebezeit. The music then segues in to "Mushroom", which is a bit difficult for me to describe, so I'll go on with the next song, "Oh Yeah". This is definately the high point of the album, great psychedelic vibe with Irmin Schmidt's organ, Holger Czukay keeping his own on his bass, and Damo Suzuki at first singing something in reverse (that is, the tape of him singing was playing in reverse, while the band plays in forward).

Then after a bit, he starts singing (forward, with the rest of the band) in his native tongue, Japanese (it's too bad that I don't know what it translates to, or the Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji characters to the lyrics). Then there's the side length "Halleluwah", which is definately Jaki Liebezeit's time to shine, especially with the percussion, with Damo's voice on top. There's a couple of detours on the way, but it sticks to the same throughout, and while this result might seem boring, it actually isn't, it works quite well. The second disc (that is, if you own the LP, as both discs were crammed on to one CD) is by far some of the most radical pieces of "music" I have ever heard, and I've heard some very radical stuff in my lifetime (such as BRAINTICKET's "Cottonwoodhill", ASH RA TEMPEL's "Seven Up", or the early works of TANGERINE DREAM on the Ohr label).

The first side of the second disc is taken up with "Aumgn", by far the most frightening and sinister piece of "music" I have ever heard! Mainly trippy sound effects with Irmin Schmidt, without a doubt having noted 1920s British occultist Aleister Crowley on his mind, repeatedly chanting "Augmn" (which sounds like "Aum", but with a much more sinister tone - "Aumgn" was a chant invented by Crowley himself) over and over with some extremely relentless electronic effects. Somewhere is this almost didgeridoo-like droning played on a double bass (if the band actually used a didgeridoo, it would make that piece even more sinister). Then after that's over, Jaki Liebezeit then gives us a wall of relentless percussion over more relentless electronic effects. And just when you think you've had enough, side four opens up with "Peking O". Luckily it's not so sinister, but it's just completely demented, complete with Damo's mindless babbling and a cheesy sounding drum machine. This piece actually got me laughing. Then the album closes with "Bring Me Coffee or Tea" which is a much more mellow, psychedelic number dominated organ, it's like a very welcome ending after being hammered for a half an hour with relentless noise and electronic effects. Without a doubt "Aumgn" and "Peking O" are the definate love it or hate it pieces.

Everyone will question your sanity for listening to those pieces, and they're certain clear parties so fast, you'd be wondering if you remembered to hold a party. But those two pieces are absolute genius, and you have to be pretty accustomed to the more radical albums of Krautrock (like TANGERINE DREAM's "Zeit") to appeciate this. Incredible stuff, and without a doubt, CAN at their finest!

Review by Carl floyd fan
3 stars 3.5 stars really. But what the hell is it that draws me to this band? They are so wierd! And this cd makes Cottonwood Hill by Brainticket look fairly sane and at times, sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a slasher flick! But I suppose this cd sorta grows on you, just make sure you are expereinced with the genre of prog and have an idea of what to expect from the kraut rock sub-genre before getting this album, cause it is odd. Anywho, I couldn't even begin to explain this album to a newbie of kraut rock but if you want an interesting album with funny, scary (especially the vocals, the guy sounds like he belongs in an insane asylum but it adds to the atomphere) noice, get this album. Can is way ahead of their times and its amazing to find that this is only 1971. Procced with caution and be patient, you'll get something positive out of it eventually!
Review by Neu!mann
5 stars Contrary to the evidence presented elsewhere on this site there really aren't too many albums, prog or otherwise, deserving an unconditional five-star accolade, and in my not entirely unbiased opinion the majority that do originated in Germany during the early 1970s. But while I treasure the tongue-in-cheek acid deconstructions of FAUST, the irresistible momentum of NEU!, the sometimes intimidating deep-space void of early TANGERINE DREAM, so forth and so on, I tend to go all to pieces when contemplating the music of CAN.

And why not? They were, without exaggeration, one of the major creative forces of the 20th Century: a band so far beyond the usual genre pigeonholes of rock, jazz and/or classical as to defy any easy analysis or interpretation. For the record, I would slot them somewhere in between electric MILES DAVIS and the less accessible output of "Larks Tongues"-era KING CRIMSON, with one ear always tuned to the distant future: their "instant composition" improvs, for example, bear an uncanny resemblance to 1990s CRIMSON double-trio "Thrakking", minus the digital cosmetics.

Every CAN album in their pre-Virgin Record catalogue is arguably a masterpiece, but none deliver the impact of this monumental 1971 release, originally a double disc of vinyl, now conveniently packaged onto a single CD. Describing the music is always a challenge, and not just because it never stands still from song to song. The band seemed to exist somewhere outside the mundane concerns of the music industry, in a self-contained, self-sufficient bubble of pure creativity (they would often jam for days on end in their home-built "Inner Space" studio, recording everything along the way). The result of all that uninhibited freedom was a landmark album covering a spectrum of styles, from stoned tribal psychedelia ("Mushroom Head") to relentless 18+ minute grooves (the astonishing "Halleluwah") to the completely unclassifiable collages of "Augmn" and "Peking O", neither of which would have seen the light of day without the farsighted insistance of Hildegard Schmidt, band manager and wife of keyboardist Irmin Schmidt.

These last two cuts in particular act as a sort of sonic litmus test, separating the casual listener from the dedicated convert. It takes a strong constitution and a wide open mind to navigate the hellish soundscapes of the former and the sometimes strident silliness of the latter, in which Damo Suzuki's maniacal hyperactive babbling is set against a rinky-dink drum machine pushed to maximum speed. Want to clear a room of unwanted visitors in a hurry? Crank this sucker and watch them flee. Then you can enjoy the blissful chill-out of the closing track, "Bring Me Coffee or Tea", without having to suffer the uninformed criticisms of your Philistine friends and neighbors.

Fans expecting to hear classic German Art Rock are advised to explore instead the more traditional (i.e. Anglo-influenced) Progressive music of bands like NOVALIS, GROBSCHNITT, WALLENSTEIN, ELOY et al. But adventurous listeners needing an introduction to the social-political-subversive world of Krautrock (a term of highest respect, keep in mind) need look no further.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I was told that if I don't get the krautrock style, a subgenre of the progressive rock, then maybe some of the best Can albums would definitely convince me. Well, I still don't get this strange, psychedelic, UNMELODIOUS and MARGINAL music.

The long "Aumgn" track, lasting around 17 minutes, has miscellaneous bizarre echoed notes, producing psychedelic patterns: hypnotic low pitched voices, irritating guitars with fingers sliding on the strings, delicate & experimental percussive elements, repetitive drums like in the subway corridors, all this is punctuated with a permanent echo, seems deeply improvised and demonstrates a flagrant lack of structure.

Fortunately, a couples of tracks are better structured, like "Bring me coffee", reminding me Jade Warrior circa 1975.

"Halleluhwah" would have been perfect for the 69' Woodstock festival, being quite rhythmic, but I think it is too long (18 minutes), because it is VERY repetitive: only 4-5 minutes would have been sufficient.

"Mushroom" has repetitive drums, irritating and alienating voices: this is the kind of music some records store clerks of Montreal used to play in the boutique.

"Oh Yeah" has a very marginal style, having sissy electric guitar solos, and the repetitive drums seems to make 50% of the sound!

"Paperhouse", another Woodstock-esque song, is the most rock one, having some piano and visceral guitar solos.

"Pecking O" is absolutely silly: the scatting vocals are irritating and hysterical; the dissonant instruments seem to badly converse each other; a huge discomfort is omnipresent here; the track is absolutely theatrical, childish and obviously very experimental; it slightly reminds me some non sense parts on the Frank Zappa's "Weasels ripped my flesh" album.

The keyboards are very timid and unmelodious. I can't see any progressive rock element here.

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars I should state that I came to this album under unusual circumstances ... I could barely believe how unimpressed I had been by the Can compilation Cannibalism I and I thought I'd give the band another chance, thinking that perhaps hearing the songs out of context was a handicap. But all I got was more of the same.

I can't imagine that fans of symphonic progressive rock will enjoy the psychedelic drivel of Mushroom, Oh Yeah, Paperhouse and Halleluwah (although the latter two have moments of promise). While those songs are tough enough to stomach, they are nothing compared to the jarring 17 minute long electronic soundscape exercise Aumgn and its follow-up Peking O. In fact as someone who is also a fan of RIO, Canterbury, jazz-fusion, and quality psychedelic rock, I'm still baffled as to where the true appeal of Can lies. I really hated large parts of this album. If pushed, I'd say Bring Me Coffee Or Tea was the only song that I could tolerate all the way through. ... 19% on the MPV scale

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars What ties together the far-flung branches of musical genres such as (among others) psychedelia, progressive rock, free jazz, avant-garde classical, punk rock, electronica, industrial, and post-rock? Why, CAN of course. No single band has been as influential to explorers of the outer realms of modern music. It's almost shameful how few people know of this band, given the immense impact such albums as "Tago Mago" had. The essential problem with CAN's output (at least up to the late 70s) is that it is difficult to listen to, even for those accustomed to rock's odder fringes.

Newcomers, do what you can to prepare yourself. Take the wild and free days of early PINK FLOYD (up to and including the more bizarre moments of "Ummagumma"), make sure you're comfortable with ZAPPA's off-kilter melding of rock and jazz, and it wouldn't hurt to listen to things like APHRODITE'S CHILD's "666" and COMUS' "First Utterance" a few times before you have a decent context for your first "Tago Mago" experience. You still won't be fully ready for the unique and unsettling wonders of CAN, but at least you won't be trying to compare them to bands like DREAM THEATER or RUSH or CAMEL. This is much more progressive, in every sense of the word.

Have I said anything about the album? Well, words are almost inadequate. A more meaningful way to write about "Tago Mago" would be in free-form poetry comprised of a few different languages as well as numerous nonsense words, illustrated with impressionist doodles on the margins, and repeated ad infinitum for effect. Otherwise, it's just the same old rhetorical analysis: a group of talented, versatile and uninhibited musicians who find strict melodic structures to be rather limiting but enjoy a good groove as much as any other funky beast- and aren't afraid to stretch it out for almost 20 minutes at a time. It's no wonder many prog fans have trouble with it; not only can you dance to it, but it defies the notion that musical discipline is best expressed in virtuosity. It explores instead of telling a story, it allows your mind to investigate itself rather than filling you with external enlightenment. It could scare people around you, or make them laugh; either response is acceptable. Drugs are optional accessories (and I would NEVER want to be accused of recommending or requiring them, wink wink), but more than one person has had increased luck approaching CAN in an altered state.

I guess I can't objectively say that "Tago Mago" is for everyone- there will always be people who simply don't care for such unrestrained ecstasy (or unrestrained weirdness for its own sake, depending on your point of view), and there will always be people who equate artistic opacity with a kind of cheat or laziness. However, works of this kind of rare originality and importance transcend the mitigating factors of accesibility and is both a masterpiece and essential (in the sense that all subsequent music would not have been the same without it), so I'll have to award the full score. CAN do!

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is the only album of CAN that I have ever heard. The kind of music CAN plays is something that comprises soloist (guitar) while the rhythm section is mostly repeated. As far as the solo or vocal concerns, I personally can enjoy little about the music because the repeated melody / segments happen too often that at the end create a boring experience. Definitely this is not my cup of tea. I tend to give a one star rating but I'm sure some collectors / fans of this legendary album would enjoy this kind of music. But if you can not accept music with repeated segments, please don't ever try to have this album in your collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Review by Philrod
4 stars I enter te mysterious Kraut Rock World, this is my entrance door. Can's Tago Mago is an album that took me a lot of adjustments. In order to appreciate this album entirely, you have to stop thinking about rock, stop thinking about melodies:we are far away removed from Yes or Genesis! This is different and took a whole lot of listens to truly undertsand its immensity and power.

The first song of the album is probably the easiest one to get into, as Paperhouse is a pretty melodic, beautiful piece. The drums is what caught my ears first, as it is the instruments that sets the flow of the song, more than the rythm. The guitar part is refreshing, and a little solo in the middle of the song is really touching in its simplicity. Then the song goes into harder territories, with the drums always leading, not letting its guard down one second. A great, great song.

Mushroom is pretty different, but works as well, maybe less than the first song, but once again, the drums are highly hypnotizing. This is a song I recommend listening to while laying down on your bed and let the rythm travel through you. The vocals are pretty weak on this song though, especially compared to the first song.

Oh yeah once again goes into different territory and takes you into its world for its 7:24 lenght. You get swallowed into this world only to come out wanting for more.

Then, the album greatest song, Helluhwah. The drums are at their highest point, the mood and rythm are perfect, a highly addictive song. But once again, you have to listen to it a couple of times to undertsand its true valor.

Augmn is probably the song I dislike the most from this album, as it has mostly no direction, and it seems like an acid trip.

Peking O, though better than Augmn, is once again not really my cup of tea, as I can't get into it.

Bring me Coffee or Tea, on the other hand, is a great closer to this album and a great ambient song.

Now, Can's Tago Mago may be a masterpiece or not, it is a must listen for sure. A strange, strange world that everybody should a tleat try. It is not for everybody, but as my first encounter with Kraut Rock, it was a pleasant adventure and I hope it will help you too get into this underground sub-genre wich is Kraut Rock. 4/5

Review by OpethGuitarist
1 stars Odd is an understatement.

Can's Tago Mago is felt as one of the crowning achievements of Krautrock. It also helped assure me to never go anywhere further into this genre unless I'm under the heavy influence of drugs. I would describe this as a Psychological album. It tests your mind.

Speaking objectively, Can is approaching things in a rather unconventional artistic method. It's one of the earlier forms of minimalism (the droning quality and repetition) and vocals rely more an attitude than on pitch. There's no clear melody in any of the songs (not necessarily bad), and their is an abundance of psychedelic influences.

Other than being a fancy art album, I'm really at a loss trying to discern the point of this album, besides pushing buttons, boundaries, and being as odd as possible. It really comes down to personal taste. I like my art to have a point to it. I am actually a big fan of creative and different music interpretations. However, I've never found the point behind any of Tago Mago, but maybe there isn't supposed to be a point. It's supposed to just be art you accept for what it is. However, Peking O and its completely worthless and incessant babbling might be the highlight of utter uselessness in music form.

I would only recommend this to those fans of extreme psychedelic or those with drug problems who may find some sort of enlightenment in this. Being as it's considered a staple of the Krautrock genre, I'm more than willing to admit I'm a complete novice to Krautrock. But after this set of experiences, I have little desire to go any further into exploring it.

Review by Chris H
1 stars Hmmm, this listen was uhhh interesting? Let me start from the beginning here. I had heard the track "Bring Me Coffee or Tea" off of somewhere, I can't remember at the moment, but I actually rather liked it. So one day I was poking around some bargain bins, and lo and behold here it was. I bought it for $2.50, and popped it in the stereo. It couldn't have been 10 minutes before my mother comes up and says "What is this crap?". I couldn't agree more Mom!

This has to take the cake for the most pointless album ever made. Ever. "Peking O" and "Mushroom" are two of the stupidest, pointless songs I have ever heard. Maybe you need to be on shrooms to get everything out of them? Just a thought...

Well anyways, "Bring Me Coffee Or Tea" is the only listenable track on this album, even the so called "epic" "Halleluwah", which is once again, pointless. It's just a shame "Bring Me Coffee Or Tea" was the first song I heard, because it cost me $2.50. 1 star, DO NOT BUY!

Review by Eclipse
5 stars seaLching foh ma blotha yes i AH !!

CAN, what a unique band! They have the guts to release such albums without being ashamed of looking pretentious by the strenght of their art. Yes, this album is art, in the purest sense of the word. I don't see any money ambition here, sure such ambitions are necessary, but it was the excess of it that caused many modern bands to produce such generic and uninspired music lately, only wanting to have their presence on the radio and their pockets filled, letting us progheads ashamed of the course music is taking nowadays. Imagine a "song" like "Augmn" on the radio. Now, why i put the " " around the word song? It's because it's not really a song, it is in fact an experience, which i'd wish that more people would have the patience to travel through and discover its charm. The entire record is a wonderful (and why not "schizophrenic"?) experience. DAMO SUZUKI's vocals reveal that well, the way his voice changes tones during the voyage, rising from almost quiet mumbling to crazy shouts, and also the repetitive and groovy drum beats, making your mind feel sucked by it as it was a black hole leading you to "weirdness land". What a magnificent land you'll discover it is, after giving this album a couple of spins (i don't think the first three songs are that hard to get into, it's from the fourth onwards that the real treat begins!) and discovering its wonderful face.

"Paperhouse" is clearly the most accessible tune from here. Actually i didn't believe it was from this album when i first heard it, it seemed so inoffensive and quite catchy with its moving opening melody. But then the song was advancing to a long instrumental section, and this part was a bit harder to grasp, but of course not as challenging as i thought it would be. And then "Mushroom" started. My first reaction was: geez, i don't like the sound of the repetitive music at all! The drum (?) sound also kind of annoyed me, and then i decided to give it some more chances. It now has became one of my fav songs ever, and the once irritating drum pattern became an addictive one to me. "Oh Yeah" is in the same vein, and it's even better. The drums just stick your ears to the song, and DAMO's vocal performance is really nice here. The first verse is recorded backwards, the second is sung in "Engrish" (he has a neat japanese accent, actually. I think it fits for the non-conventional music found here very well!), and then in Japanese. After this, the majestic "Halleluhwah" (or something like that) starts. This is another song that i was let down on first listen. I thought "what is the point on making a 18-minute long track without many variation? Just the basic groovy melody followed with some psychedelic noises and vocals around!". Well, following the "rule of every proghead who is being faced against an inaccesible song", i gave it more listens. And now i am completely hooked by it! This is probably the band's best work, and works very well as a groovy and catchy song. Repetitive? A bit, but who am i to judge its minimalism since i just feel completely addicted to the wonderful melody found here. And, if you pay attention, it quite progresses! It is not as minimalist as NEU!'s work, for example. Of course it's based on that same drum rhythm all along, but what a great rhythm is that! But hold your sits, because now the real craziness begins. "Augmn" is twisted, insane and may be "offensive" to many ears. It's basically a crazy experiment featuring lots of scary vocalization and electronic sounds all around for almost 18 minutes. Now this may scream pretentious, but just change the p word (that can turn someone off) to "art". It is not pretentious, it is art! They had the guts to make this kind of music on the begining of the 70's! And did that quite well, since "Augmn" allows your brain to explore its corners, you can imagine a situation of it, make a story yourself, the musicians are so free with their music that they allow you to be free with your own impressions about it! The same thing applies for "Peking O", which is even more inaccesible, in contrast of the softer closing track, "Bring me Coffee or Tea" (i prefer coffee sometimes...), which is like a refresh from the scary last two numbers. It has a beautiful melody (just pay attention...), and ends the album on a high note.

This is CAN's masterpiece. They'll do it great on Future Days too, but all the quitessential works by the band and their creative peak are here. It's amazing how they progressed from Soundtracks to this one. Also, they predicted a lot of genres in music found on the next decades, so this album is both historically important and also a masterpiece of prog rock that can be enjoyed if a little effort is put into. Just don't be turned off by "Augmn", think of it as an experience, try to create your own images of it, the song will work much better. And this album won't turn you schizophrenic!! It is actually the kind of music that will work as a mind / creativity exercise, so don't start questioning how sane you are for enjoying such unique music. This is an excellet gem, so, with no fear, i give the full rating to this seminal album of progressive music.

Review by The Wizard
5 stars As I sit here listening to this strange beat noise machine that is Tago Mago I feel that normal language conventions cannot describe it's surreal beauty.

Organic soft machines creating beats that never tire

Freak singing mantra is alien tongues

Electrik madness all focusing on one central space groove

Structure constantly evolving, developing into new sound shapes

The bass plucking and skin hitting molded together to form the backdrop

all the song warps around this backdrop

but only in the first half of Mushrooms, houses of paper

i can smell new wave, new age, and new music being forecasted into the future

then all structure is raped by chaos

the improv of Tago Magos first half seems relatively normal

freedom seems to be the focus

musical anarchy, rebelling against melody and conventions

waves of hell are released as Augmn comes

demons playing drum mantras, violins scratches echo madness

chaos is beauty in Tago Mago

it is musical dada

Peking O exemplifies dada in the form electronic atmosphere pyschedelia

giving way to spurts of drum machines spurting off percussive jisms

the alien is screaming in terror, spitting out every noise he can

then relazation settles in the meditation sanity of Coffee and Tea

you can relax and chill but the bizzarre insanity has yet to settle

dismiss this as self indulgent insanity OR realize

the brilliant telepath jam musicianship

its brilliant celebration of the power of chaos and insanity

the eerie atmoshpere the band makes with earthly ease

the massive influence on all music to later come

Communal musical ideas being joined to create this masterwork

Anarcy in musical form, anything goes, all laws rejected

Nihilistic attitude towards all conventions of 'sane' music

Review by russellk
4 stars I came to this band late, having not heard of them until my foray into techno and dub in the 1990s. Groups such as THE ORB claimed CAN as a seminal inflence, so I had to find out why.

What a treat. This is not radio-friendly music; the emphasis here is on rhythm and experimentation. Just like any ambient techno album, this is best listened to - er - in a contemplative mood, allowing the rhythms and patterns to wash over you. In one sense there's nothing to 'get': music like this is best when you allow it to work on what you bring to the listening experience. It's unlikely that each track will resonate with you at each listen, but there's enough variety and repetition here to strike a (dis)chord with most listeners.

It's certainly not one of my favourite albums, and I seldom listen to it. But it, and the other CAN albums of this period, were important to the development of a number of music genres. It is one of those low rotation, high interest albums that make any music collection better. And 'Halleluwah' is a monster.

Review by thellama73
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Tago Mago is widely considered the best Can album. Having only heard this one and Future Days, I can't speak to that, but this is certainly a strange and unique double album. The first half is filled with groove oriented Krautrock jams, like Paperhouse and Mushroom. I can't say I'm very fond of these songs. The singer's voice strikes me as somewhat annoying and the aimless repetition does nothing for me. However, after just a few songs, the album takes an abrupt left turn into spacey experimentalism.

Here Can seems less jazzy and more similar to other Krautrock bands like Faust. Halleluwah and Aumgn are long, swirling experiments of droning vocals, sound collage and other weird studio experiments. This type of music is much more up my alley, and I really enjoy these two songs, although they do get a little self indulgent after about ten minutes.

Bring Me Coffee Or Tea is similar to the songs that begin the album, but much more successful in my opinion. Can is not one of my favorite Krautrock bands, and I prefer Future Days to Tago Mago, but there is a lot here to appreciate. It just goes on a bit too long.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars The yoke is on the listener

I'm not a fan of Can, or indeed this type of music. Those who know and love their music can therefore safely ignore this review. For those unfamiliar with their work however, the intention here is to provide a balance by offering the views of someone who enjoys prog, but does not particularly enjoy this.

"Tago mago" was actually Can's fourth album, although in their discography it will always appear as their third due to their debut "Delay" not actually being released until the 1980's. An ambitious affair, this was originally a double LP with a running time of about 73 minutes. Around the time of its release, record companies were usually reluctant to sanction double albums due to the increased production costs and consequent need to charge a higher price. We can therefore assume that the band felt they had sufficient material of a high quality to justify such a package.

The album offers a collection of just seven tracks, ranging from the challenging to the downright inaccessible. Side one is arguably the most conventional, with three pretty basic rock tracks. "Paperhouse" starts softly with some of the most melodic singing on the album, before the incessant dominant rhythms take over, fronted by some good guitar work. This segues into the sparse "Mushroom", a rather infantile repetitious number which can actually play on the nerves! "Oh yeah", which completes the first side, maintains the repetition while the vocals are played backwards. If you think things might be getting a bit silly, you are spot on!

"Hallelujah" sets off with a basic percussive rhythm which does not change for the 18+ minutes of the track. Various themes and sounds drift in and out, but the track remains simplistic and undeveloped. If the first LP was essentially dull, based on repetition of basic rhythms, the second descends further into obscurity. "Aumgn" is nothing other than a band tinkering with sounds and instruments for 17 minutes, devoid of any musical inspiration. If you enjoy certain types of noises, perhaps there is something here for you, but for anyone looking for something remotely melodious, this track is a non starter.

The final side consists of "Peking O", effectively a continuation of "Aumgn" only louder, and "Bring me coffee or tea". The latter finally resorts to an almost melodious theme, the track sounding all the richer due to what has preceded it.

It may seem strange to question the progressiveness of a double album with two side long tracks and just seven tracks in total. The point here is though that the track lengths simply reflect the fact that the band takes a simple riff or rhythm, and repeats it ad-nauseum. There's no development of the themes, and little if any changes to the pace of each track. The playing is simplistic and in reality totally undemanding upon the performers. In short, an album only for those who know what they are letting themselves in for.

Incidentally, the sleeve image on my original LP version is completely different, showing a photograph of the band playing live, taken from behind the drums tool.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars It's pretty incredible that out of 88 ratings (including mine) only four people rated it as a 3 star record. This is the kind of album that seems to polarize prog fans, mainly because of the experimental stuff that's going on, along with the repetetive melodies. I'm one fan who although not a big fan of experimental music, really appreciates the genius going on here, and one has to acknowledge that this band and album have been a huge influence in the music world. The first time I heard the first song I was at work, and because I had put 5 new discs in the player, and was busy with customers as the discs changed to the next one, I didn't know who was playing. I thought to myself "That sounds like RADIOHEAD" but I knew I didn't have any of their discs in the player. When I saw it was CAN I smiled in amazement knowing what a huge influence CAN was on Thom Yorke. I read somewhere else that the similarities are even more obvious on CAN's first album "Delayed". This was released as a double album although it was originally agreed that the first album only was to be released. But one of the band members' girlfriends talked the record label (without the band knowing) into releasing the second album along with the first. So all you people who hate the second half of this cd can blame this lady. The rest of us thank her very much.

"Paperhouse" does remind me of RADIOHEAD mostly because of the lazy vocals. Guitar, drums and keys provide the backdrop to Suzuki's vocals. The drums pick up the pace 2 minutes in and the guitar becomes more aggressive. Vocals become intense after 4 minutes before the song calms back down and blends into "Mushroom". This song features stoned out vocals and repetetive drums. "Oh Yeah" begins with an explosion and the sound of thunder and rain. Steady drums with keys and backward taped Japanese vocals are up next. Guitar melodies after 3 minutes and the song seems to get better as it plays out. "Halleluwah" has an awesome beat that is fantastic 2 minutes in. The drumming is unbelieveable. The beat stops temporarily before 5 minutes as it calms down with piano. The beat comes back with guitar sounds. The vocals get more aggressive 9 1/2 minutes in as do guitar solos. Amazing ! This is trippy, hypnotic stuff man. The tension escalates 16 minutes in then we're trippin' again. The vocal melodies are cool to end the song.

"Aumgn" is spacey and at times dark. Viola 3 1/2 minutes in as more dark, deep bass sounds pulse. Percussion comes and goes.8 minutes in the sounds are getting more sinister. Percussion 12 minutes in and other loud noises. Hey even the dog is barking 13 1/2 minutes in. Who let him in the studio ? The drumming is incredible 14 minutes in to the end. "Peking O" opens with 3 minutes of spacey sounds and vocals. Organ arrives before we get a beat before 3 minutes. Strange sounds including crazy vocals that go from speaking to laughing to he's pretty much lost his mind. Yeah this is a very experimental song. "Bring Me Coffee Or Tea" is a great way to end the album. Another song reminding me of RADIOHEAD, again because of the vocals. This is a mellow, dreamy track that recalls the way the album started, we've come full circle.

Essential Krautrock !

Review by Flucktrot
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.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Tago Mago is the third studio album from German krautrock act Can. Canīs debut album Monster Movies was an excellent, raw and unpolished krautrock album with repetitive beats, psychadelic sounds and some punk like vocals. Great album that one. Their second album called Soundtracks was recorded for various filmprojects and wasnīt recorded for a full album release, but Canīs record company demanded a new album and then Soundtracks was released as Canīs second album. Itīs a good album but not as good as Monster Movies IMO. Soundtracks features two different lead singers as the lead singer from Monster Movies Malcolm Mooney sang on a couple of the songs on that album while new vocalist Damo Suzuki sings on the rest. Damo Suzuki is the only vocalist on Tago Mago though.

The music on Tago Mago is really excellent for the most part. The best music so far from Can ( even better than Monster Movies). A bit more melodic and memorable compared to their earlier releases. The repetitive beats are still a dominant part of the sound while Damo Suzukiīs vocals and the psychadelic sounds created by Michael Karoli on guitar and Irmin Schmidt on keyboards create the melodic foundation in Canīs music on Tago Mago.

I have to give a special mention to drummer Jaki Liebezeit as his performance on Tago Mago is simply astonishing. To keep repetitive krautrock beats exciting and challenging throughout a 73:15 minute long album is an amazing achivement that he seems to do with ease. What a great musician. People who call his playing boring havenīt listened enough to the details in his playing IMO. Bassist Holger Czukayīs playing is excellent as well.

Tago Mago was originally a double LP but the album is now featured on a single CD. There are seven songs on Tago Mago and five of them are masterpiece psychadelic krautrock songs while two of them are more in avant garde mode and I must admit not really to my liking. The first four songs: Paperhouse, Mushroom, ( the wonderful) Oh Yeah and the 18:32 minute long Halleluhwah are essential krautrock songs and I would put the last song on the album Bring Me Coffee Or Tea in the same catagory. The 17:22 minute long Aumgn and the 11:35 minute long Peking O are simply too avant garde and noisy for my taste. The first more than the marginally more enjoyable latter. I know other people who enjoy these songs, so itīs definitely an aquired taste. The experiments are innovative and well done but I donīt enjoy the overall sound in those two songs.

The production is fantastic. Iīm really impressed and delighted with this sound.

Tago Mago is a really excellent album and had all songs been of the same high quality I would have given the album 5 stars. But as almost half an hour of the music is something I skip almost every time I listen to the album Iīll have to take away the last star and only give Tago Mago 4 stars. This album is highly recommended though and for people who like psychadelic music this is a must buy.

Review by MovingPictures07
3 stars This is perhaps the most well-known Krautrock album and thus makes a good first review for the genre. There is definitely some really interesting and accomplished material in here, but it comes across as uneven and very moody.

1. Paperhouse- This is an interesting, straight-forward psychedelic introduction that has a hypnotic feel to it (that feel is sustained throughout the album).An explorative piece that relies on a unique atmosphere and song structure as the driving factor. I'm not sure what to think of it though. 5/10

2. Mushroom- A haunting hypnotic 4/4 track that actually is the most effective song on here, despite being the most simplistic. The instrumentation is sufficient and the mood creates an always-interesting psychedelic song. 8/10

3. Oh Yeah- There's nothing outright wrong with the structure of this song, but most of the time it fails to enthrall me. Many of the songs on here you have to be in the right mood for and don't equate to oft listening; why that is, I'm not entirely sure. Another well-played psychedelic track with intriguing guitar, but it usually doesn't interest me a whole lot. 4/10

4. Halleluhwah- My favorite song on the album, and usually my reason for listening to it. This is an incredibly experimental track that really is a ride-driven by one of the most infectious drum grooves I've ever heard. It may be repetitive in basic structure, but the song builds throughout its duration to make an effectively enjoyable epic. 9/10

5. Aumgn- If you thought any of the previous songs were weird. just wait until you hear this. This song heavily relies on atmosphere and experimentation; if you are expecting traditional song structure, I'm warning you now on this one. It is a very good song for what it is trying to accomplish, but it is mood-based for me. Sometimes I really enjoy this track and other times not as much. Nonetheless, it definitely is intriguing and well-composed. 7/10

6. Peking O- This is even weirder than the last song! This is definitely the hardest song for me to rate on here, as it is the most polarizing. It may be revolutionary, but this is so dependent on my mood it's not even funny. If I'm not in the right mood and anything annoys me during the span of this album, it's this song. It's downright weird as all hell, but I don't know if it's in a good way. Sometimes I wonder if this was all thrown together, and this is coming from someone who has RIO/Avant as his favorite sub-genre. It still is interesting to hear and somewhat enjoyable. If you're in the mood for it however, it can be relatively satisfying. Not as effective as the previous track though, I'd say. 6/10

7. Bring Me Coffee or Tea- Phew. After the last two songs, this one is not near as odd. Unfortunately, I prefer the previous two songs nearly all the time, because this one does not strike a chord with me at all. It really drags on and sounds like psychedelic drivel to me. Bad album closer. At least the instrumentation is good. 4/10

Well, this is definitely an intriguing and unique listen, but is it essential for a music lover's collection? No.

This is such a hard album to rate and I have a difficult time recommending to most proggers out there, but it is usually at least enjoyable in many parts and is quite revolutionary.

Review by horsewithteeth11
5 stars Edit: Disregard what I said earlier about Augumn and Peking O. I think both of those songs, as well as this album, have finally fully hit me. And so, I feel upgrading my review from 4 stars to 5 is quite appropriate. This is easily Can's best album.

If the warning "watch your step" could be applied to an album, I would certainly apply it to this one. Of course, I could also leave you with the assumption that some of these songs/jams/moments of psychedelic tripping seem to run one way too long. And for the longest time I believed that (for the most part). However I've moved away from that notion over time.

Some call this Krautrock, some call it psychedelic, and some call it jam music. Quite honestly it is really all three. For me, Can's musical quality comes down to two things: the first is vocalist Damo Suzuki and the second is the rhythm section. And on this release, both are in top form. I imagine that it would be fairly difficult to keep an album mostly composed of repetitive beats and as long as this one is and still make it exciting, challenging, and dense. But Can really comes through in these aspects. I believe a friend told me that when Can would perform "Halleluhwah" live, Damo would perform the first section in English, the second in Japanese, and the third in scat lyrics, mostly comprised of random shouting and babbling. His voice, like this album, is definitely an acquired taste, but if you come to understand and appreciate it he really does have an amazing talent at making the lyrics fit the music.

I think the most challenging aspect of the album to get around wasn't so much the song lengths, but the 2 songs "Augumn" and "Peking O". The other 5 songs I'm fine with but on those two my mind will tend to wander fairly frequently. Sometimes they make me think of if a RIO/Avant-garde band (Henry Cow is a good example) employed psychedelic sounds to some of their more jam-esque songs that make my thoughts go somewhere else. Normally I can appreciate improvisation, but on these two songs it just gets on my nerves from time to time. Sometimes when I listen to this album I'll skip one of the two tracks or even both of them. The other 5 songs would warrant giving this a 5 star rating, but because of "Augumn" and "Peking O" being 3 star songs I will have to give this 4 stars. I've tried to like them more, but I simply can't. The first 4 songs and "Bring Me Coffee or Tea" however are masterpieces of Krautrock music and are worth purchasing this album. Recommended to fans of psychedelic or avant-garde music that enjoy really good rhythm sections and unusual vocals.

Review by Negoba
2 stars Kraut-tripping in the Can

I've tried to dip my toes into all the subcategories here at PA, and the last little pond to cool my toes has been Krautrock. I picked up a few of the usual suspects a few months ago and the first was Can's TAGO MAGO. This has been offered up as a prototypical Krautrock album and to be certain, all of the signature elements seem to be here. A slap-happy white swing propels this trippy music, loosening the effects-laden sound into a freakish dance that looks forward to underground dance ideas in more recent decades.

Like all dance music, the beats are quite repetitive and the harmony / melody quite simple. So how did this get associated with prog? Because Krautrock seems to be first and foremost about timbre, sound, texture, and some quite amazing experimentation happens in these German hands and feet. As a musician who has done my share of playing with the knobs on equipment, all the little weird noises that you thought would never fit into real music seem to work in this style. Remarkably, it's not gaudy or overdone. It's just an element in the freak out feel.

The main vibe I get from this music is late 60's art scene. This is the kind of music I imagine playing at Andy Warhol's parties, what the abstract visual artists would have used to create a surreal universe to present their work. As one can imagine from that scene, three decades later, the music comes off with more than its share of kitsch. The songs are long, meandering jams that really are about atmosphere but have absolutely no sense of destination. There is minimal tension and release, no choruses, no themes, just groove and texture. In fact, some later tracks also dispense with the groove, becoming noisy meditations.

At the heart of this music are some things that typically don't appeal to me. The lo-fi ethic, the repetitive, straightforward drums, the lack of harmonic complexity. This is not something that a traditional symphonic prog fan is going to like very much. Like proto-Beck without the economy or songwriting abilities, this is a self-consciously hip music. It certainly blazes its own trail but is just coming from a different part of the soul than my musician's taste does.

As background music at a theme party, this could be perfect. Without a doubt, there are some very cool noises on this record. When I'm in certain whacked-out moods, I do reach for this occasionally. (I reach for my single Ash Ra Tempel album more frequently though). For me, it's a 2-3 star novelty.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The relatively low rating of Tago Mago is a typical phenomena of Prog Archives. I don't say that as a criticism, just as an observation. It's only logical that a band's most acclaimed album gets the attention and scrutiny of the occasional passer-by and in case of Can, the predictable 1 and 2 star ratings as an obvious result.

Can sits at the extreme end of non-harmonious and non-melodic music that features on Prog Archives and it offers quite a contrasting approach to the dominating melodic and symphonic tendencies of progressive rock. Actually, I'm quite sure Can would have been pleased with the 1 and 2 stars here. Can didn't want to have anything to do with the mainstream music of their time (that was prog yes) and deliberately tore down the formulas and rules that other bands adhered to.

As I've stated in previous Can reviews, the influence and relevance of Can on rock music is phenomenal, be it not within the progressive rock field but all the more so outside it. Both the ethics and sound of this music has spread like the plague throughout punk, new wave, guitar rock, indie, ambient, drum and bass, trip-hop, space rock, you name it. The list of examples I could sum up is endless but I would certainly single out Hawkwind, Eno, PIL, Joy Division, Tuxedo Moon, Sonic Youth, Jesus & Mary Chain, Tricky and bands like Radiohead that continued this heritage.

Now on to the album which is, whatever the low average may indicate, without any doubt Can's crowning achievement. For starters this used to be a double album, which allowed Can to explore the new lands they discovered on earlier albums to full extent. Some tracks like Paperhouse focus on their anarchistic rock side, Mushroom is almost trip-hop and it's hard not to hear the influence this had on artists like Tricky. The obvious influence aside, it's also a beautiful piece of music if that still needed to be pointed out.

Oh Yeah and Halleluwah continue the incredibly rhythmic feel of this band. There is simply no competition for Liebeziet's entrancing take on funk rhythms. Suzuki must be praised as well. As much as he sometimes disappoints me on later Can albums, his raw expression here is unmatched. Aumgn veers off into an entirely different direction. Devoid of any rhythm and melody it pioneered similar sonic experiments from Cluster, Tangerine Dream and Schulze. I find this Aumgn to be really alluring and a revealing experiment on the possibilities of a human voice, an echo box and an anarchist state of mind.

The anti-music of Peking O is possible added here to drive even the most ardent of listeners away that would still be into the album at this point. I can't help but finding my mood lifted by the creative freedom that Can's anarchistic avant-garde testifies off. I wouldn't recommend it as car music, maybe it isn't even meant to be listened to at all, but rather to be experienced in the way you undergo modern art : to find the beauty of human creativity and liberty into what appears to be just ugliness on the outside. Enduring listeners get a treat at the end. Bring Me Coffee or Tea is almost a melodic delight after the violent destruction of our sense of harmony in the preceding hour.

You may like it instantly, you might need years till it dawns on you or it might never mean anything at all. It certainly took me a few years (and a punk phase of sorts) till I was unchained from my earlier harmonic preconceptions and learned to appreciate music for its rhythmic feel, emotive intensity or for the artistic ethics instead of just for good melodies. The liberty obtained by that process and the amounts of great music it has unleashed on my CD-shelf is nothing short of amazing. 4.5 stars

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars The music characters of albums of them who had been announced at the time of 1973 from especially 1969 might have influenced very various districts. Of course, the revolution of the music that Can did and directionality is the existence of the legend for various musicians. It is also true to have kept always making reformative music after they debut. The meaning of this album will be sure to have the meaning very much for them when thinking about the activity to "Future Days" that they announced. Some respects will be able to be enumerated in it.

Point to have appointed name that was called "InnerSpace" in name of studio that had been used to produce album as symbol to their music. It will have been exactly one of the symbols to their music characters. The involved music character might be in the part where an original theory and the sense had been taken to the element to which the element of various music has been absorbed.

And, the point that the member of the band did not do pure Rock. It conceived a surely experimental element. The flow that the idea that other members had derived from another music character is introduced into the band might have acted on the band with originality though guitar player's Michael Karoli took charge of the part of Rock to some degree.

And, it is partial that keyboard player's Irmin Schmidt made remarks on. "Organism that pulsed powerfully" This word might have shown their directionality at that time and thought enough with this album. Or, it proposes it by Hildegard Schmidt who is the wife of Irmin Schmidt. It was not a sound of a complete band but construction of music mainly composed of the improvisation. It is thought that it has acted on the composition of this album.

Fact where content of this album produced at first as the part has existence as content of two classes. It might be proof where the element and the idea of various music are surely included.

And, the point that this album had already been produced before "Soundtracks". This album is officially registered as 3rd Album. However, details from the debut album to this album might have been very reformative. If the details are considered, the listener will be able to discover a reformative part to which Can had gone.

And, the point that the band tried always to establish existence as the organism and the set. These parts are surely reflected in the content of the album. The part of the impression that the establishment of the genre is not established by the base and the idea of the music character that the member exactly had might be large. It is possible to catch in this album that packs various reformative idea and directionality as one of the important parts in the history of their music.

"Paperhouse" might be a tune with the progress of the ballade. However, the involved anacatesthesia and a straight part can be caught as one of the elements that men at that time gradually revolutionize. A flow advanced as the element of psychedelic is laced with the rhythm including the dash feeling might be a part calculated as a composition. The dash feeling gradually shifts to the element of Blues. This conversion might be splendid.

As for "Mushroom", a complete song twines round the rhythm that puts the accent with the melody with the anacatesthesia. An intermittent arrangement consistently contributes to the sound with gloss that rules the tune.

The line of Bass pulls the tune from the introduction of SE to "Oh Yeah". It might be a tune that derives from the idea of the line of Bass. The gaga part by the rhythm repeated as one of the charms of Can might exist. The sound of decorated keyboard and guitar has succeeded in the decision of the tune to the progress of steady Chord. The song that appears on the way is sung in Japanese. However, it is not significant to the word and the grammar. This part might be an idea of Kenji Suzuki.

"Halleluwah" is a tune that contains the part of Blues and psychedelic. It is a part of the introduction of their good rhythms as the result. And, it is original that doesn't end only by simple Rock. The tune doesn't drop the quality of the flow of the composition of the album. The tune develops gradually while assuming the rhythm to be a subject. A flow steady as the sound of various decorations is taken is created.

"Aumgn" might be a tune of which the element made from the process from which this album is produced went out strongly. The element of the improvisation raises the quality of the composition of this album further. The flow that the sound of the guitar processed by the effect is made anxious is intermittently continued. It might be difficult to understand the meaning of the tune because an improvised part has been put out as a tune. However, the part of the improvisation done through an enchantment song and the whole volume and the introduction of an electronic sound might succeed. And, the rhythm and the flow that appears in the latter half show the power involved to the tune.

"Peking O" might be a tune that irrationality and inorganic order exist together in an improvised element. The sound and the song to make good use of the effect overall continue the tension. The flow including an Oriental a little intention and an experimental part might be in some sense and the part of the calculation. The song gradually accompanies an inorganic rhythm and an unstable melody. The performance that each member does finishes up the tune while repeating intersection and secession. The part of the song proposed from another angle to decorated rhythm and melody might be splendid. The tune explodes suddenly while continuing the tension. The performance and the idea of the band that does a complete improvisation create one space. The idea intermittently done has a complete part with the song. The tension and the dash feeling advance rushing into the part of darkness further.

"Bring Me Coffee Or Tea" is a tune that continues a beautiful melody and the anacatesthesia. It is likely already to have been completed by the process of the production of this album. Power and the explosion that exists together will be decided as an important factor when talking about this album.

It is likely to be taken up as an album that shows one established part and directionality in the flow gradually revolutionized in their initial works.

Review by friso
4 stars Can's 'Tago Mago' might just pop up in those 'best records ever made' lists. It has, like their other early seventies records, a cult classic image and it is easy to see why. In stead of experimenting with ever more complicated arrangements and harmonic structures this band finds completely new atmospheres and styles by jamming a lot together. The style of the band is often referred to as 'psycho beat' because of the extremely rhythm steady style of Jaki Liebezeit (who is one of my favorite drummers) and the oddly hypnotic bass-lines of Holger Czukay - who would also contribute a lot to the song-writing of the band. Tago Mago was released after 'Soundtracks', but is stylistically a continuation of what the band would play on 'Monstermovie'. 'Tago Mago' is actually a rather bleak psychedelic krautrock album. The band's heavy garage / underground sound combined with that sort of proto-hiphip vocals by the new vocalist Damo Suzuki create a unique mix, but rather dark and even a bit depressing at times. The first record, which I would refer to as 'the album' has a perfect first side with three of Can's best and most innovative and genre defining songs. Can found a way to record music that sounds like it could still be released as today's newest meaty underground record. The second side is filled with 'Halleluhwah', which is an exploration of a single backstreet style funk-rock theme. It develops into space rock territory at times, but nothing like how English space rock would sound. The second vinyl opens with the sidelong 'Aumgn', which is basically an imaginative avant-garde piece that should scare the hell out of you. It is a great display of originality, but a hard listen as well. On the fourth side 'Peking O' continues in avant-garde fashion, this time with little succes in my opinion. 'Bring Me Coffee Or Tea' closes the album with a rather pleasant psychedelic vibe that would really have contributed to an even stronger first record, but now gets lost in the strangeness of the second vinyl. This album by Can is an essential progressive rock listen, but I must admit it isn't my favorite of Can's classic because of its heavy atmospheres.
Review by Sinusoid
4 stars TAGO MAGO is one of the most controversial albums under the progressive rock umbrella, and it's easy to see why. When the genre of progressive rock is spoken, people think about lush keyboards, crystal clean production, memorable melodies and carefully constructed compositions; CAN has virtually none of these elements here. I can't make the warning any clearer: if you don't like long jams, compositions that are almost ''nonmusical'' and ''off'' vocals then stay very clear from TAGO MAGO.

It suffers from repetition, and I'm mainly speaking for the long ''Halleluwah''. I have an unfair advantage in liking the jam as I have a long drive to school and ''Halleluwah'' eats up the time quite quickly. ''Paperhouse'' sounds like a leftover from Woodstock, but the instrumental freak out in the middle is one of the highlights. Most with a melodic ear will find ''Bring Me Coffee or Tea'' delightful, a track where the keyboards have a big impact (a rarity for this album). ''Mushroom'' and ''Oh Yeah'' are amusing and nonoffensive, but not strong tracks here.

Where CAN really starts to get controversial are on the tracks ''Aumgn'' and ''Peking O'', two long tracks that barely qualify as actual music. Amidst the 17 minutes of ''Aumgn'', the only things I can recall are the ''AUM''s and scratchy violin notes; it's very annoying to say the least. At least ''Peking O'' finds a way to produce things that sound like beats which makes me happy.

Somehow, one can hear how punk, trance and even hip hop all might have taken influence from this record, but if we're talking about prog (as most of us have come to define ''prog''), then TAGO MAGO is in another universe. This is an album where you'd better know yourself before buying. If you're the music fan that is open, adventurous or has a knack for experimentalism, this is a good purchase.

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars One of the best and most reverenced albums in the history of "underground" rock music, Tago Mago was my introduction to Can, and I frankly wouldn't have had it any other way. It's an album that can satisfy snooty prog-rock fans and snooty indie-rock fans alike, combining incredible chops and grooves with incredible sounds and textures in a way that must have been beyond mind-blowing back in 1971 (and that's to say nothing about the creepiness factor). In short, this is the ultimate Can experience.

And you know what, that's a pretty remarkable achievement for an album that, for just under thirty minutes, is pretty danged close to unlistenable. This is a seven-track double album (it fits on one CD, though) that, while starting and ending on perfectly solid notes, hits a whole lot of sour notes (when they can even be called notes) in tracks five and six. Track five is a 17:22 sound collage called "Aumgn," and while I'm certainly tolerant of the kinds of noises Schmidt and Czukay (not to mention Damo, though he's not really in the forefront) fill this track with, I'm not all that sold on the seemingly directionless way in which they're presented here. Track six, entitled "Peking O," mainly features a completely unleashed Damo Suzuki, going nuts with some hyperactive verbal assaults that, if nothing else, certainly foreshadow the works of the later infamous abstract vocalization artist, The Great Cornholio. If ever Can could be accused of truly pointless experimentation, it would be in these two tracks.

On the other hand, though, while part of me certainly wants to accuse Can of this, there's also a part of me that doesn't entirely buy that accusation. Call me nuts, but as mind- boggling and even silly as these pieces might get at points, I never really get the feeling that Can are just BS'ing me and hoping to get away with it. "Aumgn," for all of its wandering wailings, has some really lovely, depressing downbeat sounds and vibes to it (listen to that first minute or so and tell me you don't get a chill or two), and while it certainly suffers from not having an underlying Jaki "thunka-thunka" driving it forward, there's at least a brief patch near the end where the drums show up to make things feel better than they had at first. And in "Peking O," well, it would be noteworthy if for no other reason than for that electronic pitter- patter drum sound that sounds exactly like what I've heard in much of the bits and pieces of 90's "electronica" and beyond (which is almost nothing, but my point stands), and anytime you can predate something that closely by 25+ years, you're going to win my respect. And, doggone it, I like hearing Schmidt playing off of Damo's wails with his electric piano, and I like hearing Damo go so wacky that he even ends up making a *bpbpbpbpbpbpbpbpbpbpb* (fingers running over lips) sound at one point. The point is, these tracks are disturbing and uncomfortable and experiments gone horribly horribly wrong, but they also contain a badly required air of competency to them, and given how they accentuate the vibes of going insane that occupy much of the rest of the album, it's hard for me to completely condemn them. I'll probably go back to skipping them when I listen to the album in the future, but I don't completely rue the time I've spent getting seriously reacquainted with them for this review.

That leaves five tracks, which are so mind-bogglingly great that they almost make this a ***** (were there half stars, it would be a ****1/2) in my eyes. I used to slightly overlook the opening "Paperhouse," but I eventually repented of that. The opening, slower section may not be as immediately grabbing as the hyperactive robotic groove that the piece turns into, but it's got some really lovely piano tinklings buried in the mix if you want to listen to them. Plus, the whole track features a guitar attack that I find more and more interesting every time I listen to it; I'm continually amazed at how graceful the parts from Karoli tend to be here. Of course, it's much easier on this track (as on many Can tracks) to pay attention to the drumming and Suzuki's vocals than to anything else, and that does a good job of setting the tone for "Mushroom," which is everything great about Can poured into a single 4:08 burst. The drums sound even more lo-fi than usual, but they're no less powerful or steady or rhythmic than before, and Suzuki's alternations between low mumbling and loud wailing are arguably better structured here than anywhere else. And dig the explosion at the end, which I guess is supposed to be like the mushroom cloud on the cover, unless of course you think it looks more like a skull getting shot through.

Whatever, we then come to the amazing "Oh Yeah," which initially features backwards vocals and cymbals (but forwards driving rhythm from the drums, yessirree), covered in some of the best low key, atmospheric keyboard noises for this kind of music imaginable, before Damo snaps from the rewind button to the play button, not that it makes any difference for figuring out what he's saying. Sheesh, there's more terrific moody, jazzy, gritty guitar parts, some more of Czukay knowing exactly how much to just hold the piece together and how much to step slightly into the spotlight, and everywhere there's those drums that just seem they could go on for eternity without losing the groove. Amazing.

But not as amazing as the behemoth that comes after. I LOVED "Halleluwah" on my very first listen to it, and that initial infatuation hasn't receded one bit. Many years after first listening to this (my first listen was late 2001), I'm still finding new bits to grab my attention. The drumming on here is absolutely transcendant, even by Jaki's standards; just listen to that complicated rhythm that he's keeping so rock-steady and pounding for almost the entirety of the 18+ minutes of this track, and then notice the rolls he's putting underneath it without once losing the beat in the third minute or so of the piece, and then tell me that he wasn't one of the greatest drummers on earth. And everybody else, well, they take full advantage of this foundation, even more than on the amazing "Mother Sky." More jazzy, even Spanishy-in- places guitar parts, more synth and piano breaks, some amazingly creepy violin noises for good measure, and above all there's Damo. Lessee, there's that one bit where I think he's singing about recording the other tracks on the album (the only vaguely rational explanation I can give for the fact that he's reciting titles of other songs); there's that opening "Well has anybody ever seen the snowman *something* *something* ..." bit; and of course there's the climactic wailings of "HALLELELELELELELELUWAH HALLELELELELELELELUWAH." Does this look scary on paper? Well, trust me, it would to me too, but it all sounds ridiculously awesome when you actually hear it, unless having a musical representation of a person going completely nuts can't possibly represent your idea of awesome.

The album then hits "Aumgn" and "Peking O," but just when it seems we're destined to have such a great start tainted by such a bitter taste to finish it, the band is kind enough to finish off with another classic in "Bring Me Coffee or Tea." It's like, I dunno, it's like coming out of the most wicked, nightmarish acid trip imaginable, and waking up and trying to meditate it off in a dark room. The drums here are different from the rest of the album; not hyper-rhythmic, but definitely not chaotic like on much of the last two tracks. Rather, they're just there to help with the general mood, which is primarily set by the guitars (augmented by sitars quite a bit), and Suzuki's Easternish wails in his typical manner. Imagine a slightly more intense version of "Don't Turn the Light On, Leave Me Alone," with the trappings I described, and there you go.

And there you have it, one of the most incredibly screwed up, but also one of the most incredible, albums made in the 70's. The most experimental tracks can scare away even the faithful, but if you can't get into "Mushroom," "Oh Yeah" or "Halleluwah," then Can is simply not for you. Any adventerous music lover should have this.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars This double album from "Can" is probably a turnkey in their musical history and a definite breakthrough.

The album starts on a fully psychedelic wave, very much early Floyd oriented which is quite a good start by all means. The following "Mushroom" should indicate the source of inspiration of the song. It is quite hectic and of little interest to my ears.

I prefer the rocking "Oh Yeah" which holds a lot from "Sympathy For The Devil" (from the Stones of course). Great beat, fine guitar. A solid track indeed which closed the original first (and good) side of the vinyl.

The full side long at the time "Halleluhwah" is quite minimalist and repetitive. Hypnotic thanks to its beat, this piece of music doesn't speak to me very much. The second part of the track is of a better content (mainly thanks to a clever guitar solo).

The other side long track from this work is quite hermetic, avant-garde, and experimental oriented. I have to admit that it is not my cup of tea. As usual, the drumming is quite prominent but it can't save the bill. A boring seventeen minutes track is my deep feeling.

But the worse is reached with the ugly "Peking O". I can't feel anything positive while listening to such a noise.

The best conclusion I can give is to paraphrase "Easy Livin" who said in his excellent review: " the intention here is to provide a balance by offering the views of someone who enjoys prog, but does not particularly enjoy this".

Two stars.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The unsettling soundtrack to a lunatic asylum

Can's "Tago Mago" is my first experience with Can who I avoided as a strategic move for years. Krautrock can be incredible as I have noted with German acts such as Ash Ra Tempel and Faust. I absolutely understand why Krautrock is so popular as it is as outside the box of mainstream rock as you can get and I love the original approach, the repetitious hypnotic grooves that lock into your subconscious, the high strangeness, but it is not easy to digest and to get hold of a double album of Can is dangerous, as we should all be aware, as they were experimental and downright weird, and an acquired taste with a cult following. When I bought some Gong years ago, the owner of the small, specialist shop asked if I had heard of Can? I replied, Who? Since then I have slowly discovered them, or rather Can have gradually revealed themselves to me. And now here is 'Tago Mago', that is an iconic piece of Krautrock in every respect and should be respected in this regard. But is it enjoyable? Shouldn't music be enjoyable? Or why bother listening to it? I embarked on this journey with Can simply due to their notoriety, but I will never be a Can fan. I can never enjoy this no matter how important the album is to the genre. Here are my ideas about this music.

I heard 'Paperhouse' on a 70s TV performance and the band look weirder that the music. The background was a shimmering psychedelic design that enhanced the trippiness of the vibe. The bassist and Damo the Japanese vocalist are shirtless and black hair hangs down over the face, like a shroud; the guitarist wears an open jacket and looks like The Thing from "The Addams Family", just a mass of hair; the drummer is a woolly hairy beast with a tie-dyed red T shirt; the organist is a hjppie type with beard, glasses and ponytail that is immersed in his music, pounding his keys like bongos; what a clan Can were, looking like they all fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. You know they didn't care a damn about what anyone else was doing, they were just unashamedly Can and of course garnered a huge underground cult following as a result. The music was totally, insanely original and not for the faint hearted. 'Paperhouse' is psychedelic, repetitious, mesmirising music. "You just can't get back no more!" I think Damo sings at the end over and over and the music slows to its conclusion. Great to hear English lyrics from Can too, although they burble the weirdest gobbledygook on other tracks.

'Mushroom' is short, repetitious and ends on a nice explosion.

'Oh Yeah' begins with an apocalyptic sound effect, a mushroom exploding and sizzling similar to the front cover illo that always reminded me of a face vomiting spaghetti. The backwards vocals are disconcerting but you expect that from Can; it is never easy listening. The highly experimental vibe is present throughout, the rhythm is strong, pounding bass and drums and a spacey guitar sound. The guitars sound warped and disquieting, perhaps out of tune in places. The vocals tend to sound as though from a lunatic; perhaps the mad utterings of a deranged mind. Madder than Magma!

The hypnotic drum of the ultra rhythmic 'Halleluwah' is mesmirising, and the guitar solo that attacks the rhythms is a treasure. There are effects towards the end on keyboards that shimmer and shine, and the partly nonsensical vocals eventually cease for the lengthy instrumental break to close it down. One whole side of vinyl captured this classic of repetitious hypno beats and swirling madness. Impossible to describe the effect this track has on the ears; it simply gets in to the head and you are hooked. The vocals return at the end in high falsetto echoed by high pitch guitar. The vocals eventually become pure jibberish as if words are useless ("annananananananonnnonannananannawall") but it somehow makes sense in tune to the musical metrical patterns. Its all psychedelic mumbo jumbo and probably is best heard on acid, but i was never into that scene. I can still appreciate this track. Best thing on the whole album and worth listening to as a prime example of Can's best work. It features on Can compilations such as "Anthology" and the "Cannibalism" albums, albeit in a 6 minute edit which destroys the overall vibe of the hallucinatory rhythms.

'Augm'. Indescribable. So I won't bother. You will know what I mean if you hear this wacked out mantra. Words can't do it justice. And it takes up an entire side of vinyl. "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggggg gggggggggggggggmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm".

'Peking O'. A bizarre organ and clattering guitar and echoed estranged voices; that's just the beginning. Not too bad and very different to other music I have heard, a little disturbing and spaced out but I don't mind that. I am familiar with psych prog and this is similar. The experimental nature of the music is compelling and acid heads would love this. The screaming vocals are annoying but thankfully its not all the way through. The shimmering weirdness ceases and a rumba beat locks in with bent guitar sounds, and almost Chinese soundalike effects are heard. The piano runs are interesting and almost manic. The eccentric vocals become nonsense, whispering gobbledygook. I love how the time signature changes dramatically. The oddball vocals are harsher in this section it sounds as if he is saying, "this is good this is good" but I dare say that's not the case. The bizarreness goes up another level with frantic piano and improvised noise, we won't call it music at this point in the piece, as its chaotic, and there is screaming, babbling and painful tortured wails. How people took this nuttiness in its day I have no idea, but it must have scared the living suitcase out of listeners unprepared. Even if you are prepared you will either laugh yourself sick or be utterly disgusted, there's not much room for any grey areas with this type of music; actually its laugh out loud hilarious. The crazed lunacy really gets disturbing when a high pitch beam drags out and burns your eardrums, how many listeners must urgently reach for the sound volume I could not conceive of here, it is excruciating. The great dramatic drum echoes begin and rattley clanky noises resound, that are chilling; this is creepy, demented stuff, not to be played after midnight as you lie in bed staring at shadows; or on second thought.... The volume rises, the tempo quickens, it sounds like a vacuum cleaner whine, or an airplane engine, and a drum bangs incessantly, mercilessly, and a murderous voice cries out in dementia. Ferociously original, and non conventional certainly, but not one you want to return to often; too weird for its own good. These guys are out of their tree and proud of it. I won't be returning to this too often lest I go completely insane.

'Bring Me Coffee or Tea' ends the album. Slide guitar, a hypnotic melody, a one chord structure is the best way to describe its free form feel. It features some great drumming patterns, almost tribal like. So it ends without fanfare or finale. My feelings are that this was an album with a groundbreaking, pioneering new style of music, appealing to a certain target audience of the 70s. It would have socked listeners and still shocks today. "Tago Mago" is bizarre, and moving completely outside the box to produce high strangeness is one thing, but who actually enjoys this? Perhaps the challenge is to try and enjoy this although it is not designed for enjoyment but is art for art's sake; it simply exists to question, to ponder, is it music or just what is it? You have to find an audience that will accept it, and that's a whole 'nother thing altogether; Can found an underground audience and now it has value as a piece of history.

My opinion now, beyond the historical significance. Unless you are a fan of disturbing insane prog, give this a wide berth. It was interesting as a curio of early Krautrock, but that's where it begins and ends for me. This album is obviously going to garner very strong reactions and some may hate it, some may like it; I am kind of combined with a love hate relationship on this. Which is more than I can say for the detestable weird art music out there such as Bjork, or Yoko Ono. Can is nowhere near as bad but... sorry, I am just not interested in being bombarded by insane burbling and improvised twangs. Magma are as far as I am prepared to go in that regard. I will award "Tago Mago" the 1 star for its iconic Krautrock status, and 1 star for the audacity to produce it. Definitely for collectors. Believe the hype; this is beyond bizarre.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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)

Review by SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Ah, this album is one that I know so well yet don't really want to review because I know words really can't do justice to how much I love it. This was my second Krautrock album, after Amon Düül II's Phallus Dei, and though I dearly love that album now as well, this one tunneled deep into the darkest caverns of my brain upon first listen and made itself comfortable, knowing that it had finally found itself a place that it could stay for a long time. This has it all, folks - Damo's mostly indecipherable rambling, the bombastic rhythm section of Jaki and Holgar, Michael and Irmin, but mostly - Jaki and Holgar. Those two are the glue that hold the world together while listening to this album. They're the ones that really make this a hypnotic, all-encompassing experience to listen to. Everything else here is just the "icing on the cake" as it were. Amazing icing, though, and of course the album (or the band, for that matter) wouldn't be the same without the other three. This is one of the very few albums which doesn't have a single dull moment or note out of place for me. From the moment Paperhouse kicks in until the last note of Bring Me Coffee or Tea, everything just clicks wonderfully. There are two clear standouts, though - Halleluhwah and Aumgn. Those two tracks...just sort of crawl into the very center of my being while I listen to the album. They are right up there at the top of my "Desert Island" songs.

This album would be one of the contenders for that fabled position if I had to choose only one. Thankfully, I'll hopefully never have to make that decision, though. I'll take this album to the grave with me, though - I never want to be separated from the wonderful, incredible music that unfolds across this sprawling 73+ minutes. An essential album, not only for prog fans, or Krautrock fans, but for music fans. It will blow you away every time you listen to it if you're anything like me.

Review by JJLehto
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!


Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Can's most well known album but it is not their best and is very inconsistent. This is not the place to start with these guys; check out Future Days or Ege Bamyasi first. Having said that, this still has the band's best three songs: "Paperhouse", "Mushroom" and "Oh Yeah". This is the first album with Japanese born Damo Suzuki(although he appears on most of the songs on Soundtracks). If this album was just the first four songs, I would give it 4 stars without hesitation.

"Paperhouse" begins with the beginning of "Augmn". There is about three different sections to the song. This is the result of Holger Czukay editing what was probably an hour long jam. There is some really nice piano in this song. In the middle you hear Damo whispering "You just can't give back the moon"; later on he yells the same sentence. Most of what he sings is hard to make out...I think this is partly intentional. "Mushroom" has some great drumming. "Oh Yeah" has some backwards cymbals and vocals at the beginning. Later on Damo is singing what sounds like Japanese.

"Halleluhwah" has a grove that would have made James Brown jealous. Although it is 18 1/2 minutes long, I wouldn't call this an 'epic'. It's a bit too repetitive and meanders a lot. It has some nice violin and sound effects though. Song titles from the album are mentioned in the lyrics. What was the second record of the double-album is what keeps me from giving this 4 or 5 stars. I don't mind avant-garde and experimental music. The late 60s/early 70s was a great time for musicians to stretch out and experiment. Most record companies back then allowed the artists this kind of freedom. But the results were extremely hit-or-miss.

"Augmn" has LOTS of echo. There is some creepy violin and vocals. At one point you hear a dog barking. It ends with percussion and synthesizer. Although Can were one of the first German groups to experiment with synthesizers, they use it sparingly on Tago Mago. You only really notice it on "Oh Yeah" and "Augmn". "Peking O" has some of the first use of a drum machine. At this point I can only think of a few funk/R&B artists who were using one. The song starts off with echoed vocals. Then the drum machine comes in and gets sped up during the song. I always liked the part were Damo goes: "Momma gonna, poppa gonna, momma gonna, poppa gonna". Makes me laugh. As the drum machine is at it's maximum speed, Damo yells all fast with some crazy electric piano playing. Some strange cacophony to end it.

"Bring Me Coffee Or Tea" is the last song and sounds like a breath of fresh air compared to the previous two. It has some Doors-like organ. It sounds like it could have been at home on Ege Bamyasi. The drumming of Jaki Liebezeit on this album is part funky/part jazzy. Michael Karoli's guitar playing sounds like a mix of blues, 50s rock 'n' roll and fuzzy 60s acid rock. A really good album but you need to hear the next two albums before this. Because of the repetitiveness of "Halleluhwah" and the avant madness of "Augmn" I can't recomend this to your average progger. 3 stars.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album is possibly most popular Can release ever and at the same time very controversially rated one. Long monotonous and very psychedelic compositions with unusual (almost African) drumming, very simplified music and freaky vocals- all that can attract of shock listener, depending on your taste.

For me one of the most interesting thing with this album is being possibly most popular album of most popular Krautrock band, it sounds as Krautrock, but very different from majority of other releases of this genre. I like some Can compositions, but in general Krautrock for me is jazz- fusion psychedelic bands as Guru Guru, with excellent musicianship. Can is better known by their minimalistic ideas, and I really respect their best works. But too often they sound for me as proto-new wave, more proto-punk and minimalist DIY avant wing of Krautrock. Their musical ideas often are more interesting then their music great.

This album, again, is not very typical for them, or even less - for all other Krautrock. I am far not sure everyone will like it, but many really will listen it with interest.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was born... And I was dead...

Much in the same vein as SaltyJon's review, I don't know how to explain why I love this album. Heck, I can't even explain why I couldn't hardly get through first listen yet second listen it clicked with me in a strange way.

I suppose it's the purely hypnotic nature of the album that I love.Can knows how to lock yourself in your own subconscious it seems to me. The playing is magical, the guys hit the right tone in every second of the album and Damo Suzuki's voice is adds another layer to the dense sound the album has.

Didn't like it the first time? Give it another spin, you'll be hypnotized!

4 stars, possible five star canidate, will have to give more listens.

Review by colorofmoney91
3 stars Sure, set the homeless Japanese man up with the German psych-ward crew - what could go wrong? Nothing. Everything went right. Tago Mago was born.

Then it was dead.

This album consists of funky psychedelic madness that only altered-minds could've created. This album starts you off normal enough with the first couple three tracks, which are fairly straight forward funky psychedelic jams with what came to be known as Damo Suzuki's trademark I-don't-really-know-what-I'm-doing vocals. But then you get the three epic tracks of the album, all of them long psychedelic jams that twist and turn with uncontrolled brain-drilling noises from other planet.

But this is my actually my least favorite album of Can's classic era, which only consisted of this and the next two albums. I don't care much for the seemingly endless noises, which is what the three epic tracks mainly consist of, the best example being "Aumgn" which just sounds like a jungle or electric barf that goes on for over 17 minutes and seems unnecessary. "Halleluhwah" starts off sounding like a track that I would love, but it drags on for about half of it's length and doesn't go anywhere. "Peking O" is another hodgepodge of electric madness that seems pointless and annoying, in my opinion. These three epic tracks really bring down the album for me.

The other tracks on the album are quite nice. They're psychedelic and krautrock sounding, definitely, but are much less noisy and pointless. Really, the remainder tracks are quite soothing. But unfortunately, the majority of this over-length album consists of lengthy pointlessness.

I admire this band, and they're definitely interesting, but the two albums after this are just much better in my opinion. This album is definitely worth checking out, and hopefully you'll have better luck with it than I did.

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
5 stars The definitive Krautrock album.

The review can be stopped there, as it is the perfect statement about this album. Tago Mago shows every facet of this Krautrock. Jammy, psychedelic, avant-garde, rocky, floating, anarchist, rambling, soothing, repetitive, drugged out...any adjective you can use to describe Krautrock can be applied in some way to Tago Mago. Naturally, something like this can alienate listeners. Those who prefer the drugged out jams with probably be disappointed with the more out there moments. Those who prefer the crazier/avant side of Krautrock with probably be disappointed with the straighter and more repetitive moments. This can be seen by the reviews posted here that range from distain to love, with plenty in the middle. However, despite all this, if you only own one Krautrock album, this is the one.

Paperhouse And Oh Yeah represent the jam side of the Kraut, with Oh Yeah being much more floating and repetitious and Paperhouse being more driven and heavy, with a killer guitar solo from Michael Karoli. Mushroom expresses a more straight forward rock based approached, that for me acts more as an interlude between the surrounding pieces. (Of course, this straight forwardness is relative to the rest of the album.) Side two contains the infamous mammoth piece, Halleluhwah. This track is easily the worst on the album, for the simple fact that it is too long (or that the amount of action happening in the track doesn't justify it's length). The track is based around a relatively simple drum beat, that more or less continues throughout the whole piece. There is a brief interlude and change, but it is by no means enough. So, in essence you have 18 minutes of the same thing. Which, even for me, is a bit too much. This track as is would work for 5 or even 10 minutes, but unfortunately there is 8 more to go. However, after this valley, the album is pure bliss. Aumgn and Peking O represent the avant-garde side of Krautrock with all sorts of odd sounds, screams, and general madness flying about (with some excellent percussion towards the end of Aumgn). Music that definitely needs to be heard. And at the end, a wonderful soothing song of Bring Me Coffee Or Tea, stopping the crazed atmosphere of most of the album, and replacing it with some floating, spacy, and soothing sounds. It acts as the perfect ending (almost like an after dinner mint following a bizarrely diverse meal).

All in all, this is an album all prog fans should have, even if just to represent this side of the progressive rock universe. This is the perfect little Krautrock package. Sure, it would probably be silly to say that if you don't like this album you won't like any Krautrock, but if you can't find something here you enjoy it's a good bet that Krautrock isn't for you. Even though this album is flawed, it contains some truly awesome music and still deserves the full five star rating, as it is absolutely essential. Recommended.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Damo Suzuki's first full studio album with CAN is also the group's most diverse and startling work. Beginning with a deceptively gentle introduction, with Suzuki's plaintive croon over a comparatively straightforward instrumental backing in Paperhouse, once you step across the threshold of the album you're in for shrieking maniac yelping in Peking O, furious funk-inspired basslines in Halleluwah, and the terrifying Aumgn, which ranges from dark ambient soundscapes to shrieking chaos. Inspired, apparently, by the life and works of self-proclaimed black magician Aleister Crowley - Tagomago being an island once visited by Crowley, and Aumgn being a magical phrase declared to be of some importance by him - Tago Mago is every bit as eccentric and dark as you'd expect such a thing to be.
Review by EatThatPhonebook
5 stars 10/10

More than forty years later, 'Tago Mago' still sounds alien.

Can are one of the most praised Krautrock bands ever-if not the most praised-; their uniqueness is timeless, their originality is unbeatable, and their influence on following bands was, and is, massive. Even though among fans and critics there is controversy regarding which of their opuses is the greatest, 'Tago Mago' is the LP that is most loved and the most known of the band. Indeed, 'Tago Mago' is one of the great albums of Rock music.

Can had already spiced up the hype of this 1971 release with their first two albums 'Monster Movie' and 'Soundtracks'. But no one expected anything like this: because, even today, the music here is unpredictable, unbelievably quirky, creepy, jaw-dropping. Released as a double LP, only the most ambitious fellows back in the day were able to finish the seventy minutes of 'Tago Mago' (it was a pretty massive length for an album during that period), but those few had their musical life changed. Overly ambitious, experimental, and innovative, the album maintains those elements that were typical for the first two albums; that is, a strong Psychedelic Rock influence, mixed with a genuinely Krautrock feel. But those two albums stopped there. Here, Can put in Jazz, concrete music, pure avant-garde, some minimal Electronic experiments, and much more. 'Tago Mago' is the ultimate hymn to Experimental Rock and to musical ambition.

Side one of the album is the most melodic and accessible, containing three relatively short songs: 'Paperhouse' is the absolute classic Can song, thanks to it's soothing, haunting melody and almost lazy sounding musicianship, everything smothered in this surreal aura that gives the track a noticeable Can stamp. 'Mushroom' is however neurotic, tense, as if it were a sountrack to a nervous breakdown: once again the band's innovative sense of melody becomes a strong character of the song, making it another timeless classic. 'Oh Yeah' is musically in between the two songs: tense and soothing, with curious reversed vocals, and very repetitive, hypnotic rhythms that mark the entire seven minutes of the track. It is though with the monstrously ambitious 'Halleluwah' that Can start creating something that has never been done before and has not yet been repeated. The dorsal spine of the piece an odd, repetitive drum rhythm that guides and shapes the music for the entire song, which is constantly building, morphing, collapsing, becoming bleaker or becoming creepier. 'Halleluwah', for it's jaw-dropping structure and evolutions, still remains a Krautrock classic. The third side of the album is dedicated to the proto-ambient/noise soundscapes of 'Aumgn', an amazingly avant-garde instrumental, to the edge of Musique Concrete. The final side features firstly 'Pekin O', even more bizarre and innovating than the previous tracks, with some Electronic experiments, utterly unorthodox noises, loud squeaks, simply a song that gives the word Experimental a whole new meaning. 'Bring Me Coffee or Tea' is the calm after the storm, an almost anti climactic ending that brings the listener down to earth after sixty plus minutes of freaky madness.

'Tago Mago' is a landmark album in music history, an LP that redefined the word 'Experimental' and Ambition. An essential piece of art in anybody's music collection, one of those albums no one can live without, after having experienced it.

Review by LearsFool
5 stars You would think that after seventy-three reviews and counting as of the time of writing, there wouldn't be much more for me to say about the first of Can's magnum trilogy. People mentioning the high and hypnotic kick drums of Jaki Liebizeit, Damo Suzuki's madcap vocal stylings, and the perfected psychedelic guitar riffs, solos, and noodlings of Michael Karoli. The album's general experimentation, strangeness, and yet out and out quality, unexplainable as it is for some. And then those who warn that the unadventurous and symph purists out there need not apply. However, there is some more to say:

"Tago Mago" is a concept album. There is a method to Damo's madness. The concept? Nuclear armageddon. Starting off with "Paperhouse", we get one of the best ever pieces of standard psychkraut, which as it happens is the world before midnight. This is also a musical launching pad, as familiar as your home neighbourhood. After seven minutes of hippie life, the music suddenly slows, the kick drums enter... "Mushroom", the day of reckoning. Damo describes the "mushroom head" and the horrors it wrought the only we he can, simply and emotionally. The track ends with with one of the weapons hitting, and then black, fallout stained rain falls to welcome "Oh Yeah". The band's way of depicting the post- apocalyptic wasteland is to just follow a man - Damo - going mad from the horrors, chaos, and loneliness. With "Oh Yeah", Damo can only react with gibberish of various shades - English, Japanese, forwards, backwards. By the time of "Aumgn" and "Peking O", Damo has gone completely mad, and his thoughts turn to dark places truly reflective of the burnt wastes. His madness, though, eventually leads him to just retreat into his mind, and take a seat at the Mad Hatter's tea party or somesuch - "Bring Me Coffee or Tea", a repreivingly beautiful and calm end for us as well.

Some of this album's influences have been stated here before: post-punk's debt to Can is well known and documented, and Russellk has mentioned how The Orb and other of the more experimental and progressive groups of EDM's '90's heyday namecheck these krautrockers as well. Probably the most sweeping influence that this record specifically has wrought, however, is in essentially founding industrial music via "Aumgn" and "Peking O". White Noise, Kluster, and Suicide are fellow pioneers of a style they had no idea they were actually minting, but, as evidenced by John Lydon naming Can the supreme influence for Public Image Ltd., it is clear what the cornerstone of the genre is. This connection is the reason why the conclusion that industrial is a twisted descendant of psychedelia is as correct as the more general conclusion that industrial is essentially just the breakaway dark side of electronica. As well, Can hangs majorly over most pronk bands, mainly This Heat and Cardiacs, with particularly strong connections to the former, by way of This Heat cutting "Deceit", their own concept album about the bomb.

But most importantly, "Tago Mago" is simply a masterpiece. Can just broke so many barriers here in all the best ways, and for it are krautrock's most named, loved, and influential band. The playing - especially Liebizeit's drums and Damo's vocals - are top notch. This is one of krautrock's quintessential albums due to its wide range of experimentation and unique quality, though as such it is not in any way by the books as far as the genre is concerned - those who got turned off the genre due to this record shouldn't be so disheartened. But for the adventurous among us, this is a required listen, and a pinnacle of all experimental and art music, and all prog.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars .




CAN was a band not bound to be bland but the German Krautrock band that should,

it didn't take too long to find sounds that were strong and they rocked them as hard as they could.

The wildly surreal was like taking a pill and the CAN was the band with a name,

that never sat still, the true anti-chill and the world would never be the same!

CAN - Tago Mago (1971)

When perusing the history of Germany's pioneering Krautrock bands it's almost a given that the Cologne based CAN will be perched at the top with the band's third album TAGO MAGO topping the list of not only Krautrock lists but the progressive rock album lists as well. The core quartet of two disciples of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Holger Czukay (bass, tape editing) and Irmin Schmidt (keyboards) found an unlikely chemistry with free jazz drummer Jaki Liebeszeit and guitarist Michael Karoli whose disparate musical resumes conspired to morph into a refreshing new explosive burst of creative uninhibitedness when the band was founded in 1968. Soon another unlikely candidate for lead vocalist joined the ranks as American soul and funk bro singer and poet Malcom Mooney joined the team for the band's first three recordings: "Monster Movie," "Soundtracks" and the archival release "Delayed."

Due to the bizarre direction of CAN's musical evolution, Mooney was suffering nervous breakdowns and was advised by his psychologist to run far away from the mind bending sounds that CAN was crafting. He agreed and parted ways and left a huge gap in the band's developing stylistic stamp on the German scene. Never afraid to explore new territories, the band not only reveled in musical unconventionalities but found Mooney's replacement by spontaneously inviting a Japanese busking musician named Damo Suzuki to join the band merely by hearing him perform while sitting at a street cafe in Munich. With Suzuki's Japanese eccentricities added to the lineup, CAN was poised to become one of the best known bands of the Krautrock era and would soon release a string of some of prog's most critically acclaimed and experimental albums of the entire 70s scene. The newly complete band headed off to a castle in Cologne to record the third album TAGO MAGO, named after a tiny island off the coast of Ibiza, Spain.

TAGO MAGO is an album of extremes. Originally released as a double LP in 1971 the album covered all grounds ranging from rhythmic funk infused rhythmic space rock to pure avant-garde noise fueled by insane jazz improvisation and hitherto unheard sounds emerging from the most sophisticated electronic tape editing techniques set to an album with the genre of rock music. TAGO MAGO was one of the most extreme albums of the era and remains so even within CAN's own long lasting career. To give the album some context, some band members were obsessed with occult themes and Aleister Crowley as if using sound to perform sonic rituals of sort along with a slew of ethnic influences such as Western African percussions and bizarre atmospheric hypnotic weirdness cohabiting with more digestible musical structures such as rock, funk and jazz.

The album begins rather innocently. Avant-funk for sure but easy enough to grasp hold of. "Paperhouse" starts off with some weird noisy reverberation but quickly snaps into a funky groove based melodic bluesy rock number that sounded somewhat like an intoxicated version of The Rolling Stones with a really adventurous keyboardist along for the ride! "Mushroom" starts to take on new personas where Suzuki finds a bit more room to shift his vocals around the more structured tight jam of the bass and drums however the guitar creates some trippy weirdness and it's easy to hear why TAGO MAGO has been cited as a major influence for post-punk and more adventurous alternative rock bands like Radiohead that would take the world by storm in the future. "Oh Yeah" begins with an explosive thunder and lightning storm but continues the hypnotic avant-funk based grooves and continues the tight jam with the keyboards offering the psychedelic freakery in the form of bizarre sounds emerging.

The original side 2 consisted solely of the 18 minute and a half monstrosity "Halleluhwah" which provided a bridge between the "normal" part of the album and the inter-dimensional freakery that followed. Beginning something like a mix of the proto-punk psychedelic nonchalantness of the Velvet Underground only with a more bluesy funk groove, the track finds the band slowly but surely escaping the gravitational pull of conventionality and culminates with the incessant drum bombast at full power and the melodic and atmospheric elements reaching full tempest-tossed furor. And then the acid kicks in. Yes, that's the only way one can describe TAGO MAGO. Sides 1 and 2 are like a ritualistic precursor that summons the entities from who knows where. In preparation the band seemingly took peyote, LSD, ample amounts of booze, cocaine and who knows what else. Somewhere during "Halleluhwah" the drugs kicked in but by the time TAGO MAGO reaches the 17 and a half minute "Aumgn," the band seemed to have astral planed on a true shamanic journey into a seemingly alternative universe where all the rules had been thrown on their head and all one can do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

"Aumgn" begins the psychic detachment from reality with a series of reverberating echoey sounds offering a multi-layered sonic structural approach that is freaky as hell yet retains just enough of the rest of the album's underpinnings to latch onto well at least after the proper training has been learned. Yes, this track retrains a latent rhythmic pulse of the avant-funk grooves however it has been buried underneath a parade of freaky ambient sounds, overlaying counterpoints, hypnotic weirdness and eerie vocal moaning as well as avant-garde violin scratches and a never ending supply of eldritch disconnect that will either make you have the worst trip of your life or find the true divine oneness with the universe. "Peking-O" continues the freakfest as the astral plane journey takes on a shamanic approach with ritualistic vocal styles that culminate in horror movie type screams to sinister organs fit for the best Satanic rituals for blood sacrifice parties. Like all good party hosts, after the seemingly never-ending freakery of the album's second half, the guests are comforted to the final "Bring Me Coffee Or Tea" which ushers everyone back to the real world before the psyche-splitting wild ride began. Damn. What did we just here?

TAGO MAGO is like an initiation into a strange cult. Instead of slapping you in the face with a strange new world, it gently nudges you in as it seduces your freewill to jump on the roller coaster that doesn't tell you that it's on its way to the caterpillar's party in Alice In Wonderland. To create such an experience like TAGO MAGO required the most dedicated team of musicians, editors and producers that were available in 1971 because the scope of the sounds and styles on this album are off-the-charts. This is an album that requires the proper time to fully digest as it is like soaking an entire mystery school's worth of occult knowledge in it's 73 minute plus playing time (true these days it could easily fit on one CD but feels like four albums really!) Personally i have only heard this on the remastered modern day editions but i find the production was literally off the chart for the time it was recorded. The sounds are so carefully crafted and woven into a psychedelic tapestry that it still comes off as fresh as it must have been nearly five decades ago. TAGO MAGO surely isn't the easiest listening experience for newbies to embark upon but sooner or later any serious stalwarts of progressive rock will find themselves at the gates of this sonic amusement park and have their s.h.i.t. freaked out big time and if they're lucky they'll come back for seconds!


Review by patrickq
3 stars I first encountered Can on the various-artists compilation Supernatural Fairy Tales: The Progressive Rock Era, which included "Oh Yeah" in its entirety. It wasn't the kind of song I'd skip when listening to Disc 2 of that collection, but unlike songs on that same disc by Aphrodite's Child, Van Der Graaf Generator, and Caravan, it didn't inspire me to look further into the group's music.

I'm glad that I finally listened to Tago Mago, if for no other reason than to hear "Oh Yeah" in context. The track begins with what sounds like a single thunderclap, followed by rain. But as the song follows "Mushroom" - - whose lyrics appear to refer to the atomic bombs dropped in 1945 on singer Damo Suzuki's homeland of Japan - - the rumble takes on a darker meaning. And, although they were on opposite sides of the original vinyl record, "Halleluhwah" makes perfect sense after "Oh Yeah" as a bridge between the more songlike songs on Side One and the more experimental structures of the third and fourth sides. Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, "Halleluhwah" name-checks its predecessors: "she asked me Thursday for her name / so she was to go where I was singing 'Mushroom Head,' 'Oh Yeah,' 'Paperhouse" / I wonder what I should do."

Indeed, those are the most accessible songs on Tago Mago, and along with "Halleluhwah," they contain the only accessible passages on the album until the final song, "Bring Me Coffee or Tea." That's not to say Tago Mago is mainstream, though. As a pastiche of Electronic Meditation, American funk, and Stockhausen, it's not exactly radio fare. In a classic illustration of the necessity to far exceed existing norms in order to discover how much is too much, the two remaining songs, "Aumgn" and "Peking O," constitute nearly thirty minutes of avant-garde sound, most of it nonmusical.

Tago Mago is also a textbook example of the overdone double album which would've made a good single album. But it's not padded throughout ā la Tales from Topographic Oceans; like Ummagumma, Tago Mago has a very good first disc and a weak second one.

Any discussion of the strengths of the album, and the first disc in particular, has to include Jaki Liebezeit's drumming, which has to be some of the best drumming on any Krautrock record of the period. Suzuki's vocals deserve mention as well. Although they're not great per se, they form a great musical and rhythmic component of the music on Disc One. They're well-arranged and are treated and mixed in a way that integrates them perfectly into the overall sound. I get the sense that much of the innovative production here is the work of bassist Holger Czukay, whose tape editing transforms such songs as "Oh Yeah" from rambling rock jams into serious pieces of music.

In all, a good album; the first disc is on a par with the debuts of Tangerine Dream (Electronic Meditation, 1970) and Ash Ra Tempel (self-titled, released in 1971 after Tago Mago).

Latest members reviews

5 stars Review #7! As I warn anyone willing to listen to this album: be warned: it's a hard listen. 'Tago Mago' starts with 'Paperhouse', a song with great lyrics and a guitar solo so freaking great it makes me want to cry, then moves into 'Mushroom', a somewhat groovy song that just happens to be the o ... (read more)

Report this review (#2901746) | Posted by Boi_da_boi_124 | Saturday, March 25, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Review #196 I am deeply sad of seeing how underrated this true masterpiece is in ProgArchives; if you go right now to this website's TOP 100 you're not going to find "Tago Mago", not even if you use the filter of only albums from the seventies, but, to be fair, not only "Tago Mago" but the entire ... (read more)

Report this review (#2671312) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Tuesday, January 11, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Tago Mago 1971 The one thing that we know about this album, was that CAN was at their prime, after having 2 of their folks study with Karlheinz Stockhausen, one other member had played jazz, and the other ... well ... I think we know him as a guitar nut and all the terms that fit. Holger ... (read more)

Report this review (#2637033) | Posted by moshkito | Friday, November 26, 2021 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I listened to this album with all my illusions and I was left with one of the biggest musical disappointments of my life. I don't even feel like giving it a second chance. While it is true that I am much more into symphonic rock, I have listened to a lot of Krautrock and there are albums (Grobsnicht ... (read more)

Report this review (#2600330) | Posted by Argentinfonico | Thursday, October 7, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Man... this album was really a dissapointment for me when I decide to give it a try. I dig into prog and really like the songs I already heard from CAN, Vitamin C, I'm so Green and Mushroom are really likely for me, the sick percussions and basslines, hypnotic vocals were really getting into me, ... (read more)

Report this review (#1871607) | Posted by LedDenon21 | Saturday, February 3, 2018 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Mix of brilliant and awful. Right up there in the "I would have loved to hear what the record company execs were thinking when they heard this one" category, Tago Mago deserves some credit for...well, not innovation per se, perhaps nerve or hubris? Rarely has such a non-commercial recording (I wa ... (read more)

Report this review (#1702484) | Posted by Walkscore | Thursday, March 16, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of the defining albums of the Krautrock scene. Tago Mago is unique, psychedelic, funky, and wildly experimental. It is one of Can's best releases. This album is actually 4 1/2 stars for me, the reason it's a 5 is because you can't give half star ratings on this site. Also, I don't think the albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#1325564) | Posted by thebig_E | Wednesday, December 17, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It's interesting to realize how I (re-)reacted to this album. Somewhere end of the nineties - through an Italian music afficionado I shortly e-mailed with - I came into contact with bands as Can, Amon Düül II and Faust. They were a revelation to me, after slightly earlier having become impres ... (read more)

Report this review (#1144349) | Posted by jeromach | Saturday, March 8, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars To begin with: I think that Can are one of the finest experimental bands in the history of rock music, period! No other band came even close to what they were doing. I got turned onto Can back in 1984, by a friend of mine (who owned a nice little record shop in Redmond, Wa. it's no longer ... (read more)

Report this review (#947360) | Posted by Longliveprog | Sunday, April 21, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Tago Mago by the iconic german band Can is one of the most divided albums in the history of progarchives. Some think it is a masterpiece, while others hate it because it is one of the most mysterious, dark, repetitive and cacophonic albums of all time. Me. I think it is a great album. It is surely a ... (read more)

Report this review (#921280) | Posted by geneyesontle | Friday, March 1, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Classic Rock Presents Prog made this album their special feature a couple of issues back (or the last issue if you live in Australia/Japan/USA). So that made me interested and I purchased this album. Something I do not regret. There is no doubts Tago Mago is one of the most influential prog roc ... (read more)

Report this review (#597388) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, December 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is loads of fun. It's one of those that I like to listen to when I'm doing other things, whether it be driving, chores, homework ect... It's one of the things that I love about this album. I can multitask if I want. Not that the music is so simple that it doesn't distract me. I ... (read more)

Report this review (#584838) | Posted by jalas | Thursday, December 8, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Tago Mago is a monster. Two vinyl discs of Can at their weird, funky peak. I'm no fan of two disc albums, as they are usually way too much for me- in fact, I often have trouble with anything over 50 minutes, let alone 73 minutes of strange, experimental music from the ever-so-strange minds of Can. ... (read more)

Report this review (#247729) | Posted by Neurotarkus | Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars TAGO MAGO! EGE BAMYASI! FUTURE DAYS! - TRILOGY Straight to the point! Who would lose time while listening to these records to type some words on the net. :) CAN is one of those magical bands you can't like on the first listen. At least I couldn't. I knew their discography for years and all the ... (read more)

Report this review (#206601) | Posted by alionida | Thursday, March 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Tago Mago is a brilliant album that I'm surprised hasn't got a higher rating here. Paperhouse is he most straightforward song, and explores psychedlia. Mushroom is another psychedelic song, but with a more intense feel. Oh Yeah has experimental use of backmasked vocals, which on closer listenin ... (read more)

Report this review (#185497) | Posted by burtonrulez | Monday, October 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Best album of all time. Hands down. Pure Genius. Everything comes in exactly when it is supposed to. I find absolutely no fault in this record. Its like someone took a recording of a brain, and then put it on an album. Paper House: starts off slow and graceful and sad. picks up into a chuggi ... (read more)

Report this review (#171177) | Posted by Maclin | Friday, May 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I am suprised this album isn't rated higher. This is certainly my favorite CAN album. This music has a certain otherworldly magic to it in the same way MAGMA does. That being said, it sounds nothing like MAGMA. It just sounds so crisp, so confident. I would truly recommend this album to anyone w ... (read more)

Report this review (#170426) | Posted by kabright | Friday, May 9, 2008 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Parts of this album are not too bad and....I might even get to like them.....but parts of this album are not even close to music..... I am a huge Pink Floyd fan....and some of this weird stuff reminds me of Pink Floyd's weird moments.....but 18 or 19 minutes of straight noise is just too much.. ... (read more)

Report this review (#168329) | Posted by digdug | Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 breakbe ... (read more)

Report this review (#157324) | Posted by dholl | Monday, December 31, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#156789) | Posted by uduwudu | Thursday, December 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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