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CAN

Krautrock • Germany


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Can biography
CAN is one of a few internationally known "Krautrock" groups; they are famous for their repetitive and hallucinatory sound. CAN was founded in 1968 by LIEBEZEIT, Irmin SCHMIDT and Holger CZUKAY, and in their early days they also included American singer Malcolm MOONEY or Japanese vocalist Damo SUZUKI. They transformed progressive-rock into a science. By bridging classical music, jazz music and rock music of their times, CAN accomplished the first organic study on rhythm and texture. Their hypnotic and glacial instrumental jams straddled the line between free-jazz, acid-rock and chamber music. CAN's music can be difficult to appreciate, yet their albums offer some of the best experimental rock ever recorded. Then there are always the myths, the legends and the fascination.

Here's a synopsis of most of their albums. I can recommend "Delay" through to Soon over Babaluma. "Delay" was the first album recorded although it was not released until 1981. Most of their albums are great, particularly "Monster Movie", "Soundtracks", "Tago Mago", "Future Days", and "Ege Bamyasi". After "Soon over Babaluma" I'd say forget it as CAN loose there fresh approach for which they were reknown. 1997 becomes the year where other musicians show the timeless aspect of CAN's music in the new remix album "Sacrilege". And this is the Sound of CAN in the nineties.

"Limited" and "Unlimited Edition" are a collection from 1968 to 1974. In the autumn of 1978, a double CD retrospective "Cannibalism 1" was issued on United Artists, and, for many, still stands today as the definitive CAN collection. It drew from the band's first six albums, but a tremendous sampling of songs from their essential early albums. "Cannibalism 1" is the best CD to buy to first experience the incredible music of CAN.

CAN's legacy still resounds clearly across the landscape of contemporary music. As Julian Cope concludes, "CAN will be remembered as one of the great 20th century bands. I've listened to their music for over 23 years, and I still freak out at their staying power... Every one of CAN's members is a hero, and a true star."

With due acknowledgement to Piero Scaruffi's book "A History of Rock Music" for some of the information and text quoted.

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Buy CAN Music


The SinglesThe Singles
Mute 2017
Audio CD$12.67
Future DaysFuture Days
Remastered
Mute 2008
Audio CD$8.41
$8.40 (used)
Tago MagoTago Mago
Mute (Artist Intelligence) 2008
Audio CD$6.95
$5.95 (used)
Ege BamyasiEge Bamyasi
Mute (Artist Intelligence) 2008
Audio CD$6.63
$5.82 (used)
Delay 1968Delay 1968
Mute 2010
Audio CD$8.93
$8.04 (used)
Unlimited EditionUnlimited Edition
Remastered
Mute 2012
Audio CD$6.85
$6.84 (used)
Monster MovieMonster Movie
Mute (Artist Intelligence) 2008
Audio CD$8.70
$6.74 (used)
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CAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.80 | 305 ratings
Monster Movie
1969
3.81 | 244 ratings
Soundtracks
1970
3.96 | 569 ratings
Tago Mago
1971
3.90 | 387 ratings
Ege Bamyasi
1972
4.07 | 488 ratings
Future Days
1973
3.68 | 193 ratings
Soon Over Babaluma
1974
3.50 | 126 ratings
Landed
1975
2.95 | 100 ratings
Flow Motion
1976
3.30 | 89 ratings
Saw Delight
1977
2.36 | 67 ratings
Out Of Reach
1978
2.64 | 72 ratings
Can [Aka: Inner Space]
1978
3.58 | 120 ratings
Delay 1968
1981
2.99 | 54 ratings
Rite Time
1989

CAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.17 | 42 ratings
The Peel Sessions
1995
4.07 | 29 ratings
Box Music (Live 1971-1977)
1999

CAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 28 ratings
Can
2005

CAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.44 | 13 ratings
Limited Edition 1974
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Classic German Rock Scene
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
Opener
1976
3.54 | 49 ratings
Unlimited Edition
1976
2.88 | 14 ratings
Cannibalism 1
1978
2.91 | 4 ratings
Cannibalism
1978
4.00 | 5 ratings
Cannibalism 2
1990
4.54 | 20 ratings
Can Anthology
1994
3.50 | 4 ratings
Cannibalism 3
1994
2.90 | 15 ratings
Sacrilege
1997
2.33 | 3 ratings
Inner Space / Out of Reach
1998
2.31 | 4 ratings
Box (Compilation)
1999
4.12 | 50 ratings
The Lost Tapes
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
Can
2013

CAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Soul Desert
1969
2.00 | 1 ratings
Turtles Have Short Legs
1971
3.00 | 2 ratings
Vitamin C
1972
2.00 | 1 ratings
I'm So Green
1972
3.22 | 8 ratings
Spoon
1972
3.50 | 2 ratings
Moonshake
1973
2.00 | 1 ratings
Big Hit
1973
2.00 | 1 ratings
Dizzy Dizzy
1974
2.00 | 1 ratings
Hunters And Collectors
1975
2.25 | 3 ratings
Silent Night
1976
2.50 | 2 ratings
I Want More
1976
2.00 | 1 ratings
Don't Say No
1977
2.00 | 1 ratings
Can-Can
1978
2.00 | 1 ratings
Spoon / Silent Night
1980
2.00 | 1 ratings
I Want More
1981
2.00 | 1 ratings
Moonshake
1983
2.00 | 1 ratings
Hoolah Hoolah
1990
2.00 | 1 ratings
Sacrilege
1997
2.00 | 1 ratings
I Want More
2006

CAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sacrilege by CAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
2.90 | 15 ratings

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Sacrilege
Can Krautrock

Review by Lewian

4 stars This is a collection of remixes of Can tracks, mainly by people who did techno of the alternative non-mainstream varieties in the nineties, with some for the prog listener familiar names thrown in (Brian Eno, Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy, Sonic Youth). A "remix" here means that parts of the original tracks were cannibalised to create something more or less new and autonomous. The title "Sacrilege" testifies the huge respect that the participants of this project have for Can's work and the influence that the band has had on musicians of various genres and over a long time.

The remixes are quite different regarding how much of the original track was kept and how much they're dominated by it. In A Guy Called Gerald's Tango Whiskeyman one need to look hard for traces of the original, whereas for example Sunroof's Oh Yeah follows the concept of the original quite closely.

I have always enjoyed this double-CD big time, from start to finish, despite the presence of some weaker pieces or at least some pieces that in itself don't tell me that much. Surely there is enough strong material here, although it definitely helps if nineties techno music doesn't make you run away screaming for mercy. Many of the remixes are dominated by heavy rhythms, some pretty dancefloor-proof, split up between sampling and looping the mighty man machine Jaki Liebezeit (RIP), making him even more machine-like, and some techno rhythms created by the remixers themselves. The use of samples and sounds is generally inspired by how the masters themselves did it with material from other sources, and consequently the Can members have enjoyed this collection, too, as far as I know (except Damo, who in the booklet is just cited saying that this is "not his cup of tea").

Overall, despite its dancefloor credentials, this is quite experimental and playful and not always an easy ride. Also in this respect, the collection is varied; 3P's Yoo Doo Right could have been hit single material, so smooth and nice to the ears it is, whereas Hiller/Kaiser/Leda's Unfinished and Bruce Gilbert's TV Sport are rather noise avantgarde, although at least the former treats the listener to some rhythm toward the end. A number of pieces are generous with the rhythm but more modest with melody and harmony (i.e., Father Cannot Yell by Pete Shelley); but melody and harmony aren't necessarily what the Can fan is looking for.

I could nominate quite a number of these as highlights; by and large more of them are on the second CD. The already mentioned Unfinished and Father Cannot Yell are bold and adventurous and pretty autonomous constructions. I also love the addictive underground dance orgy that System 7 (that's Hillage and Giraudy formerly of Gong) made of Dizzy Spoon; these prog veterans surely know how to produce an attractive techno rhythm.

Surely part of the listener's joy comes from looking for and recognising their Can favourites; U.N.C.L.E.'s Vitamin C and both remixes of Oh Yeah make heavy enough use of the original material that they are basically failproof (still there is enough artistic freedom in them to justify their existence in the face of the original) and of course I can listen day in day out to Jaki's drumming, even looping him does not hurt him much. There's a case though for not attributing all the quality that can be found here to the remix collection, a good deal is of course claimed by the originals.

I am really in love with the whole concept and how it plays out, and also some of the highlights. It would be a far stretch to call this "a masterpiece of progressive rock", firstly because it is a far stretch to call this "progressive rock" at all and secondly because this kind of project can of course never reach a sufficiently monolithic experience and everyone can certainly find the odd low point here. Never mind, personally I am fascinated and delighted from start to finish, and so I give it four stars and feel rather stingy.

 Can [Aka: Inner Space] by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.64 | 72 ratings

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Can [Aka: Inner Space]
Can Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The penultimate album by the late, great Krautrockers of CAN (before their final mid- 1980s reunion) originally appeared twice (actually two-and-a-half times) on their page here at Prog Archives. My copy is the cheesy 1985 Thunder Records re-package of the untitled 1979 original, one of the first compact discs I ever bought, which is only fitting, since the LP marked my initial exposure to arguably the best musical group of the late 20th Century.

In retrospect it wasn't an ideal introduction, and I wouldn't recommend it as such to anyone else. Can had been treading water for several years at that point, drifting a little too far from their more exploratory Krautrock roots after signing to Virgin Records in 1975. But this self-titled album (only later re-christened "Inner Space", the name of their home studio) at least marked a rehabilitation of sorts, sounding like a breath of fresh air compared to the uninspired doodling of their previous "Out of Reach" (the two albums were subsequently combined and sold on a single CD, a decent bargain for Can completists with money to burn).

First the good news: Holger Czukay, the band's irrepressible radio wave surfer and occasional bass guitarist, was back in the fold, although he doesn't actually touch a musical instrument here (this throwaway CD re-issue doesn't even mention it, but on the original vinyl he was listed as an "editor"). You can still detect his presence, however, not least on the oddball interlude "Ping Pong", believe it or not one of the highlights of the album.

This is pure Czukay: a 20-second (or so) audio-veritÚ documentary of, you guessed it, a game of ping-pong, rather sloppily played while someone thumbs a kalimba in the background. Czukay's deadpan sense of humor also animates the faux-punk demolition of Offenbach's "Can-Can", an obvious choice for the band's periodic "Ethnological Forgery Series" of cultural facsimiles, and the best musical joke of its kind since Thijs Van Leer yodeled his way through "Hocus Pocus".

It was probably this track, and its ragged epilogue "Can Be", that sold my unrefined ears on the album in the first place, in much the same way that ELP's energetic update of Aaron Copeland's "Hoedown" jump-started my earliest interest in Prog Rock years before. "Can-Can", by the way, is listed as EFS #99, one of only a handful in the ongoing series to appear throughout the band's history. So where are all the rest?

The balance of the album is built on impeccably played but undemanding dance music for people (like me) with two left feet. "All Gates Open" is the best of the lot, with a sinuous subterranean groove, some funky chunky guitar, and a shifting wall of keyboard noise, always a Can specialty. But the other tracks tend to follow the example set by "Sunday Jam", a pleasant enough diversion with an all-too literal title, and like a lot of later Can music notably a jam, unlike the more challenging "instant composition" improvs of their earlier years.

In all, not the best swan song for such a groundbreaking and influential band (and a premature ending anyway: see 1989's more improved "Rite Time"), but in the context of their late '70s downward career arc a much better effort than could have been expected.

 Future Days by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.07 | 488 ratings

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Future Days
Can Krautrock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

5 stars "No attraction I can feel via such a well-arranged music creation", Damo SUZUKI said before he left CAN. Not sure what he really intended to do with the words as above, but let me mention I cannot hear enough Krautrock via this creation, too.

Via the first two "Future Days" and "Spray", we can hear slight Krautrock essence really ... some bubbled vibes or distorted sound interplay, repetitive hypnotic bottom line, complicated rhythmic basis ... every tonic phenomenon can express their essential Krautrock initiative. On the other hand, some artistic sound unification we cannot avoid. Yes so refined and so polished enough to confuse us. The shortest track "Moonshake" is filled with ethnic beats and heartwarming melodies. Damo's danceable percussive voices remind us of oldie goodie German psychedelia. Ermm, afraid we could not make our mind and feeling clearer and finally would rush into the last music courtesy.

Regardless of above mentioned, however, "Bel Air" should be called as their masterpiece without any suspicion. Upon synthesizer-based slow and smooth waterflow, dry and fruity guitar chops plus light drumming of comfort slip through. Damo's inspired and a tad philosophical voices can be hear like the last tragic phrases before the giant flies away. Inevitably wondering where such a mad hippie like Damo went for. Their performance upon this track might be not strict not harmonized in perfect manner (especially Damo's voices sound like an octopus sorry), but the gem merged, crystallized, and constructed with every talented play should get apotheosed really. 20 minutes? Very short for us. Time must not be absolute, I would say.

In conclusion, well understood what a lonely crazy guy pissing over the rainbow shouted. Not attractive as Krautrock but every progressive rock fan loves this creation. And my favourite one. That's the truth.

 Silent Night by CAN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1976
2.25 | 3 ratings

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Silent Night
Can Krautrock

Review by Lewian

2 stars This is from a Can fan writing my first Can review, and the summary of this review is: I've got this single, you don't need it. Silent Night is a Can cover of the christmas song Silent Night. It is instrumental, faster than the christmas original is normally sung, and the rhythm section does a fairly fancy job as always. I guess this is about what you need to know about this single. It's a joke really. Probably they took maximum a day to do this and thought "let's see whether people in christmas mood buy it". The B-side is Cascade Waltz which is on "Flow Motion" and which I found pretty annoying there already. I'm really feeling generous giving this two stars but then this single is not to be taken seriously so I won't offend any band member.

Haha, why on earth am I starting here reviewing Can? Because I like to write things that are not already in lots of other peoples' reviews. Nobody has reviewed this single yet so I do it. I like the band anyway, despite this being forgettable.

 Soon Over Babaluma by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.68 | 193 ratings

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Soon Over Babaluma
Can Krautrock

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars Can sort of has a Genesis-style problem when it comes to its legacy. The way that many progheads turned their backs on Genesis when Peter Gabriel jumped ship, so, it seems, do not just progheads and acidfreaks, but the post-punks and indie kids as well, to Can post-Damo. About the only exception would have to be the EDM acolytes. And the same way that people who shun every last note of Collins sung Genesis are probably missing out on the first few records of that new era, so does everyone who doesn't listen to "Soon Over Babaluma".

I mean, get this, this is the record in which Can, deficient of Damo's vitamin c though they are, manage to pip the ska-punks and practically invent trance.

Do I have your attention?

The gist of "Soon Over Babaluma" is that the band built off of "Future Days"'s ethereal soundscapes by essentially reunifying them with the grooviness of "Ege Bamyasi", if not in a necessarily immediately recognisable form. Rather than achieve most of that funk with Liebezeit's drums, as the band had usually done, he continues to drum mostly in the vein of "Future Days" while instead Karoli's guitar and violin and especially Schmidt's keys abide by the groove. The results? Ambient house and ambient techno have to owe backrent to this LP. "Dizzy Dizzy" manages to get a violin to jam right out of the gate. "Come Sta, La Luna" sounds like an angelic flamenco band engaging in ska and dub revival. "Splash" and "Quantum Physics" are just plain mind blowing. And then there's "Chain Reaction", as outstanding as the tracks directly surrounding it, but here, in the interplay between Schmidt and Liebezeit, is the spark that birthed trance music. We expected nothing less of The Can, now didn't we? Even Karoli and Schmidt's vocals are up to task. This is the dress rehearsal for "The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld", nothing less, probably something more on top of that. Again, truly outstanding.

 Future Days by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.07 | 488 ratings

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Future Days
Can Krautrock

Review by RussellChap

4 stars The most popular of the so called Krautrock bands to emerge in post-war Germany. Can were one of the finest artists inhabiting the Seventies 'anything goes' area of fusion called One World Music along with Miles Davis and Alice Coltrane, John Martyn and Tim Buckley, where rock music and Jazz melded together along with non-Western musics to create a sound without zone or home, barriers blown away.

On Future Days the sound of Can was at its fullest reach creating music that's like a living, breathing organism. I guess this is my favourite era of Can and this album always places me within a sun-kissed Idyll, a Balearic arbour, the music dancing like sunlight on surf. Future Days forever, on and on.

 Future Days by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.07 | 488 ratings

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Future Days
Can Krautrock

Review by JJLehto
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I never thought I'd like a Can album more than Tago Mago, and when I originally heard "Future Days" this opinion was maintained.

Well, it's been several years, I forgot about, (then rediscovered) this magnificent band and while I love them much as I always did...to my surprise I fell in love with this album.

Call it growing older, but I appreciate the more subdued and mellow nature of this album, something I thought was lacking back then and missed the abrasive, over the top elements that I thought made Can what it was. However, "Future Days" is a beautiful album that maintains the Can essentials: chill, psychedelic atmosphere, drifting songs, arty guitar and Jaki's superb drumming with all the fixings: jazzy, driving, monotonous yet cerebral. However, on "Future Days" some other Can sounds are greatly subdued, if not removed entirely: the, (often harsh), noisy bits, over the top whackiness, blatant avant garde endeavors and most notably Damo's vocals.

Famous for his wild, I'd say insane, vocals singing a mish mosh of languages and sometimes not any at all, here Damo is majorly subdued and mellow. To be honest, while I love Damo, I can't say this change is unwelcomed. It not only fits the more atmospheric nature of this album, but I was a little perturbed by fans of experimental music who lament the artist experimenting or changing it up.

The unquestioned winner of this album is the 20 minute "Bel Air" which is a brilliant microcosm of the album itself: Relaxing, beautiful, minimalist, hypnotic and warm. In a style that could be called "post rock" the song dips into a brief interlude devoid of music and simply consists of birds chirping and bugs buzzing, makes me want to sit on a beach with a nice drink, before the music picks back up and gently builds to a powerful climax.

A beautiful album that should satisfy any fan of Can, (though one may be underwhelmed if they must have the older, more avant garde style) but I think can satisfy fans of most prog rock. A wonderful album that I'd dare say is Can's best.

FIVE STARS

 Monster Movie by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.80 | 305 ratings

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Monster Movie
Can Krautrock

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars Can's 60's debut is one of the few first albums by a band that I can safely say is my favorite of said band's discography.

I've never been a huge fan of krautrock- most of what I've heard is pretty disjointed, most likely because of me listening to things like Organisation which I absolutely abhor-, but Can was my introduction and still to this day reigns as my favorite from the genre. My largest highlight of their consecutive releases is obviously Can's 1969 Monster Movie. Everything about it is great, at least on the first side of the LP.

Many people make points about how Monster Movie has large amounts of early punk elements. I mean sure, I suppose, but really the seven minute opener epic 'Father Cannot Yell' is most likely the most connected to the genre, but overall this album pioneers flowing, almost hypnotic riffs that early krautrock bands were doing. The band largely relies on improvisation to get through the longer tracks, not unlike jam bands such as the Grateful Dead. In fact, 'You Doo Right' was originally a whopping six hour long jam until it was compressed into twenty minutes. Most of the songs on here have at least some iota of Can's later atmospheric hypno-rock, with in this case a style that paved the way not only for the band but also for other krautrock bands.

The opener 'Father Cannot Yell' as said before it is a speeding, punk-influenced song that starts off the album. Although it was a strange way to set off this particularly slow album, it is quite enjoyable as a casual listen. 'Outside My Door' is a shorter, even more punk-ish track that uses more repetitive drumming as well as some cool guitar riffs.

'Mary, Mary So Contrary' is the best song on the album and perhaps my favorite song from it's genre as well as the band. It uses very different mesmerizing tones with lyrics based off of a children's rhyme. The guitar work, although seems to be pretty standard, sounds absolutely epic in the light of it's overall atmosphere. Mooney's vocals are absolutely outstanding, using a tired, almost scratchy feel to give his voice that needed effect.

Ah, 'You Doo Right'. Probably one of the most boring, repetitive songs I've encountered in my progressive wanderings. Even when the song is three times as long as it should be, it's still boring and retains the same sound throughout listening. It uses massive repetition, and although I can say that I like when Can does it on their other songs, here it's just pointless. Absolutely mediocre and not enjoyable to sit down and listen to.

Even in the light of the second side, Can's Monster Movie still gets a 4.5/5 from me. It introduced me to the genre, and I still love it with all my heart to this day. In the light of me liking it so much, I've rounded the rating to a full five rating. Absolutely fantastic.

 Tago Mago by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.96 | 569 ratings

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Tago Mago
Can Krautrock

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

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.

 Tago Mago by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.96 | 569 ratings

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Tago Mago
Can Krautrock

Review by thebig_E

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 album is as consistently good as Future Days - my favourite record by Can.

At the start, we have "Paperhouse", with it's mellow guitar chords and steady drumming. The vocalist here, Damo Suzuki, is less of a lead singer and more like an improvisational speaker. "Mushroom" showcases more excellent percussion by Jaki Liebezeit, and pairs it with a droning guitar. "Oh Yeah" starts off with an explosion and features some backwards vocals and a small part of Damo singing in Japanese, instead of English.

One of the greatest songs by Can, "Halleluhwah" is an 18 minute funk jam with many overdubs. The rhythm remains constant throughout, which may seem like a downside since it does get repetitive, but it doesn't really bother me because it is hypnotic. There is a lot of experimentation with keyboards, guitar, and strings, while Damo continues chanting. Apparently the piece was edited together by bassist Holger Czukay from an hour long session that the band had recorded. Lots of songs by the band were created this way.

"Aumgn" sounds like early Dark Ambient and Industrial music. At about 12 minutes in, there is tribal drumming and screams, with an eerie synthesizer and lots of noises added in, which continues until the end. The truth is, this track is much scarier than many horror movies. "Aumgn" is very spooky and definitely ahead of its time. "Peking O" is the weirdest song here, and seems to not have any structure. If the last song was difficult, then this is even more so. Damo continues rambling incoherently while what sounds like an early drum machine adds percussion. Closing the album, is the track "Bring Me Coffee or Tea", which returns to the instrumentation of the album's first half, and is a very eastern-influenced track. A fitting end to the LP.

This is one record that requires time to grow on you. If you have an open mind and stick with it, you just might be pleasantly surprised.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to msegnan for the last updates

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