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Can - Tago Mago CD (album) cover

TAGO MAGO

Can

 

Krautrock

3.97 | 681 ratings

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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.

thebig_E | 5/5 |

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