Can’s most sprawling and untethered work. The first side goes from the plaintive Paperhouse to the apocalyptic groove of Mushroom, to the uptempo masterpiece Oh Yeah, making for as great a side of vinyl as ever there was. Side two is taken up by the funk monster Halleluhwah. Side three brings us Aumgn’s occult channelling. The last side has the manic Peking O and the mournful closer Bring Me Coffee or Tea. Damo, Jaki, Holger, Irmin and Michael are all at the peak of their powers and in perfect cosmic harmony. Sacred stuff to be sure and never more so than on double vinyl.
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Why, I nearly bought the freakin' boxed set at Crimbo! Then I came to my senses. Surprised I have any senses left to return to after the last 15 years of my life. Do you want to own one of the best albums EVER MADE on double vinyl, all with a snazzy gatefold sleeve and lovely orange printed inners? Do ya? DO YA?? It's not a bootleg, honest. Mr. Mute has actually got his wallet out again.
It's ever so odd finding myself writing words about a record that's been constantly praised to the hilt by all the cool dudes ever for most of my days on earth. There will not be a person reading this who doesn't understand the kinetic power and far-flung influence of Can's third studio album surely? I wasn't listening to this gem in the womb like my mate Howard probably was. But 'Tago Mago' is certainly one of the most vibrant, unusual, shit-kickingly exciting and gravely important albums I own. It's also frequently insane.
Go on Pops, talk "defining rock records of the early 70's". Reel out your hackneyed list of singer-songwriter goons, post-Beatles mush-faces and preening glam perverts. Yawn. Shut up Grandad! Oh! What? 'Tago Mago' is officially the best 70's album regardless? "It still sounds fresh, see son. People will be dancing, hot-footing, sleeping, doing drugs and shagging to this album decades after all the bland idiots who help comprise your record collection are forgotten, in jail or totally dead". Thanks Grandad!
This Can music sounds so free, so mental, so rhythmic and friendly-psychotic it could have been recorded yesterday. Or next year. It's largely Jaki Liebezeit's fault I do realise. No fucker in the world played like him in the 70's. Not many name bands of the time successfully rummaged around in the avant-garde, jazz and occult worlds for divine inspiration like our five visionaries either. It's also improv legend Damo Suzuki's first outing with them. His lyrics are crazed, garbled and mantric according to whichever piece of aural mind-flushing you are treating yourself to over the course of this expansive beast. Best experienced as a relentlessly thrilling whole; If you have never checked this barmy set out but claim to enjoy experimental/avant-rock then, like, where have you been?
Or, hey! Why not just buy it again? You can never have too many copies of 'Tago Mago' lying about.
8/10 Jonny Chinchen Customer review, 22nd June 2014
This one is a Krautrock goodie, but has benefited from massive overhype as the years have gone by. Whereas you get totally far out hairy madness with Amon Duul 2, a Neu kind of rock from ..., yes, Mr. Dinger's group, and all manner of weirdness and proto-industrial music from Faust, Can kind of play it a bit academic and straighter.
This is probably down to the strong classical music background of Holgar Czukay and Irmin Schmidt, who were deep in the same scene as Stockhausen. They approached their music from the same angle as Bitches Brew era Miles Davis and Teo Macero i.e. jam for ages and edit the best pieces together.
This approach also contributes to the stiffer feel - their musical chops are amazing, but they never reached the same wild kosmiche freakout levels of their hairier compatriots, there's too much control and accuracy, over the top of Jaki Liebezeit's powerful trancey metronomic drumming, which many love, but which lacks swing and soul in my book.
A fantastic album, no doubt, but far from the best of the 70's (hello Sabbath? Amon Duul 2? Neu? Sticky Fingers Rolling Stones? Funkadelic? etc.etc.)
10/10 Steven Customer review, 20th June 2014
what else can I say? Brian is 100% right.
Best. record. ever. made.
10/10 Pete Customer review, 20th June 2014
Been hooked on this since I first bought this (along with Faust (clear vinyl) and Neu 2 in a Munich record shop way back in the summer of 73). Having seen them perform earlier in the year at The Top Rank suite in Bristol, yes that's true! Played this to my then girlfriend and she was hooked immediately, and we are still together 41 years later, must have been something in that music. Well yes best record ever and still playing it loud to impress the neighbours, or confuse them! Did splash out my winter fuel payment on the box set, even though I have all the originals, and well worth going cold for! This should be played in school music lessons, MR Gove take note.
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