Tago Mago is the second studio album by the German krautrock band Can, originally released as a double LP in August 1971 on the United Artists label. It was the band's first album to feature Damo Suzuki after the 1970 departure of previous vocalist Malcolm Mooney. Recorded in a rented castle near Cologne, the album features long-form experimental tracks blending rock improvisation, funk rhythms, and musique concrète techniques.Tago Mago has been described as Can's best and most extreme record in sound and structure. The album has received widespread critical acclaim and is cited as an influence by various artists. Drowned in Sound called it "arguably the most influential rock album ever recorded."Wikipedia
Did not know what to expect with this one. There's so much going on here and it gets better with every play through. Stand out tracks for me are Mushroom and the experimental, brooding crescendo of sounds in Aumgn which transported me somewhere else altogether. Perhaps the wailing soundscape of Peking O goes a little too far into the avant-garde, but overall this is a stunning album, I can't even imagine being hit with this in 1971. So good. Probably not one to play at a dinner party though, unless your friend Saffron is planning to lace the avocado salad with something.
The problem with experiments is sometimes they fail. I was vibing with this music, berating myself for judging another album by its genre, when all of a sudden I was assaulted with a 17 and half minute song that sounded like a monkey humping a didgeridoo, following by 11 and a half minutes of eastern strings accompanied by tiny men who crawl up your nose and dance upside down on the bottom of your brain. How many krautrock albums are on this stinking list? Best track: Halleluhwah
Tago Mago is a combination of rock, funk, psychedelic freak out, avant-garde jazz improv, elevator muzak, proto techno, stoned mantra, and trippy tape loop experimentation. It handles all these styles better, for longer and harder than any album that’s come before it or since, backed by a truly stellar rhythm section. If Tago Mago was a movie, it would simultaneously be The Empire Strikes Back and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Really not sure about this. A bit too experimental for me I guess. Parts of it sounded like someone had put Mr blobby into a washing machine while it was spinning slower and slower, other parts sounded like they'd just got really high and started making noises into the recording equipment. A bit like kids messing about with the casio keyboards at other times, so not what you might call particularly easy listening.
To me Can is like a genre unto themselves in that they are utterly unique. They are comprised of such an interesting combination of individual backgrounds but yet they are all completely devoted to a group mentality so that it doesn't get pushed in any one individual direction more than another, and that, I think is the secret to their success. It sounds like they really listened to each other when they played and fed off of each other. I tend to gravitate towards music you can get lost in/hypnotized by and Can does that with some of the funkiest grooves ever put to record. Bewitching. The closest thing I can compare it to is Miles Davis' fusion era but Can is even more boundary-less in their search for a sound. The album covers such a rare emotional range that it is beyond words, as are most of Damo Suzuki's lyrics! Tago Mago is their sprawling masterpiece and where they really caught fire, and I do love it, but I actually prefer their next album Ege Bamyasi for it's tighter construction. Unfortunately that album is not part of this list (but I am glad to see that Future Days is). I think the first two sides (or four songs) of Tago Mago are nearly flawless, and that would have been a fantastic album in and of itself. When you get to sides 3 & 4 they are much more experimental, and while I do appreciate them conceptually, etc., having listened to this album many times, I'm not always in the right place to listen to Aumgn or Peking O. It's kind of like the White Album in that way. How many times do you really listen to Revolution #9 the whole way through without skipping? Still, this is 5 stars for me simply for their efforts in making the journey to find their own wholly original sound, which they would go on to perfect in subsequent albums IMHO. Listen to the 40th anniversary edition to hear on the bonus tracks how differently these songs could be performed live!
I was ambivalent towards this until track 5, which is 17.5 minutes of clattering. It gave me a headache. Track 6 sounds like a 7 year old child randomly hitting a toy drum, bashing a piano and trying to explain the rules of Mallet's Mallet. For those reasons, I mostly hate this.
When I was introduced to Can they kind of blew me away, it did not sound like the 70s rock I knew. Can is my favorite group in the classic Krautrock pantheon. They're funky as hell, sometimes accessible, while other times experimental and jammy. Damo Suzuki might be my favorite of their vocalists, although Malcolm Mooney has some great performances as well (not on the album). There are a bunch of interesting Krautrock documentaries and articles for digging deeper, highly recommended for music nerds. "Halleluhwah" goes by a lot faster than its 18:31 track time would suggest, it keeps it interesting and changing in subtle and dramatic shifts somewhat subtle ways that you can get lost in pretty easily; definitely my favorite track. Not sure if this or "Ege Bamyasi" is my favorite, but this is almost the perfect Can album. Going from "Aumgn" straight to "Peking O" is a bit much though, I think "Peking O" should be removed completely since it doesn't add anything "Aumgn" didn't already do and parts of it don't fit with the rest of the album to me. Looks like originally "Aumgn" was Side 3 and "Peking O" + "Bring Me Coffee or Tea" was Side 4, which is a bit more palatable I suppose. Favorite tracks: Paperhouse, Halleluhwah, Bring Me Coffee or Tea
I played through the first 5 songs of tago mago on bass, just doing it by ear and jamming with the band, and wow. The subtleties of those bass lines are incredible, the interplay between the drummer and the bassist is some genius stuff. Especially on the song Helluhwah, the way the bassist will be playing the groove, subtly changing it over the course of a few measures and hiding behind the beat, then just dipping out in a way where you don't even notice he stopped playing and a synth/guitar break will come in and carry the song in a new direction
Such a blend of funky rhythm and experimental nonsense, in a way few other acts can match. Maybe no other acts. I have been wanting to listen to this album for years, and it absolutely didn't disappoint.
This feels like avant guard done right. Everything comes together perfectly, even despite it's offset sounds. The use of sparse vocals works in perfectly. The timing on where they come in is perfect. The atmosphere the bands creates is palpable. It's both light and dark. It's bot cheerful and moody. I have no idea how a piece of music can hold both, but every song on this album seems to. I particularly liked "Bring Me Coffee Or Tea" and "Aumgn." I only wish I had better headphones to enhance the experience.
Of course this was recorded in a rented castle near Cologne. Where else could you craft something so extraordinary. Whatever is going on here is truly remarkable - uncategorisable, ahead of its time. You can hear the influence on so many bands to follow. Is it jazz? Hard rock? Prog? Electronica? All these things and none. This project is so incredible - introducing you to bands you had never heard before and being blown away.
The first 4 songs are phenomenal, they really blew me away. The last 3 are a bit too experimental for my taste, but I appreciate what they did with them. An amazing album, very interesting. I'm happy I took the time to listen to it.
Experimental, but as opposed to 10cc this is in that way that takes itself very seriously. I like Oh Yeah. I can't help nodding along to Halleluhwah. Aumgn sound like the score to an old horror movie and I love it... Peking is dog shit. Overall a little jammy. A little jazzy. A little schizophrenic. Not exactly my cup of tea but that's not a bad thing.
Sometimes a good jam band like this feels right. Can has always been a favorite and they’re just a vibe. Sometimes it’s chill, sometimes a little incoherent, but it truly is a vibe Favorite Tracks: “Paperhouse,” “Halleluhwah”
wtf was this, don't know if i loved or hated it
A forward-thinking sonic metaphor for the first few hours of a psychedelic experience. Lots of avant-garde sounds here. Meandering, but not boring. Kinda reminds me of Duster. Aumgn and Peking O are not especially pleasant to listen to but are a good characterization of the overwhelming parts of a trip.
lots of cool stuff on here - seems dying for a millionsamples
The first half was great, the second half I liked a bit less
First three songs are great, then it starts to become way too weird and experimental for my taste. Feels like being stuck in laundry machine listening to 5 types of different music. Truly WTF.
There was a point, while listening to this album, that I was prepared to give it a five-star rating. I thought to myself, "Dang! An experimental album that manages to blend genres effectively while never losing the plot or falling out of the pocket! These grooves are so great!" And then it all fell apart in dramatic fashion. Track five brought an eighteen-minute collection of disconnected noises punctuated by random moaning and lost the album a star. Track six continued the downward trend with eleven minutes of tangled strings and a violently bi-polar time signature. There goes another star. Track seven, the last track, managed to pull a grove out of its back pocket to save the album from truly failing marks. Overall, an interesting but extraordinarily frustrating album.
By turns, a lot of fun and an inoffensive drag. When they go full weird disco, the rhythm section is one of the best in prog. The drummer is suitably rigid. I picture him playing with straight arms., though I suppose that would make his tippy-tappy style harder to perform. Silly if not funny, which is good enough.
I think the whole album was played in reverse on accident.
Cet album demarrait de la meilleure des manières, avec des solos de guitare chaloupées, et de fantastiques rythmiques proposées par les différents musiciens du groupe. Quand dès la deuxième piste, l'album pris une toute autre tournure. En effet, dès lors, un personnage absolument consternant va venir faire son apparition. Au premier abord, ce personnage que nous appelerons M., nous apparait des plus sympathiques. Il arbore en effet une bouille bien ronde, avec son crane chauve et sa bedaine mignonnette. Lorsqu'il s'exprime, un leger cheveu sur la langue vient rendre le dialogue chantonnant. Il tente d'ailleurs tout de suite de nous mettre à l'aise, avant même que les instruments débutent la deuxième piste. "Inzstallez vous, auzourd'hui z'est la CAN" Mais ne vous y trompez pas: derrière le gentil M. se cache en fait un personnage redoutable, aux idéaux racistes extrêmement limite. "çza z'est pas ma CAN çza" lorsque le guitariste noir du groupe commencera son solo. Ce seront ses premières paroles, qui en emméneront de nouvelles toutes plus limites les unes que les autres, que je ne peux retranscrire dans ce review, pour ne pas offenser mes amis africains. Ce suprémaciste blanc répondant au nom de M. sera instoppable, et viendra complétement ruiner l'écoute de cet album. Je demande d'ailleurs aujourd'hui sonnalement à Robert, au nom de la lutte contre le racisme, de retirer cet album de sa liste.
One of the best.
well done avant garde album. Want to listen some more.
see previous review
This album is so good. Not every song is perfect, and a couple of the more experimental ones kind of drag on, but the imperfections are outweighed by some really great tracks.
Brilliant. Probably not one I'll play all the way through consistently but the first half will definitely go into rotation.
9/21 "The music was like nothing I'd ever heard before, not American, not rock & roll but mysterious and European." 4.5/5. Standout Tracks: Paperhouse, Halleluhwah, Aumgn
An incredible album. Mind blowing stuff.
The highlight of a career of highlights.
One of the most unique, influential, trailblazing albums. Caused an anxiety attack. 5/5
Sounds very funny to me
This was insane, and I loved it.
FIVE STARS An all-time classic and a personal favorite of mine. As is usually the case with those five-stars albums, I won't write a full-blown review about this particular record, because others have already written wonderful stuff about it and there's not much I can add that I feel could be relevant and interesting. It's just a gem. Go and listen to it a.s.a.p. Number of albums left to review or just listen to: more than 900, I've temporarily lost count here Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: approximately a half so far (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: a quarter Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important): the last quarter
I absolutely adore this album. Somewhere between a jam band, musique concrète, and ambient, Can managed to make music that still sounds strikingly modern. I can hear their influence in Radiohead, especially in the OK Computer era. This album goes in and out of coherence somewhat ominously at times in their more experimental songs. They deconstruct song forms and in doing so completely blow open the door for what music can be.
Uhh, yeah, I’m thinking it’s a classic
If I took a hit of acid and put on Aumgn there is no telling where I would end up. 5/5
How am I supposed to listen to this seminal record and not give it 5 stars? It's loud, messy, rough, in your face, and proud of it. Lots of your favorite bands "sound" can be traced right back to this. An undisputable classic
Krautrock is lovely
One of the most beautiful and sophisticated records ever and one of the most brilliant albums of the 70s for sure. More than a hour of great music, just incredible!
Bits of this album are exceptional. Some bits are irritating. Halleluwah is great. Fifteen minutes of bonkers rhythm that just sucks you in. Peking O is annoying. Overall, I love Can. So this is getting the full five stars.
The downfall of many a piece of experimental music is whatever the performers are trying to make it. Most of the music on Tago Mago lacks a clear telos: It can only be itself, and there's no striving to ruin the rumination. What's curious is that by all accounts, Aumgn should ruin the record. It spends too many minutes lacking not only an end but also the sense of urgency which propelled the rhythms of the other songs. Drumbeats appear but promise no impact, until the last handful of minutes somehow pull the song out of the muck and save it. Peking O is another curiosity, its drive disappearing into a frantic affect. All that means that the double LP registers as slightly underworthy as far as pure runtime goes, too much plain old ambient. But also the kind of weird that gets under your skin as well as your ears.
I'm gonna do something I haven't done before and cast a spite vote. At the time of reviewing, this Krautrock gem is sitting at an average score of 2.86, below such piles of steaming crap as "Gentlemen" by the Afghan Whigs, Def Leppard's "Hysteria", that awful collab by Sinatra and Jobim, and sooo many others. 5 spiteful middle fingers to all you shitty music taste having plebs. 🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕
10/10 wow, so glad I’m listening to more of Can’s stuff they’re an extremely talented band
This is really scratching the prog rock itch, I really like it. Super groovy.
This was pretty sick
Not Can’s best album, but still fun nonetheless.
Wasn't paying attention until Halleluhwah. Then it became too chaotic to ignore.. still liked it.
Fucking slappppps too groovy tbh
Very influential and ahead of its time.
Really good stuff
Good record - still fresh and interesting
Really good side A dude b a bit to experimental for my taste
I don’t know that I am all that into the Korbut rock. I can see the appeal though
Yet another album that solidifies in my mind that 1971 would be the one year to pick if I had to choose only one year of music. Halleluwah! And throw a little Japanese in there for good measure. For all its intimations of spinning in circles until you're dizzy, I find myself rather inclined to recline and just mong out with this album. Listening to "Aumgn" is like being digested through the guts of the universe and shat out the butthole of space.
Hypno-psych-drone groove at its very best. Fresh as a psilocybin enhanced daisy, sprinkled with a mist of LSD for extra feels. Do it.
Love this, enough groove to hook you in, enough weird stuff to keep it interesting. One of the best drummers ever in my opinion. Only loses a mark as the last tracks are a bit too out there for me
Surprisingly listenable and relevant 50 years later. Listening to this, I can hear both contemporaries (like Yes and Magma) and unabashed descendants (Radiohead comes immediately to mind).
quite hard work to find the moments of genius that do pop up - dare to say you might need to have eaten a bunch of something special to full appreciate this
Weird, and it got weirder as it went on. Good stuff.
Yes that's great, excellent album, but it still doesn't make up for making me listen to that execrable garbage by 'Missy Elliot' yesterday.
Weird experimental music should not be this funky. This album makes later Avant/mainstream crossover stuff 30 years later look derivative (hi Radiohead) which is high praise indeed. Listing Stockhausen as an influence but sounding cool is quite a tightrope to walk. Is it a bit too difficult at times? Yep. The back end of Aumgn is just noises fed through a delay loop as far as I can tell - revolutionary in 1971, but that doesn't make it any more fun to listen to! But overall, for this level of experimental ambition to meet such a high level of listenability is VERY impressive.
Can is an incredible band that sound so far ahead of their time that it's mind boggling. The rhythms and cool melodies are at times accessible and at times otherworldly. The drumming on this album is virtuoso. Two of the longer songs are noise fests and unlistenable to me. This keeps this album from being 5 star entry. So for now 4 🌟
This was a little bit out of left field. Definitely can see this as very divisive, but personally I really enjoyed it (but then I like avant garde jazz and psychedelic rock). I want to give it a 4.5, but that's not an option.
I AM DAMO SUZUKI Prefs: Paperhouse, Mushroom, Oh Yeah, Halleluhwah, Bring Me Coffee Or Tea Moins pref: Aumgn
The parts of this I liked I really liked
Genre: Krautrock 4/5 It's 1971. Prog rock and art rock groups are pushing the envelope as far as it can go in terms of experimentation, and what we as listeners would consider standard song structures. When Can came on the scene, the true pioneers of Krautrock, the European-led music movement, heads were swiveled. Their unique take on rock and roll, articulately blending experimental rock with hints of psych, avant-garde, and even early tinges of proto-punk, catapulted Krautrock to mainstream ears. Tago Mago, Can's second album (but the first to feature Japanese vocalist Damo Suzuki), is a double LP that shocks and awes all throughout its runtime. A 75-minute record in the early 70s, especially for a Krautrock outfit, is something that was generally reserved for the big ticket sellers, but United Artists took their chance and won big. Recorded in a castle in Cologne, Germany, Can went to work jamming and improvising, and cutting their sessions together into more complete song ideas. Czukay, the group's bassist, also functioned as their engineer, and took full advantage of the acoustic environment that the castle grounds provided. The recordings were then grouped into two discs, one disc more rock-oriented, and the second disc more focused on sound collages and musique concrète. Paperhouse, the album's psych rock intro, is one of the band's best cuts, with touches of acid and funk rock, fully utilizing the full band's potential. The rest of the first disc is classic, and a really interesting look at the infancy of experimental rock, forging many paths for many musicians to follow. The second disc is heavy on the soft, with passages of free time music, mixed with ambient sounds and studio clips. It's very interesting to hear some of the ideas presented here, but the state it's in, the music doesn't lend itself to enjoyable repeat listens, as it's a bit more difficult to get around. Overall though, Can crushed it here. The passion for experimentation is felt in spades, and for the most part, this album is a trip worth taking.
Really great prog rock. If you would of given this to me in my 20s I would of been obsessed. 4/5 sometimes I like the weird but you can get to fucking weird sometimes too and they went there which made it a 4. Definitely checking out all their other stuff though.
Loved the first four tracks! Then it turned kind of soundscapey which felt unnecessary. Will probz do a lil more checking out of this band.
I've never listened to Can, but I love the experimental nature of this album. It's definite 70s arsed 70s, but man, the whiplash that some of the songs have - like Peking O - are awesome. I liked this way more than I thought I would.
Fantastical sonic journey.
One of the greatest albums of all time, with Can being one of the greatest bands of all time. Their music is sensational, the way that everyone plays their heart out.
Some of the second half gets a bit tiring but it's a really unique album and a great mix of incredibly tight grooves and absolute chaos
This is my first experience with band Can, apparently a prominent example of the quirky Krautrock genre. Never giving it much thought, I identify this genre with band Kraftwerk, probably just making the connection by similar names and German-based roots? I never paid any attention to this band either, so Tago Mago was my first try, approaching it with a clean sheet. And what a journey that was! Combining Krautrock with more traditional psychedelic rock made wonders on the opening track "Paperhouse". This song's energy came straight from the core - drum work. I imagine, that you could rotate everyone else from the band with a different, random musicians, and the song would still be as attractive and incredibly atmospheric. Energy of the beat, together with climactic bridges, was amplified by a funky and at times aggressive bass line and erratic, but original keyboard. Guitar and vocals by Mr. Suzuki lifted the song into another dimension, although from a distance, guitarist, singer and the rest of the band seem to be at a completely different wavelength. And yet, it works very well! First part of the album is consistent with this song, the tempo is high, flow is amazing, but by the records midpoint, we are slowly descending into madness, which in this case means total abstract and avant-garde regions of music. The momentum of the album so far gives you enough energy and necessary context to enjoy the second half. But for a neutral fan, that wants to 'check out this groovy band from 70s' by listening to, for example, "Peking O" then he is well on the way to dissapointment. It makes me think of myself, how many times did I choose a wrong track to listen to the band for the first time? Easy to make that mistake with a band like Can. In summary, if this album would be a real psychedelic trip, then after first euphoric experience, we would get real close to overdose by the end. But the trip is well worth it.
When I read about this, I thought, Oh-oh, what is krautrock? But it was pretty good it's just like normal rock, but it's German. With some bits in Japanese. And backwards.
Really interesting album albeit with some very industrial sounding parts
Absolutely legendary album. This band was so damn innovative it's insane.
I have a strong liking for psychedelic stuff, so this was perfect for me. I found it mainly really pleasant to go through, although some bits of Aumgn were possibly a little challenging to get around. The middle part of Peking O reminded me of the voices on the children's tv show Pingu, but I found that amusing. Favourites: Mushroom, Halleluhwah
By George, those drums! I’d give this album another listen just for the percussion. My musical ignorance astounds me - I’d never heard of this band or this album ever before. What a joy to find. Also, Thom Yorke - I see what you did.
Very good first half. The last 3 were a bit weird.
Really cool record. Some cool psych, funk, and jam-band moments on here. However, some songs dip a bit too far into the avant-garde, and that’s where this album suffers.
This is trippy and I love it. I only listened to the 3 first songs and did not touch the almost 20 minutes long tracks yet. This is an awesome experience so far. Looking forward for the rest. It becomes much much much more experimental in the second part of the albums. Some parts were hardly listenable in my opinion, but other were quite fresh and audacious. Peking O was peak wtf for me. The vibe is back on the last track. I think I like the part of the album that is more in the Psychedelic vibe. Great discovery though. Solid 4.25 / 5
I’m glad records like this exist.
I dug the fuck out of this.