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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great anniversary edition of one of the best albums ever made!, 14 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Tago Mago (Audio CD)
Many Can fans (me included) regard Tago Mago - originally released on double vinyl 40 years ago today - as the group's finest achievement. I think it is among the four or five best records of all time.

This nicely-packaged 40th Anniversary edition represents perhaps the definitive version of this masterwork.

First of all the music. On Disc One we have both original vinyl LPs on one CD. This is the excellent band-supervised 2004 master, which sounds clear, powerful and dynamic. As to the music - well, for Can fans this needs no introduction. It's some of the finest music made in the 20th century. There are some interesting reviews of the music here: [...]

For the uninitiated, apart from "Aumgn" (a whirling dark maelstrom of sound that's quite scary with the lights off) and "Peking O" (insane Dada-ist cut-ups), Tago Mago is surprisingly accessible: envelope-pushing music than can be approached without fear. The 18-minute "Halleluwah" is the album's stand-out track, a monster funk groove featuring unbelievable drumming from Jaki L.

On Disc Two we have some previously-unreleased live material from 1972. Live, Can were fantastic - every song or piece was open-ended, an improvised journey. Nothing was ever played the same way twice. First off is a "Mushroom" completely different in mood, tempo, tone and just about everything else from the studio version. Next up, a superb 30-minute "Spoon" from the famous 1972 free concert, which starts of fairly conventionally and then embarks on a remarkable musical journey, all the while underpinned by Jaki Liebezeit's superb drumming. Lastly, an almost laid-back, short but super-funky "Halleluwah" (faded out unfortunately).

All three tracks are presented in decent (if not super-hi-fi) quality and easily bear repeated listening.

Finally, the packaging. You get a 16-page booklet which has a few nice pics but which is rather unilluminating. This is the only disappointing aspect of the package. There are pointless self-indulgent anecdotes from various fans: To be honest, I'm not sure anyone but a rabid Primal Scream fan is interested to know Bobby Gillespie's thoughts on TM or jamming with Jaki and Michael. I can't see anyone except Duncan Fallowell being interested in Duncan Fallowell talking about his favourite subject... Duncan Fallowell. I'd rather have heard from the band themselves, or learned something about the making of the album. It's also annoying that we don't get to learn where and when the live tracks were recorded (although I can make a decent guess by referring back to bootlegs). The two CDs are contained in a mini-LP gatefold sleeve and the whole lot is wrapped in a card box that reproduces the album's original 1972 UK LP packaging.

If you're a Can fan, I can recommend this version totally. For anyone else, especially the uninitiated, I say why not give it a go? It's not easy-listening a la Genesis, but it is some of the most daring, dynamic, astonishing music you'll ever hear.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Nov 2011 12:35:10 GMT
S. Dinsdale says:
I totally agree with your comment about Bobby Gillespie etc, what next, the guitarist from Kasabian? I'm surprised they haven't got a quote from that asshat out of Franz Ferdinand who seems to think he is the world authority on everything.

Posted on 15 Nov 2011 12:39:12 GMT
S. Dinsdale says:
Your comment about the origin of the live tracks is also interesting. Plainly it is NOT the `Can Free Concert' already issued on DVD, but is in fact an exact reproduction of the WDR `Nachtmusik' 1972 off air recording which has been doing the rounds for at least 25 years.

Posted on 15 Nov 2011 18:47:38 GMT
There is a terrible prejudice against writers at the extreme wing of band followers. If you want technical stuff on the music, that's fine but it's something else. I was simply giving a personal evocation of the band for a wider world. Entirely legit - so don't be so narrow-minded. Best, Duncan Fallowell

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Nov 2011 10:30:21 GMT
:-)

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Nov 2011 19:40:25 GMT
The Kevster says:
Hello Duncan

As a professional writer myself, I can't say that I'm in any way prejudiced against writers - I love 'em in fact. Nor would I say I was on the "extreme wing" of Can followers. I've nothing against attempts at evocation but they are quite difficult to pull off and in this particular case I don't think you managed it.

As a writer you should know by now that you cannot expect universal acclaim if you put your work into the public domain - there's always someone who doesn't like what you do. I thought your contribution to the booklet was a bit pointless and boring and more about you than Can. Given your uniquely long and close relationship with the band, I thought it was a shame you didn't write something more insightful. I saw your piece as a bit of a wasted opportunity.

I'm sure that as a broad-minded person you'd defend my right to express an opinion.

Best

K

PS - Nowhere did I mention that I wanted "technical stuff" by the way. Just a few insights into the band's creative processes.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Dec 2011 23:35:47 GMT
All that you ask for has already been written by me and is out there on the net - extensively. This was specifically about my historical involvement with Tago Mago for an historical release
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