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on 19 September 2010
A lot of the rock music that came out of West Germany in the decade 1965-75 was entirely independent of developments in the form that were happening elsewhere. There were a number of possible reasons for this, but the end result remains that rock has rarely sounded so rebellious, so free of precedents. Not for the likes of Can, early Tangerine Dream, early Kraftwerk, both Amon Duuls the preliminaries to elevation to the rock aristocracy, oh no. These boys and girls were seemingly intent on rebellion, and they made music accordingly.

In lesser hands the double album, which is what TM was in its original incarnation, would have been an excuse for all sorts of self-indulgent toss, but Can came from another place, perhaps another planet.

Listen to `Oh Yeah' and wonder what the hell they were thinking of. The band's drummer Jaki Liebezeit was originally a jazz drummer -prior to joining Can he'd worked with trumpeter Manfred Schoof- but here he plays like a glorified metronome behind `singer' Damo Suzuki's unintelligible babble while keyboard player Irmin Schmidt provides the sonic brooding only for the whole thing to break out on what in effect is no more than a one (bent) note guitar solo (okay so Slim Harpo's `I'm A King Bee' also features a one (straight) note solo but this is probably the only time when a reference to the blues is pertinent when it comes to Can)

Mind you, the locked-in groove of `Halleluwah' (wasn't this called `Hallewah' on that double album?) is as close as Can ever get to being a `beat combo' prior to a bit of sonic swelling the like of which a lot of the hippies wouldn't have countenanced, but then Can's Anglo-American counterparts were coming out of a far less blighted immediate past.

Still the fact remains that TM sounds like nothing on earth even after all these years, perhaps not even some other Can album. For that reason alone it retains its allure, but it also has in its favour the fact that it embodies what rock music can be when people put their minds to it. The fact that so few do these days is an insight into how times change.
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on 13 November 2014
memories what memories the only can album i didnt buy on original vinyl /envelope sleeve worth a fortune extra tracks wonderful compensation 17 year old son doesnt understand yet
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VINE VOICEon 28 April 2005
According to Julian Cope, "Every member of Can is a hero, a wizard and a truestar". According to The Rough Guide to Rock, "There is a significant lobby among fans and musicians that Can were the greatest band ever." With that sort of unrestrained praise to live up to, Can can't fail to disappoint. But for the most part, they don't, although it does take a few listens to get on their wavelength (especially Damo Suzuki's unconventional vocals).

Tago Mago - a double vinyl album in 1971 - certainly starts inauspiciously, with Suzuki intoning ponderously over the plodding, clunky couple of verses that begin 'Paperhouse'. But Karoli's delicate guitar breaks suggest something better, and when the song veers off, the band soars into a wonderful dimension of lyrical guitar and insistent jazzy rhythm.

I'll leave the hollow industrial sound of 'Mushroom', with Suzuki's wordless shouting, to the cognoscenti; it does nothing for me. But 'Oh Yeah', with its reversed rhythms and vocal, is a shimmering masterpiece. Then 'Halleluhwah' ushers in 18 minutes of groove, underpinned by the wonderfully disciplined drumming of Jaki Liebezeit - for me the hero of this album, along with guitarist Michael Karoli.

A similarly mellifluous piece closes the album, but before that come 'Aumgn' and 'Peking-O', which are strange beasts indeed - more like the 'difficult' non-music favoured by 70s prog groups. To suggest, as one reviewer has, that this was totally unique and original, is not quite true. Gong and Hawkwind, in their dishevelled hippy ways, were fumbling in the same areas, and that violin sound can be heard on Mick Farren's Carnivorous Circus, but the philosophical discipline that carries 'Aumgn' through a whole side of vinyl is hugely impressive. The theme of primal superstition is superbly rounded off by a six-minute climax of rhythmic, trance-inducing drumming.

On first listen, I felt Suzuki marred 'Halleluhwah' when, half way through the track, he comes in with a loud 'OH!', as if someone has poked him in the ribs to remind him that, as vocalist, he had better contribute soon or he won't be getting paid. He then starts to recite the track listing of side one before subsiding into silence.

Although Schmidt and Czukay are the more famous members, and Suzuki even has a Fall song named after him, in terms of pure performance it is Karoli with his delicate guitar work and Liebezeit with his sophisticated yet simple rhythms who really carry Tago Mago.

The greatest band ever? I'm still not sure, but I played this from beginning to end almost every day in the month since I bought it.
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on 13 April 2014
...mainly because the ultra-heavy original UK cover is reproduced (Damo's hair!) & because of the live tracks.
The original studio LP is a landmark in contemporary music. Don't let revisionist prog-snobs tell you otherwise.
The live stuff is hairs standing up on your arms quality. Maybe you heard some of it on a bootleg somewhere.
If you can't find this edition + you don't own the original studio tracks in any format, go remedy. Immediately.
Music beyond my powers to describe adequately. A unique recording, a unique group. Rest in peace, Michael.
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on 1 April 2013
It will be after listening to this.
Motorik. Mesmerik. Mushroomik. Tago Magoik. Oh Yeah.
Mine's a coffee thanks.
Don't listen and drive.
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on 9 December 2014
very good album
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on 8 May 2016
this dutch seller has super service,
very impressed indeed
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on 22 January 2016
Superb LP.
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on 1 January 2016
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VINE VOICEon 25 January 2017
Autumn 1974 and I'd just started as a Saturday boy in a UK 'Top End' HiFi shop, selling huge speakers, some from the US and feeling like a kid in a sweet shop. We had a large semi-pro reel-to-reel tape deck on dem and one of the reels had a side of an album on it - all one track. That track was Halleluhwah and I was promptly hooked for life. Purchase of the complete double LP album followed and I was forcibly drawn into the incredible soundscapes this band created. The early CD release sounds as though someone turned the treble up and bass down - they probably did as I suspect the source tape was set and eq'd for vinyl cutting. I believe this is now corrected on current digital releases on Spoon.

The death of drummer Jaki Leibezeit a few days ago has upset me greatly. I immediately returned to this album as this was my introduction to this amazing and timeless band and played it all through again - in 2017, still an incredible experience.

Maybe because I'm getting on a bit now, but I really wonder if truly ground-breaking music as this was in 1971 or so is still being made. I shall have to look up the later solo works from former Can members I reckon as I kind of lost touch with them in the early 80's.
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