30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1971's double-album masterpiece...,
This review is from: Tago Mago (Audio CD)
'Tago Mago' advanced on the climes established by 'Delay 1968','Monster Movie' & 'Soundtracks' and remains part of a trilogy of classics when Can were fronted by Damo Suzuki (the others being 'Ege Bamyasi' & 'Future Days'). It's an epic double-album that opens and closes on similar sounding tracks, between veering off into avant-garde directions which get stranger as the record progresses.
'Paperhouse' builds and builds from a funky-jazzy groove (that would become more apparent on 'Ege Bamyasi'), prior to shifting to the paranoid 'Mushroom', which would be covered by The Jesus & Mary Chain and sounds not unlike recent Primal Scream, where Damo hollers "I gotta keep my distance!" (or is it "I gotta keep my despair"? - it sounds like both...). 'Oh Yeah' builds on the strange-electronic-inflected grooves previously found on records by Can & precursors like The Beatles & The White Noise, again feeling like an odd groove with backwards-looped vocals that disorient (Can voyaging to inner space...). This peaks with the epic 'Halleluwah', which is thoroughly hypnotic, stretching a simple-groove over & over & predicting things like Happy Mondays ('Hallelujah') & The Stone Roses ('Fools Gold 9.53').
'Aumgn' is more out there, a minimal electronic based piece that some find unlistenable- it sounds somewhere between Stockhausen and Japan's 'Ghosts' and would fit on a compilation between 'The Visitations' & 'Beachy Head.' Things get odder with 'Peking-O', which starts off with sinister ambient electronics, then a vocal "driving..." that reminds me of both Ian Curtis & Jim Morrison, before shifting into loops and babble that some may find hilarious. 'Peking-O' is total avant-meltdown that sounds like chaos - so it makes sense that things calm and seem to come back to circular norm with 'Bring Me Coffee or Tea.'
'Tago Mago' remains one of those difficult albums frequently considered a classic, alongside such joys as 'Trout Mask Replica', 'Electric Ladyland', 'Rock Bottom', 'Star Sailor' & 'Hex Enduction Hour.' This album and Can would also influence (or could be argued to influence)many acts afterwards - PIL, The Fall, Stereolab, Japan, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Julian Cope, Happy Mondays, Tortoise, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, The Stone Roses, Joy Division/New Order, David Bowie, Death in Vegas, Primal Scream, (late period) Talk Talk, Spacemen 3, Suicide, Laurie Anderson etc. 'Tago Mago' is a record that rewards, and sounds better in this version than the prior Spoon-release, and one I come back to - though 'Ege Bamyasi' is probably a better introduction to the unfamiliar...