Tago Mago

Can (1971)

Let’s get it out of the way at the start: ¼ of this record is atonal, difficult, pointless experimental jamming. But where would the 1970s be without atonal, difficult, pointless experimental jamming?? It’s certainly an important facet of rock music, like it or not. And it has its best, most interesting representation here, in the lunatic droning and noisemaking of “Aumgn” and “Peking O”. Tago Mago is an experimental masterwork, predicting numerous genres and aesthetics by freaking out and stretching music to its limits. “Paperhouse”, “Halleluwah”, and “O Yeah” are transcendental, incredible, multifaceted grooves with extremely talented players on all fronts (with the possible exception of nonsense-shrieking vocalist Damo Suzuki, though he’s pretty entertaining). Once you get past what only appears to be endless stasis and repetition, the songs become canvases for improvisation, colorful melodies, mood shifts, and general chaos. That’s the epitome of the Krautrock style, right there. And “Mushroom” boils its essence down to a succinct four minutes. Finally, there’s the pensive, swirling “Bring Me Coffee Or Tea” to return the listener to the real world from the brink of madness. This album is a trip; it may be a confusing and exhausting one at times, but it’s well worth taking, as it’s a rosetta stone for all of modern-day music.

Key tracks: “O Yeah”, “Halleluwah”

See also: Soundtracks – Can (1970), Ege Bamyasi – Can (1972), Future Days – Can (1973), Soon Over Babaluma – Can (1974)

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