Friday, September 4, 2009

Carole's AOTW



The album is Can's 1971 meisterwerk Tago Mago.

It is really one of the oddest records I own. I think it is a work of genius, albeit one that probably would struggle to get released today. It was originally a double album on vinyl, but is a single CD.

The track listing tells us;

1. Paperhouse (7:28)
2. Mushroom (4:03)
3. Oh Yeah (7:23)
4. Halleluwah (18:32)
5. Aumgn (17.37)
6. Peking O (11.37)
7. Bring Me Coffee Or Tea (6.47)

This means not much, except that tracks 1-3 were side 1, tracks 4 and 5 were a side apiece and side 4 was the last two tracks.

The music is really like nothing else at all. It has repetitive drumming, scratchy, spiky guitars, weird sounds, screaming and moaning and various bits of piano and other keyboards.

I first knew it from a pub, of all places. When I was about 16 we used to go to a pub in Hackney called The Britannia, that is no longer there. We used to go there on Friday evenings and it was known as the local hippy and druggy pub. The DJ was a guy called Pete and he had an amazingly wide collection. He'd play everything from chart hits to hard rock, psychedelia, prog and folk.

After a while, the landlord asked him to make the music a bit more mainstream but gave him a Tuesday night spot for the weird stuff. It was a Tuesday when I first heard Can. He played Mushroom, probably the most accessible track on the album.

I never owned the album (I had a copy on a cassette for years) until I bought the CD a couple of years ago, but my friend Diane's older brother had it and he played it all the time. It was one of those "love it or hate it" albums and I used to hate the long weird tracks at first. It took a long time for me to like it, but eventually I did.

Apparently, John Lydon was (is?) a huge fan, you can see that if you listen to some of PiL's stuff.

It is in Dropbox

https://www.getdropbox.com/home#/Tago%20Mago%20%287%20tracks%29/

28 comments:

nilpferd said...

Thanks a lot for this Carole, I always meant to listen to this after JAP went on about them so much, but never really had much of an opportunity.

Abahachi said...

Great album - I have a mild preference for Ege Bamyasi, without being sure why - and good to be prompted to listen to it again. I still find it instructive to compare this, along with other Krautrock luminaries like Neu! and Kraftwerk, with the twaddle that was being produced in the UK and US on the basis of very similar 60s influences.

Big Mac and Flah said...

I have this record!! I adore the cover art! The music's good too - I will listen when i get home!

Shoey said...

Only one of the best albums of all time. Like Aba, I go back & forth over whether this or Ege is better. Doesn't matter, anyone who doesn't know this is in for a treat.

nilpferd said...

Um, Carole- could you look in the um.. er, that is to say, could you check if you really put Can in that place you said you were going to put it.. you know where.. because I checked and I can't find it..
Thanks..

CaroleBristol said...

I can see it, maybbe it needs to be in a different folder?

CaroleBristol said...

It is here

https://www.getdropbox.com/home#/Tago%20Mago%20%287%20tracks%29/

I'll amend the main article.

Proudfoot said...

I spent so long hearing about Can before I ever listened to it that I was a bit diasappointed when I first heard it. Like Beefheart though, it's a grower. I think I remember the Britannia but definitely NOT them playing Can. More like Carter USM and Ruff Ruff & Ready. My memory may be wonky though.

nilpferd said...

Carole, I think that's your personal part of Dropbox, could you try copying it into the RR Dropbox folder next to Ejaydee's AOTW Legiao Urbana.

ejaydee said...

Actually, feel free to delete that folder guys. Looking forward to hearing Tago Mago as a whole.

CaroleBristol said...

I don't think that I have access to the RR dropbox. I certainly can't see it from where I log on.

CaroleBristol said...

I have put it in my "public" folder

https://www.getdropbox.com/home#/Public/

nilpferd said...

Can you access this link?

https://www.getdropbox.com/share/RR%20dropbox#/RR%20dropbox

You are listed as a user on RR dropbox, so you should be able to log in.

ToffeeBoy said...

@ Carole - I;d love to hear this but I also can't access it. I was aware of Can in my prog-rock days but somehow they passed me by.

sharivari said...

It's a very good album. Like an absolute philistine, it took me a while to get into Tago Mago in my youth because of the similarity of some of the tracks, most obviously Halleluwah, to the Happy Mondays - a band i had very little time for. Clearly, that's like not appreciating The Beatles because they sound a bit like Oasis though and they won through in the end.

sourpus said...

I have to thank you too Carole for pointing me back to Tago Mago. I have to say, I didnt really like it first either, when I was about 15/16. It seems to sound more modern every year, which is quite a feat for a pop/rock recording, even in these Mojo days. Perhaps it simply because the 'direction' we've all been going in culturally since 1971 has remained the same in essence and Can tapped that essence. Quite apart from that though, its a hell of a recording with truly incredible sounds coming out of the speakers - more than the sum of its parts for sure.

Alongside albums like Safe as milk, The Velvet Underground and Nico and Forever Changes, Tago Mago still sounds contemporary but unlike those other albums, the year in which it was made (1971, wasnt it?) is far from my mind when I listen to it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Abahachi said...

GO AWAY!

Chris said...

It's in Spotify.
Another of those albums that I let pass by so I am listening now to make amends.

Chris said...

So far, quite interesting. A little too reliant on repetitive drumming for my taste but some good, inventive soundscapes. Halleluwah reminded me of Primal Scream. Probably a record that could be even better made today, with the technical advances made in the studio since 1971.

Proudfoot said...

Anonymous may be Damo Suzuki

Exodus said...

Funnily enough I listened to this album for the first time on spotify a couple of weeks ago. Can have always been one of those bands that I meant to investigate but never got round to - even though I was listening to Faust, Kraftwerk & Neu! in the late seventies/early eighties somehow Can never slipped in there - I think I was put off by people I knew who were fans who emphasised how 'difficult' they were. I've been using spotify recently as a way of catching up with some of those groups that I never got round to before. Having listened to a few Can albums over the last few weeks I have to agree that Ege Bamyasi has the edge for me, but this is really good.

Mark E Smith said...

I am Damo Suzuki

Japanther said...

aww...has it gone from DB already?.....this sounded like just my cup of tea

p.s. love the new look Blimpy!

ejay said...

The dropbox link never worked for me, can somebody put it back there please?

TatankaYotanka said...

Hey great work Carole, John Lydon reforms PiL after reading t' SPiLL.
I haven't listened to this for years and am enjoying the prompt. In one of those strange examples of Spillchronicity, a friend who was at the Offset Festival at the weekend sent me this review last Sunday.

I know you're fond of the improv experience, so I thought I'd share my enthusiasm for Damo Suzuki (ex Can singer of course) whom I saw at yesterday's Offset Festival. He not only improvises but makes the point of playing with groups of people whom he has sometimes never met - you can sign up on his website for future gigs and he gets in touch when he's in town. It was obvious from the way he was greeting people when he met them yesterday that he had never clapped eyes on some of them before. The gig was astonishing - over an hour of psychadelic battery which was as intense a gig experience as I've had in years. Being down the front meant that I could see the interplay of the musicians and it was like watching an hour of the middle bit of Lemmings, with musicians looking for cues from each other. I realise this is probably what happens at all improv gigs but that goes to show by inexperience of this area I suppose.It looks like he's playing again at the Underbelly in Hoxton on 30/9 (tickets are on sale for this day from ticket agencies but his website is confusing) and I'm keen to revisit this experience. Given your interest in this area I thought I'd alert you in case either of you are interested.

I'm interested!

Proudfoot said...

What have you got in that paper bag?
Is it a dose of amphetamine sulphate?
Aint got no time for Eastern medicine
I am Malk E. Smissu!

Japanther said...

well, thanks Carole (and big big thanks to Mnemonic) I absolutely LOVED this, I literally can't believe it's from 1971! It sounds really up to date and fits in perfectly with my love of psychedelic noise, great stuff........ah....another genre for me to investigate, although it is one i've been meaning to look into for a few years now but have never got around to ..