Friday, September 4, 2009
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