Exposé Online banner

Can — Tago Mago
(Spoon 40SPOON6/7, 1971/2011, 2CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 2017-05-04:

Tago Mago Cover art

The 40th Anniversary version of Tago Mago (an album I wrote about in my second tier) came out in 2011 as a 2CD limited edition and disappeared soon thereafter, unfortunately in this time period I didn't even know it existed and it has appreciated considerably. Can was one of those groups with an extensive archive of live and studio material, we've had Lost Tapes and BBC Sessions and lots of stuff from the Can Box and then there's also a wealth of video material — and honestly most of it's quite amazing. Like the Grateful Dead, Can never really played any composition the same way twice and on the second disc of this set you're given three live 1972 pieces in extraordinary quality sound, including a 30 minute "Spoon." It's clear the band was at quite a peak by this point in their career, wildly experimental yet quite tight at the same time. The only wonder is why this disc wasn't filled out a bit more, but perhaps anything more would have detracted from the power of this music.


by Mike McLatchey, 2016-09-15:

McLatchey's Second Tier

The first Can I heard when I was in high school was Future Days. At the time, finding any of the earlier albums wasn't particularly easy, so I had to wait until the band's first reissue wave to finally hear Tago Mago, which already had a legendary reputation. It's a bit weird talking about this, as the most recent Can to my ears is the phenomenal 3CD Lost Tapes, which was like a gift when it came out, all these incredible outtakes that hadn't been heard for years thanks to the band's largely improvisational style — it spent months in my rotation. Tago Mago did really live up to the hype when I first heard it. It's a child of the psychedelic era, like a lot of music from the early 80s, but what Can did with those influences was completely different from a lot of their contemporaries. Some of it was Damo Suzuki's stream of consciousness vocals, some of it was the extremely tight, incessant drumming, and I think a lot of it was also the need to experiment with the instrumental tones in and out of the studio and the music post recording. In a way it's not really surprising that the album Ege Bamyasi followed, with its almost pop-like lengths and tighter songs, as Tago Mago was quite sprawling and at times exceedingly experimental and strange, almost exhaustingly so in places. I'm not even sure you'd normally call Can a cosmic band but they definitely went to some timeless places on this album. I'd guess everyone probably has a different favorite Can album but with songs like "Paperhouse," "Mushroom," and the fantastic "Halleluwah" this one will always be mine.


Filed under: Reissues , 2011 releases, 1971 releases

Related artist(s): Can, Damo Suzuki, Holger Czukay

More info

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music festival world, and music festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Amygdala - Amygdala – The brutal apocalyptic menace of the opener “Utrecht” could be described as a four-way collision between Univers Zero (that “chamber” sound), Magma (the rumbling, growling basses), Present...  (2004) » Read more

Peter Blegvad - Downtime Etc. – After Peter Blegvad’s first two solo albums (The Naked Shakespeare in 1983 and Knights Like This from 1985) failed to make much money for his record label, the former Slapp Happy songwriter...  (2002) » Read more

Klaus Schulze - Revisited Records Reissues, Part 1 – Revisited Records continues its reissue of the Klaus Schulze back catalog with another 12 CDs. I haven’t quite figured out their rationale, but they are releasing 12 a year covering the...  (2008) » Read more

Nodo Gordiano - Nodo Gordiano – Quotes on the back cover from Banco, PFM, Arti & Mestieri, Balletto di Bronzo, and John Wetton may seem gratuitous at first, but there’s a reason for it: Nodo Gordiano is a hot new band that...  (2002) » Read more

Liquid Tension Experiment - Liquid Tension Experiment – Having lost interest in Dream Theater after their second album many years ago, this writer wasn’t certain what to expect from an instrumental collaboration between two guys from that band...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues