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

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Dave Weckl Band - The Rhythm of the Soul – Back when I was in college, Weckl was God to every star-struck drummer who ever picked up a pair of sticks. His years behind the kit in both of Chick Corea's bands allowed him ample opportunity to...  (1999) » Read more

Ex-Vagus - Ames Vagabondes – Ex-Vagus is a French prog rock quintet (bass, drums, keyboards, vocals, and guitars) that would fit well in the Musea stable of French artists (Ange, Pulsar, etc.). Ames Vagabondes is their third...  (2008) » Read more

Tyrannosaurus Rex - Early reissues – Here we have the long-awaited reissue of Marc Bolan’s earliest recordings, back when Tyrannosaurus was spelled out in full and electric guitars were unusual coloring rather than the foundation...  (2001) » Read more

Imagin'Aria - La Tempesta – La Tempesta opens with a bit of an attitude, with an in-your-face rocker that almost manages to betray their distant past as a metal band while not really being a metal song. Forming in the 80s...  (2002) » Read more

Rational Diet - On Phenomena and Existences – This is the fourth time out for this seven-piece chamber-rock ensemble from Belarus, their third in three years for AltrOck, a great label that seems to be able to do no wrong. Featuring drums,...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues