Sunday, October 01, 2006
Can - Tago Mago
Our album focus continues with a fucking heavyweight, epic LP, Can's Tago Mago. I'm trying to concentrate on albums that are frequently referenced without being widely heard. In other words, the stuff your pretentious friend namedrops to one up every one in the room.
Tago Mago is the real fucking deal, not just a hipster reference point. It's the first landmark album (thanks to iwornmyelbows in the comments for catching this mistake) from the German krautrock band Can, emerging from the chaos of the late 60s/early 70s to nearly destroy everything else being made at that time. It's a hard record to describe completely, as it covers so much ground and has within it the seeds for so much that comes later that it tends to overwhelm. First and foremost, it's a product of its time, clearly influenced by the psychedelic music going on in Europe and the States. The music stretches out into long, improvised jams, reminiscent of the Grateful Dead to these ears. There's lots of experimentation with sounds, an acid-y sensibility of fucking around and striving for strangeness, mainly on the second of the LP. Unfortunately, those songs are looooonnngggg, and I didn't think it right to upload so much music.
Of course, long, improvised songs also brings jazz comparisions to the table, specifically the free jazz that was taking hold in Europe. I don't know much about the German scene and the band's influences, but I would venture that the rise of the FMP label and the emergence of fellow countrymen like Peter Brotzmann had some impact. There aren't any sax blowouts on here, but the drumming by Jaki Liebezeit is very jazz influenced, fluid and relaxed, giving the band a little swing even at times.
What I've uploaded are the first two tracks and my two favorites, "Paperhouse" and "Mushroom." These show the funkier, more groove based band that would influence so much of what we cover here, from dance-punk to DJs to electronic music. I also should mention that the band does some tape edit work here, bringing them in line with the avant garde classical world of the time.The key for me in all of this is the bassist Holger Czukay, who keeps the whole thing together. These songs above sound so contemporary and wonderful to me; I totally see throwing these into the midst of a mix or DJ set and no one would miss a beat. Damo Suzuki should help those Mike Patton fans out there figure out where the hero came from, as Suzuki adds lots of intensity and craziness with his vocals.