Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Monday 2 May 2022

Bank Holiday Monday's Long Song

In 1971 Can recorded Tago Mago, an album made up almost entirely of long songs- only Mushroom is concise coming in at just over four minutes. The rest of the album ranges from the just under seven minutes of Bring Me Coffee Or Tea to the eighteen minutes of Halleluhwah with a total of over seventeen minutes for Aumgn and Paperhouse and Oh Yeah both going over the seven minute mark. The album is built around the drumming of Jaki Liebezeit, whose unique and brilliant style both come from and rejected jazz and rock. The first disc (on vinyl) has three songs- Paperhouse, Mushroom and Oh Yeah- 

On Halleluhwah he sets up a perfect rhythm, clattering and precise, loose and funky, which he maintains with only minor detours and variations for the entire eighteen and a half minutes. The rest of the musicians- Micahael Karoli, Irwin Schmidt and Holger Czukay- circle around him, the guitar, keys/ violin and bass finding their own space in relation to the drums. Damo Suzuki then finds his own space for his vocals somewhere in on top/ underneath/ beside. The song was improvised and played as a group, and like the rest of the album recorded onto two two track tape recorders, with Czukay editing afterwards. Liebezeit's drumming is at the centre of Halleluhwah- a minimal, hypnotic, mesmeric groove. It- the drumming, the song and the album- sound like nothing else that was happening in 1971, in West Germany or anywhere else, one of those moments where a group make something new that is completely theirs. 



The Swede said...

Couldn't agree more. It sounds like nothing else that was happening in 1971...and very little that's happened in the subsequent half century. What a magnificent piece of music.
(Not sure if it's me, but the playback froze almost exactly one minute before the end of the tune)

Swiss Adam said...

I'll have to check the file Swede, maybe it didn't rip fully. Hope it didn't spoil anyone's enjoyment too much.

Khayem said...

Link was fine when I visited this morning. Thanks for sharing, Adam.

It cannot really compare to the original, but there's a lovely version circa 1995 by Spirit Feel featuring Claudia Brücken & Susanne Freytag from Propaganda.