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Alan Warner: Tago Mago

Pocket-size Can fan letter.

As one of the great experimental rock landmarks, Can’s 1971 masterpiece Tago Mago, which made contemporaneous Floyd and Hawkwind records sound sedate, is also the band’s bestselling album. It deserves its own book and receives a warmly eloquent tribute in the hands of Scottish novelist Alan Warner (Morvern Callor, The Deadman’s Pedal).

In keeping with the compact 33 13 series, Warner recounts his relationship with this seminal album, vividly recalling growing up as a vinyl junkie in Scotland, discovering Can in the import bins, and the life-shaping impact of their music, which extended into his novels.

He comes into his own when breaking down tracks with microscopic detail, thrusting his theories at Can members, whose replies reveal secrets such as the groundbreaking editing used to construct panoramic voyages such as Halleluwah and Oh Yeah.

Further insights include Can manager Hildegard Schmidt being responsible for Tago Mago stretching to a double album, drummer Jaki Liebezeit living on an Ibiza beach facing the real island of Tagomago in the 60s, and mild-mannered Irmin Schmidt wrecking the studio during one blowout./o:p

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!