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(46:18, Viajero Inmovil Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Ansiedad 6:37 2. Circulos Concentricos 3:51 3. Mundos Paralelos 5:32 4. Siete Pulsos 4:40 5. El Castillo 4:00 6. Metamorfosis 3:46 7. Dos Dimensiones 4:35 8. Insomnio 4:04 9. Marquesinas 4:53 10. Nova Lisboa-II 4:14 LINEUP: Eduardo Ferreyra – el. & ac. guitars Luis Colucci – bass; synthesizers Damian Lois – flute; keyboards Ignacio Martinez – drums
Prolusion. The Argentinean quartet TANGER, which has celebrated its tenth anniversary this year, is one of the most stable contemporary South American prog-rock collectives – in terms of creativity and personnel alike. “Mendos Parallelos” is their fourth release to date, following “Ciudad” (2006), “La Otra Cara” (2002) and their self-titled debut effort from 2000.
Analysis. With no traces of classical or heavy music (both of which determine much of the sound of Tanger’s previous album) nor any avant-garde tendencies (which, in turn, seem to have sunk into oblivion a rather long time ago already) this, their latest, offering reveals the backbone of their previously polymorphous style. But don’t be alarmed at this remark, readers: it doesn’t mean there are any signs of decadence in this creation, not in the least. I believe “Mendos Parallelos” reflects the band’s decision to assimilate their style into vintage jazz-tinged Symphonic Progressive of the European-school, and the result is overall highly impressive, the recording falling squarely into the idiom almost in its entirety. The ten instrumental tracks here all have a comparatively lush sound based on guitars, drums, flute and bass, with only occasional keyboards, although bassist Luis Colucci and flutist Damian Lois are both heralded as keyboard players also. Apparently recorded live in the studio, at least for the most part, the compositions aren’t overloaded with the corresponding values and so aren’t that dense, but it doesn’t matter at all, especially since the majority of them are truly interesting pieces, showcasing the players’ talent to improvise over composed themes without repeating their own soloing lines, let alone those by their partners. All in all, the music appears to be four-dimensional almost everywhere on the disc, and upon the first spin it was at times quite difficult to follow the proceedings. Seven of the tracks, Ansiedad, Circulos Concentricos, Siete Pulsos, Insomnio, El Castillo and Metamorfosis, are creations of practically the same compositionally-stylistic approach, all standing out for their thematically as well as structurally manifold arrangements, with many turns-along-with-pace-changes, and so on. A well-balanced alloy of purely symphonic and quasi-fusionary textures, the music is almost ever-changing, slightly reminiscent of a cross between classic Camel and Focus, though guitarist Eduardo Ferreyra from time to time takes on the technique Robert Fripp has invented not long before King Crimson’s third coming, in 1981. When listening to El Castillo and Metamorfosis I was also reminded of the Eagles (the memorable guitar solo that runs all through the last third of the title song of “Hotel California”, to be more precise) and Wishbone Ash, respectively. The last of these pieces is a sole track where keyboards are used widely – and effectively too, thus depicting another facet of the talent of Damian Lois, who switched over from flute to electric piano here. The title track and Dos Dimensiones are basically slow throughout, but are surprisingly diverse compositions. Ranging from very gentle, seemingly airy and fragile, moves up to distinctly hard ones, they are probably the richest in textural contrasts. With Ferreyra and Lois at times performing exclusively as a duo, delivering some exquisite interplay between acoustic guitar and flute, well, both the pieces have episodes which bring to mind “Bay of Kings”, a joint effort by Steve Hackett and his brother John, while otherwise both only evoke Camel’s “Nude”. The recording ends with Nova Lisboa-II, which is its only track I’m not too enthusiastic about. If most of its primary-style pieces find Ferreyra only occasionally straying into King Crimson territory, this one sounds a lot like a tribute to this English band and only the flute saves it from falling completely into the category of clones. Hopefully this King Crimson-style rehash of the eponymous piece from Tanger’s first outing won’t be a point of stagnation re the future work of the band.
Conclusion. While being Tanger’s most melodious album to date, “Mendos Parallelos” is for the most part inferior to its predecessors only in terms of complexity and is almost in every respect a remarkable effort in general. Full of artistic flair and inspiration, carefully designed and perfectly delivered, this CD should please anybody who values symphonic Art-Rock with some-to-glaring fusionesque tendencies. I only regret the band has added Nova Lisboa-II to what otherwise would have been almost a masterpiece.
PS: While expecting no mercy from the endless process of growing older (etc) that’s called life, I still enjoy it, in many ways thanks to progressive music. Hopefully our beloved genre, which is a coeval of many of us, will have a better lot than a human being: It’s so sad to realize that those who gave birth to it are currently leaving us more and more frequently, becoming part of the history of their brainchild.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: December 10, 2008
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