Tangents – Timeslips & Chimeras

Australian improvising ensemble Tangents return with a ‘twin’ release that sees 2020’s Timeslips complemented with a second album, Chimeras. The Timeslips tracks, which were released in digital-only form under the subdued circumstances of the first COVID wave, are remastered and reissued in the newly merged Timeslips & Chimeras package, receiving a full release on 2xLP, CD, and all digital platforms. Timeslips & Chimeras marks the third Tangents release issued through the iconic Brooklyn label Temporary Residence Ltd. (home to Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky, MONO, William Basinski and more).

The two albums were created in tandem, with much of the material recorded in one day at Sydney’s Free Energy Device Studios in 2018. Timeslips leans towards more literal takes on the studio-improvised material, with Tangents’ usual blend of ambiguous post-production treatment. Chimeras expands into more constructed passages of iterated overdubs, lo-fi electric jams, additional studio takes and splintered extracts from the Timeslips sessions, offering more extreme twists, turns and stylistic variation through doomy rock and dub drones, ecstatic superjazz and abstract collages.

This landmark double release comes 3 years after the release of New Bodies, the Australian Music Prize nominated album which thrust Tangents’ peculiar blend of improvisation and precision production into the international spotlight, a record which, says Grayson Haver Currin of Pitchfork, “overflows with sensations — of being overpowered and delighted, of being buoyed up and washed away by Tangents’ seemingly endless ideas”.

More tension and intention pervades Timeslips & Chimeras, demonstrating a thoughtful maturation of improvisational ideas and more abstracted and purposeful production. With breathtaking, rhythmic drumming and skilful production driving the various moods, Timeslips & Chimeras emerges from an even more intense interaction between live playing and carefully constructed compositions. The brittle skittering mallets of “Exaptation”, raucous guitar of “Debris” and processed trumpet of “Vessel” add new timbres to their existing palette of jazz drums, melancholy piano, throbbing cello and swirling glitched ambiences. The tonal rumble of a 100-carriage coal train winding through New South Wales’ Bylong Valley signals the first half of the double album’s slow close, recalling Tangents’ earlier references to the Australian environment in New Bodies and Stateless, before the second half picks up on a new tack: “Lilliputian” carves an upbeat path through growling drones into an ecstatic techno-infused anthem. “Ossicles” revisits Tangents’ penchant for deep, almost dubstep, grooves. “Lost Track” is a bizarre detour into elated jazz melodics. “Timeslip” radically deconstructs the band with pitch-shifts, cut-ups and decontextualized performances, while “Chimera” further smears the live improvisations into ambient jazz and hints at acoustic dub, before “Wonder” signs out with pulsating organ, spurts of mutant cello, and empty beats.

Tangents formed in Sydney in 2010 and released their debut album “I” in 2013, a recording of their first ever meeting and live show. Follow-up albums Stateless (2016) and New Bodies (2018), and linked singles and EPs, explored a style of post-produced live improvisation that marked the group’s distinct blend of electronic, jazz, rock and new music-inspired styles. Amidst other international recognition, New Bodies was nominated for the Australian Music Prize in 2018. Their latest release, Timeslips & Chimeras, continues their studio recording journey after a detour into intensive live performance (idiosyncratically captured in a cramped radio studio on the Risk Reaps Reward EP) and a major digital art installation, Spiral, at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. The record continues their relationship with New York label Temporary Residence through the challenges of music production in the Covid-19 era. Tangents are Ollie Bown, Evan Dorrian, Peter Hollo and Adrian Lim-Klumpes. Sia Ahmad is a former member whose work continues through the Timeslips & Chimeras production period.


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