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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 skillful 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.
3. Old Organs
9. Lost Track