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(43 min, Viajero Inmovil)
TRACK LIST: 1. Avenida 3:51 2. Luna Urbana 5:37 3. Entorno 4:46 4. Plaza Mayor 4:10 5. Cortada 3:24 6. Pasacalle y Fugazetta 5:49 7. Mascaras 4:13 8. Ferrocapril 7:12 9. Ochava 4:30 PERSONNEL: Luis Colucci - bass; synthesizers Damian Lois - flutes Eduardo Ferreyra - guitars Ignacio Martinez - drums
Prolusion. "Ciudad" is the third studio album by Argentinean band TANGER, following on "La Otra Cara" (2002) and their eponymous debut from 2000. The group's configuration hasn't changed since their inception and is still a quartet; however their current lineup includes two newcomers - Eduardo Ferreyra (instead of original guitarist Ignacio Lois) and Ignacio Martinez (who has replaced Julian De Ambrosio behind the drum kit).
Analysis. Until now, I saw Tanger's creative credo as "blending together various progressive rock genres with Classical and - occasionally - Avant-garde academic music". It would be wrong to say that they sound completely unrecognizable on "Ciudad", but nevertheless only three of this disc's nine instrumental compositions, namely Avenida, Mascaras and Ferrocapril, are more or less strongly reminiscent of their previous work. The first track, Avenida, perhaps best of all reflects the group's creative past, additionally serving as a blueprint for how to mark a piece with striking contrasts. Made up of such two different genres as progressive Doom Metal and Classical music, this piece is just abundant in conflicting themes, revealing also a lot of pace shifts and odd meters, as well as many dramatic transitions, the group now jumping from style to style, now merging both the idioms into one cohesive whole. The music is more often heavy than otherwise, but even at its hardest moments, the classical component very frequently comes from inside - usually in the form of flute, for sure. On the next five tracks Tanger performs pure Classical music (perhaps from scores) by means of symphonic Art-Rock, sounding very much like a chamber ensemble - no matter that most of their instrumentation suggests something different. Okay, on each of the two that follow the opening cut, Luna Urbana and Entorno, the heavy guitar riffs occasionally make an attempt to change the direction, but the 'classical entities' almost immediately appear on their way, making a stand for their vital interest. The next three, Plaza Mayor, Cortada and Pasacalle y Fugazetta, as well as the concluding piece, Ochava, are each free even of a hint of hardness, Cortada featuring no other guitars apart from acoustic ones. No unison parts or those in 5th etc, no distinct changes of tempo or theme either on any of these six - just an endlessly developing interplay between guitar(s), flute, bass and drums where each of the instruments has its own special role in the formation of this complex, yet transparent, very beautiful and original music all alike. Comparison can be made only on the latent quasi-structural level and only regarding the five with the electric guitar involved. It would be a cross between "Snow Goose" by Camel and Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" (think Mekong Delta's interpretation). Mascaras and Ferrocapril, following one another just before the last track, each display a rather strong departure from the primary style, especially the former where the classical constituent exists only in its latent form. This is a rockingly dynamic tune somewhat reminding me of Jethro Tull. The latter is a cunningly made composition, beginning as swinging Jazz Rock, but later on it steadily changes its appearance (like a snake shedding its old skin) and finally assumes the distinct outline of what is the essence of this amazing recording.
Conclusion. Natural compositional thinking absolutely free of destructive tendencies "to be like someone", the ability to integrate different ideas into a single cohesive whole, and masterful performance have always been typical of Tanger, and this their new recording is no exception to that rule. What is more, "Ciudad" displays that the band is still continuing to progress, and although I slightly regret no schizoid elements of Avant-garde music this time around, I assure you, dear readers, this is definitely their best effort to date and is a highly interesting listening adventure in general. Top-20-2006
VM: February 8, 2006
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