Tangent - Collapsing Horizons

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:8 Release Date:2016-09-16

Whew. Tangent's new album, the aptly named Collapsing Horizons, is heavy. Not in a blazing guitar, smashing drums kind of way, but in a weighty, ponderous way. I can feel the gravitational pull of this music sucking me into its endless depths, and I just want to let go of the rope and fall, fall, fall. It's in the neighborhood of ambient, but it's more engaging, demanding, and insistent than most such music. This music locks eyes from across the room and won't let you look away.

The set opens with 'Perceived Horizon', a scratchy, scattered work, with lots of echo and space. It's like looking out at the stars from the basement window of a murder mansion. 'Dawn', the second song, feels more like the last sunset you'll ever see, with its ebbing warmth and heartbeat percussion. 'Gravitational Singularity' fools the listener by leading with a lighter synth melody, but brings in the heavy bass and crinkling effects soon enough.

'Tectonic Shift' is something of one, dropping the glitchy, staticky sound favored through the first chunk of the album, and switching to something altogether more majestic. The synth melodies have that 70s sci-fi feeling that I love so much, a tiny bit lo-fi but feeling huge at the same time. 'Hyperbolic Function' blends the big with the little, providing vast, empty soundscapes for a quiet, jittery synthline to traverse. Much of the work here is reminiscent of Test Shot Starfish, but tends more towards the hopeless than the merely spacey. There's a definite hint of Autechre here as well, but not quite as deconstructed. There's coherence to the work even at its creepiest.

The album also ventures into some very desolate, almost Mike Roach territory in places, especially on 'Fracture', which is just a series of layered drones, some soothing, some intricate and artificial, but all seemingly endless. 'Dissolution' does mostly the same thing, but decides to break out a tiny melody and a little percussion near its end. And the last track, 'Inward Collapse', feels just like that, with the walls closing in, everything crumbling to little metallic shards, and the blackness vacuuming it all up in crackling crunching chunks before the final plunge.

Collapsing Horizons is irresistible, much like a black hole. Gaze into this void, won't you, and let it gaze into you.

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