Tanger - s/t. 1999 private
Tanger - La Otra Cara. 2002 Viejero Inmovil
Tanger - Ciudad. 2006 Viejero Inmovil
Tanger - Mundos Paralelos. 2008 Viejero Inmovil
It appears that Tanger's last activity was in 2015. Hopefully they continue on.
Since Tanger practically defines the objectif principal of this blog, I thought it would be a good place to experiment with a slight different format. Besides, I couldn't possibly come up 4 different reviews/sketches/musings... whatever. Why? Because in the 9 years between their first and last release, little has changed in their approach to music. If you like one, you are likely to enjoy them all.
As for the obcurity of the band, our website Gnosis has pretty decent representation. Gnosis is made up of mainly hardcore progressive and underground rock collectors, and Tanger hit the radar early with mail-order availability from Greg Walker along with coverage in the always excellent magazine Expose (a magazine I might add that contributed a few members to Gnosis including our co-founder).
What is more telling to me, is the complete under-representation on Rate Your Music. RYM has incredible reach, and thousands of contributors, including many progressive rock collectors. However, if you remove the vote of myself and long time friend Mauro Moroni, you have the following rating totals for Tanger respectively: 4,2,0,1. A consistently excellent progressive rock band with 4 albums deserves more ears than that! So let's see if we can shine some light here (for my audience of 5 readers anyway).
Tanger is absolutely under the control of bassist and synthesist Luis Colucci, who has written every song (43 recorded to date) and is the only constant throughout their history. As such, the band hasn't evolved as much as would normally be expected from an interactive quartet. Though most certainly they've all steadily improved as musicians.
The debut is quite startling, and was quite a revelation for me in 1999. The sound is right from the Mexican school of neo psychedelic space rock as championed by Loch Ness, Humus and Frolic Froth. A thick, wedgy and very psychedelic guitar sound permeates. Muddy bass and thunderous drums takes you through the wilderness of the Andes, and images of Krautrock legends such as "UFO" era Guru Guru are not far away. The angular nature of the compositions call out another obvious influence: King Crimson at the time of Larks' Tongues in Aspic. But that only tells half the story: Tanger's ace-in-the-hole is the contrasting instrument amongst the fray - that of the flute. So in the end you get 12 individual tracks of an all-instrumental psychedelic version of the Beauty and the Beast. Beautiful and melodic flute lines are offset by evil and mean fuzz guitar licks. Colucci himself is probably the least intrusive of the band members, primarily staying in the background, content on keeping the proceedings grounded with his steady hand on the bass. And this is the formula Tanger takes forward to the future.
----La Otra Cara
Very little changes on their sophomore effort La Otra Cara, perhaps only scaling back the excess slightly, with only one of the (again) 12 songs exceeding the 5 minute mark. It is interesting to note that Tanger did swap out flautists, and yet you wouldn't notice unless you had a scorecard. Tanger seems to be modular when it comes to the individual's participation.
Again, the band changes the lineup on Ciudad, this time replacing the guitarist and the drummer. And as per protocol, not much changes regarding the music. The psychedelic aura is perhaps slightly more toned down, and melodic interplay is more championed. At this point, Tanger are sounding more like an updated version of the obscure 1970s Chilean group Blops at the time of Locomotora (aka Blops).
With Mundos Parelelos, Tanger finally carries the same lineup forward. Not surprisingly, the sound doesn't evolve much. Though it's clear that Tanger are beginning to slow down as rockers, and the flute becomes even more of the focus. At this point, Tanger are starting to resemble more the Catalonian group Gotic more than Humus and King Crimson, though that's overstating it somewhat.
While perhaps not owning all 4 albums is essential, I do think having two in the collection is well worth your time. I'd start with the debut and Ciudad to obtain the full Tanger experience, but any combination is likely to work.
Last update: July 24, 2016