With their third record Collapsing Horizons, Dutch electronic duo Tangent have created a lullaby of decay. Its holistic approach to concept and convincing atmosphere create an immersive experience that takes the listener into the inner levels of consciousness and concentration.
Collapsing Horizons is the soundtrack to the crumbling of worlds. Not the glow of firebombs over Aleppo or hurricane Matthew on the shores of Haïti, but destruction on a smaller, atomic level. To portray this, the songs are arranged in such an order that the album leads from a certain order, through a process of disintegration, to a final collapse. Like the melting of glaciers, it is decay on a molecular level, a restless search for form, that sometimes switches between atoms and pixels, until the two merge to find a state of resignation (rather than peace).
RELEASE DATE: 16 September 2016 LABEL: n5MD
Destruction and healing seem to be two opposites, but they are united in the sound of Collapsing Horizons. The combination of soundscapes and subdued beats is very pleasant and the album lends itself perfectly to serve as background music for tasks that require intense concentration such as writing, studying, and meditation.
In many of the songs, the usual synth pads find their equal in white noise and other textures, which makes for a deeper and less dominating atmosphere. Most notably on songs like Distorted Perspective, these textures cross over from the mechanic into the organic; scratches and creaks start to sound like the falling of rain and a bird’s chirping, perfectly demonstrating the way in which Collapsing Horizons blends the digital with the natural. Like the previously mentioned example of a melting glacier, this record shows the particular, but also the larger perspective on decay.
Even though the sounds on the record are diverse – the synthesisers being interspersed by radio noise and sounds of mechanic movement – the album’s atmosphere is generally uniform, resulting in an experience that is somewhat hazy. Individual songs are hard to discern from one another, which thwarts their memorability and thus the listeners’ tendency to return to the record for anything other than the mood it creates.
This mood is however convincing in telling a story of decay, while lulling its listener into oblivion. Tangent successfully create a record that, despite its homogenous atmosphere, can convey subtle qualities as well as an all-pervading grandeur.