TANGLE EDGE Serpentary Quarters LP
Tangle Edge Productions TELP3
From Aural Innovations #36 (May 2007)
The seventh album (not including three early cassette releases) from Norway’s preeminent psych/space rock group, Serpentary Quarters is a breathtaking example of Tangle Edge’s ability to create sustained cosmic freakouts with a minimum of electronic technology. As with previous Tangle Edge albums, Ronald Nygard’s frenzied post-Hendrix guitar blazes a trail through the rhythmic imbroglio of bassist Hasse Horrigmoe and percussionist Tom Steinberg. But ultimately it’s the synergistic communion shared by the trio that makes the five tracks on Serpentary Quarters thoroughly satisfying. The album’s opening track “Emerald Mound” begins enticingly with exemplary reverse tape-processed guitar before assuming the more “conventional” shape of a psychedelic jam, with a plethora of ethnic percussive accents from Steinberg. The overall effect is not unlike Jefferson Airplane circa Crown of Creation. But the two-part “Transcendental Virtue” is undeniably the album’s centerpiece. Over thirty minutes and stretching from side one to side two, the group really takes off into the incense-laden haze of neo-psychedelia that “Transcendental Virtue” effortlessly moves through. Nygard’s serpentine lead guitar moves like a predatory cobra through the sonic jungle of crashing drums and pounding bass. It’s a powerfully hypnotic voyage that recalls some of the finest moments on the group’s inventive second album Entangled Scorpio Entrance, though here Nygard’s guitar acrobatics occasionally reach the stratospheric heights of Robert Fripp in his tenure with the first incarnation of King Crimson. “The Seventh Tide,” a relatively brief excursion into the pure bliss of ambient realms, serves as a segue into the album’s blistering closing number “Daidalos Hunt.” A frenetic jam that escalates to orgiastic proportions, “Daidalos Hunt” stuns the listener into awed submission with its primeval rhythm section acting as a forge on which Nygard’s hammer and claw guitar improvisations are smelted. It’s a perfect coda that brings a near perfect album to a fiery close. As a side note, the deluxe LP edition of Serpentary Quarters also contains a massive fold-out poster of the band as well as a detailed handcrafted booklet that chronicles the group’s activities from the early 90s up to the present. Essentially a diary, the booklet contains numerous anecdotes of the group’s live shows, recording dates and press material that give a complete portrait of how Tangle Edge has evolved over the last 15 years. Needless to say, Serpentary Quarters is a must-have for any fan of the group and a good place to begin for those unacquainted with their unique vision of neo-psychedelia in the third millennium.
Reviewed by Charles Van de Kree
Tangle Edge- Serpentary Quarters (Tangle Edge Productions LP3)
Well, the amazing instrumental Norwegian band, Tangle Edge is back with their
first studio release in almost 10 years! The LP begins with Emerald Mound (5:14)
and some quite melodic guitar under which some heavy bass is played. Tom is
laying down some interesting percussion and drums along the way. It slowly evolves.
Transcendental Virtue Part I: Serene Processsion (18:59) is quite a different
track. IT is lead by the bass (and this is not any normal bass playing, we are
talking about!) and drums and then Ronald slowly layers over his very special
guitar playing (quite Fripp like at times at the beginning of the track). The
track is really an showcase for Ronald’s outstanding guitar playing as
Hasse and Tom push and challenge the composition. The track devolves into a
strange push and pull between bass and guitar (making unusual, unnatural tones).
Amazing stuff. Side B continues with Transcendental Virtue Part II: Beyond Elevation
(14:52), where the real guitar melodically enters the picture and then Ronald
just masterfully takes off and rips it up in the guitar as the whole band just
push the composition to the next level. The bass playing is really incredible.
The Seventh Tide (2:00) is a short sound collage or guitar loops and sounds.
Strange.. The LP ends with Daidalos Hunt (7:49). The track begins with a a very
tortured guitar under which a feedback like bass oscillates and then gradually
kicks in as Tom is killing the drums. Ronald eventually takes control and rips
off some cool guitar. This is music for musicians to listen to and just get
sucked into the playing of these guys and space out. . This is not music to
rock out to. These guys play at a very high level and make challenging music.
I am very willing to take the challenge, are you?????
Reviewed by Scott Heller
For more information you can visit the Tangle Edge Dream Box web site at: http://www.tangleedge.com