Orion Tango is the pet of guitarist Tim Motzer, bassist Barry Meehan and drummer Jeremy Carlstedt: “a team of premier musicians who’ve played together in various settings in the past, but never in this trio configuration before.” The trio has just put out a self-titled debut album via Philadelphia-based Motzer-owned label 1k Recordings.
I guess Orion Tango started as a kind of improvised jazz trio but with enough rock elements and energy to give them entry to that camp too. The other labels like avant rock, krautrock, psychedelic and prog rock old and new have been added. It’s closer to the truth that the group has defined a genre on their own through the music. Anyhow, “Orion Tango” is still instrumental improvised music. Sometimes so brutal that the headaches threaten, dominated by impressive energetic drums and bass, glowing guitar parts and electronics. But the trio also knows when to calm down, relax and create beautiful lyrical soundscapes. As far as I can hear, this cannot be all improvisation; at least there has to be some planning in advance when to calm down or heat up things. Most of time the band is somewhere in between; seldom really melodic and never pure noise. The album comes as a limited edition CD of 100, and is also available as digital download, bringing five tracks—two of them around the 9 minutes mark, one around 17 minutes, and two more around 5 and 8 minutes.
I am particularly fascinated by the tracks where the calmer parts and Motzer’s guitar dominate more than usual. The opening track “Find Your Happy Place” starts alarmingly melodic with rhythm section passage to Motzer’s layered guitarwork with hints towards King Crimson. “SuperGun” brings heavy hitting by Carlstedt accompanied by underlying bass and ambient guitar that add up to the overall fuzziness. There are so many other moods and sounds involved here. For instance, the 17-odd minutes “Gravity Knife” is a match to a symphony that constantly changes pace and moods. The Meehan-Carlstedt interplay sets the foundation for everything else that’s going on, and that is Motzer’s continuous exploring of vast and unknown of sound. He is indeed on a look for the right tones, and without doubt he succeeds in reaching and putting them right where they belong.
“Orion Tango” is an album that sneaks from behind; it’s melodic and noisy, but most importantly it’s an album where the band doesn’t loose any of its edge. A very fascinating record that asks for time, and time is something we definitely don’t lack of.
“Orion Tango” is available now from the 1k Recordings’ Bandcamp store. Follow the band on Facebook here.