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Orion Tango — The In Between
(Bandcamp 1k Recordings 055, 2022, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2022-12-27

The In Between Cover art

Orion Tango has been releasing albums since 2015, but The In Between, released in early 2022, is my first encounter with them. The group is a trio featuring guitarist Tim Motzer, bassist Barry Meehan, and drummer Jeremy Carlstedt, and they operate in an area where rock and jazz blend together into a noisy stew. If you’re familiar with Raoul Björkenheim’s work, you’ll be right at home here, and Terje Rypdal’s Chaser is also in the same territory. Another reference that’s a bit more hypothetical is what Jimi Hendrix might have sounded like if he’d lived to the end of the 70s and recruited a new Experience with more jazz-oriented musicians to play instrumental music. The seven tracks include a couple of concise riff-fests that come in under six minutes (“Ethereal Riff” and “Metal Shop”) followed by a series of increasingly stretched-out pieces, culminating in the 13-minute “The Bridge.” Along the way we get some fuzzed-out guitar freakfests with heavy bass and highly active drums, some freer sections of feedback and insanity, and even a few quieter times when Motzer slips closer to Bill Frisell and the others provide subtle backing. There’s no shortage of technique, but it’s not the primary focus. This is about raw expression — musical ideas expressed spontaneously, without time spent polishing the pieces into clockwork mechanisms. But as heavy as some of the music is, there isn’t a sense of doom or anger hanging over the proceedings. As they say in the liner notes, “We are releasing extreme optimism with these power chords, pummeling baselines, and slamming drums. Trying to manifest waves of positive energy and vibration in everyone to help us move forward.” The In Between is several steps removed from typical guitar trio music, but has a lot to offer open-minded listeners.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Tim Motzer, Orion Tango

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