[sic] Magazine

Tangent – Approaching Complexity

Approaching Complexity is the fourth album from Dutch ambient IDM act Tangent. The duo of Ralph van Reijendam and Robbert Kok say of the album’s theme: “it is about the transition from basic forms to complex structures which are often seen in nature during the transitioning of seasons.” They add that “Life awakens from hibernation and evolves from being introverted to becoming extroverted, even building upon the remnants of previous cycles and evolving into new realms.” This is evident in the recording.

As a follow up to 2016’s Collapsing Horizons, Approaching Complexity feels both continuation and evolution. A track like ‘Awaken’ with its gentle piano refrain exudes a comforting feeling yet the hushed backdrop and ‘distant firework’ beats work to conjure a slightly more ominous tone. The percussive structures on Approaching Complexity added to the ambient sense of space all hint toward internal processes. By contrast the various key melodies all feel outward looking and expansive. This is a record about growth. Yet at times (‘Equilibrium I’) it sounds almost at peace. The hush and stillness at times evokes the gentlest of sleeping, yet in its own way those same elements also conjure the vastness of space.

Approaching Complexity is available on burned orange vinyl, CD and download.


Vinyl tracklisting:

A1 Confinement
A2 Awaken
A3 Approaching Complexity
B1 Unfolding
B2 Saturation
B3 Redundancy

The digital contains additional tracks such as the aforementioned ‘Equilibrium’ suite. The vinyl also gets you a code to download the additional (and indeed all) tracks.

Tangent’s previous work has been an exercise in cycles – deconstruction and rebuild, decay and re-emergence. Tracks are layered up, then torn down. From the rubble something both familiar and new often emerged. On Approaching Complexity the process feels more seamless than ever. Like the changing of the seasons. It is a pretty damn cool record.