"By way of Deception" is the third album for this Swedish band, and was recorded live in concert, as were their two previous releases. Geographically their debut comes from Swedish Radio recordings in Stockholm, while the second album is from the renowned Coimbra jazz festival in Portugal."Deception" was recorded in the Ljubljana Jazz Fest in 2011, and the new destination obviously radiates from the music presented here. Slovenia is a beautiful small country placed between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea and formally it's not a part of the Balkans. But historically, being a part of the former Socialist Yugoslavia, they are strongly influenced by Balkan culture and even more - by the region's political events (last Balkan war of 90s started right in Slovenia).
The cultural and political atmosphere of the place is really important for Angles' music since they are the modern equivalent of Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra. It's not a strange fact that all three of their albums are live recordings - with their music they speak with people about war and danger - not pathetically, but with pain in their hearts.
Previously a sextet, Angles play here as an octet (adding pianist and increasing the brass section, under "Angles 8" name). From the very first seconds of the album's opener, "By Way Of Deception", all the spaces around are filled by modern Balkan folklore tune-based compositions with characteristic unison brass passages, almost dance-able rhythms but at the same time - very elegant and full of sadness. With my quite deep knowledge of local culture I can perfectly imagine how this song sounded to the people for whom this last war is not a history, but still open bleeding sore.
With their bigger line-up, the band has a deeper, heavily arranged sound close to modern progressive big band music. At the same time, their music is jazz only partially: a lot of folklore elements (from Balkan to African and even Latin)and some rock energy produces the strange and magic, but hardly categorized brew. Comparing with two previous albums, the new line up sounds less rock influenced and more avant-garde jazz/world fusion. During concerts, the musicians will return a few more times to easily recognizable Balkan tunes, often added just as short few seconds of pieces in the body of other compositions, but such a trick helps to continue with the opener's atmosphere all concert long. Not all compositions are new on this album - "Let's Speak About The Weather (And Not About The War)" and "Don't Ruin Me" both come from their debut, "Today Is Better Than Tomorrow" and "Let's Tear The Threads Of Trust" - from "Epileptical West". Not an unusual case for the band - their excellent composition "Every Woman Is A Tree" is presented on both their first and second albums. More important - even the same songs always sound different.
Looking now from a four years and three released album distance, their debut was a true musical event, second album - strong if a bit predictable release. With "By Way Of Deception" it looks like the band found a new direction for the development of their musical ideas (during fall 2012 they played some Belgium gigs already as "Angles 9"). If you liked Angles' previous albums, this one will be a joy for you, for newcomers - for a more nu jazz sound, start from band's debut, if you prefer progressive big band-ish sound - you're in a right place.