(Make Me a) TRISTE© Mixtape Episode 77: Tan Cologne

Tan Cologne

Tan Cologne is the duo of Lauren Green and Marissa Macias based in Northern New Mexico. The two artists work in sonic and tactile modalities inspired by both Earthly and otherworldly landscapes. Tan Cologne released their debut album entitled Cave Vaults on the Moon in New Mexico on Labrador Records in 2020. Green and Macias write, perform, and record everything as the entity Tan Cologne. The duo cites an appreciation for Jessica Pratt, Amen Dunes, Bitchin’ Bajas and Sade, and are as likely to engage in conversation about UFOs as about recipes, plants, textiles, and wood sculpting.
Green and Macias began recording their second album in the summer of 2021 at their home, a relatively remote location. Swimming became an important daily ritual, as did gardening and visiting a nearby dry river bed. The rest of each day was spent writing and recording. Tan Cologne are an entirely self-contained unit, responsible for every sound on the record, sharing vocal, guitar, lap steel, synths and percussion duties, with Green adding drums, bass, autoharp, and melodica and Macias keyboards as well as bouzouki, not to mention the artwork’s photography. At all times, however, their proximity to nature and the ferocity of its elements made its own crucial contribution to the record’s development. With the likes of Mazzy Star and Grouper echoing across the plains, the ghosts of Cocteau Twins tracing patterns amid night-time stars and Verve’s oft-overlooked A Storm In Heaven drifting down dried riverbeds in the surrounding barren landscape, Earth Visions of Water Spaces is the perfect vessel for such lofty considerations.

“Floating Gardens is about shallow depth ecosystems of water and was inspired by the ancient Aztec gardens of Mexico City known as Xochimilco. A shimmery glide on the surface of water recalling past civilizations, the song tells a story of a “skin of water” covering the Earth and transforming the landscape into grasslands. We focused on imperfections and inter-dimensional existence. We dreamed about making a video that followed a pathway of Creation, Connection, and Observation and centered it around the portal of surfing. We filmed these interactions in California through family, friends and lagoon bird life. The music video features Pat Lennon, an old school surfer, woodworker, musician, and surfboard shaper. We also followed good friend Fino Burgos in their playful connection to the element of water through surfing. We were inspired to relay these small vignettes (I, II, III) to communicate spiritual devotion to water.”

“The sides of the arroyo walls are shaped like curved waves, reflecting the experience of tidal and earth transformation, and how the desert land was once ocean.”

What They Say: “The entire album is about water, droplets of water, atmospheric exchanges of water, and the transformation of Earth by and through water. It is inspired by what may become and what has existed before our timeline. We were drawn to focus on water through finding shells within the desert landscape. We also read a story in the newspaper about a 300 million year old shark fossil found in the mountains in New Mexico 30 miles southwest of Albuquerque. It is a lot to consider in reflecting on where the Earth’s path has been and where and what it may be. Water of course being the vital experience for existence. The album overall is also inspired by Earthly and atmospheric phenomenon. We have a song entitled “Orbs” about a woman named Dorothy Izatt. Dorothy has been visited by floating entities, which often look like light droplets. She captured them by 8mm film for years. We found her story to be a visual example of the existence of other worlds and beings of light. Our song “Topaz Wave” is also about a light bloom of phosphorescent algae creating neon waves in the ocean. We often write about different experiences of time overlapping and colliding, creating both beauty and imperfection. The album as a whole was created to tell stories of water on Earth, all songs being reflections of past, present, and future civilizations. “Floating Gardens” is a song about Xochimilco the ancient Aztec gardens of Mexico City, “Topaz Wave” is a song about phosphorescent algae, “Blue Swim” is a song about swimming to the last coast on Earth. “Shell Grotto” is about creating a sanctioned space of protective energy by constructing a wall of shells and was inspired by an undateable shell structure in Kent, England. It was found in 1835 by children who then used it as their secret hiding place. “Winds Below Water” is our song about the shark fossil found in the mountains. We serendipitously discovered after writing “Winds Below Water” that Rachel Carson had written a book similarly titled “Under the Sea Wind” about ocean life and the behavior of organisms on or in the sea. “Space in the palms” is about a day we spent on a secluded beach in Baja where wild horses ran free and played in the waves and found relief from the sun under naturally formed palm huts. This body of work feels more Earth-centered. It is about the shared space with humanity and all life forms. We would like listeners to feel that they are submerged within or near the presence of water.

Their Mixtape:

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Wooden Ships

We would like to start off with “Wooden Ships” because we’ve come back to it many times and feel as though it’s one of the best songs ever written. It’s a very visual song both lyrically and musically. There are many different layers woven throughout and we find new magic in it every time we hear it.

Fleetwood Mac – Dragonfly

Maybe a lesser known Fleetwood Mac song, we found the vocals to melt really well with the watery guitar and smooth percussive elements.

Jessica Pratt – Aeroplane

Jessica Pratt is an artist we feel found her own way and style. Through her simplicity in sound of the sculptured landscape in this song, her vocals land so wonderfully in between on top of the musical planes.

Misha Panfilov Sound Combo – Moonscape Waltz

The familiar yet innovative sounds of Misha Panfilov soothes, and a good waltz groove is a chill magnetic force. We heard this song after we wrote “Cave Vaults…” but felt there were sweet parallels and are drawn to the drums and instrumentation.

Amen Dunes – LA

As longtime Amen Dunes followers we were surprised and mesmerized by his latest album. The song “LA” is a collision masterpiece of different everything.

Jefferson Airplane – Pretty As You Feel

We always seem to find something intrinsic and complete in Jefferson Airplane’s music. We were drawn to the vocal harmonies and guitar movements as well as the smooth percussion in this song.

Dorotheo – Ahitar

We played with Dorotheo in Guadalajara Mexico a few years back and felt connected to their combination of sounds and textures. This song feels like a special gravitational lift that expands beyond language.

The Radio Dept. – Keen On Boys

This song always makes us cry in a good way. A little time capsule that transports us back to when we both first heard it separately many years ago. A calming, yet buzzing song that carries you throughout.

Earth Visions Of Water Spaces will be released on September 2nd on Labrador Records. Look HERE for more information on Tan Cologne.

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