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The Tangent - Not As Good As The Book CD (album) cover

NOT AS GOOD AS THE BOOK

The Tangent

 

Eclectic Prog

3.86 | 301 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars F A B U L O U S ..!!!

It did not really strike me at first spin of the CD because I did not find any catchy notes or passages at first spin. And so the case with the second one, it just flew so flat for me and did not stir my emotion to get excited with the music. But the magic came at third spin and it was on Saturday morning. It blew me away! This is really magic because I had not experienced it during the first two spins. The first thing that struck me was the music groove of the opening track A Crisis in Mid Life especially when guitar solo enters the music. It did stir my emotion and I felt get excited and energized by the music. Oh yeah ... This is truly the Tangent music! i said to myself. So after that I ripped the CD so that I could listen to the music during my mobile period: in the car or on bicycle (I go to the office by bicycle, twice a week, while listening to prog music).

It grew on me ..

Oh yes, the more I spun the CD, the more I like the music and the more I grabbed the subtleties. It took me so long that finally I could write this review. What also interesting about The Tangent is the official website: so informative, so that I know the history of the band since its inception as an "idea, sometime in 1999, right after the meeting between The Flower Kings and Parallel or 90 Degrees.

The mastermind behind all of this concept album was Andy Tillison who focused the album writing from the music making first prior to anything else, not even the book. This is a true progressive act because, in the past, bands rely on the books that had been available in the market and then created the book's soundtrack based on the story. This album is the other way round .. that's why I find the music was composed tightly considering all possible styles as well as textures and wide range of instruments used in the album. Well .. I hope you would find all the behind scenes of the album making from the band's official site.

Prog warriors.. Let's have a look this album in greater details .

"A Crisis in Mid Life" kicks off the album with an intro that did not attract me at all cause it's not catchy. I can sense the nuance of the band's "A Place In The Queue" style of music with an organ-driven style. Surprisingly, the more I spin, I enjoy this intro part. Of course, the most interesting part is when the music reaches minute 2:47 where the groove comes up transparently through the tight basslines of my favorite Jonas Reingold. Jakko Jakszyk (who has played with members of King Crimson) has now taken over for Krister Jonsson on guitars. His guitar solo is stunning, softer and less jazzy compared to Roine Stolt.

"Lost in London 25 Years Later" is much catchy since its beginning because I like the sounds of flute. But the most striking part is when the lyrical verse enters the music with this captivating phrase: "For some strange reason we decided to talk about sex. It was a Wednesday it was half past nine. The conversation just seem to wonder there. Besides we'd done prog two million times .". WOW! It's so prog lyric! Not only the lyrics that stunned me, but the overall music composition is like I am enjoying a blend of Return To Forever meets with National Health and Soft Machine. Oh man .. the music so damn great!

"The Ethernet" starts in ambient style with soft keyboard effects followed with mellow vocal line. It reminds me to the music of Van der Graaf Generator and it's so nice. The music moves in crescendo and brings the style into more jazz. Jakko gives his guitar solo beautifully at the ending part augmented by deep basslines by Jonas. The music flows into a dynamic instrumental "Celebrity Purée" with its syncopated passages. This instrumental piece bridges smoothly to the next "Not As Good As the Book" where Jakko Jakszyk is given a chance to sing for a good portion of this song. He sings confidently with his excellent voices after the opening part that is full with synthesizer's maneuvers. The combined guitar and synthesizers backed by walking bass played by Jonas is a good pieces of this song.

"A Sale of Two Souls" is an acoustic-based composition with powerful vocal line in the vein of Peter Hammil followed immediately with the high register notes singing. The use of flute has made this song so elegant in composition. The ending part of this song demonstrating the flute, acoustic guitar and music that moves in crescendo is truly cool. The concluding track "Bat out of Basildon" locks up the music brilliantly into an energetic combination of music comprising saxophone, bass, guitar, keyboards, drums and accentuated singing style. The guitar solo part is so stunning .. bravo to Jakko who does a great job in this album, overall.

On disc two, there are two epics that both of them are excellent: "Four Egos, One War" (that was actually written for Parallel or 90 Degree) and "The Full Gamut". These two epics are excellent and for me the whole album plus this second CD where the music is different than the Disc One.

Conclusion

Because it's fabulous, I consider this album as a masterpiece. The music of The Tangent is to me like when the first time in 1974 I listened to YES "Relayer" at the first time. The complexities of the composition are similar. I think The Tangent is a true progressive band that has shaped the progressive rock music combining the sounds of 70s and modern music. The onle shortcoming is that .. I miss the artwork design by Ed Unitsky whom I think is today's Roger Dean. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 5/5 |

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