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The Tangent - The Music That Died Alone CD (album) cover


The Tangent


Eclectic Prog

3.99 | 355 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The music didn't die. it just went to sleep.

There's been a lot of music that has been described as ''by fans, for fans'', but this supergroup formed by Parallel or 90 Degrees frontman Andy Tillison, guitarist/multi instrumentalist Guy Manning, and keyboard playing Sam Baine - and Mr. Flower Kings himself, Roine Stolt, really has to take the cake for best executed. The Tangent originally started off as a one shot deal when Tillison decided he wanted to do something very progressive and away from his original band. As is known about Tillison through later songs (and a novel no doubt), he had tried to get a record deal in the late 70s with prog music but was turned away since no one wanted to invest into a prog band at that time - their time was up. So it wasn't until the early '00s that Tillison, Manning and Baine would finally make their dream band, and with a couple of prog heroes no doubt. David Jackson of Tillison's idol Van Der Graff Generator lends his sax to this debut offering with half of Parallel or 90 Degress and half of The Flower Kings. making up the rest of the band.

So what exactly are we dealing with then in terms of style? Well, being that the band was formed by a keyboard player who was in love with bands like Yes and openly fauns over them in his liner notes, interviews and novel, we have a keyboard heavy record supported by a strong and experienced guitar player who has been around since the 70s - one Roine Stolt of Kaipa and The Flower Kings. Oddly enough there's also a very prominent bass, which at time takes driving force making for a very 'pounding' record at times. There are only four compositions on the record, each constructed out of several shorter songs that make a whole (other than the third track). The subject matter for these pieces are generally cynical and could be seen spoken through gritted teeth as the title of the album was suggest. The title track especially, dealing with the way the music industry put prog music under the ax, ''in our darkened homes we'll chance a listen to the music that died alone''. This record really feels like ot should have been made in the 70s, but it still maintains a contemporary feel thanks to the modern production and the reminiscing feel it has to it.

There's really no low points to the album and nothing that stands out particularly above the rest since the album really is consistently even. All the songs work well together and don't fight for your attention, even the 20 minute behemoth In Darkest Dreams doesn't overpower the shortest song on the album, the 7-minute (somewhat melancholic) rocker Up-Hill From Here. The Canterbury Sequence feels a lot more modern than a lot of the old Canterbury felt, thus making for a great new spin on the subgenre (although more paying tribute to instead of trying to be part of the genre) which includes a cover of Hatfield and the North's Chaos At The Greasy Spoon stuck right in the middle of the song. The formally mentioned title track, The Music That Died Alone is the second longest song on the album clocking in at 12-minutes, this one featuring some mean piano work from Tillison as well as some emotive melodies that can really chill the spine.

Tillison and Stolt work excellently together on this effort, each being seen as a different face of prog rock. Many people see Tillison as very dark and cynical like King Crimson while others see Stolt as very bright and in the clouds like Yes. They play off each other like a yin yang here to provide a swirl of tones that is often forgotten in modern prog. For those who are wondering who takes the vocal helm out of the two singers - it's both really. Tillison provides the dominant amount of vocals even if Stolt is the first voice you hear on the record.

Prog music by prog appreciators for prog appreciators, this is a record that is very refreshing when trying to ingest all the ways prog has gone since the 70s. This one has a very symphonic feel to it with obvious Canterbury influences, and is recommended for fans of either of those two genres and to anyone who accepts that good prog music didn't end when the music (prog) played dead at the end of the 70s. 4 darkest dreams out of 5! An excellent addition to any prog library and highly recommended. Luckily this didn't end as a one-album project - The Tangent would be back for more.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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