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


The Tangent


Eclectic Prog

3.99 | 389 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars A very interesting beast indeed.

I worked my way backwards through The Tangent's discography, so this release looks funny to me. Well, not looks funny, but you should catch my drift. With the inclusion of Roine Stolt on both this and The World That We Drive Through, the sound is a bit different, a bit less adventurous. Not that Roine detracts from the album--far from it. The man is probably the most solid vocalist The Tangent has seen yet (which may scare some of you away, but don't let it). If you find yourself listening to the music on this album but don't find it quite that inspiring, don't give up. The Tangent changes, and changes a lot.

This release holds sixteen tracks, but really only four songs. When I put this CD onto my computer, I ripped it as the four tracks, on account of being a bit too nerdy about my prog. Nevertheless, that is how I will tackle the songs here: as the four major pieces, not as the sixteen individual chunks.

In Darkest Dreams was the first taste of The Tangent, and it is not disappointing. Andy Tillison has this wonderful vision for corraling a dozen different sounds at once, which while exciting, is also a bit thick and difficult to dig into sometimes. As far as music goes, this is wonderful fun. However, on repeated listens, I don't think this one stacks up very well against some of the later epics by the band, such as In Earnest or Four Egos, One War (the latter of which, incidentally, may be older than this album, as a side note). So as far as music goes, this is enjoyable prog. As far as a song goes, we get into trouble. For the most part, the song is a bit disjointed, a fact which is not really helped along by the individual tracking the band released it as. David Jackson's saxophone here, though, is splendid.

The Canterbury Sequence starts out very promising. A good bit of throwback retro-prog (oxymoron, anyone?), it features gentle vocals and soft sounds without being dull and slow. This song doesn't really go anywhere, either, though, like the one before it, it makes for some quality and enjoyable music. Not a bad track, but slightly unmemorable, and it doesn't carry the fun all the way through.

Up-Hill from Here arrives next. From what I said above, it might sound like I'm not all that impressed by this album. I am. And this song is a lot of the reason why. This song here explodes with energy, the kind of energy that will just smother their latest couple releases in good old/new fashioned prog fun. Some might be bothered by the vocals on this song, as they are mostly not Roine but someone else (I'm thinking Andy or Guy, because I'm pretty sure whoever this is keeps showing up on The Tangent's records). This voice is not so strong, but is enjoyable anyways--and highly reminiscent of Roger Waters. Since this track is streamable a bit north of this review, I suggest you check it out.

The Music That Died Alone is the final song, but of all the songs, this one is the most unmemorable (is there a better way to put that?). Again, it's not bad. I love listening to it. It's great fun. But as far as a song goes, it's rather lacking in cohesive strength, so that the length of the song merely introduces a bunch of new ideas rather than gives the existing ones more oomph, if you will.

In all, my review might sound a touch negative. Trust me, this is a wonderful album. But in light of what The Tangent will become a few years after this one, The Music That Died Alone seems like a slightly loose and rambling bit. I just feel I can't rate it any higher, even though I enjoy it a lot. Perhaps I would like it better if I were looking for a retro album, as this features a fair bit of nostalgia to it.

I'm having trouble wrapping this up well. It seems my review is kind of like an early Tangent epic, then. Hm.

LiquidEternity | 3/5 |


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