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Parallel Or 90 Degrees - Afterlifecycle CD (album) cover


Parallel Or 90 Degrees

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Parallel or 90 Degrees started as an avant-garde rock project lead by organist/keyboardist/vocalist Andy Tillison and "second-in-command" keyboardist/guitarist Sam Baine. 'Afterlifecycle' is PO90's second offering, and their first as a proper band, since other three full-time members have joined the act on lead guitar, bass and drums, respectively. Their major prog influences are second era-VdGG, 73-77 Pink Floyd, 78-82 era-Hammill; you can also note clear leanings to old-fashioned electric blues-rock and psych rock, and a determined approach toward the current electronic pop scene, not unlike Porcupine Tree (or Radiohead, to put a very famous example). Their penchant for long compositions and elaborated arrangements makes them fit the 'prog' label, one way or another - they certainly don't hide their admiration for the prog genre, since every now and then they play VdGG, Hammill and The Nice covers ('Afterlifecycle' includes one of the latter as a bonus track). The long opening namesake suite is the highlight of the album, and also the piece around which the remaining repertoire revolves: here you can find many of the things you love about prog, such as diverse linked sections, fiery musicianship, well crafted melody lines and textures. and you've got your plus of synth effects, electronic percussion touches, that remind you that this is a very modern thing. 'Ithinkthereforenothing', the shorter following suite, adopts a more laid-back air, but essentially follows on the previous number's pace. 'Run in Rings' is a furious, angry-young-manish bluesy piece that shows Tillison's singing at its most passionate, while 'Coming Up Roses' carries a contrasting, easy going jazz-pop feel (ironically, since the lyrics convey political protest) - right when 'Coming Up Roses' ends, a powerful reprise of 'Afterlifecycle' resurfaces to give the recording a full circle end. In conclusion: I enjoy this record very much, not only for its contents, but for the band's ability to modernize the old sound without bastardizing it off its artsy roots.
Report this review (#5513)
Posted Friday, May 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES took their name from a Bo Hansson song called "The Sun(Parallel or 90 Degrees)". Andy Tillison had this to say about how that song title(in part) became the name of this band."This philosophy is what our band is all about, following certain lines of musical development, but then breaking with the rules and going off at a tangent". Interesting that he used the word tangent, which is of course the name of his present band THE TANGENT. It's the same philosophy only with a different band isn't it. The band thanks GREY LADY DOWN in the liner notes.

Things get started with "Introduction" a short and tasteful one minute piece with organ, piano and bass. "Dead On A Car Park Floor Pt.1" continues with the same melody only it's a lot louder and fuller with drums added. It sounds really good. Vocals before a minute. Some great sounding organ before 2 minutes. It settles down briefly with piano 3 1/2 minutes in before returning to a full sound again. "Afterlife What ? Part 1" opens with piano and samples of someone speaking. Reserved vocals a minute in. This is quite atmospheric as the piano continues. Guitar 3 minutes in sounds great ! Drums and organ help out. Just a really cool tune. "Gears Meshing With Dandelions" is bombastic to begin with as drums pound, and the organ is just killer. What a fantastic sound, it's too short though. "Dead On A Car Park Floor Pt.2" continues with the same sound from the previous song but calmer. There is this powerful undercurrent though with lots of atmosphere. The drums pound away after a minute. The tempo starts to pick up speed as it blends into "Moving Lights In A Tunnel".This continues in an uptempo manner. I like the way the piano plays over top of the main sound. Electronics come in. Bass before 3 minutes as the melody basically stops and it becomes spacey.

"Afterlife What ? Part 2" opens with some beautiful soaring guitar as drums beat. Vocals come in. It becomes uplifting before 2 minutes and it ends heavily. "Music For Burglars" is a cool, jazzy tune. "Cogito Ergo Zip" features classical guitar to begin with, with crisp drums and bass. Vocals are reserved. This sounds both amazing and spacey. A calm 2 1/2 minutes with some vocal samples before the incredible melody returns. "If We Fail To Respond" is lighter sounding with some throbbing bass. Vocal samples follow and another great electronic / drum melody with synths. More of the same vocal samples are spoken as tempo picks up. "Run In Rings" is mellow with reserved vocals. It builds in strength though with some nice organ runs 3 minutes in, and some steller guitar to follow. "Coming Up Roses" opens with some nice keyboard work. Vocals come in. This is quite jazzy. Organ is great as usual. Guitar is too after 3 minutes as drums pound. This one ends with a spacey soundscape that goes on and on as it blends into "Lifecycle". It opens with explosions that were taken from Roger Waters album "Amused To Death", and then we can hear water, and then seagulls which Andy took from RUSH's "Permanent Waves" album. Hell yeah he did ! No wonder I love this album so much. The guitar comes in soaring followed by vocals. Tempo picks up and vocals get aggressive. Drums and organ lead the way as vocals continue at a fast pace. The song ends in a spacey manner.

There are two bonus tracks. The first is "Flower King Of Flies" a cover of THE NICE tune. This is the most commercial sounding song on the record. The final track is from their first album("The Corner Of My Room") and it's called "The Third Person". This is a shortened version with Hugh Banton on organ.

This might be a difficult cd to find but it's worth the search. Great band and album.

Report this review (#164983)
Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2008 | Review Permalink

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