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


The Tangent

Eclectic Prog

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5 stars Whoooaa....a prog album that really moves! I have to say that this is probably the album of the year!! A friend of mine recommended this record to me...with the words: "This is probably the album of the year"...and i have to agree with him... here is the sound of the seventees....connected with the sound of the- future...Roine Stolt and his henchmen...are here .....this is after all... the future of prog......need i say more than...guys from..Flower kings... plus guys from.. prog. beautiful sounds..beautiful arrangements...beautiful musicianship... this is a cd that has eveyrthing.....this is a dream come true!! Guitars a plenty...keys galore....vocals with a personality! I have only one question: How the hell (sorry )does Roine Stolt... find the time to be in : Flower kings,Kaipa,Transatlantic & Tangent ??? supposed to say: Get this record!! and i will.......G E T T H I S R E C O R D !! You migth find that this is the record of the year !! So there ..i warned you.......what are you waiting for?? GET IT !!
Report this review (#22250)
Posted Saturday, November 15, 2003 | Review Permalink
Dan Bobrowski
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Tangent is THE bomb. An excellent, beautiful, complex and inspiring piece. There are so many nods, thanks you's and acknowledgements to all the different genre's of Progressive music. Some of the sequences so closely resembled the originators that I pulled over the truck to listen more intently. I wish they would have recorded each piece without the break between tracks. Another is in the works. Maybe using some other notables to guest.
Report this review (#22260)
Posted Thursday, January 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album really smokes! I wonder if ever Roine Stolt & co' well of ideas ever run dry. Flower Kings, Transatlantic, Karmakanic, Kaipa and. misc solo projects... this tempo would make most musicians switch to (non-creative) automatic mode, but not here! Admitted, it started out as Andy Tillisons solo project, but the influence of the Flower Kings guys is more than recognizable. In my view, one of the best prog albums of 2003!
Report this review (#22261)
Posted Friday, January 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my first cd with the vocals of Guy Manning.I already Knew and heard the other great artist and knew what to expect.What a good voice.Deep and rich almost like Ian Anderson with a Cat Stevens feel.I must score The Ragged Curtian soon.I like the jazz feel along with the great symphonic prog.This is a classic.
Report this review (#22276)
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars To begin with I'll describe it as a very good and fresh sounding album. Tangent's homage to Canterbury music and all that its sound has done explodes into the room with gusto and energy of a jazzed up Canterbury scene (thanks to David Jackson's sax). Few modern day albums have attempted to repeat what grew from Wilde Flowers back in 1963 and I dare say that many will try. Perhaps the Canterbury sound is best left in the 20th century. I have a tendency to write the review while I'm listening to the music, I think that it's a good habit I have. That way any feelings, thoughts or opinions that I may not have noted earlier can creep into my head on the spot. There were some thoughts of rating this album 5 stars, however I'm a tough critic and don't give that away very often. If you go by the old prophecy of "nobodies perfect" then my prophecy for reviewing is that "no album is perfect". This one doesn't break the trend (although in the past a few have dared to defy this prophecy with sheer brilliance). In Darkest Dreams is the first part to this album and "Prelude - Time for you" opens with a demonstration of the impressive musical talent that forms The Tangent's line-up. Very upbeat and fast paced, In Darkest Dreams is modern-day music nostalgia that suggests Symphonic Rock buried within the jazz and piano. Most of it seems like pure fun that is had by the musicians. Such as "Prelude - Time for you", "The midnight watershed" and "A Sax in the Dark" and this certainly isn't a chore to listen to and enjoy. "In Dark Dreams" evokes a remarkable similar sound to Pink Floyd's The Division Bell (1994) in its relaxing, laid back vocals with the meandering sax and piano - the perfect "noise-filling" music at dinnertime. With "Night Terrors Reprise" fading out it's time to bring on The Canterbury Sequence! And with Guy Manning singing a lyrical tribute to such bands as Caravan, Hatfield and the North and Soft Machine it's hard not to warm to the music. "Up Hill From Here" is the stand out track on the album, but still doesn't cut it with the spirit of progressive music from '69-'74, which is what it's trying to evoke. The third and final part - The Music That Died Alone - dies on itself, in its limited capacity to be cool, calm and inspiring of something that can only be relived by imitators, self-parody or egotistical young artists. At least it's apparent in many of the tracks, within and outside In Darkest Dreams, that the artists are enjoying themselves and they do produce an energetic sound together. However, Simon Evans said it best when he concluded that ".although this album is a brave attempt to evoke the golden age of prog-rock, it merely ends up reminding fans of the genre what's been lost."
Report this review (#22254)
Posted Sunday, February 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
Founding Moderator
3 stars Given all the effusive praise for this album, I decided to give it my absolutely undivided attention, keeping a particularly open mind. At the risk of being a "party pooper," I was somewhat underwhelmed. / The album is divided into three "suites." The first one - In Darkest Dreams - is not only the only truly "successful" one (at least musically), but the only one I would actually classify as "prog-rock." And although it is certainly creative and well executed, and has both inner logic and clear direction - and although "Midnight Watershed" is one of the best prog jams I've heard in quite some time - the suite has three flaws. First, although it is unqualifiedly prog-rock, most of it has a strange "commercial rock" quality, especially vis-a-vis the production. Second, the lyrics are at best utilitarian, and at worst remarkably immature. Third, and almost "fatal," are the vocals: indeed, I had a very hard time getting past them (whether Stolt or Tillison, I don't know; it might be both). The second suite - The Canterbury Sequence - is quite good, but I would not classify it as prog-rock: most of it is almost straight-ahead light jazz. That said, it is very listenable, especially the really neat extended 13/8 jam in "Chaos at the Greasy Spoon." The last section of the Canterbury suite - "Up Hill From Here" - starts out as prog-rock with a retro-60s flavor, then has a short Floydian section, and then a straight-ahead rock section. It's so "radio friendly," I'm surprised it's not a hit. The final suite - The Music That Died Alone - starts with a short "Emersonian" piano intro, and then more jazz-influenced compositions, and is the weakest of the three suites. / At the additional risk of being a "wanker," I'm actually being somewhat generous giving it three stars, especially given the almost total failure of both the lyrics and the vocals. Still, the music is quite good - even when it's not prog-rock, but something far more akin to jazz - and the album is creative and listenable. Better lyrics and a (far) more compelling voice would not only have truly earned it the third star, but might even have garnered a fourth.
Report this review (#22252)
Posted Thursday, March 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now this is a fantastic album full of highly energetic, well crafted songs with some superb musicianship. The TANGENT are a kind of "supergroup" with Roine Stolt, Zoltan Csorsz and Jonas Reingold (LOWER KINGS) , David Jackson (VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR) and Andy Tillison (PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES). Of course with 3 members of the FLOWER KINGS hearing allusions to their music and KAIPA's is unavoidable. However with Tillison's song writing and the cast of other musicians The TANGENT take this music into a different zone. This mighty band offers the listener 16 unyielding tracks of progressive-rock sprinkled with the occasional jazz-fusion. Lyrics are sung by Stolt and Tillison and both have great voices. The album consists of three different suites, "In Darkest Dreams," "The Canterbury Sequence" and "The Music That Died Alone".Each section offers passionate guitar playing and thoughtful keyboard performances. Jackson's sax and flute contributions fit to enahcne the music even that much more making this album very hard not to love. Overall a great album full of deep progressive passages.
Report this review (#22264)
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well it's a mix of progressive music from Canterbury, a bit of a "RIO" genre and some experimental tunes as well,without a precise direction...Roine Stolte, already with the Swedish band "Flower Kings", plays with his usual fusion/experimental touch, even though I should have appreciated a different style, closer for example to Frank Zappa. I don't get crazy for the vocals of Roine and Andy Tillison too, but the output is anyway good.I can't stand listening to Roine Stolte after 5 minutes (the same defect you can discover sometimes within the production of Flower Kings or inside some tunes by Kaipa!), because sometimes He's a bit "chilly" during his guitar excursions, as long as He becomes quite boring..but never mind, his style is unique and often interesting during his performance;and this latter makes you forgive all the defects I have remarked to you above!!

Make your own choice!!

Report this review (#22251)
Posted Friday, April 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Why not 5 stars? I didn't like "The Music that Died Alone" scene too much. But the first two scenes blew me away. In Darkest Dreams is over 20minutes long, and its all good. The Canterbury Sequence was the first time I had ever heard Canterbury Prog, I really liked it (Even though i havn't gone out and got any more) this is definately a great album if you leave out the last scene. 4 Stars for the great performances in the first 3 parts :)
Report this review (#22253)
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very good album. It begins not very promising with In Darkest Dreams suite - traditional prog rock sort of music lacking originality. However, it develops into a very interesting piece of music. The Canterbury Sequence is brilliant prog rock of Canterbury style, I enjoyed it the most. Up Hill From Here is a strong song with a masterful guitar. The title piece The Music That Died Alone is another beatuful composition. So although it begins with disappointment you'll be rewarded in the end.
Report this review (#22267)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars ONce more, an album that makes a challenge to the listener (i love this kind of challenges). The FLower Kings alumni blends with parallel, Van Der graaf generator and Guy Manning. quite possibly one of the greates musical asociations of this decade, of these last years. "The Music that Dies Alone" shows how good can Canterbury style provide a good sound on the 21st century, at least showing once more, that prog rock can be classic without the inclemences of time, keeps constant without aging. Anyways, a breakthrough of 2003, you've got to heart this!
Report this review (#22269)
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of the BEST prog albums in 2003!!!

Three Generations of Progressive Music: Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), David Jackson (Van der Graaf Generator) and Andy Tillison (Parallel or 90 Degrees) - One Remarkable Album. That's actually what got printed at the album cover.

"Originally conceived as the first solo album by Andy Tillison, this album became a more collaborative venture as time went on. The enthusiasm of the musicians turned this combination of three generations of progressive virtuosity into a cohesive whole .. " [sleeve notes]. Who in this earth would not be interested to purchase this CD? I did not want to miss it, for sure! And in fact, I was really satisfied with the music the geniuses offer in this album.

Here is my personal view about this album .

In Darkest Dreams

It comprises eight parts that has been sectioned by the CD into track 1 - 8. I was amazed by the opening organ work at track 1 "Prelude - Time for You". It's very dynamic, sound-wise, and it flows into an uplifting style in relatively fast tempo. It sets the overall tone of the whole epic, even the whole album, I would say. I was very happy with the opening track even at the first spin of the CD. Jonas Reingold! - uuughhh . I like your style man.!!!! You really made my day! "Night Terrors" brings the music into a jazzy nuance with the Flower Kings-like music in relatively medium tempo. "The Midnight Watershed" sets the music in a very dynamic mood with stunning guitar solo and . again . Mr. Reingold .!! Uuughh . you make me smile with your powerful bassline man .!!! Yeah ... It then flows to a very nice jazzy piano - followed by fantastic organ solo and keyboard/synthesizer solo. This third track is damn excellent! These guys are really masters in stirring up my emotions! Really great!

The fourth track "In Dark Dreams" is a quieter music passage in completely jazzy nuance with powerful low register note of vocal line. It's a TFK-like music combined with Po90 (oh, how come I have not reviewed any album of Po90 yet? - For sure, I will do later . it's an excellent band!). This fourth track is composed nicely as a break in the epic as it's a mellow track - hey, there is a classical music influence as well in this track!! Look at the flute passage! "The Half-light Watershed - On Returning - A Sax In The Dark" extends the previous track into a spacey and ambient music - quieter - reminds me of Ozric Tentacles. It is followed with an acoustic guitar / mandolin outfit. Melody- wise this track is an extension from previous track as when the voice line enters it sings similar tagline melody. I personally don't like sax, but the solo sax performed here, augmented with heavy bassline is really great. The epic is then nicely concluded by "Night Terrors (reprise)" that basically shares the melody of second track with improvised sax. It's a very enjoyable epic that in the traditional 70s epic I might associate it with Yes' "Close To The Edge" [structurally, of course; because music-wise the two are totally different vein].

The Canterbury Sequence

What a wonderful outfit this one! Hey man .. If you like things like HATFILED AND THE NORTH, NATIONAL HEALTH, etc .. I bet you would love this badly man!! Oh my God . I do really enjoy this track even from its "wonderful" opening where jazzy flutes (Tull- like) accompany the jazzy vocal line. I don't have other word that is better describe this track "Cantermorabillia" is SUPERB!!! It flows to Hatfield's song "Chaos at the Greasy Spoon" with a top notch composition! All instruments played very skillfully in this tribute track. The flute, guitar, bass, keyboard / organ, drums are all wonderfully played! It flows nicely to "Captain Manning's Mandolin" in increasing mood that satisfies my mind's listening pleasure ..

Up-hill From Here

It's probably the track heavily influenced by Po90 style; performed energetically in fast tempo. Very uplifting and unique sax sound (VdGG style?), stunning guitar and dynamic drumming . Excellent.

The Music That Died Alone

Opened with an excellent piano touch in "A Serenade" backed with spacey / ambient keyboard. Very good piano solo. It continues with a slow jazzy tune "Playing On ." with a flavor of avant-garde music, excellent flute and sax works. It continues with "Prehistory" in an excellent jazz vein. It is concluded with "Reprise".

CD Production

On top of music, this album is packaged very nice. The artwork for its cover, the disc and sleeve was done by Ed Unitsky. It's really top notch!!! This album is dominated by blue colors while the second is more on green but with similar design. Great design and it's really a collector's item; it's very nice to be put in your prog collection. It's really a prog design, I would say. I think, Ed Unitsky is the millenium's Roger Dean. The CD package has influenced me a lot on the kind of music that I expect the band would perform. And, yeah .. the band performs as my expectation when I listen the album in its entirety. [It reminds me decades ago when I first saw Gentle Giant's "Octopus" cover by Roger Dean. If the cover is that wonderful in details, the music must be very great!].

The other thing is on sonic quality- it's an excellent sound quality with great mixing technology. I always play the CD LOUDLY for my ultimate enjoyment of the music.

My Overall Recommendation

Highly recommended! This album deserves five stars rating - immaculate composition! Keep on Progging .!!!"

Progressively yours,

GW - Indonesia.

Report this review (#22271)
Posted Friday, January 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Prog-rock super groups are usually excellent. The Tangent is one of the best yet, as the release The Music That Died Alone proves without leaving any room for doubt. Once again, the brilliant guitarist/vocalist Roine Stolt is part of a band that will make waves and receive rave reviews from every corner of the globe. The Flower Kings, well represented in this lineup, feature Stolt's band mates Jonas Reingold and Zoltan Csorsz as well. In addition, holding court with the flower king is Sam Baine and Andy Tillson (Parallel/90 Degrees), David Jackson (formerly of Van Der Graaf Generator) and Guy Manning.

This mighty band offers the listener 16 unyielding tracks of progressive-rock sprinkled with the occasional jazz-fusion. If you have always had a soft spot for Yes and ELP you will love this album. Fifty percent of the band is TFK, thus you have the Yes influences. On the flipside is the other fifty percent that sounds like ELP both instrumentally and vocally. Not a bad combination if I should say so myself. Although you will detect the influences straight away, there is the necessary inventiveness apparent in every track to compel you to play this album several times in succession before casting it aside for another CD. It worked that way for me. The way they utilize their vocalists is the key to keeping things fresh and appealing from beginning to end.

The album consists of three different suites, "In Darkest Dreams," "The Canterbury Sequence" and "The Music That Died Alone." Each section offers varying degrees of passionate guitar playing and keyboard driven excellence. This is not music that will ever die much less be alone, it offers too much substance and musical integrity to suffer that kind of fate. This album is so good that I cannot literally describe it all in words. There is an unexplainable intangible element of music that you assimilate only through the ears and senses, that should say it all coming from my little corner of the universe. I promise you, this will be one of the very best prog-rock albums you will hear this year.enough said, now get it.

Report this review (#22272)
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The release of this album by another supergroup with the involvement of Roine Stolt was a nice surprise, both for the fellows just expecting one more TFK-CD and for ones who were fearing this. Since there are as well musicians like Andy Tillison (PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES), David Jackson (ex-VDGG) and singer/songwriter Guy Manning involved the TFK-influence is not as obvious as with KARMAKANIC and KAIPA. Originally this was a solo project of Tillison who liked to do an album with 70's style music. The contact to Stolt, who had the idea to include brass came up more or less by chance and that's how it finally worked out like this. And the result is brilliant I would say. Although there is actually nothing innovative or exciting on here, it became an album which is a perfect entertainment without almost any moment of boredom.

In Darkest Dreams is offering in eight parts a very nice blend of progrock and jazz- fusion with some rocking and grooving sections, as well as some relaxed and laid-back ones with great play of Hammond, guitar and sax. The rhythm section provided by Reingold/Csörsz is excellent as always. The Canterbury Sequence is a very well-done reminiscence to that special sub- category with soaring Hammond, guitar, woodwinds, vocals and even mandolin in Part 3. Up-Hill From Here then is an extreme leap to a more modern sound with synths and powerful drums, a very rocking one. The title track offers jazzy or classical piano combined with percussion, sax, guitar and vocals and reminds at some moments quite a lot to TFK-sound.

As a summary this is a great enjoying album for anyone who is more into Retro, not only TFK-fans but as well those of good Fusion and Canterbury sound should love it. 4 stars!

Report this review (#22274)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars I bought this CD based on review that I had read. What a mistake, I cant find anything progressive, nor do I find the compositions any interesting. Musician ship is good, but no enthusiasm can be found in the sounds. I listened to it a number of times but have not come around to it. I had the impression that what they hoped to do was to be actually do something progressive. But my question still is, what is progressive about this? Not recommended, I gave the CD away.
Report this review (#22277)
Posted Thursday, May 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars One word: Wow. Unbelievable album. The Tangent are unbelievable. This 4-song album is a forerunner for album of 2003. With a 20 minute-plus song, plus an 8, a 7, and a 12, this album packs a punch. Stolt and Tillison work very well together, and Csorsz is a fantastic drummer. Also, Reingold is one of my favorite bassists in modern music. Together, this album is definitely worth your while.

In Darkest Dreams: Wonderful epic. Tillison's keyboards are great, and the overall orchestration is awesome. The second I first put it on, I thought "Oh yeah". It's just pure awesome. Very cool, and very well done.

The Canterbury Sequence: Different feel than the previous song. Even more cool, if that was actually possible. They even go as far as to play a Hatfield and the North song, Chaos at the Greasy Spoon. Canterbury is great.

Up-Hill From Here: The saxophones are unbelievable. Somehow, Tillison knows what to incorporate in a song to make them incredibly cool. Yet, at the same time, they are all prog, too. Very catchy, awesome prog. This song is just like the rest.

The Music That Died Alone: Some strange piano to open up, followed by more uptempo outstanding Tangent music. I'm running out of things to say about this album; everything is purely incredible.

Hmm. I want to be able to write more about this album, but it's not possible. It's extremely lucky that this changed from a Tillison solo project into a collaborative project. If you appreciate pure prog music, than I recommend this. 4/5 stars.

Report this review (#50802)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars "The Music that died alone" What a title! Gruesome! As if journalists that have never really listened to prog/canterbury, had to press out - in the last 2 minutes of their regular meeting - some dumbo-phrases to catch those who deserve to be caught by such phrases. Rather hate it. Of course these guys can play and produce music. But that formatted music, targeted sound, designed to hit ... No catchy moments. Extremly silly lyrics about those old canterbury-prog times ... like grandpas talking about their completely unimportant bowling adventures centuries ago ... at the same time they copy Hatfied and the North, completely uncovered at times. A technically sufficient, but absolutely crooked, attempt to reassemble and relaunch sounds from the good old times ... Tillison, Stolt! You're guilty of faking good music and of suborning once spotless musicians (esp. D. Jackson) to contribute to this dupery!
Report this review (#79431)
Posted Friday, May 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars For anyone not to give this five stars is egregious. One of the landmark albums so far this centruy. And some people have the audacity to say it is not progressive. This is what it is all about if you want crystal clear procuction, brilliant musicians, hard hitting as well as slow and beautiful in one package. All four songs are different but all are absolutely top shelf. I often see Uphill From Here quoted as being the weakest on the album, but you won't hear Roine Stolt sound so good and shred at the same time on anything else except maybe Stranger in Your Soul. Jonas Reingold's bass on The Canterbury Sequence makes you feel like you are floating on a cloud. The chorus in In Darkest Dreams will stick in your head for days. Andy Tillison is one of the most underrated prog artists alive today. Disregard any and all low reviews. If you don't have this, get it or miss out. Brilliant.
Report this review (#79534)
Posted Saturday, May 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have to back John concerning this record. The whole album is beautifully warm, and has really captured a 70's spirit rightdown to the perfect resurection of the Canterbury sound.

I love The Flowers Kings but was a bit worried when made aware Stolt was playing guitar as I had not wanted a FK clone but this is not. I think Andy Tilison of Parallel or 90 Degrees has more influence than Stolt. Vocals remind of Van Der Graaf at times.

I highly recommend this album to all who love the classic Prog experience. The production is pristine. The artwork gorgeous. And of course the music.

Report this review (#79582)
Posted Sunday, May 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Music That Died Alone is the first album of The Tangent, a project started by Parallel or 90 Degrees vocalist Andy Tillison. The Music That Died Alone is an ambitious album dedicated to the resurgance of interest in symphonic progressive rock. Tillison brings togethor an all star cast of cast of musicians to fill the slots. Not only do Roine Stolt, Jonas Reingold, and Zoltan Csorsz of The Flower Kings backup Tillison, but legendary sax player David Jackson of Van der Graaf Generator has a piece of the action as well. The Tangent combines a variety of influences to make one of the most unique modern symphonic prog albums.

The apparent styles of these musicians are easily noticeable. Andy Tillison's pychodelic influence is clear as the main composer of the album. This is contrasted by Roine Stolt's bluesy and bright style. And what's more is David Jackson's retro but dark style hinting at shades of Van der Graaf Generator. Still unmentioned is the Canterbury influence all of these musicians are fond of. The Music That Died Alone is almost a library of symphonic progressive rock styles.

Andy Tillison is the key to the project. His vocals and Moog skills are prominent throughout the album. Tillison starts out on the click organ on the opening track "In Darkest Dreams" which brings the listener back through time to the height of symphonic prog. Tillison's composing features excellent depth managing to combine symphonic, pychodelic, and Canterbury influences togethor in a logical fashion. Tillison's vocal abilities are distinctively prominent when compared to that of Roine Stolt and Guy Manning. Tillison put his heart and soul into this album and it shows.

Roine Stolt takes a step away from the mastermind role he has in The Flower Kings. This is an album where Stolt just plays, and what a job he does. Stolt's distinguished bluesy styles really comes out. His solos are some of the finest work of his career. His vocal work though not the most prominent adds a necessary contrast to Tillison. Tillison found the perfect guitarist in Stolt to play on this album.

Jonas Reingold also takes a backseat. The fusion jazz fills that Reingold has used to identify himself in The Flower Kings are not as ubiquitous here. Reingold sits back and grooves a little more with his familiar rythymn section counterpart Zoltan Csorsz. Reingold's excellent technique also comes through in select places, but never enough to wear a listener out.

Zoltan Csorsz much like Reingold plays a smaller role here. It's puzzling to hear Csorsz sit back and hold down the rythymn without the ubiquitous fills used throughout his career with The Flower Kings. Never the less, Csosrz also delivers an excellent performance. The swing style on this album is a much different style that shows Csorsz's versitility.

Sam Baine is the keyboard counterpart of Andy Tillison, and also a member of Parallel or 90 Degrees. Baine's synths add a modern flare to this album amongst a bunch of retro musicians. Baine has excellent technique to match her wide array of synth sounds. On the opening piece, "In Darkest Dreams" Baine's contrasting synth sound and Tillison's reto organ show the colliding but complimenting world of influences in this band.

Guy Manning adds an essential jazzy rythymnic element to this band. (yes another different influence). Manning's chordal creativity and rythymnic background sound great adding lush chord changes behind Roine Stolt's bluesy lead work.

David Jackson returns to symphonic prog on this album, with his hat too!!! Jackson does some amazing saxophone work, but sounds a little out of his element when he plays other woodwind instruments. His solo on "In Darkest Dreams" is one of his highlights on this album. Jackson's arpeggiated solo riffs are examples of the extreme sax solo skills in prog at their best.

The production is perfect. It changes with the particular influence of a particular track. This album is not only a tribute to symphonic prog styles, but symphonic prog tones as well. Every instrument is in perfect balance along with unqiue and creative micing techniques to create the illusion of a record live concert hall. Andy Tillison and the bunch have made an essential album for fans of many styles of progressive music.

Report this review (#80379)
Posted Monday, June 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This it was first of the projects that I knew my was a dream to listen of that super groups, in where they are united the mind integral of other bands and with that having created a sound that was different from them and simultaneously brilliant, in this case I believe that my intuitions were not so badly directed then this I turn out to be a project in good truth I consider that the obtained result of which serious the first disc in solitaire of Andy I finish being one of the works that but taste in 2003, with which strangely it detests or it believed did many of the people who listen to progressive rock assumes detest, but I believe that of some or another form they yearn for, that is to listen to the styles of the past interpreted of one more a cleaner form or simply a version that is a similar one and until improved of something or done previously, I believe that the people that maintains that the progressive one does not have of being repetitive, but I believe that this work this vindicating a little partly what many bands come doing the weather is or good, speaking more of this work I will say that he is one of the best ones for somebody like I that when it listens to it did not know the good Canterbury partly still I do not know it in very many the more, but that sounds exposed in a smallest summary that they very taste raised and obtained established or of very professional form, in this disc you will find different sound all interpreted from a skillful form and very or obtained, which in a beginning was him project of a single musician, I culminate like the work in which each one of you interpret them puts its personality and the clear image who is is the combination of all of them, the motor of rate and the lírica base, everything in which simply it is not necessary to let pass, the masterful piece of the present and sounds of the past, as additional data I will say that the graphs of this disc are brilliant.
Report this review (#88667)
Posted Friday, September 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Tangent are a prog supper group created from members of The Flower Kings and Parallel or 90 Degrees, plus Guy Manning and David Jackson (Van der Graaf Generator), and they are one of those rare supper groups that made a really good album, and this is it, their debut The Music That Died Alone.

This is an album that conveys several styles in its near 50 minutes, and does each of them very well. The opening track, In Darkest Dreams, and the albums closer and title track, The Music That Died Alone, are brilliant examples of how Symphonic prog in the vein of The Flower Kings should be done. The main genre that influenced The Canterbury Sequence should be obvious, but I can definitely hear a large Caravan influence in this song that works very well. Lastly, Up-Hill From Hear is a very jazzy number and seems to be a fusion of Jazz Rock and straight ahead rock. It goes without saying that it is rather difficult to pull of so many different styles in the same album whilst maintaining the feel that your still listening to a cohesive piece of work rather than a compilation, but I believe The Tangent has pulled this off stunningly well.

It should be noted that this was originally intended to be a side project for Andy Tillison, of Parallel or 90 Degrees, and its him that adds most of the vocals and keyboard work that we find on here. His keyboard work is impressive to say the list, he has no problem with being really expressive on the keys but doesn't lack much in the technical "stunts" section as well. His voice adds the front to this band but its here that he falls down slightly, only being competent and sadly unremarkable, though this will be highlighted more in later albums, however he can still hit the high and low notes here and is far from unlistenable.

One thing that I find to be quite common in Symphonic bands is that when a saxophone player is introduced to the mix he will get a passage or two but not always does it feel that the saxophonist is actually really contributing much to the song. The same can be said, though less often, with flutes as well. However, here I find that David Jackson's use of saxophone and flute is an integral part of the music like it should be and I couldn't really imagine what this would sound like without him.

Jonas Reingold continues to impress me with his bass playing. He seems to be able to deliver challenging bass lines that hold a strong groove almost at will. In the case of Up-Hill From Here his bass work drives the song on relentlessly, whilst still holding a creative flare, whilst the rest of the band rock out around him. What really impresses about his bass lines is that they are so expressive and work as part of the whole to bring out emotion rather than just propping up the rhythm here.

We all know Roin Stolt, an impressive guitarist with a strong jazz influence to his style but seems to have two sides to his personality, the man that can create some really impressive music or get lost in his own meandering solo's and riffs till the song loses interest. Thankfully, it's the former personality he brought with him to the writing and recording of this album and the result is something that can rival his best work in The Flower Kings. Powerful, expressive solos punctuate the songs between his heart felt riffs that really help to bring this album alive.

Zoltan Czorz is not a soloist type drummer, but he does know how to work with the band around him and doesn't lack for technical ability either. He sounds crisp and clear without ever threatening to overpower the sound of the other instruments, just what you want. Sam Baine and Guy Manning are the respective counterparts to Andy Tillison and Roin Stolt on their instruments. I would have liked it if these two had taken a more forward role in this album, especially Baine as she really gets overshadowed by Tillison. However, there's no sign that they have had negative effects on this album. In fact Manning adds some nice guitar parts to the album, I'd just wish there was a few more of them.

Overall this is a damn good album. Everyone plays there part extremely well creating what is a very impressive, and overall creative album. I would never say that this album is innovative, on the contrary, it takes a lot of queues from the 70's greats like Yes, Caravan and others, but what it does it does well, and better than most. In fact, there is only one fault on the entire album and that's on In Darkest Dreams. Halfway through the music seems to fade out to a stop before starting of like a new song. This is a big fault for me as it breaks up the cohesiveness of the epic and makes it sound more like two separate songs slapped together to make one, not good. For that, I give the album 4 stars.

Report this review (#94161)
Posted Wednesday, October 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars THE MUSIC THAT DIED ALONE opens fluently, with Andy Tillison's Hammond organ instantly evoking memories of Dave Stewart and Keith Emerson, although it doesn't sound TOO derivative. As the main melody of 'In Darkest Dreams' gets under way, listeners may worry how soon the lead vocalist, Roine Stolt, will be getting on their nerves ('Down in the seething mazz... your one last chanze'). Fortunately, Stolt never gets the chance to emote too openly (maybe his lines were written for him by Tillison?) and the chorus is so catchy the listener soon finds himself happily singing along. In fact, on the entire album the performances of all three Flower Kings are superb. Zoltan Csorz (on drums) and Jonas Reingold (on bass) sound better than ever, maybe because they get such fiery music to play. Stolt's guitar solos are inspired as well. On 'In Darkest Dreams' he gets several opportunities to shine, as do Sam Baine on piano, and Tillison on synth (with the same wild sound Rick Wakeman used so effectively on 'Sir Gawain and the Black Knight'). Guy Manning provides acoustic relief in a delicate 'Dance with the Moonlit Knight' style interlude.

'The Canterbury Sequence' is cute, although Tillison would learn to imitate HATFIELD AND THE NORTH more convincingly on later Tangent albums. Both 'Up Hill from Here' and 'The Music that Died Alone' have lead vocals by Tillison himself. To my relief, these tunes are not too wordy, and I see no reasons to complain about the singing. 'Up Hill from Here' is a highly exciting, sax-driven uptempo number, with a wonderfully climactic lead guitar solo in the style of Dave Gilmour.

The album's title tune is an almost unbearably sad elegy on the demise of classic progressive rock, with moving contributions on sax and flute by David Jackson. Only a few days ago I happened to be talking to an aspiring rock musician who complained she had quit the London music scene in disgust, because just as Tillison says her manager wanted her to 'sell [her] dreams to the mainstream's sway' and 'mould [her] lives to a typecast for today'. Virtually all bands you see on TV are completely manufactured. Still, websites such as this one offer all the proof you need that prog is definitely not some forgotten genre we have to sneak a listen to 'in our darkened homes'! Perhaps Tillison wrote his elegy in the early 1990s, when truly imaginative prog was very hard to come by?

Rating: three and a half stars.

Report this review (#100759)
Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars As usual, I am very wary of such "projects" or supergroup as usually, they are completely disappointing and generally do not bring anything new. And of course not being a fan of Flower Kings, I was even doubly wary. But having not found at my library system the French Tangerine and not found the album I was looking after with German one (the one that is dreaming ;-), I fell upon this "thing". Having found doodley, I settled for squat and rented this disc, hoping it would somehow filled the void. Well zilch did not fill the empty space and I found myself fast forwarding plenty of passages on the second listen.

Don't get me wrong, this is a very "professional" album made by excellent musos, but the feeling that they are doing yet another umpteenth album is so present that the album reeks boredom even before you pressed play. Yes there are some good passages (notably the inaptly titled Canterbury-sumthin': sounds not much like anything remotely Kentish. Yet another cool moment is the fourth movement in the opening suite In Dark Dreams, but it is directly followed by an excruciatingly badly sung track, the reprise of Night Terror. And this is exactly the type of track that makes silence golden, and a welcome rest after the ordeal. BTW, David Jaxon's contributions are correct but nothing transcendental as he would be in VdGG.

So what exactly does this "thing" do? Well it gives plenty of rather good but directionless music that never even saw the broken grounds so long before them. The virgin territories explored in the 70's are not wide avenues with rich shopping areas on each side with large apartment buildings full of penthouses and plenty of parking spaces. Of course it is rather hard to be innovative nowadays, so I am sure that none of these professionals will even claim that they tried anything in that direction. So they just made yet another prog album, one of the many hundreds or so, cluttering the shelves of non-discerning and non- demanding progheads. Of course if you have not heard thousand albums like this old dog, this has a chance to please you, and who am to tell you to stay away from such stuff? But there are plenty more to discover in ProgArchives' vaults...

Report this review (#108468)
Posted Tuesday, January 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I actually got to hear this prior to release, and thought it was fantastic. When I finally got the CD, that feeling held. After repeated listens, it didn't hold up so well, and I put it away for a while before pulling it out again in preparation of this review.

This album is a retro prog tribute album, albeit featuring original compositions (with the exception of one part of The Canterbury Sequence, Chaos at the Greasy Spoon, which is taken directly from Hatfield and the North). This is not an opinion, but a fact. Tillison meant this to be a one off side project (hence the name) to get some old school prog out of his system. It ended up taking on a life of its own, however.

In listening back to this, it certainly is not masterpiece. But it is a well written and performed album with some great playing by all (especially Tillison). I'm not fond of the idea of making each section of long pieces into separate tracks, but aside from that there is nothing much wrong with this album. Perhaps it is the fact that this was not really a band at that time (which it now is), that makes this album seem a bit weak to me. The opening suite has some great moments, and the title track is a sublime piece of music with poignant lyrics about the "guilty" pleasure of prog listening as well as a powerful instrumental section. The Canterbury Sequence is good fun, with great flute playing by David Jackson. But I guess it's the sort of album where you stop noticing new things after a few listens, and it just becomes repetition after that (unlike the most recent Tangent album, A Place In The Queue). But it's still enjoyable to pull out every once in a while as I learned recently.

So a pretty solid album, in the supergroup pulling out a retro prog tribute album sort of way. Later works will be better, but this is worth hearing for those who already like and know the album. If you are fan of Tillison or PO90, or Roine Stolt and the Flower Kings, then consider it essential.

Report this review (#126925)
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Wow! Wonderful album! Quite a good surprise. It reminds me of the time I found The Flower Kings. This is no surprise since 3 members of The Flower Kings play here, including their leader Roine Stolt and the omnious Jonas Reingold. Stolt even sings some parts which may reinforce the FK connection, but really the sound is different. The music is great symphonic rock with some strong jazz influences, showing how talented mastermind Andy Tillson is. The sound recording is excellent and the musicians do deliever a tight performance, including some of the best guitar solos Stolt has ever done. I still think their two next CDs are better, but as a starting point, The Music That Died Alone is certainly more than a promise. It is an excellent piece of prog music that is highly recommended!
Report this review (#127445)
Posted Tuesday, July 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Maybe Steven Wilson is a modern progressive rock genius, but Andy Tillison is a man of genius too, if not better.

The Tangent is one of the best modern progressive rock groups I have ever heard. Andy Tillison, a gifted person indeed, had begun his progressive journey long before The Tangent was formed – with the band called Parallel or 90 Degrees. His music is strongly influenced on 70’s art-rock groups (mainly VDGG, King Crimson, Yes and Genesis) with a touch of jazz-rock, Canterbury and space-rock. In general, Andy Tillison whites the music, which can satisfy almost every progressive rock fan.

The main Tillison’s advantage over, for example, Roine Stolt (of nowadays), is that his music is not forced and doesn’t bother the listener at all. Well, you can say that Tillison uses the same formula in all his songs and that his songs don’t particularly differ from each other (like the latest songs by Roine Stolt), BUT – his music is INSPIRED and … honest. It’s too hard to find words to make the proper explanation, but Andy Tillison writes music just for fun and pleasure to satisfy the same progressive rock fan as he is. Furthermore, Tillison has already released 3 excellent albums in a row.

The Music That Died Alone is a masterpiece of progressive music, because it has almost everything that every prog-rock fan dreams of: complex structures, wonderful solos by Mr Roine Stolt and Tillison, long epics divided into parts, difficult passages and so on. The album would deserve 5 stars even if there was only In Darkest Dreams on it, and it doesn’t mean that the rest of the songs are not important. Every songs has it’s raisin: for example, Up-Hill From Here is a kind of a fun and a musical duel between “three generations”; Canterbury Sequence is a wonderful song with jazzy flavor; The Music That Died Alone (the song) is very lyrical, calm and heartfelt; and of course In Darkest Dream, the centerpiece of the album, is actually progressive rock as its best (even the first 3 minutes of the song are TREMENDOUS).

A stunning debut. Made in style. 5 stars by far.

Report this review (#159736)
Posted Friday, January 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars Classic prog never sounded so good. This debut by the Tangent is a towering homage to the greats of the '70's but is nonetheless performed with enough contemporary flair and energy to make it distinctly unique. Musically diverse and dynamic, MTDAlone is PACKED with instrumental and songwriting excellence. Tillison's keyboards are among the best in the business (and not just because they don't sound like a church organ), while the rest of the band is absolutely outstanding.

Many similarities have been made to the Flower Kings, which I think is entirely appropriate; however, with the Tangent listeners don't have the baggage of pointless fillers, jam-sessions, saccharine pomp, and trite lyrics they do with TFK. Roine is kept on a leash here, crooning only occasionally and even then with lyrics not written by him (hurray!); his and Reingold's guitars are ON FIRE throughout though. Manning's vocals are new to me, and a very accomplished. He has a smooth timbre and nicely accented voice; mature and sensitive. Lyrics are in generally good, but come across as rhetoric for much of the album.

Songwriting is typically fast-paced with great melodies and proggish hooks. The band changes gears often and is quite accomplished in many styles/tempos.

A must listen for fans of classic progressive rock, or for those who have sworn it off.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#164401)
Posted Thursday, March 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This originally started out as an Andy Tillison solo album but it turned into much more than that.This really is the joining together of the core of two bands, PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES and THE FLOWER KINGS. Three members from each band plus David Jackson from VDGG. If you know Tillison you know that he is a huge VDGG fan, and his old band PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES even did a whole album of Hammill cover tunes called "No More Travelling Chess". So he must have been thrilled that Jackson came on board. Even though Stolt is part of the band at this point, it has to be made clear that THE TANGENT is Andy Tillison's band. He wrote all the songs and as i write this review their latest "Not As Good As The Book" is perhaps making even bigger waves then this album did when it came out.

"In Darkest Dreams" is a 20 minute song divided into 8 parts. Interesting that Roine, Andy and Guy all sing lead vocals at some point during this epic track. It opens with "Prelude-Time For You" a tremendous uptempo instrumental where organ, drums, guitar and sax stand out. It blends into "Night Terrors" where as Roine starts to sing as it settles down. Some nice bass line from Reingold after a minute. Both sax and guitar offer up some melancholic solos. "The Midnight Watershed" opens bombastically before a tasteful solo from Roine as bass throbs. Love this section. Sam comes in with some piano melodies after a minute which is followed up with some powerful organ from Tillison. The whole time the bass is very prominant. "In Dark Times" features mellow vocals from Andy to begin with.The song becomes more passionate before 2 minutes,and then calms back down with sax. "The Half-Light Watershed" is kind of spacey before a short mandolin piece from Manning that blends into "On Returning". Guy sings lead here as sax and drums stand out. "A Sax In The Dark" features quite a bit of bottom end as sax comes in, organ follows. "The Night Terrors Reprise" has Roine back on lead vocals.This is such an uplifting ending to an amazing track. When i was writing these notes today as i listened to this, the sun came out. This is the first sunshine we've had for three days. It was such perfect timing.

"The Canterbury Sequence" is next,and it's divided into three parts. "Cantermemorabilia" has some cool lyrics like : "I seem to spend my whole life shouting, perhaps i should be cool, put on some Caravan or Hatfields, like i used to do at school". A very jazzy number and there's even some vocal melodies. Love the Canterbury flavour 3 minutes in. Great tune. "Chaos At The Greasy Spoon" is a HATFIELD AND THE NORTH cover. This is a fantastic instrumental with some great organ work early followed by piano and flute trading solos. Roine lets loose on his guitar and continues that later on "Captain Manning's Mandolin". "Up Hill From Here" is another incredible tune with Andy on vocals. This is an uptempo, catchy tune that makes me smile. Guitar and organ shine. "The Music That Died Alone" is divided into four parts. "A Serenade" opens with some beautiful piano melodies. Just before 1 1/2 minutes i'm reminded of CHROMA KEY and Kevin Moore everytime. "Playing On..." features Andy on vocals. Sax and flute are amazing. The tempo picks up and the mood brightens 3 minutes in. "Pre-History" is a guitar / piano led song with a ripping guitar solo before 2 minutes. "Reprise" is jazzy with the bass, drums and sax standing out. Vocals after a minute. The last words we hear are "...the music that died alone".

I really can't find any faults with this album. It's a joy to listen to, and at just under 45 minutes it's just the right length.

Report this review (#164488)
Posted Thursday, March 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Music that Died Alone is the debut album from The Tangent. A band that started out as a project formed by former frontman and keyboardist in Parallel or 90 Degrees Andy Tillison but after the success of this album The Tangent has growned into a real band.

On The Music That Died Alone Andy Tillison is helped by some pretty prominant gentlemen. Roine Stolt ( The Flower Kings) plays guitar and sings on In Darkest Dreams, Jonas Reingold ( The Flower Kings) plays bass, Zoltan Czorsz ( The Flower Kings) plays drums), Sax and flute legend from Van der Graaf Generator David Jackson also contributes to the album while Andy Tillison´s old collegues from Parallel or 90 Degrees Sam Baine ( Piano and synths) and Guy Manning ( guitars, vocals and keyboards) also contribute. With a cast like that this album just couldn´t fail to deliver and didn´t.

I´ve had this album since it came out. At the time it was released I was heavily into The Flower Kings and as I saw that Roine Stolt was involved on The Music That Died Alone I had to have the album. I was initially disappointed about the inaccessible nature of the music. I say inaccessible not because this is not melodic or memorable music but because it took me a long time to diggest the pretty long tracks. It always confused me with all the subtitles and I never seemed to get a grip of the album. Well things change for better or worse and in this case fortunately for the better. Within the last half year I have begun to give this album more and more spins and grown increasingly happier about it. Today I wouldn´t live without it.

The album starts with the 20 minute song In Darkest Dreams. It´s subdivided into smaller songs but there is a cohesiveness to the whole affair which means that this seems like one long song. It´s a great song with Roine Stolt and Andy Tillison sharing the vocal duties. David Jackson is heard from the start. His playing is very dominant at times. Really great work. There are also lots of great synth and organ work throughout the song and plenty of solo work for all lead instruments.

The Canterbury Sequence is a great ode to the Canterbury scene sound. To those of us who love that sound it´s great to hear that others love it too. It´s a light jazz/ rock which like In Darkest Dreams is subdivided into smaller bits. Again David Jackson plays some great parts.

Up Hill From Here is another great symphonic rock song. The Tangent has a really pleasant sound not unlike the one played by The Flower Kings even though they don´t sound that much alike. It´s just the soft and complex constructions of the songs which makes me compare the two bands.

The title track ends the album in great style. Like In Darkest Dreams this track is subdivided into smaller tracks which makes a whole. Again there are many great parts with lots of nice sounds. Andy Tillison´s vocals was one of the things that took my many yeards to appreciate but it was a song like this one that made me realise that he is in fact a very good singer. He has the singing/ talking style that Roine Stolt also often uses.

The musicianship is fantastic on this album and if you should not like the music at least aknowledge the great musicianship.

The production is excellent. Everything is right in the mix.

This is a great prog rock album and even though this is not very modern and the influences are clearly the great seventies prog rock heroes this is just excellent music. I´ll rate The Music That Died Alone 4 very well deserved stars. The Tangent lacks a bit in the originality department which I hope will show itself on their later albums, but if it doesn´t this is still excellent music and a welcome addition to my prog rock collection ( well it´s been there for several years as I told you earlier).

Report this review (#173975)
Posted Sunday, June 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
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.

Report this review (#178494)
Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#183157)
Posted Sunday, September 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, I wasn't expecting what I had first premonised (basically expecting it to be really good, but not as good as this)

With only 4 songs, and just under 50 minutes, it was very easily digestable, not boring whatsoever and always fun to listen to.

I loved how this supergroup takes 3 generations of prog and uses it to a creative advantage.

It's also a mixture of cultures, mixing gods of English & Swedish prog together.

1. In Darkest Dreams - The longest and most interesting song. Full of amazing instrumenbtal sections and some interesting vocals, along with some amazing contrapuntal saxophone melodies, this song is one amazing piece of music. 10/10

2. The Canterbury Sequence - Yes, you would think these guys where from Canterbury with this little ditty (well it's not that little). The first part is amazing, with the almost scat like rhythms, and some pretty cool istrumntal sections, being very impressed with the piano playing. 10/10

3. Up Hill From Here - Very rocking. Great chorus and some pretty interesting lyrics. 10/10

4. The Music That Died Alone - The more beautiful and harmonius part of the album. Great ending. 10/10

CONCLUSION: It's just a perfect album, what more do you need.

Report this review (#291084)
Posted Monday, July 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok, time for an agonizing question here that goes for more albums but certainly for this one: where does an excellent album end and a masterpiece begin qualitywise ? Hard to say and in this case it's just about impossible to decide which to go for.

So far I already reviewed all The Tangent's albums and all of them are at least excellent and made the band one of my favorites of all time really. Funny enough I checked out this debut as last in line but this one is actually better than the rest and the reason why is simple: this album has no weak points, let alone songs. Three quarters of absolutely magnificent jazzy and energetic music with as ultimate highlight the streamsong here on PA: Up Hill from here.

I'd say check it out one day and if you don't like it: don't buy this album because this track shines and rocks and thrills big time. Music simply doesn't get much better than this as far as I'm concerned. And the other (multi-layered) songs aren't much less in fact. Two more or less symphonic prog epics with jazz influence and one more in Canterbury style as the title already suggests. I'm sorry for Andy Tilison but I really loved The Tangent best when The Flower Kings members (Stolt, Reingold and Csörsz) were still around. They guarantee sheer quality in musicianship and composition as well as production.

So there you go, quite some reasons to go for the max here. I often round down the albums that score round about 4,5 stars but this scores just a bit higher and it also fits in one of my criterions for the full 5: when it's an all over great album without fillers or weak moments. So 5 stars it is.

Report this review (#293476)
Posted Thursday, August 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I hadn't listened to this cd for a couple of years, but went back to it recently and realised again how good it is. The highlight for me is The Canterbury Sequence, with its references to 'Caravan and the Hatfields', and its brilliant use of part of a Hatfield and the North track. The whole piece to me breathes the spirit of 70's Canterbury prog and is a wonderful nostalgic exercise. The Music Tha Died Alone is also nostalgic in tone and has a superb chorus. The four pieces are all characterised by excellent instrumental sections. Roine Stolt's guitar work is as good as anything he has done, and David Jackson's sax and especially flute add atmospheric quality. But above all that, Andy Tillison's keyboard playing beautifully captures the Canterbury spirit of bands like Egg and the Hatfields.
Report this review (#360035)
Posted Wednesday, December 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think if you listen and analyze carefully, we are witnessing a classic. It should transcend time. This happened in my case. A few years ago, might have qualified with 3. Over time it has grown steadily in me.

Currently each section conforms me and, in general, moves and invigorates me. There is rhythm, energy, emotion, and originality necessary.

While Tillison is clearly the soul matter, I see it as the result of the work of a band, uniform, compact. Not to mention the instrumental quality, taking into account the musicians involved. I agree that the weaker the voice, maybe some of it retract back to listen.

It is an album to listen fully, and stretches just enough.

Report this review (#970659)
Posted Monday, June 3, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars The beginning of an important original voice in music.

Originally begun as an Andy Tillison solo project (hence the name he gave it, 'The Tangent'), after getting so many great players to contribute Tillison realized he had created a new band. In addition to getting Roine Stolt, Jonas Reingold, and Zoltan Csorsz from the Flower Kings to play on it (guitar, bass, drums, respectively), he also invited David Jackson, the sax/flute-playing original founder of Van Der Graff Generator to contribute. Along with Sam Baine (piano) and Guy Manning (guitar, mandolin), who Tillison had played with and who continued to play with The Tangent, this made for a formidable concentration of talent. The music is highly band-oriented, and there are lots of great solos and opportunities to shine, so it was natural to think of taking this line-up and creating a semi-permanent band out of it. And thus, The Tangent - one of the more exciting new voices in progressive rock - was born. This album is thus an important milestone in music history (at least for those, like myself, who really like the band and Tillison's writing).

As for the album, my reactions have always had two sides ever since my first play, although for the first year or so I would have rated this in the four-star realm. I really like the playing, and there are great sections in each of the songs. The piece that has lasted best for me is "The Canterbury Sequence". Across his albums (and in his writing) Tillison is very up front about his influences, and often writes tunes "in the style of" or "in celebration of", for pieces across many albums. This particular song is (obviously) written in both celebration and style of the Canterbury scene, and there is even a short snippet of "Chaos at the Greasy Spoon" from Hatfield and the North's second album in the middle of it. The lyrics are fun and unpretentious, the drumming nice and jazzy, and feel very warm. It is understandable why so many fans rate this piece highly. Awesome track! (and I say this not only as a huge fan of the Canterbury scene).

The other pieces, however, are more mixed. The second-best composition is the title track ("the Music that Died Alone"). It is very musical, with some great moody sections. The lyrics are a tad pretentious though, and I have to say, a bit too 'obvious', if that is the right word. The long epic, "In Darkest Dreams" is even more mixed. I really like some of the parts of this tune, including the opening theme which Tillison plays on the keys, and some of the great grooves (and solos) the appear from time to time. However, the "This sleep is not what is seems" part for me interrupts the flow in a way that always makes me wince, and the lyrics here again sound a bit obvious. Another thing: Tillison knows he is not the most accurate singer (he often sings slightly out of tune), and on this album he has Roine Stolt and Guy Manning help out with the vocals. Stolt is the dominant vocalist in Darkest Dreams, and while I like his singing in The Flower Kings, I don't think it works as well in the The Tangent. Tillison's lyrics, perhaps more than others, have a personal character that goes very well with Tillison's voice. I wish that Tillison had sung the tune himself. On later albums, he would do this, and even though it means sometimes dealing with slightly out-of-tune vocals, I think it is better than having others sing them for you. But it seems to me on this album, Tillison was a bit self-conscious about his singing. On the plus side, when he DOES sing (as on the most of the other tracks) it seems he did multiple takes in order to get the intonation right, so his singing here is actually generally better than on later albums. So, in a way, this is even more reason for him to sing the epic. Later on, The Tangent released a live album ("Going Off On One") containing a live version of "In Darkest Dreams", and Tillison sang the lead on that version. I think the live version is much better. Finally, there is a short track "Up the Hill From Here", which is among The Tangent's weakest tracks. If it had been left off the album, it would have strengthened the album from my perspective.

Overall, this is an important album that anyone interested in The Tangent should own. After a number of years of listening to it, my rating has declined slightly but by enough that it no longer rates in the 4-star range, and now rates for me at the high end of 3 PA stars (7.7 of 10 on my 10-point scale).

Report this review (#1867627)
Posted Thursday, January 18, 2018 | Review Permalink
2 stars With a lineup mashing together members from The Flower Kings, Parallel or 90 Degrees, and Van der Graaf Generator, the Tangent's debut album to me is a whole that's less than the sum of its parts: it's a nostalgia-prog trip through various musical styles that appealed to me (including an attempt at a Canterbury pastiche), but it feels overproduced and overpolished. On the opening sequence, In Darkest Dreams, the Flower Kings presence threatens to overwhelm proceedings entirely, which may be part of the issue since on balance I tend to find the Flower King sound to be a bit too saccharine for my tastes.
Report this review (#1915830)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my opinion, The Music That Died Alone is one of the very best prog albums released since 2000.

On one hand, that's not much of a surprise given the personnel; the Tangent qualifies as a "supergroup" lead by keyboardist and lead vocalist Andy Tillison. Or maybe it's a Tillison solo album (as it was originally intended) with a supergroup-level backing band - - he's listed as the sole songwriter on the entire album except for "Chaos at the Greasy Spoon," a Hatfield and the North cover (written by Dave Stewart) included here as the three-minute middle movement of "The Canterbury Sequence." But either way, the cards seem to have been stacked in favor of The Music That Died Alone.

However, Tillison doesn't exactly play it safe. I know that weirdness and the defiance of expectations can often be assets in progressive rock, but The Music That Died Alone runs takes two risks worth noting. First, Tillison and company wear their influences on their sleeves - - or maybe it's safer to say that they've tattooed them all over their arms. The Music That Died Alone is somehow able to be original while simultaneously and flamboyantly calling attention to their heroes. Despite the inclusion of David Jackson of Van Der Graaf Generator, the Tangent is a second-generation progressive-rock band, and is just as "neo-prog" as Marillion. 

One of the most blatant examples of hero-worship is the integration of VdGG / King Crimson sax/flute vamps (e.g., at the beginning of the "Prehistory" section of "The Music That Died Alone" and as a recurring motif in "In Darkest Dreams," first occurring at about 2:00). There's also the fact that Tillison and guitarist Roine Stolt sing in a style reminiscent of VdGG vocalist Peter Hammill, right down to imitating Hammill's habit of occasionally speaking, rather than singing, the last lines of certain passages. Inviting Jackson to join the group itself may have been the clearest sign of Tillison's admiration for VdGG.

Similarly, including the Stewart composition in "The Canterbury Sequence" indicates not only an ambition to embrace a variety of prog styles, but perhaps even a belief that 1990s proggers ought to have a few 1970s names if they're going to rightly express such an ambition. As Tillison says in the "Cantermemorabilia" section of the track, "we missed the party back in 1971." Just the name of this movement, the name of the suite, the mention of "put(ting) on some Caravan or Hatfields" is almost farcical - - but just almost. 

In addition to the Crimsonian and VdGG-flavored heavy prog and the Canterbury homage, The Music That Died Alone also pays tribute to symphonic prog ŕ la Genesis and Yes, especially on the longer-form pieces "In Darkest Dreams" and "The Music That Died Alone," both of which are subdivided into named and Roman-enumerated movements.

Although Tillison is obviously a fan of Genesis, the Yes references seem more obvious to me. Take "In Darkest Dreams" as an example. The keyboard solo beginning at 7:34 is an expert merger of the soloing styles of Tony Kaye and Rick Wakeman, beginning with a "Roundabout"-like organ solo which morphs almost exactly like on "The Calling" into more Kaye-like riffing. At 8:11 Tillison launches into a glorious half-minute of Tormato-era Wakeman noodling. The structure of this piece is also reminiscent of "Close to the Edge," with its middle movements (starting with "In Dark Dreams") mirroring the "I Get Up, I Get Down" section of the Yes classic.

Including nods to the 1970s prog canon might sound like a safe move, but I consider the profusion of insider references as a risk. There's a line somewhere between simply being influenced by "the classics" and creating a pastiche album like Utopia did with Deface the Music. As good as the Utopia project may be, it can't escape comparison to the original. Somehow The Music That Died Alone skirts the line. But it's risky territory.

The other potentially ill-advised move was actually emphasizing the pop sensibilities on two of the album's four tracks - - something likely to offend many prog fans unless done very carefully. But it here it works. "Up Hill from Here" is more than seven minutes long, but it's hard to ignore its pop-song attributes. It begins with a decidedly un-progressive, sequenced keyboard part and is built around a sing-along refrain. The lyrics are vacant - - there's no alien, hobbit, or phantasm in sight. In fact, the first verse is comprised of 21 one-syllable words and one two-syllable word. "Up Hill from Here" is the most accessible song here, but the catchiest part of the album first appears four minutes into the album, during the "Night Terrors" movement of "In Darkest Dreams" in the form of a sing-along chorus ("this sleep is not what it seems..."). The poppiest moment comes when the chorus is repeated at 17:21 ("Night Terrors (Reprise)"): the sequence of very catchy hook → sax solo → vocal breakdown(!) would be the envy of any would-be pop hitmaker. 

As of this writing, there are only twenty prog-rock albums which I feel deserve five stars. The Music That Died Alone is one of them. For what it's worth, I strongly recommend it to any fan of the genre, but especially fans of the "1970s canon."

Report this review (#2246264)
Posted Sunday, August 25, 2019 | Review Permalink
A Crimson Mellotron
4 stars 2002 saw the collision of many talents from the progressive rock scene, in the formation of what was supposed to be a one-off project, a form of a supergroup consisting of half the members of Parallel or 90 Degrees and half of The Flower Kings with a few more special guests. Happily, The Tangent turned out to be one of prog's most frequent venturers and a really exciting band.

This first album is really a collection of all that The Tangent would go on and explore more in depth on future releases. The various backgrounds of all the seven members that appear here provides for an eclectic and original collection of great memorable tunes. The prog afficionado can appreciate band leader Andy Tillison on keys and vocals, Roine Stolt on guitars and vocals, David Jackson on sax and flute, Jonas Reingold on bass, Zoltan Czorsz on drums, Sam Baine on piano and synth, and Guy Manning on acoustic guitar and backing vocals.

As for the music, the musicianship and writing really deserve high praise, as the album feels very concentrated in its direction, and also very well executed. The music is expressive and nostalgic, something that will become a signature for The Tangent.

Opening track 'In Darkest Dreams' is an 8-movement epic and one of the band's all-time highlights. Going through different tempos, beautiful guitar work, very well placed sax parts and a little synth-fest by Tillison, this is an amazing 21st century epic tale of self-reflection.

'The Canterbury Sequence' is Andy Tillison's love poem to the Canterbury scene, a very catchy and quite jazzy track that contains a cover of Hatfield and the North's 'Chaos at the Greasy Spoon' from their second album. Witty and playful lyrics in the first part, groovy madness in the second and a mandolin-infused third part all make this a very good number.

'Up Hill From Here' is an upbeat song with fantastic instrumental section, more lighthearted in nature but very joyous.

'The Music That Died Alone', an epic in four movements and a muscle track from the band where as in the opening one, everyone gets to be in the spotlight, with lovely piano melodies, sax and flute interplay, and crushing bass.

This is a tremendously good debut, quite pleasing and just the beginning of a great prog story!

Report this review (#2451024)
Posted Friday, September 25, 2020 | Review Permalink
3 stars Opening with bombastic organs and other keys reminiscent of ELP is the first suite. Then bombastic brass come for the second part and the song chills out. There are vocals in this part. They are okay, reminding me of Geddy Lee. The chorus is really happy sounding with its backup vocal harmony, lame. Part three begins with a "hey" and is a funkier section with guitar soloing. Part four is a much needed respite from the thus far fast paced suite. Fret less bass and piano are nice on this one. The vocals sound like before but lounge tinged. I find the backup singing again, annoying. Part five opens with a cymbal wash and spacey synth/acoustic guitar. Part six then begins which is part four again but with acoustic guitar. Part seven then begins with sax and wah wah guitar. Part 7 is part 2 again. I REALLY do not like the chorus on this. This song is okay, I like that the soloing never becomes excessive noodling. I do not like the vocals and found the song without exception to be to fast/hyper (like everything was on meth).

The second suite opens with jazzy stuff, if the first song ELP tribute this one is Hatfield And The North Tribute. The flute is nice and they sound like Richard Sinclair. The second part is a cover of Chaos at the greasy spoon. I wouldn't have known because the original is very short serving as an interlude, unlike this track which is a lot heftier. The third movement opens with acoustic tremolo picking guitar and is the closer. Overall I like this song, the vocals were better then before and the backup vocals more tastefully done.

The third song opens with a lot of energy due to fast percussion work that drives the song over which vocals are delivered. The harmonies are again unnecessary and this time the vocal tone does not fit the music (to 2000s rock for ELP/Hatfield clone). This one I'm meh on. The drums get annoying with the repetitive thrashing and everything is just so loud.

The fourth song opens with calm piano, a rarity on this album, something that isn't balls to wall. The second part kicks it up a notch but surprisingly is still chill even with vocals. The third part is keyboard led with some hectic playing that feels earned this time. The fourth part opens with Canterbury scatting and the album ends after some singing.

This is a solid album. An adequate mix of good/average moments that remains in 3* territory for me 100%.

Report this review (#2579250)
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2021 | Review Permalink

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