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THE TANGENT

Eclectic Prog • Multi-National


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The Tangent biography
Formed in 2002 in Northern England, UK

THE TANGENT is a project originally formed by Andy Tillison, Guy Manning and Sam Baine of PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES [Po90] as well as half of THE FLOWER KINGS including Jonas Reingold, Zoltan Csorsz and guitar virtuoso and former KAIPA member Roine Stolt. Of course to put further icing on the cake David Jackson of VAN DER GRAFF GENERATOR would lend his legendary sax to the band for their debut album. This started out as a mere project and was actually intended to be a Tillison solo effort before it became a full fledged band as Tillison felt the need to produce something more typically 'prog' than he'd been doing in Po90. Of course it has to be noted that this really is Andy Tillison's affair since over the years the entire roster (spare Tillison and Manning) has been changed due to many different circumstances, which has really not affected the supergroup as many would expect. Often asked about his changing line up, Tillison responds by saying that it's all part of a prog band's life and fans of the genre know all about line-up changes by now. THE TANGENT is quite a dynamic band in terms of line up even now as they recruit several members of BEARDFISH onto their team, having been impressed by them on the "Not As Good As The Book" tour. This does make for a very dynamic sound which leaves the band with a fresh angle for each album. Often touted as a 'retro' band thanks to their old school sound, the band does have a very 'classic' prog feel to them with Tillison's prominent synths. THE TANGENT has often been compared to YES and KING CRIMSON in style because of the mixture of Light and Dark with Stolt and Tillison (respectively) at the helm of the project. Highly melodic and very inclined to write sprawling epics THE TANGENT should satisfy the tastes of any prog listener who wants to go back to the roots of the genre while maintaining a contemporary message and feel.

Their music is often cynical as Tillison has often been seen as 'the dark horse' of the modern progressive scene, his lyrics often poking fun at modern music and tendencies as shown in every one of their albums, but especially "The Music That Died Alone" and their newest effort to date, "Not As Good As The Book", which is a largely sarcastic and cynical look at the world that turned out to be not as good as we thought it would be. heir second effort, "The World That We Drive Through" continued t...
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THE TANGENT discography


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THE TANGENT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.99 | 370 ratings
The Music That Died Alone
2003
3.75 | 274 ratings
The World That We Drive Through
2004
3.84 | 364 ratings
A Place In The Queue
2006
3.87 | 395 ratings
Not as Good as the Book
2008
3.74 | 283 ratings
Down And Out In Paris And London
2009
3.85 | 329 ratings
COMM
2011
4.00 | 373 ratings
Le Sacre du Travail
2013
3.83 | 295 ratings
A Spark In The Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two
2015
3.96 | 314 ratings
The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery
2017
3.98 | 263 ratings
Proxy
2018
3.79 | 96 ratings
Auto Reconnaissance
2020

THE TANGENT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.07 | 41 ratings
Pyramids And Stars
2005
4.39 | 79 ratings
Going Off On One
2007
4.25 | 16 ratings
Hotel Cantaffordit (as TangeKanic (Tangent & Karmakanic))
2018

THE TANGENT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.18 | 54 ratings
Going Off On One
2007
4.75 | 42 ratings
Going Off On Two
2011

THE TANGENT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THE TANGENT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.17 | 43 ratings
A Place On The Shelf
2009
4.22 | 37 ratings
L'Étagère du Travail
2013

THE TANGENT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Music That Died Alone by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.99 | 370 ratings

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The Music That Died Alone
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by 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!

 Auto Reconnaissance by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.79 | 96 ratings

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Auto Reconnaissance
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by CeeJayGee

5 stars My two favourite albums for this pandemic year which appears to have reduced the available new music in the year so far, are Pendragon's Love Over Fear and The Tangent's Auto Reconnaissance. The two albums couldn't be more different but great melodies are what they both share. The music of The Tangent is always more complex in structure, requiring more listens for full appreciation, but both are enjoyable from first listen. Lyrically they are poles apart. Nick Barrett's are simpler and on Love Over Fear are even naïve at times whereas Andy Tillison's are sometimes controversial but always intelligent, almost poetic and an essential part of the overall package.

Auto Reconnaissance is the latest in a long line of very high-quality prog albums. It is too early for me to say whether it is their finest, but it is certainly up there. Prog Archives categorises the music of The Tangent as eclectic and the range of musical styles on this album illustrates this. The Tangent's brilliant guitarist, Luke Machin, recently released an album showcasing the different musical styles that can be played on a guitar and, on Auto Reconnaissance, he skilfully supports the musical styles. The overall musicianship is highly accomplished with Theo Travis' contribution on a variety of wind instruments being particularly notable.

Every album by The Tangent has an epic track of considerable length which is complex in structure and always features an exquisite melody which is returned to as the track progresses but is otherwise used sparingly. Auto Reconnaissance is no exception with Lie Back and Think Of England running for over 28 minutes. This is the track I have listened to most despite its length. I've seen others state that the track is too long and certainly, when you first listen to it, the first half appears less coherent than the second but, as get to know the track, you wouldn't want it any other way. The track returns to seeing the world through the eyes of a World War II pilot called Earnest who feels that it is only on Armistice Day that anyone notices him. Earnest first appeared on In Earnest, a wonderful track from the great album A Place In The Queue. He made a further short appearance on Where Are They Now from Down And Out In Paris. On Auto Reconnaissance Earnest comments further on the state of the world and delivers a powerful message.

I believe this is a truly great album and for me is certainly worthy of five stars.

 Auto Reconnaissance by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.79 | 96 ratings

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Auto Reconnaissance
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Soul2Create

4 stars Another strong candidate for the album of the year. I really think this is one of the best albums composed by this band. However, I am a little dissapointed because while i love the shorter tracks, I feel that the two longer ones are overlong and some of the ideas could have been left out, especially in "Lie Back & Think of England". Don't get me wrong, both are very good songs, but I have always found these problems with the epics from this band. To me an epic must be the perfect song and usually have higher expectations than with the rest of the album. Now the rating:

Life on hold - 9/10 Jinxed in Jersey - 8.5/10 Under your spell - 9.5/10 The tower of Babel - 8/10 Lie Back & Think of England - 7..5/10 The midas touch - 9/10 Proxima - 6.5/10

Overall, a four star album that surely will please fans of modern progressive rock.

 Auto Reconnaissance by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.79 | 96 ratings

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Auto Reconnaissance
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by javajeff

4 stars Another excellent release from Andy Tillison and company. On first listen, I was blown away by Jinxed in Jersey which has many different influences from lounge, jazz, and electronica as well as a HUGE COOL FACTOR with a sprinkle of Zappaesque. That is the most unique track on this album, and the rest has a very strong jazz influence. The bonus track Proxima is an instrumental that could have been an extra track on Andy's Kalman Filter project. The rest of the album contains his usual witty lyrics and spin on the things that apply to everyday life. He likes to tell stories and shape them to the music in epic proportions. Musically, the compositions are fantastic with great, and I mean great, sax playing by Theo Travis. The keyboards are always fantastic, and Auto Reconnaissance has the feel of another Tangent release full of energy and passion for music. The remaining members of the band provide some of the best musicianship on a modern prog release, and it is never surprising that they remain a consistently great band. The Tangent really earns it's "Eclectic" moniker with Auto Reconnaissance, and it should not disappoint anyone that enjoys previous releases or modern progressive rock.
 Auto Reconnaissance by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.79 | 96 ratings

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Auto Reconnaissance
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by emisan

4 stars The Tangent is one of the best prog creators of the new millenium, but for my second most expected album of the year, I'm a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong: the new album is very good but I think my expectations were too high (5 stars maybe ?!?). I love all the jazzy touches of the record, I love all the short songs, but the epic ones feels underwhelming. "Jinxed in Jersey" is funny but kind of cheesy. "Lie back & Think of England" had to be the masterpiece of the album. And it's a very good epic but not a great one. The song tries to be "In Earnest" Part II, but only partially succeeds. There is a good start and a touching second-half part but overall is 5-8 minutes longer than it should be. From the band who created epics like "In Earnest", "Where Are They Now?", "Slow Rust", or "Le Sacre Du Travail" I was hoping for more cohesion. And now the good news: the second-half part of LB&ToE is pure gold. A good 4 stars album & I definitely can say that The Tangent is not capable to create weak or mediocre albums. See you on the next ones.
 The Music That Died Alone by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.99 | 370 ratings

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The Music That Died Alone
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

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 à 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."

 Proxy by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.98 | 263 ratings

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Proxy
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Can The Tangent really be back with their tenth album? Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday that I was writing about Andy Tillison and his exciting new band Parallel or 90 Degrees, which also featured a young musician called Guy Manning. They were both there at the beginning of this band as well, although Guy is now heavily involved in other groups, and there have been some changes in the line-up since the last album. Of course, Andy Tillison (Po90/Kalman Filter) is still there providing vocals and keyboards, while Jonas Reingold (Flower Kings/Steve Hackett Band) is still there providing bass as he has since the very beginning. Theo Travis (Soft Machine/Travis-Fripp) long ago replaced David Jackson on Saxophone and flute, while we have some newbies in guitarist Luke Machin (Maschine/Francis Dunnery Band) and drummer Steve Roberts (Magenta/Godsticks), plus there is a special guest in the guise of Goran Edman (Karmakanic, Yngwie Malmsteen band).

Andy always used to be very heavily influenced indeed by Peter Hammill and VDGG, but these days he has moved much more into the Canterbury scene, with Egg and Hatfield & The North being major influences, combined with Camel. The result is an album which in many ways feels very dated, while there are some sections on the title cut which could have been heard at a Pontins holiday camp in the Seventies, as well as some tunes from cinema advertising from the same era. But this album is much more than just a collage of different sounds and styles, with Hammond Organ sounds washing through the music and a bass so deep and solid that one feels it is possible to sit on the notes and fly around the room as they reverb out of the speakers.

Lyrically this is one of the most interesting albums I have heard in a while, with words which are far more cutting than the music. Track five is just under ten minutes long, "Supper's Off", and even the title alone lets the listener know they are in for something a little out of the ordinary. A million years ago Andy could be found earning a crust engineering for obscure and very heavy bands at a studio, but through the last thirty years he has continued to innovate and create great music, and this is one of the most enjoyable albums of his I have ever come across. Timeless, dated, modern, superb.

 Proxy by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.98 | 263 ratings

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Proxy
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by M27Barney

5 stars If you buy one CD in the next 12 months make sure it is this one. Quite simply brilliant from the first second of "Proxy" to the last second of "Suppers Off". This CD blew my grunties off and I reckon sent them skittering off down the street where they are now terrorising scousers 30 miles to west of where I live...This has got to be the best release of 2018, and any symphonic prog fan who doesn't think this is the dogs bollocks on toast is a mountebank cad brother of a soap dodgers dog! I love the lyrics and the musicianship is tight and powers the quirks till they sneak inside your scalp and your hair will never stand diwn again. This album has everything, brill bass, scintilating keys and even brilliant wind instruments. Guitar to kill for and a cheeky nod to the music that the three man Genesis could have produced ("suppers off" has a sound of ATTWT but is a billion times better). Just buy this and strap your undies on guys and gals...
 Proxy by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.98 | 263 ratings

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Proxy
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars Modern proggers The Tangent return in 2018 with `Proxy', actually their tenth album to date, and damned if they haven't delivered the greatest of musical goods all over again, although they always set such a high standard that this shouldn't be a surprise! Andy Tillison, one of the most energetic and diverse keyboardists in modern prog as well as a hugely charismatic and distinctive vocalist, is joined once more by The Flower King's skilled bassist Jonas Reingold, talented young guitarist Luke Machin, modern Canterbury sound legend Theo Travis with his classy sax, flute and clarinet, ex-Godsticks drummer Steve Roberts and Karmakanic's Göran Edman on backing vocals, and they offer a first-rate collection of Canterbury-flavoured prog, electronic and jazzy extended pieces. `Proxy' is described as `a protest, a reflection, a couple of regrets and a rant', so it means that in addition to all the vibrant and enthusiastic playing, you get a stream of thoughtful lyrics, proving once again that Andy is one of the rare few in modern prog that prizes weighty and smart words of actual depth equally as much as all the instrumental showboating.

The opening sixteen minute title track proves that you can never predict which directions a Tangent piece will dart in, and big corporation tirade `Proxy' is all snappy drumming, humming keys, fiery guitar soloing, pumping sax and purring bass tearing in and out of brisk tempo changes back and forth that spring out of nowhere. Its opening Canterbury-modelled intro slinks into darker smoky grooves, Seventies jazz-fusion mellowness and rumbling heavier bursts, all peppered with Andy's condescending sneer. The Canterbury embracing maintains throughout the vocal-free `The Melting Andalusian Sky', where the band all get gorgeous improvised soloing showcase moments in between exotic reprising themes, and there's everything from nimble fingered late night/early a.m jazzy piano ruminations, tasty Latin touches and chill-out ambient interludes, making it truly one of the best instrumental pieces to pop up on a prog album in 2018.

`A Case Of Misplaced Optimism' is a mellow funky groover with an infectious chorus that will lodge itself in your brain for days (lovely restrained electronic slivers throughout this one too), but it's the frantic and deliciously schizophrenic `The Adulthood Lie' that proves to be the album highlight! A constantly up-tempo sprint of high energy with a welcome sense of sly humour and self-deprecating reflection, it's constantly driven by a peppy mix of programmed and clicking live drumming, jazzy sax blasts and flighty flute trills, pulsing bass and endlessly glitching electronics. How the colourful sixteen minute epic all manages to hold together brilliantly (as well as keeping your foot tapping and head bouncing!) is a miraculous miracle that speaks volumes about the skill of Andy and the players! `Supper's Off'' might kick off with punchy Asia-esque anthem-like guitars, but the ten-minute closer is loaded with bursts of angry ranted bile delivered with Andy's snarl, but it also settles into peppy little Canterbury touches and big synth themes too.

A perfect introduction for newcomers to what The Tangent do so well, as well as an endlessly satisfying disc for long-time fans, part of `Proxy's strength lies in the fact that it always remains endlessly melodic without simplifying the eclectic music styles and constantly improvised passages, meaning the disc is always surprisingly accessible. In `Proxy', the Tangent have not only delivered their most colourful and vibrant disc of their career to date, but one of the best progressive rock albums of 2018.

Five stars!

 Proxy by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.98 | 263 ratings

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Proxy
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by javajeff

4 stars The Tangent has evolved into a platform of experimentation. And why not? Andy Tillison has been making high quality progressive rock for a long time, so it is good to explore new possibilities. Under the label of Eclectic Prog, Proxy does experiment with different genres of music. For example, the 16 minute "The Adulthood Lie" fuses Fatboy Slim type of electronic funk with classic The Tangent in a way that is brilliant. It will mesmerize, intrigue, excite, and venture through many twists and turns. The majority of Proxy is classic symphonic progressive rock with Andy's spin on the world as he tells stories of politics, music, and life. "Supper's Off" is a classic b-side from Le Sacre Du Travail that features Andy's electrifying keyboards and can fit nicely on any Tangent album and deserves it's place in the sun. From start to finish, Proxy does a lot of things right, and fits nicely in a high quality catalog of music.
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