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The Tangent biography
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 the band's approach as on their first one but without the help of David Jackson on the sax. The fi...
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Slow Rust of Forgotten MachinerySlow Rust of Forgotten Machinery
Imports 2017
Audio CD$11.58
$9.99 (used)
Comm: LimitedComm: Limited
Audio CD$21.22
$15.51 (used)
Place in the QueuePlace in the Queue
Limited Edition · Special Edition
Inside Out U.S. 2006
Audio CD$44.38
$15.75 (used)
Music That Died AloneMusic That Died Alone
Imports 2010
Audio CD$9.63
$9.24 (used)
Le Sacre Du TravailLe Sacre Du Travail
Imports 2014
Audio CD$6.82
$13.15 (used)
The World That We Drive ThroughThe World That We Drive Through
Special Edition
Inside Out U.S. 2004
Audio CD$18.77
$5.99 (used)
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THE TANGENT discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

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

4.02 | 313 ratings
The Music That Died Alone
3.74 | 232 ratings
The World That We Drive Through
3.83 | 319 ratings
A Place In The Queue
3.87 | 355 ratings
Not As Good As The Book
3.73 | 252 ratings
Down And Out In Paris And London
3.86 | 293 ratings
3.97 | 324 ratings
Le Sacre Du Travail
3.85 | 254 ratings
A Spark In The Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two
4.11 | 140 ratings
The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery

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

4.06 | 36 ratings
Pyramids And Stars
4.41 | 71 ratings
Going Off On One

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

4.14 | 50 ratings
Going Off On One
4.76 | 36 ratings
Going Off On Two

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

4.23 | 30 ratings
L'╔tagŔre Du Travail

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

4.17 | 38 ratings
A Place On The Shelf


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.11 | 140 ratings

The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Review originally published in


Since The Tangent's early days I've been fan of their music, they know how to create challenging music with lots of changes, instrumental and vocal passages, vertiginous moments and calm tracks, they also bring a rollercoaster of emotions that touches the symphonic, Canterbury an even heavy side of prog. Andy Tillison and co. are now back this 2017 with an extraordinary album that once again shows their inherent and endless talent, an ambitious 6-track release with 4 long epics and 2 short tracks that will make you have over an hour of great prog rock. I must say that I personally have a bit trouble with albums this long, I always prefer a length minus 50 minutes, but with The Tangent I can let that rule slip away.

The album opens with "Two Rope Swings" which has a delicate sound, sweet vocals and a beautiful piano. Little by little more instruments join, calm flute, acoustic guitar, soft bass and drums. The sound is really gentle, easy to dig and easy to make you feel comfortable. Then at minute 2:30 keyboards appear so does the symphonic sound, so you have to be prepared to start a great journey and leave The Tangent guide you. "Doctor Livingstone (I Presume)" is the first (and shortest, by the way) epic of the album. The musicians have nothing to prove; we all know they are amazing, so in every single minute of the song (and album) we will feel satisfied. When asked what progressive rock is, I could easily play a The Tangent song, this instrumental one might be a great example, due to its great passages, the changes in time and mood, the use of symphonic, jazzy and classical elements, and much more. The song runs so gentle that in a blink of an eye it has already finished. The Canterbury-esque essence is provided here at its best.

Man, what a long and amazing track "Slow Rust" is, Tillison, Reingold, Travis and co have done one hell of a track (and an album). Vocals return here in an incredible labyrinth of emotions, tricks and dungeons where our ears and soul will be trapped for over 20-minutes, and let me say that you will not wish to find the exit, you will happily accept the musical seclusion. Lush keyboards and great bass lines can be found here; it is like a TV series with its chapters, the music is changing and creating different passages that naturally match with its predecessor. There are no weak moments, of course there are ones I enjoy more but I cannot ask for more. "The Sad Story of Lead and Astatine" continues with these examples of challenging compositions full of a cascade of changes, textures and nuances. The work of Travis here is beautiful and of course, Reingold always (but really, always) create the best bass lines for what the music needs.

"A Few Steps Down The Wrong Road" opens with a calm minute but then all of a sudden it explodes and becomes rockier and a bit heavier. The intensity increases and a sense of tension can be felt while a powerful symphonic sound surrounds us. As usual the song has different changes so we then listen to calm passages and minutes later it returns with more intensity. Great! The album finishes with "Basildonxit" which is the shortest composition here. As you can notice by my words, The Tangent has not let us down and I can actually say this this is my favorite release of their from this current decade, hands down. This last track is very different; it includes electronics sounds made by a DJ while keyboards work normally creating nuances. Then the symphonic explosion comes, strings, drums and keys work together in a wonderful work of art with some Floydian guitar, a jazzy funky sound and that great use of electronic background. A great way to finish a magnificent album!

The Tangent is of course, one of the bands I want to see the most on stage, and if everything goes normal, I would be able to do so next Progtoberfest at Chicago.

Enjoy it!

 The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.11 | 140 ratings

The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Back then the Canterbury homage 'The Music That Died Alone' hit me like lightning, I also thought 'COMM' to be another very recommended album, and now this one convinces right from the first listening session. When recovering from a heart attack in 2015 Andy Tillison's songwriting efforts understandably took a backseat for a while. But as somebody who's focussed on developing and playing sophisticated rock music as no other, he rebounded soon. And obviously felt challenged later on by the political development in Europe. Especially this Brexit affair, a quite exemplary result when some politicians, parties and even complete governments subtly and gradually are encouraging hate and nationalism.

How not to repeat yourself after so much prolific albums since 2002? Firstly, this is a very political album, A Few Steps Down The Wrong Road marks a strong statement due to his recitative. This may not meet everybody's taste. But at least music-wise it's definitely a top-notch result, and very jazz drenched stuff right here again. Furthermore he's effectually flirting with other styles on his albums, for example be it the excellent Pink Floyd oriented 'Aftereugene'. Alternatively, on this occasion, it's definitely Basildonxit, which opens very Lounge/2Step drenched. Well, and he surprisingly even goes the extra mile now when, for what reason ever, dealing with the percussion duties. I'm not sure, be it acoustic, electronic or via keys most likely. Presumably a little of each.

Apart from that Andy has some wellknown compagnions at his side, speaking of Theo Travis, Luke Machin and Jonas Reingold of course, my hero, when it comes to the bass guitar at least! As I'm not really fond of his work with the band Maschine, so much the more I adore Machin's contributions here, also being very present and virtuoso with a range from Gary Boyle to Santana and John Petrucci. If somebody is going to advertise a 2017 award for exceptional songwriting, here we have a strong aspirant waiting for. Another very personal statement, nothing to complain though, as this is always the fact, more or less. Groove, catchiness, complexity, sophistication, meaningfulness, experimentalism - all attributes will apply regarding this album. Is there any more of it?

 The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.11 | 140 ratings

The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by CeeJayGee

5 stars I must say that it is not easy to describe the music of The Tangent because it is quite unique. Many of the songs open with a beautiful melancholy melody which is reprised throughout what tend to be long tracks, interspersed with up-tempo jazz rock and further enhanced by intelligent, poignant and sometimes humorous lyrics that are generally a comment on aspects of daily life. As a result the tracks are complex and require revisiting to be fully appreciated. Most of the tracks on The Tangent's latest album The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery follow this structure with two of the six tracks being instrumental. All six tracks are memorable and of high quality. Even if you don't follow the lyrics, it is difficult to ignore them because of the clarity of delivery and the messages they convey. So many of today's challenges are referenced, not directly as criticisms, more as issues that we should all be concerned about. And throughout the music is glorious. For me this is a truly remarkable album and is the only one so far this year to warrant five stars.
 The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.11 | 140 ratings

The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by javajeff

5 stars I always expect a high quality progressive rock album with every release from The Tangent, and The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery is no exception. Andy Tillison is one of the best keyboard players in the business, so I always describe his playing as electric. Like other Tangent releases, The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery has a heavy infusion of jazz that takes the listener on a journey of unexpected turns. As far as compositions go, this is a stellar work to enhance his usually witty lyrics, and exceptional musicianship. The basslines are fantastic, so a big kudos goes to Jonas Reingold. It is nice to hear some female vocals mixed in to provide some harmonies, and there is also some spoken narration for variety. The entire band sounds great, and I am always happy with a new release from The Tangent. From the excellent cover art to the satisfying, old school, jazz infused rock and roll arrangements, this should please any progressive rock fan. The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery is up there with the best progressive rock releases for 2017 and beyond, and will be in my heavy rotation for quite a while. I enjoy and play all The Tangent releases often.

UPDATE: After spending more time with this album, it could be the best Tangent release to date. I have been listening to it regularly. It is easily up for mention as a top album of 2017.

 A Spark In The Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.85 | 254 ratings

A Spark In The Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Andy Tillison and company continue their thoughtful prog-rock revival with this, an impressive eighth album that is a conceptual and musical follow-up to the band's 2003 debut. I first got into the Tangent because of Roine Stolt's involvement. This was during my brief love-affair with the Flower Kings, which didn't last very long... but it thankfully introduced me to this wonderful band, whose energy, earnestness, instrumental chops, and playfulness continue to impress. A Spark in the Aether is a buoyant and bright sounding collection of songs that revel in those things characteristically "prog," making the experience easy to enjoy despite its musical complexity.

The intro is an upbeat, melodic, hook-laden rocker, featuring impressive keyboards by Tillison. Actually, they're very impressive. He's always done a great job incorporating polished and ambitious keyboards in Tangent works, but his fingers feel more dynamic than ever before throughout this album. Also impressive is Machin's guitar, whose licks in the opener are exciting enough to make those musical sparks in the aether that the lyrics refer to.

The follow up is the prog-rock retrospective, "Cod Pieces and Capes," a song that showcases the wonder and ironic tragedy of the classic progressive rock era. This is one of those songs that really makes one connect to the artist. Tillison wears his heart on his sleeve, showing us how important this music has been to his life; something many of us will probably identify with. Plus, it's a great song musically! There's tons of variety, dynamic and mood shifts, drama, big melodies, the works.

The second act of the album transitions to the jazzy "Clearing the Attic," which showcases some great solo work by pretty much the entire band. Subtle flute melodies juxtaposed to guitar outbursts make it fun and quirky. "Aftereugene" is the experimental and totally instrumental mood piece. It's a slow burn that builds tension with a heavy bass riff before releasing it with a furious sax solo.

The set piece of the album dominates the final half: the 21 minute "The Celluloid Road". To be honest, it's not the highlight. It's hard to tell if Tillison is being nostalgic, or engaging in America-bashing. America-bashing was pretty much a standard thing during the Bush years of 2001 - 2008, but it seems passe now. Regardless, the music itself is ambitiously performed prog with countless tempo and tonal changes. The band performs exceptionally well, I'm just not sure that the song works as strongly as the rest of the album. It's at its best when the Tillison focuses on his keyboard more than his singing, and just lets his talented players do their stuff.

The closing song reprises the musical themes to a grand instrumental conclusion, reminding us why the Tangent is one of the most enjoyable and exciting bands playing this kind of music. Check out Spark in the Aether and be reminded why you like prog-rock.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 5 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

 A Spark In The Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.85 | 254 ratings

A Spark In The Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars When I first got into Prog, THE TANGENT was one of the early bands I discovered, and I can still picture myself sitting in the Mall parking lot after picking up my haul of cds from HMV and dwelling on the covers and liner notes of THE TANGENT'S first two studio albums. Good memories, especially with their music over the years. One of Andy Tillison's great strengths is his lyrics and we get plenty of that here although i'm surprised at my dislike for some of them. Just my opinion. This latest album is Part Two of "The Music That Died Alone" which is pretty obvious with the cover art here. We get a World class drummer and bassist in Morgan Agren and Jonas Reingold respectively, and Theo Travis is fantastic as usual on his sax and flute.

"A Spark In The Aether" is an energetic tune with plenty of synths dominating. Andy comes in vocally before 1 1/2 minutes. Not the best start. "Codpieces And Capes" seems to dwell on the golden era of Prog but Neal Morse is mentioned for his Christian beliefs. This does remind me somewhat of SPOCK'S BEARD overall. It opens with a line about how pretentious many bands were in the seventies as keyboards and drums lead the way. The vocals are multi-tracked and i'm not big on that repeated section. The synths seem to swirl constantly at times. I do really like the drumming 7 minutes in as well as the crazy guitar solo. Also check out the jazzy passage 8 1/2 minutes in with flute. "Clearing The Attic" is one of my favourites on here along with "Aftereugene". The first is wistful and catchy with vocals. Nice instrumental section 3 1/2 minutes in and especially 6 1/2 minutes in as it continues. The vocals aren't back until before 8 minutes.

"Aftereugene" might be a reference to PINK FLOYD's "Careful With That Axe Eugene" as we do get some FLOYD-like atmosphere along with acoustic guitar, bass and flute early on. This actually reminds me of "Lizard" by KING CRIMSON as we get an improvized feel here. Also check out the dissonant sax before 4 minutes. So good. Two great tracks in my opinion, I just wished I like the rest of the album as much. "The Celluloid Road" is the over 21 minute epic that is like taking a road trip from coast to coast across the USA using TV shows and Movies as our guide. So yeah take the lyrics with a grain of salt unless you've been there. I'm not a fan of a few sections on here, especially the one beginning 9 1/2 minutes in. "A Spark In The Aether(Part Two)" opens with piano that lasts for quite a while. It starts to build before 2 minutes and I like the drumming here. Some relaxed guitar as well then the organ comes to the fore after 5 minutes. Lots of synths follow then we finally get vocals before 6 1/2 minutes as we get that same sound from the opening number.

Shockingly(to me) I can't pull the trigger on 4 stars which is the first for me when it comes to THE TANGENT. So much to like here though and plus i've seen nothing but praise for this album around the "Net".

 A Spark In The Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.85 | 254 ratings

A Spark In The Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by RaelWV

4 stars The subtitle for The Tangent's latest album ? it's eighth ? is "The Music That Died Alone Volume 2," referencing the title of the band's debut. Of course, the music it's talking about ? progressive rock ? has never died, even if it did (to paraphrase Frank Zappa) "smell funny" for a while. But it's thriving today, if not commercially than artistically. That's due, in no small part, to The Tangent.

As the name suggests, The Tangent grew out of what was supposed to be solo project by keyboardist Andy Tillison. It grew into a real band for a few albums and has since morphed into a kind of revolving cast of players carrying on the band's proggy project. Tillison is the central character (duties having expanded at times to include lead vocals and guitar), driving The Tangent on with his desire to bring fresh slabs of classic prog to the 21st Century.

Tillison's never been coy about this. The first album uses a Hatfield and the North song (incorrectly titled, but whatever) in the middle of an epic. A Place in the Queue has a liner notes directing unsuspecting young readers toward Tales from Topographic Oceans (the prog equivalent to luring children into your van with candy). Hell, he even wrote a novella to go along with Not As Good As the Book which involves a far flung future and, naturally, Yes. Tillison is prog down to his bones.

On A Spark In the Aether, he lets it all out. Not only musically, but lyrically as well. Witness the epic "Codpieces and Capes," which takes on the general slagging that prog has taken from the music press, concluding that those who fobbed it off as pretension were "so wrong" (but, in a bit of humor, "they were probably right about the rug."). That being said, the album covers lots of ground, from the rocking title track, to jazzy ambience, and even some funky bits here and there.

The centerpiece of this album, however, is "The Celluloid Road," which is a view of modern American through the lens of someone who's never actually set foot here (although that doesn't accurately describe Tillison). In other words, it's less about how we actually are than how we project ourselves to be to the rest of the world via film and TV. It's always interesting to hear how the rest of the world views us. In this case, it's how the rest of the world views the way we view ourselves. It's both amusing and a little disheartening. Said funky bits show up here in the "San Francisco" section (which mostly deals with it being destroyed in various movies ? and this was written before San Andreas!).

This isn't a Tangent masterpiece, but I'm enjoying it a lot more than Le Sacre du Trevail, which I found to be really dire and depressing. There's nothing wrong with a bit of fun. So come on in and prog your brains out. Don't forget to bring your cape!

 A Spark In The Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.85 | 254 ratings

A Spark In The Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by floflo79

5 stars I love The Tangent and I really loved The Music That Died Alone. It's my favorite The Tangent album. So, when a sequel was announced, I was very excited. And I was not disappointed. A Spark In The Aether is just an excellent album, the 2nd best of 2015 just behind Steven Wilson IMO. From the great title track in two parts to the two long suites Codpieces And Capes and The Celluloid Road, everything's awesome. It's a fun, upbeat, complex and melodic prog, with Transatlantic elements. The track Aftereugene is really funny : it's a "parody" or a "sequel" (I don't really know) of Careful With That Axe, Eugene by Pink Floyd. Good idea and very well used. Clearing The Attic is the most jazzy track of the album, with a Canterbury Scene feeling. Overall, this album is excellent, fun to listen, refreshing and prog as hell. Recommended !
 A Spark In The Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.85 | 254 ratings

A Spark In The Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Angelo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars The Tangent, that was band I hadn't heard of until 2008, when on an evening at the former Progwalhalla web shop's owner I got to hear (and buy) Not as Good as the Book. That was good, and what followed I liked as well - and now, there is Spark in the Aether, also known as The Music That Died Alone Volume Two, after The Tangent's debut album.

I think reviews of albums should avoid being 'over the top', certainly when new albums come out that have not yet had the time to prove or disprove their quality at the time of reviewing. With this one, I may have a hard time keeping myself to that, so please bear with me. This album is something that sticks to your mind, and since it is not released yet at the time I write this, I have no clue how long it will stick.

The album opens with Spark in the Aether, the title track, which is an up tempo, in your face track - driven by an energizing keyboard, and a driving bass. In your face, is the phrase that I expect will come to the mind of many fellow reviewers. Every once in a while a band comes up with a tune, a riff or a lick that makes you want to go back, and with this one it's The Tangent's turn. I posted this one earlier as track of the day, check that out if you want to sample it before convincing yourself you should get this album. Lyrically, this one is a first look at what master mind of The Tangent, Andy Tillison has in mind for us - here starting with a call to stop listening to the same old tunes and make up some new once, looking for the spark in the aether.

After such a fun opening, the rest better be very good as well. With Codpieces and Capes, that is well assured - no need guessing what this one is about. A 12+ minute epic about how progressive rock bands of the 70s were considered pretentious by the press, but to their fans were something completely different. Contains everything the prog bands of yonder days brought to play: loud keyboards, crazy riffs and tunes, flute, multi vocal choruses. Sometimes feels like ELP, then like Yes, and maybe even as Jethro Tull when the flute comes in, but always it feels like The Tangent. Best to have a good listen, this is sub titled 'a love song' for a reason, and Andy's lyrics explain it perfectly, he still loves his old heroes - or does he? Just keep in mind the closing verse 'The critics said "pretentious", my God they were so wrong.... (They were probably right about the rug)". To the point, sarcastic, and with reference to a short description of an ELP gig at New Castle Hall, in which it is mentioned that 'Greg stands on a nice rug'.

To calm down after already almost 20 minutes of great music, the album continues with Clearing out the Attic, a song about that somehow brought Caravan's Golf Girl to mind when I first heard it. Jazzy, but rocky at times as well, and with a relaxed vocal that sings lyrics that are not easy to pin point, but show at least some sarcasm - seemingly about Andy's own fiery words toward others, that put him in the 'plastic bag' of his own niche. A wonderful piece of jazzy progressive rock.

This is followed by an instrumental tribute to Pink Floyd's Careful with that Axe Eugene, fittingly called Aftereugene. A well performed piece that has acoustic guitar in the intro, then builds a psychedelic landscape with organ, percussion, electric guitar and flute - followed by a very well executed, but somewhat scary, saxophone solo to top it of... 'careful with that sax...'

But, an album by classic prog lovers, and certainly Andy, as The Tangent are, needs a really long epic. This we find in The Celluloid Road, which in four different parts guides us through America, but with only references related to movies and TV shows. The music underneath goes from dreamy guitar music, through rocking soul, back to guitar tunes and once again to 'brass and bass' - an eclectic ride through the land of the free and the home of the brave, that 'looks alright in the TV light'. Wonderfully build up and the lyrics are a brilliant way to describe this piece of the world.

Alas, after that 20 minute trip, it is time to return to the title track, with Spark in the Aether Part 2. This is a largely instrumental piece, once again with a bit of a jazz feel to it, until half way the organ comes in to build up a stage on which the jumpy, bouncy keyboard riff of the opening track can shine once again. Also, at this point the vocal return to repeat the chorus of the title track.

That would've been a fitting end, but The Tangent has added an encore, by putting a 'radio edit' of San Fransisco, one of the parts within The Celluloid Road, on the album. This is (almost) danceable, with a funky, soulful bouncing rhythm and melody. Would this get The Tangent airplay perhaps? Probably not, but on the right station it would work for sure.

This is among the best albums I've heard so far this year, and I reckon it will come out on top. Andy Tillison is a great musician and lyricist - and combining his talent with those of Jonas Reingold (bass, The Flower Kings), Theo Travis (sax, flute, Robert Fripp), Luke Machin (guitar, Machine) and Mogan ┼gren (drums, Kaipa) makes The Tangent into a wonderful and very powerful band.

To avoid going really over the top, I'll leave it at this. I love this type of music, and I hope you readers can love it too.

P.S. Thanks to Andy himself for providing a review copy of this album. I ordered the signed vinyl nevertheless, because the band needs and deserves support (and money) for a follow up to this.

 Le Sacre Du Travail by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.97 | 324 ratings

Le Sacre Du Travail
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

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

4 stars For their seventh album, English collective The Tangent, led by one of modern prog's most talented keyboard players Andy Tillison, deliver their most varied, complex and ambitious work to date with 2013's `Le Sacre du Travail', translating to `The Rite of Work'. Anyone familiar with the group will know to expect an eclectic mix of keyboard dominated prog, with plenty of Canterbury Scene jazzy fusion flavours and symphonic themes, and this time around there's plenty of orchestral flourishes to bring just a little sweeping cinematic drama as well. In addition to all the expected colourful instrumental passages, as always Tillison delivers a biting social commentary lyric with his expected weary yet affecting lead vocal, wrapped up together with plenty of strong melodies and surprisingly effective and smooth group harmonies as well.

The dazzling and diverse keyboard player Tillison is joined this time around by a variety of musical guests from several other notable bands, many of them already sharing an involvement with Tangent albums past. The inclusion of regular contributor Jonas Reingold of Swedish symphonic champions The Flower Kings makes this a must-buy instant purchase, and as always the skilled musician delivers a fluid, emotional and subtle performance. Modern Canterbury sound legend Theo Travis offers his always dignified and sprightly sax, flute and clarinet, and both Jakko Jakkszyk of 21st Century Schizoid Band and Guy Manning provide some extra some vocals and guitars. Rikard Sj÷blom of Beardfish recites the opening narrated passage, returning the favour that Andy himself delivered on their `The Void' album a few years back. David Longdon of Big Big Train, who have been enjoying a raised status in the modern prog community since their `Underfall Yard' album a few years back, has a memorable extended vocal passage during one of the epics, and Gavin Harrison of the last several Porcupine Tree albums will also likely be a big drawcard here, and he has never sounded so varied, complex and freed.

The album is broken into five movements, mostly of longer, wonderfully self-indulgent blown-out prog epics, but with some shorter interludes and lots of classical elements in between. The main concept deals with the day to day monotonous grind of the lowly worker, and as usual, Tillison's lyrics divert in all different directions and are peppered with witty (and frequently cutting!) observations, poignant reflections and dark deadpan humour, all woven to a low-key science-fiction narrative. Even more admirable is that he places just as much importance on these strong lyrics to go with all the flashy instrumental showing-off, something many more prog bands should keep in mind.

The opening scene-setting narration quickly gives way to a quirky and playful classical overture punctuated with fleeting moments of bombastic ELP/`Pictures at an Exhibition'-like synth pomp, as wistful flute, carefully announcing drumming and restrained electric guitar strains begin to emerge. Memories of the Moody Blues' `Days of Future Pass' ring throughout the early AM start of the workday in the first of two lengthy epics, `Morning Journey and Arrival'. A stark sombre piano gloomily tiptoes behind a weary lamenting vocal from Andy. Gentle tortured electric guitar burns slowly as tense orchestration swells, leading to an aggressive synth outbreak over scornful vocal barking, moving through flighty drumming and delicate sax for a gentle Canterbury Sound trip. Hammond organ purrs and melancholic group vocal sighs over weeping Mellotron defeated by breezy slinking grooves and smoothly pleasing vocal harmonies with cheeky flute - phew! A livelier foot-tapping finale even calls to mind `Grey and Pink'-era Caravan!

After an uneasy almost chamber prog introduction to `Afternoon Malaise', the band heads right back into Canterbury territory with boisterous sax, trilling flute and rip-roaring murmuring bass over jazzy patterings. A dash of early-prog Hammond fire, mellow chilled grooves, more silken harmonies and a dashing Moog solo race to the finish, and a grand synth finale would sound victorious if not for the very bleak lyric! `A Voyage Through Rush-Hour' is a fleeting stirring orchestral break highlighted by dramatic piano that builds in sneaky urgency and jumps up with quick manic bursts like taunting little mental breakdowns! With the dreaded work-day done, `Evening TV' is a little more relaxed and almost joyous, with break-neck synth fanfares, insistent drum rolls and splintering chunky bass grumbles all sounding a little like Yes. Dark introspection and the reality of banality soon creeps in, but it still closes the album in a much more upbeat and excited fashion than expected.

So perhaps Andy still sometimes over-reaches vocally here and there (pretty much a bit of a Tangent trademark by this point!), and `Le Sacre du Travail' is not initially as instantly pleasing on the surface as previous Tangent works, but on repeated listens so much appreciation and admiration starts to grow immensely to deliver a wholly satisfying and intelligent work. This is a sophisticated, thought-provoking and very confident suite of music that will take some time to truly grasp all its many facets, but it's further proof of a group of musicians playing at the top of their game, and an artist in Tillison who only keeps reaching higher with each new work and climbing above every single time.

Four and a half stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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