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


The Tangent


Eclectic Prog

3.96 | 344 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

sleeper | 4/5 |


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