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The Tangent picture
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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Music That Died AloneMusic That Died Alone
Imports 2010
Audio CD$15.47
$11.95 (used)
Le Sacre Du TravailLe Sacre Du Travail
Imports 2014
Audio CD$6.84
$5.50 (used)
Place in the QueuePlace in the Queue
Limited Edition · Special Edition
Inside Out U.S. 2006
Audio CD$44.38
$14.99 (used)
The World That We Drive ThroughThe World That We Drive Through
Special Edition
Inside Out U.S. 2004
Audio CD$9.91
$5.90 (used)
Slow Rust of Forgotten MachinerySlow Rust of Forgotten Machinery
Imports 2017
Audio CD$11.31
$12.89 (used)
Comm: LimitedComm: Limited
Audio CD$26.99
$12.99 (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)

4.01 | 320 ratings
The Music That Died Alone
3.74 | 242 ratings
The World That We Drive Through
3.83 | 325 ratings
A Place In The Queue
3.87 | 363 ratings
Not As Good As The Book
3.72 | 258 ratings
Down And Out In Paris And London
3.86 | 298 ratings
3.99 | 330 ratings
Le Sacre Du Travail
3.85 | 259 ratings
A Spark In The Aether - The Music That Died Alone, Volume Two
4.04 | 192 ratings
The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery

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

4.05 | 37 ratings
Pyramids And Stars
4.40 | 73 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'tagre 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
 Le Sacre Du Travail by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.99 | 330 ratings

Le Sacre Du Travail
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Walkscore

5 stars An orchestral treatise on the work day.

Up there among the Tangent's best albums, Le Sacre du Travail (The Rite of Work) is effectively a single 63-minute-long symphony dedicated to understanding and critiquing the regular work day with which we all have (too much) experience. Starting (and ending) with the ticking of the alarm clock, the five tracks - perhaps better described as 'movements' - that make up this piece take us in roughly chronological order through our predictable daily routine, from being woken by the news on the clock radio, to the daily highway commute, the hours we work for others, the afternoon rush home, our final ability to relax (often by watching TV shows and news), to the preparations for the next day. In doing so, Tillison (who wrote all the words and music), brings together much of his ongoing social critique of the way most of us live, from our concentrations in little boxes far away from work necessitating the burning of tons of fossil fuels so others can profit from our best hours, to the control of communications technologies over our lives. Listening to this, I am always reminded of French scholar Henri Lefebvre's classic book "Critique of Everyday Life". Tillison shares with Lefebvre an attempt to look behind the things we all take for granted, and to see the regular every-day as a form of social control in which we all willingly (albeit often under compulsion) participate. The lyrics, and indeed the music, is intellectual, yet also very authentic. Most of us can easily and instantly identify with it. This is one of the things I have liked about The Tangent and Tillison's writing from the beginning - it makes you think, and identify with it.

In terms of sonic textures, this is the most orchestral of The Tangent albums. There are lots of slower sections dominated by the sounds of oboes, clarinets, flutes, and the like, and many of the pieces/movements are structured around orchestral themes and phrasing. This is not to say that the band doesn't rock at times - with such a great band, there are some really excellent solos here, and the band does get heavy once in a while. But for the most part the music is subdued, orderly, precise. It sounds like it was written as a symphony.

The band here is fairly unique for a Tangent album, and it sounds more like a Tillison solo album with hired hands rather than a band album per se. Jonas Reingold, one of the best contemporary bass players in my opinion, is back here (and would stay for further albums), which is wonderful - he adds so much to the Tangent's music, and Theo Travis is thankfully still here (some great solos, etc). However, despite Luke Machin joining on the previous album ('COMM'), he is not on this album, which is a shame, although Jakko Jakszyk (who now plays with King Crimson) fills in on electric guitar, and of course does an excellent and precise job. The drumming here is handled by Gavin Harrison (from Porcupine Tree, and now King Crimson too), and he does a great job, laying down some great grooves under the solos. Finally, on backing vocals is Big Big Train's David Longdon. A common critique of other Tangent albums is that Tillison's singing is not super accurate. Well, it seems he took those critiques to heart here, as his singing is among the most in tune of any Tangent album, and Longdon's harmonies add a lot to the vocals, and raise them up over the typical Tangent sound. There is really nothing to fault on this album vocally.

Finally, the music here is great. Tillison has come up with some great evocative musical themes, including a repeated triplet-based syncopated pattern that permeates and delimits certain movements, somewhat like (but different from) Holst's work or Pat Metheny's 'This Way Up'. These rhythmic patterned themes are very musical, and do a great job in evoking the rushed feel of getting ready for work, commuting on the highway, etc. And while generally slower and quieter than the typical Tangent album, I think it is also one of the most musical, with virtually no sections that are off-putting. Everything here is very rewarding if you give it the time for multiple listens. Some who prefer really fast, loud and heavy playing may not dig this album as much. But I like to see a long piece developed over a series of movements. And there is a lot of space for great instrumental sections here (unlike, say, Tangent's earlier epic 'In Earnest', which put singing over top of much of that piece). Harrison and Reingold lay down some really excellent rhythms, and there are some fantastic solos by Travis, Tillison and Jakszyk. So, even though I really dig the lyrics, it is the music that for me really shines. The two long epics - the 23-min "Morning Journey and Arrival" and the 19-min "Afternoon Malaise" - are the centrepieces of the album. These are really well-developed, with excellent lyrics and extensive instrumental sections that allow the band to shine. In addition to the main pieces/movements that make up the album proper, there are three bonus tracks. Of these, I really like the live proto-punk "Hat" recorded during Tillison's high-school years. A very nice added bonus.

This is for me one of the strongest Tangent albums. I of course still have some minor critiques. In particular, the final movement (the 12-minute "Evening TV") could have gone further and really blown the roof off with some extended solos and the like (like, say, the finale of Yes' "Tales", etc), but instead plays it safer and feels a bit complacent (perhaps matching the musical vibe to the lyrical message?). It is not bad in any way, but it could have been even better. Because of this, the album does not rate quite as high for me as CD2 of Tangent's double-CD album 'Not as Good as the Book' (of which CD2 I rated 9.3). But 'Sacre' still scores very strongly. On balance, I give this album 9.1 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which puts it in the 5 PA star "Masterpiece" category. Highly recommended.

 COMM by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.86 | 298 ratings

The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Walkscore

4 stars First of a new Tangent era, with some archetypical Tangent epics.

This Tangent album marks a new era for the band, one we might call the Luke Machin era (who joins on electric guitar). The first album not to feature Guy Manning, by this time the only original member left is Andy Tillison himself. Bassist Jonathan Barrett would leave after this album too, and neither drummers Nick Redwood (who played on the album), nor Tony Latham (who was supposed to become a permanent member), would play on any other Tangent albums. These line-up changes alone might quality the Tangent as a prog band! Actually, Theo Travis is on this album too, and I consider him to be a core member, so it is not just Tillison. With the addition of Machin on guitar, the Tangent once again has a virtuoso guitarist, and Luke is truly excellent. His solos on the album are all top notch - very fluid, fast, and musical. Travis of course is also excellent, as is Tillison himself, so the solo sections on this album are all highly satisfying (the rhythm section is good too, no issues, although nothing as stellar as when Jonas Reingold is on bass grooving along with one of the Swedish drummers who have played in the band). Yet, despite all the changes, this album feels once again like a band album. It has a cohesive sound too.

Most of the music here is excellent, and expertly recorded and performed. The opening and closing tracks, both epics, are the clear highlights. The opener, 20-min 'The Wiki Man', talks about the evolution of the internet and how dependent on it our identities are, and does so in a nice direct way. Nice lyrics that hit home, and the music is excellent, with lots of great changes and solos. The 16-min closing track, "Titanic calls Carpathia", is about the first radio call and the importance of the development of communications technology since that time (both its benefits and its darker sides) - another excellent piece, even better than the opening track. Together these two songs add up to 37 minutes. The three remaining pieces, in comparison, are filler. Of these it is the short (6-min) "Tech Support Guy" that is musically most interesting. "Shoot them down" is a ballad written and sung by Jonathan Barrett - fairly decent, and a little different from the usual Tillison song, but nothing to write home about. I am not so keen on the main themes in the 8-min "The Mind's Eye", meanwhile, but the middle instrumental section is fantastic. There are also two bonus tracks on the album, including a cover of "Watcher of the Skies" and an early demo that sounds more like Rush, but neither is very particularly interesting, and I generally ignore them (and because they are 'bonus' tracks, I have not included them in my rating of the album).

COMM contains many of those characteristics that I think suit the Tangent well. Not only well-written complex music, but I think Tillison's insights about, and critiques of, the impact of the internet and communication tech is his primary lyrical strength and his main original contribution to the world of rock. When he is writing lyrics about this, they never seem pretentious, silly or sneering, but instead quite human and insightful. We identify with them, and they seem to suit his voice best (even when he is singing slightly out of tune, which is a common critique from other reviewers). The opening and closing epics on this album fit this pattern, and I would consider them sort-of archetypical of the 'Tangent sound'. They are definitely among the top 10 of Tangent epics, even if the filler between them is less interesting. Overall, I give this album 8.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to (low) 4 PA stars.

 Down And Out In Paris And London by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.72 | 258 ratings

Down And Out In Paris And London
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Transitional but still very good album.

Recorded over the year after "Not as Good as the Book", this album represents an interesting transition from the previous Tangent line-up to a new one. It was also recorded during the year in which the global financial crisis occurred. I am not sure if there is any relationship there, but some of the lyrics do refer to aspects of the crisis. With bass player Jonas Reingold leaving, as well as drummer Jamie Salazar (both of whom played in the flower kings), Tillison writes in the liner notes that the Swedish connection so important to the beginnings of the band was no longer and the Tangent were now a fully English band. However, this new state of affairs would not last too long either. The drummer they found to replace Salazar only played on this album (Paul Burgess from 10CC), while the new bass player Jonathan Barrett only plays on two albums (he would be replaced by a returning Jonas Reingold). So, the only original members on this one are Tillison, Travis (sax and flute), and Guy Manning (acoustic guitar, backing vocals).

This means there is no electric guitar player. So, Andy Tillison himself takes on the electric guitar duties, similar to how he would take on the drumming in the most recent album (Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery). I have to say I am impressed by how good Tillison is on guitar here. He is no Roine Stolt (original el guitarist), nor any Luke Machin (current guitarist), both of whom are amazing. However, Tillison can clearly hold his own. Saying this, his electric solos can't compare to Travis' playing, and on this album it is the sax solos that steal the show. But I can't help but be impressed by just how well-rounded a musician Tillison shows himself to be. Even if the band at this time was "down and out" (as implied by the title), Tillison was able (with the help of Travis and Manning) to pull together an original musical statement.

Musically, this selection of tunes is mixed in quality. Thankfully, with this album The Tangent breaks with the previous pattern of putting their weakest material first. Instead, the best track of the collection - "Where are they now" - opens the album. This 19-min long epic is structured around a very catchy guitar hook, with some great grooves and soloing, while bits of the piece have a playful quality that reminds one of Gong. The lyrics are a bit cryptic, but reference the global financial crisis and the lack of trust in society. Two of the middle sections of this track bring back the key figure "Earnest" - of the opening epic on the album 'A Place in the Queue' - who is now in a resthome recounting his war-time stories and experiencing forgiveness. So, this track represents a kind of 'conceptual continuity' with previous Tangent albums. Overall, a great Tangent piece. If the rest of the album had been this good it would have straddled the boundary between four and five stars.

However, of the five remaining tracks, only two really stand out. The second-best is the closing track, titled here "The Canterbury Sequence volume 2, Ethanol Hat Nail". In actuality, it sounds little like the original light-hearted and joyous Canterbury Sequence (from their debut album), but is instead much more experimental, dark, and quirky. But there is still a Canterbury-esque tinge, and it contains some really great music, particularly in its middle sections. After this, only the second track "Paroxetine - 20mg" quite stands up with the rest of The Tangent's discography. The other three tracks sound like filler. While the latter music is not bad in any way, it is just not super memorable, although some of the lyrics maintain Tillison's social critique (particularly "Perdue Dans Paris", about the two separate worlds of the city - the daytime of civilized Parisians coupled with a nighttime occupied by the homeless and castouts).

The result is a mixed album. Three of the tracks are great, while the other three are musically less interesting. The stronger tracks are important to the Tangent discography and thus worth getting, but together do not quite lift the average quality above four stars. On balance, I give this album 7.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.

 Not As Good As The Book by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.87 | 363 ratings

Not As Good As The Book
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Walkscore

4 stars CD2 is five stars!

This double-CD concept album is where Andy Tillison really explores his creative side in writing for The Tangent. The band is similar as on A Place in the Queue and Going Off On One, although Sam Baine has left, Julie King cameos on vocals on one tune, and Jakko Jakszyk (who now plays with King Crimson) has replaced Krister Jonsson on guitar. On this album, it is Theo Travis whose solos really shine, as the guitar rarely takes centre stage.

Tillison once again has produced a very thoughtful set of lyrics. The message is similar to, but goes beyond, the one Tillison makes on previous albums. He continues to be contemplative and critical of modern life, but as part of the story/concept he extrapolates key trends into the future, which raises even further the interest factor. The general theme is about a middle-aged man like Tillison who looks back on life with a critical eye of how expectations of the future were built, both for himself but also for the society he lives in (hence the title "Not as Good as the Book"). But Tillison is not only thinking through a case of smashed expectations, he is also examining the role that war, nationalism, and technology (television, etc) have played in buttressing these expectations, and he then extrapolates the implications of this for what we might experience in the future. While not every song has great singing or words, overall I really like the story and the lyrics - they really make you think.

Musically, the album is mixed, but thankfully the good stuff is bunched together. This is now the third Tangent album in a row to put the weakest material at the beginning. The first CD contains a string of shorter tunes that link together as a story. Musically it is definitely one of the weaker, if not the weakest, of the Tangent discography. Indeed, the quality doesn't hit until the instrumental "Celebrity Puree", which is the fourth track. The rest of this CD from this point on is decent. But while there are some decent sections in the first three songs, they are all much less musical than the rest of the album. Furthermore, the first two tracks "A Crisis in Mid-Life" and "Lost in London 25 Year Later" have the weakest lyrics on the album. Basically, these initial tunes are there to set the storyline more than anything, but musically they contain less interest. After listening to this album a gazillion times, I now just skip right to track four, and then listen through to the end of the album. The title track is one of the best on this side/CD, and the closing track, "Bat Out of Basildon", is fun, ending the first CD on an up feeling. Overall, I give this first CD 7.2 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.

The second CD, on the other hand, is amazing! It consists of only two long epics: "Four Egos, One War" and "The Full Gamut". Each is fantastic, both musically and lyrically. Julie King guests on vocals on "Four Egos" with Andy, and it works so well, it makes one wish that she had become a permanent member. Great music, awesome singing, wonderful critical lyrics. The tune is looking back on how the post-war boom and all the expectations and mythology that was built into it was partly based on the threat of war and the power it gave those with weapons. Really nicely done. "The Full Gamut" which closes the album is one of those rare pieces that is a total experience (in some ways, it reminds me of The Gates of Delirium in that sense, although musically it is totally different), such a great epic. This is where Tillison goes futuristic and lays out a potentially dystopian scenario. These two pieces are up there among my top five favourite Tangent compositions. Indeed, I would say this CD2 is my very favourite Tangent 'disc'. On its own, I would give CD2 a 9.3 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which places it firmly in 5-star territory. Really musical, with excellent hard-hitting lyrics and wonderful singing. Tillison of course still sings occasionally out of tune, but on The Full Gamut, when it happens it sounds like it fits better.

All together, the amazing CD2 is counterbalanced by the weaker CD1. I find it interesting that Tillison puts the best tracks near the end, and the weaker tunes at the beginning, not just here, but on the previous two Tangent albums too. Thankfully this pattern would not continue on subsequent albums. Overall, I give this album 8.3 out of 10 on my 10-point scale. But the second CD is, to my mind, essential.

 A Place In The Queue by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.83 | 325 ratings

A Place In The Queue
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Walkscore

4 stars Overly earnest at first, but just wait! (er, I mean, queue)...

An uneven and eclectic double album, 'A Place in the Queue' was recorded with an eye on maintaining the momentum and attention given the first two albums. Roine Stolt and Zoltan Csorsz (guitarist and then-drummer for The Flower Kings) left the band, but were replaced with other Swedish musicians in Krister Jonsson (who played with Karmakanic, Jonas Reingold's band) and Jamie Salazar (who was the original drummer for The Flower Kings), so the Swedish connection continued. Theo Travis had already replaced David Jackson in the last album. With this new line-up, the band began touring extensively in support of 'A Place in the Queue'.

There is a ton of material on this album. Even on just the original CD the capacity is maxed out, with two 20+ min epics, three roughly 10-minute tracks and two shorter pieces. But the version I have is the deluxe/extended double-CD release, which contains another 17 minutes of music recorded at the same time, a long 9-min mix of one of the short tunes (the single 'Sun In My Eyes'), and 20 mins of improvisation (including a live track written by Travis). This album has more compositional collaboration too, with almost half the tracks here written collaboratively (with Travis, Manning, Baine, and Middleton, and Jonsson). The result is an album that feels like a real band album. The music varies in style more than the usual Tangent album, with some pieces actually danceable (again, the single "Sun in my Eyes"), others decidedly avant-jazz (DIY Surgery), and of course the usual Tillison/Tangent social critique. It takes a lot of time and effort to listen to the whole thing, and it is important to give this a full listen to understand its merits. Unfortunately, with so much music, many will be tempted to focus on the first track, which unfortunately is the weakest one here.

The album begins with the first of two long epics, "In Earnest", which suffers from being too true to its name. This long song is about a World War II veteran named Earnest who is now aged and forgotten, and impacted by his memories. Tillison uses his story to make a comment about the immorality of war and the plight of veterans. While I like the general theme, musically this is one of the weakest Tangent pieces. The lyrics are among Tillison's more trite, his singing is a bit more off-key than usual (or at least I notice it more), and the music is generally weaker - it seems mostly written not for music's sake, but instead as backing to the extensive lyrics. But the worst part is that virtually the whole 20 min song is taken up with lyrics, there is no space for the music to speak. The instrumental sections and solos are very brief - it always comes right back to more lyrics. And it goes on and on. Interestingly, Tillison states in the liner notes that Yes's 'Tales of Topographic Oceans' was his inspiration for this album. However, Tales had lots of musical instrumental sections and long solos, it wasn't all full of lyrics like on this song. And all the music on Tales is better than on Earnest. This is hands down the weakest Tangent epic they have ever recorded in my opinion. This is the only song I can't listen to any more on this album. And at 20 minutes, this is a lot of song.

Thankfully, the album picks up from here, and there is still tons of music on it. "Lost in London" is also a Tillison social commentary, this time more personal (about his own experiences feeling lonely when first arriving in London), and it works much better both lyrically and musically. However, it is "DIY Surgery" that finally shakes the listener free from the tired feeling remaining from "In Earnest". Zany jazz avant-funk piece written by Travis, this song wakes the listener up some new sounds, and in the process makes instantly clear what was missing from opening epic. From this point on, the music is all excellent. GPS Culture is another Tillison social commentary, but one of the first of what I think is his main lyrical strength - a social critique of the effects of information technologies in modern life. Continuing with some of the thoughtful critiques begun in 'The World we Drive Through', it is on this album that Tillison really begins commenting on how the internet, digital technology and the like have their dark side. These particular insights are one of the things I really appreciate about The Tangent albums, and about Tillison's writing. This critical ethos continues with "Follow Your Leaders", and perhaps most delicious of all, the groovy dance-hall hit single "The Sun In My Eyes", which is actually a pean to progressive rock and the ability of good music to get one through tough times and social ostracism! (yes, a dance song that promotes progressive rock!). I love it. I also happen to really identify with it - so often in the face of life's challenges (and when younger of the cruelty and unfairness of other human beings, from schoolyard bullies to rotten employers) I have found my inner strength in music. And I think Tillison has found a good metaphor - it is very much like having the sun in one's eyes.

But it is the title track, the 25-minute epic "A Place in the Queue" which is the shining star on the album. Combining Tillison's previous insights about loneliness in modern times (from 'In Darkest Dreams" and "A Gap in the Night", from the first and second Tangent albums, respectively), with the critiques of the way we live (e.g. "The World that we Drive Through"), and his new-found insights about information technology (from spreadsheet accounting, to big-data surveillance), noted above, Tillison builds a dystopian critique of the way contemporary modernity means a life that is increasingly regimented, watched, planned largely to benefit the interests of others, exhausted of possibility and spontaneity, and defined by how willing one is to sell out one's principles for temporary scraps of time. It is devastating. Yet it is not overblown - nothing Tillison says in the piece is an exaggerated claim, or over the top. He simply generalizes from real life. We might not necessarily agree with the implications, but the lyrics here come across as authentic and believable, not pretentious. The music is co-written with Travis, and the music is really excellent, jazzier and different from any other piece, and thus quite original. And there are real musical breaks that given the listener some space. This is one of The Tangent's best epics, a good counter to the one that opens the album.

The pieces on the bonus disc included in the deluxe/extended double-CD version are also worth having. In fact, the 17 minutes of music recorded at the same time as the rest of the album is all better than "In Earnest", both musically and lyrically. "Forsaken Cathedrals" is particularly good. I also really like (of course) the 9-minute version of "Sun in my Eyes". The live track "Grooving on Mars" written by Travis is excellent, and the 13-minute instrumental improvisation "Kartoffeisalat Im Unterseeboot" is also good.

Overall, this is an important album, and one that despite the weak opening epic, I really like. Of course, when reviewing an album, I need to take into account its entirely. On balance, including everything, I give this album 8.2 out of 10 on my 10-point scale. If "In Earnest" had been left off this album, it would definitely score higher, in the high 80s.

 The World That We Drive Through by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.74 | 242 ratings

The World That We Drive Through
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Walkscore

4 stars A Grower.

The charms of some albums hit one immediately, while those of others take their time. I picked this one up after getting most of the other Tangent albums first, and initially was not as impressed. While their debut ('The Music that Died Alone') is easy to cognitively map, this one takes longer, partially because the compositions are more dense (tri-tone intervals are all over this album!) , partially there are fewer theatrics (i.e. really obvious complex sections), and partially because each tune on this album shares some sonic and rhythmic similarities. So on the first couple of listens one might not easily remember the distinctions and different sections, whereas the tunes on the debut are very distinct and easily identifiable. Also, I didn't initially take to the opening track, "The Winning Game", and I have to say it has taken longer for me to warm up to that song.

However, over time I find this album has grown on me, and now I actually find I put this one on more often than the debut. There are a few reasons for this. For one, I think the flow works well - I enjoy listening to this album all the way through, and there are no songs or even parts of songs that I dislike (I have warmed up to The Winning Game too). Secondly, the musicianship is really outstanding. Because the musicians (especially the rhythm section) don't have too many chances to show off here, one might not notice on first listen just how stellar and musical the playing is, particularly since one is trying to make out the singing and map the songs. Of course, Tillison and Baine are awesome on the keys - that is to be expected. But the rhythm section is also really top notch. Zoltan Csorsz (who played on the debut, and on some of the best Flower Kings albums), is such an excellent drummer, and Jonas Reingold is an awesome bass player, in my opinion one of the best in the world still active. Their work on this album is so good, I could turn off the rest of the band and be happy just listening to the rhythm section for the hour. And there are some great jazzy sections where the rest of the band turns down, and Sam Baine solos on piano over some great grooves. Roine Stolt's guitar playing is great too, even though I think Roine Stolt's vocals don't work as well on The Tangent albums as on his other projects. For instance, I particularly like his guitar work on the opening track, "The Winning Game", even as I kindof wish that Andy Tillison had been the lead singer (Tillison wrote all the lyrics and it is really his message, so like on later Tangent albums it seems appropriate for him to sing them, even though I admit he is not always the most accurate singer). Saying this, the album feels more like a band effort than the debut or some other Tangent albums, particularly with Sam Baine and Guy Manning adding their own vocals. There is even a tune on this album written by Sam Baine ("Photosynthesis") and it is one of the better tracks on the album too. The long epic that (sort of) closes the album, "A Gap in the Night", is a high-quality long tune, musically up there with their other epics, and the title track is very good. However, my favourite track here is the second track, "Skipping the Distance". I find it the most musical, with some great groovy sections as well as some really great musical use of dissonance.

There is also a bonus track at the end ("Exponenzgesetz") performed solely be Tillison in the style of Tangerine Dream. This track carries less heft and really could have been left off the album without any drop in quality, although it is better than most things TD recorded in the 80s. Tillison stated that it was meant for a solo project called "Tangent of Dreams", and listening to it I can't help but wish that Tillison had released such an album. But it is a nice-enough post-close to the album.

Overall, while I like some of the later Tangent even better than this one, this one has slowly grown on me. The first year I had it I would have given it three stars, but after a few years I now rate it 8.2 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 4 PA stars. It has staying power. Best not to judge it too early.

 The Music That Died Alone by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.01 | 320 ratings

The Music That Died Alone
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Walkscore

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).

 The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.04 | 192 ratings

The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I did not see this one coming but I should have. THE TANGENT's previous album was the first one I gave less than 4 stars to but in the mean time Andy Tillison had a heart attack and I've said for years that tragedy or heart-break is the best thing to get the creative juices flowing in an artistic person. Should have seen this one coming. This is hands down the best THE TANGENT album I have heard to this point, and it's not close. What a lineup as well with Andy of course, Theo Travis on flute and sax, Luke Machin on lead guitar, Jonas Reingold who might be my favourite bass player, and Marie-Eve De Gaultier on keyboards and backing vocals. She basically has taken Sam's place I'd say and it's surprising how much her backing vocals add to the sound here. Everything is just perfect.

The cover art was done by Marvel/DC Comics illustrator Mark Buckingham and it's outstanding like everything else here. This is a political album of epic proportions and for the first time in my life I'm putting a spoiler alert on one track called "A Few Steps Down The Wrong Road" with it's shocking ending. I liked how THE TANGENT's first two albums came to mind at times here.

"Two Rope Swings" deals with the fate of wild animals in the 21st century lyrically. Piano, bass and laid back vocals to start along with female backing vocals. Flute and a beat join in after a minute as it slowly starts to build. It kicks in hard at 2 1/2 minutes. Huge bass lines here and Andy sings with passion. It settles back after 5 1/2 minutes with piano and reserved vocals.

"Doctor Livingston(I Presume)" is an absolute killer instrumental. It hits the ground running with prominent bass before a guitar solo arrives before a minute. So much going on though including organ and synths. It settles back before 2 minutes but kicks back in a minute later as contrasts continue. Sax around 3 1/2 minutes. Jazzy piano and drums a minute later followed by some massive bass lines and ripping guitar 5 minutes in. So good! Sounds like mellotron after 7 minutes then a calm with flute, atmosphere and more. it kicks in again around 9 1/2 minutes. Nice synth work a minute later.

"Slow Rust" is 22 1/2 minutes long and it deals with a lot of current political topics. Organ to start as laid back vocals join in with backing female vocals. A fuller sound with synths follows a minute in, drums too. The dual vocals continue followed by bass and electronics. Lots of atmosphere as well. The bass kills here. The chorus arrives around 3 minutes and later before 5 1/2 minutes with keys, bass and drums. Beautiful stuff. Love that guitar solo after 6 1/2 minutes. Vocals are back after 8 1/2 minutes with organ in this powerful section. Check out the driving rhythm section 10 1/2 minutes in. There's a "Roll The Bones"-like Rap section 12 minutes in. How blissful is the calm with flute, picked guitar and female vocal melodies. Love how Andy comes in vocally. It kicks in before 16 1/2 minutes with huge bass. Love the organ after 18minutes. The chorus is back after 20 minutes.

"The Sad Story Of Lead And Astatine" with "Astatine" being a radioactive chemical element. Sad vocals and piano to start. It picks up1 1/2 minutes in with flute in this jazzy section as the vocals become more alive. Backing female vocals a minute later then it turns more powerful 3 1/2 minutes in with that amazing bass. Sax joins in before 4 minutes as the vocals step aside. Organ too and check out that bass around 7 minutes. Oh my! Lots of atmosphere then it kicks in hard. Check out all those intricate sounds before 8 minutes. The tempo picks up making this even more mind boggling. Drum solo after 9 minutes and I like it. It settles back with organ, piano and vocals. There's such a feel good vibe to the chorus 11 1/2 minutes in. Check out the guitar and bass 14 1/2 minutes in.

"A Few Steps Down The Wrong Road" is where I have a spoiler alert. If your going to pick this album up don't even read this because my hair actually stood up when it was revealed late who this country was Andy is talking about. This song was brought about because of the refugee problems in the World these days, and Trump of course, and Brexit as many countries seem to fuelled these days by nationalism, greed and power. So Andy uses an example from the past but we don't know that until the end as I figured the country he was going at great lengths to describe was just a made up one. Instrumentally this is complex but also all over the place as it were but the narration from Andy was surprising throughout as it comes and goes to great affect. This is a 17 1/2 minute epic itself to close the album.

Basically the country here in question reminisces about their glorious past and concludes that immigrants have a lot to do with their decline. So they vote in a party who will deal with that particular problem among others. Like I said earlier Andy goes to great lengths to describe the feelings and history of this nation and the reasonings for a change. They want to be great again. Sound familiar USA? So the scene is set up for us to where this party is elected and after 12 minutes the emotion of that event is stunning to say the least. Andy's vocals that follow couldn't be more moving and emotional. We are then taken to the newly elected political party's first official meeting as they discuss the issues they have to deal with. It's haunting here as the new leader tells his cabinet ministers that the immigration problem is his main priority and he turns to one of his senior officials and looking over his reading glasses he says "I think this one(the immigration problem) is seriously important and as such I would like you to handle it" as he looked over to Heinrich Himmler. Himmler responds "Jawohl mein Fuhrer leave it with me".

This is jazzy and oh so proggy in several different ways. The lyrics really match the incredible musicianship here and it all makes this one of the best from 2017. It will be featured high on my list.

 The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.04 | 192 ratings

The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery
The Tangent Eclectic Prog

Review by Booba Kastorsky

3 stars Yes, "Good, but non-essential". No, three stars rating doesn't mean the record is bad. This is a solid, professional record with excellent production and sound (bravo, Tangent!) and flawless musicianship from the crop of modern prog. As always, I especially love their jazzy moments and how those guys interplay with each other. But alas, half of the album isn't good. The first two tracks are very good, typical Tangent. 4.5 out of 5. "Slow Rust"... Disjointed "epic" with political lyrics.... It has its moments, but lets face it: how many good 20+ minutes epics did you hear? 3 our of 5 "The Sad Story Of Lead and Astatine" is what I love about this band: jazzy, breezy, airy and simply beautiful! 6 out of 5! "A Few Steps Down The Wrong Road" - oh, here it comes again: another one "political epic", now with spoken words and lyrics about migrants and Brexit. Again, it has its moments, but spoken words and loud "satirical" chorus about giving them money and power make the song a bit painful to listen. For me, at least. And in my opinion, the lyrics are simply banal. 2 out of 5 The Tangent would make an Excellent instrumental record! I hope some day they will do that! Alas, Andy's "angry" vocal and songwriting ambitions of writing "actual" songs pull this record down, just like most of their latest records. So, out of 73 minutes, you have 30 minutes of hardly listenable political "epics" and 33 minutes of very well-composed, superbly played and recorded prog with strong jazzy flavor.
 The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery by TANGENT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.04 | 192 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!

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

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