The Tangent- The Music That Died Alone (Inside Out)
review by Jim Clark

Track Listing

1. In Darkest Dreams
2. The Canterbury Sequence
3. Up-Hill From Here
4. The Music That Died Alone



Originally conceived as a solo project by Parallel Or 90 Degrees keyboardist/vocalist Andy Tillison, The Tangent evolved into a progressive rock supergroup, and the result is The Music That Died Alone , a disc that pays homage to prog rock's past and present without ever sounding contrived.

Joining Tillison are fellow PO90 keyboardist Sam Baine; singer-songwriter Guy Manning, a frequent collaborator of Tillison's; saxophonist David Jackson of the legendary Van Der Graaf Generator and a trio of Flower Kings - guitarist/vocalist Roine Stolt, bassist Jonas Reingold and drummer Zoltan Czorsz. And this assortment of prog rock veterans leads to an interesting and enjoyable mix of songs.

"In Darkest Dreams," a 20-minute piece broken into eight parts, starts off the disc with Tillison's powerful Hammond organ, Flower Kings-like guitar from Stolt and the intricate rhythm section of Reingold and Czorsz. Sounding quite similar to Spock's Beard or Transatlantic for the first two minutes, Jackson completely changes the mood with his distinctive brand of saxophone. Throughout various shifts in style on this epic, from the straight-on instrumental attack of the opening section "Prelude - Time For You" and "The Midnight Watershed," to the quiet, acoustic "In Dark Dreams," the instrumentalists shine. Tillison's Hammond and synthesizer are present throughout, Baine plays some fine jazz piano during "The Midnight Watershed" and Manning adds some excellent acoustic guitar to the quieter parts. And Reingold and Czorz are constantly changing time signatures from one piece to the next. Vocally, Stolt and Tillison share singing duties with Manning adding lead vocals for a couple of lines. In all, an impressive opening number.

Next up is "The Canterbury Sequence," Tillison's ode to the Canterbury rock scene of the late sixties and early seventies. With whimsical lyrics (including namedropping leading Canterbury groups Caravan and Hatfield And The North in the first verse), pastoral flute, jazzy bass, psychedelic synthesizer and strong supporting Hammond, this track is a fitting tribute to some of prog rock's earlier luminaries. It even incorporates the Hatfield And The North tune "Chaos At The Greasy Spoon" before ending with a spacey synth and guitar bit.

"Up-Hill From Here" follows and is the most contemporary sounding of the tracks. Starting with synthesizer and heavy bass drum, the song is the closest to PO90 that you'll find on the disc. Including more aggressive Hammond playing, the track ends with a fiery guitar solo from Stolt, interesting mandolin playing by Manning and some weird synthesizer noises.

Closing the disc is the 13-minute title track. Tillison starts the song with a lovely piano intro before Reingold's bass, Jackson's flute and some understated percussion from Czorsz kick in. It soon turns into a pleasant, mid-tempo rocker before morphing into another prog epic featuring more excellent piano and Hammond playing as well as another strong solo from Stolt. Things slow down again before closing with Jackson's flute playing backed by some cool sound effects.

And in keeping with the progressive rock spirit of a time when albums had superb Roger Dean or Storm Thorgerson covers, Ed Unitsky doesn't disappoint as he provides beautiful artwork to the packaging. If you're a fan of progressive rock, this disc is a must for your collection. You won't be disappointed.


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