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The Tangent - The Music That Died Alone

The Tangent - The Music That Died AloneSmiles are usually easy to wipe but there is always the exception.  The grin on my face would put the Cheshire Cat to shame (and get me a room close to Frank Bruno’s recent temporary accommodation). 

The ‘peel-off’ sticker on the front of the CD packaging lays claim to ‘three generations of progressive music’ and ‘one remarkable album’; the first of these claims is absolutely correct on two levels – the musicians (Andy Tillison, Roine Stolt, David Jackson, Sam Baine, Jonas Reingold, Zoltan Csorsz and Guy Manning) are some of the best from way back when to the present day, and the music itself whilst paying homage to those heady days of the 70’s, has a modern day edge.  The other claim is not so easy to qualify as it is up to the individual listener to decide just how remarkable an album The Music That Died Alone is.  That said, to an ageing ‘hippy’ such as me, this album is rather tasty, thus the painful grin.

The album consists of four pieces, three of which are subdivided, giving a total of 16 tracks and a running time of 48 minutes.

The first piece, or suite, is In Darkest Dreams, a delicious roller coaster ride into the thematic sounds and riffs all so familiar in the heyday of 70’s prog from ELP to YES to VDGG to Kaipa to Canterbury to Genesis and others.  From delicate guitar work to fulsome keyboards, those into classic prog will be drooling, and not from old age!  And in-between the heavier prog moments, the music takes on a sometimes funky and often jazzy approach with some great bass and sax.

The Canterbury Sequence is a wonderful takeoff of messrs Sinclair (x2), Hastings (x2), Stewart, Pyle etc.  David Jackson’s flute emulates that of Jimmy Hastings a treat whilst bass and vocals could be that of Richard Sinclair (who, incidentally, was rather taken by the sound).  Caravan and Hatfield And The North are mentioned in the lyrics and a version of Hatfield’s Chaos At The Greasy Spoon features within the sequence.

Up-Hill From Here initially sounds a little out of place, a sort of post punk 1980’s type thing but as it progresses, a fair bit of Camel and Andy Latimer/David Gilmour guitar style plus Tull circa Under Wraps type sound can be heard.

The final and title suite, The Music That Died Alone has a more sombre edge.  The Keith Emerson like piano intro turns into a Renaissance type piano piece and further into the suite, the style returns to Canterbury, 80’s Camel and even a touch of the Steely Dan funkiness.

Although the album doesn’t drag, the relatively short 48 minutes run time by today’s standards seems longer yet you are still left wanting more.  The music never really has died for many of us but this excellent modern day tribute is a welcome reminder that the music lives on.  Maybe that in itself is remarkable.

Jem Jedrzejewski

The Tangent


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