As the Tangent posted this morning on Facebook:
On the 24th June 2013, InsideOut Music is set to release the seventh studio album by The Tangent entitled Le Sacre Du Travail (The Rite Of Work). The album is the group’s first fully blown “concept album” but band-leader Andy Tillison is keen to point out that this concept is something that involves all of us now rather than a rambling fiction.
Formed from a single hour long piece of music in 5 movements and referred to by the band as “An Electric Sinfonia” based around a working day of a typical Western-world citizen, the album has a very personal feel. It’s highly orchestral and 20th century classical in tone, very much inspired by Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring. Described by INSIDEOUT CEO Thomas Waber as “A very mature album” with “Stellar Musicianship” – this album sees the lineup of The Tangent revert to an earlier formation, Andy Tillison (composer/keyboards/singer) again bringing on board Jonas Reingold on bass (The Flower Kings, Karmakanic), Jakko M Jakszyk on guitar & vocals (King Crimson, Level 42), Theo Travis on wind instruments (Soft Machine, Steve Wilson Band) with the new additions of Gavin Harrison on drums (Porcupine Tree) & David Longdon on vocal harmonies (Big Big Train). In addition there are cameo appearances by Rikard Sjoblom (Beardfish) and Guy Manning amongst others.
The Tangent add to the statement:
The artwork for the outside cover you see here, is by a remarkable gentleman named Martin Stephen. The interior artwork will be announced & featured extensively later.
Much more info on the Tangent Website updated today (please allow for bizarreness)www.thetangent.org And of course regular Pre-Ordering begins today!
Look out for more information on the album in the coming weeks!
The impact of technology on society seems to be a recurring theme in progressive rock releases of recent times. Already in this young year, King Bathmat has released ‘The Truth Button’, reviewed by Ian below, which deals with some of the darker aspects of our technological world. In 2012, Arjen Anthony Luccassen released ‘Lost In The New Real, reviewed earlier by Brad, which follows a protagonist awakened in a distant future as he navigates the reality of a world he does not recognize – while also inviting us to imagine what our world would look like to someone from the past. And preceding those two, is The Tangent’s COMM from 2011, which explores aspects related to the communications enabled by our digital world.
COMM opens with sounds that now seems ancient – the squawking of two modems making a connection over a phone line, perhaps for someone’s dialup internet connection or perhaps somebody preparing to send a fax. This provides the opening for the 20-minute epic ‘The Wiki Man’, which explores both our dependence on the internet and some of the various ways we use it. Full of witty and biting observations, the piece also includes some incredible keyboards, including a nice, jazzy piano interlude that starts at about the 7:00 minute mark.
The next two tracks, ‘The Mind’s Eye’ and ‘Shoot Them Down’ are not part of the concept proper, according to this interview with Andy Tillison. ‘The Minds Eye’ refers to how we see and think of ourselves, and I find this piece more interesting lyrically than musically. With respect to ‘Shoot Them Down’, it’s the opposite, as it relates to internal British political matters with which I am not familiar, but it does have some excellent guitar work.
‘Tech Support Guy’ returns us to the theme of the album, chronicling a very bad day for the tech support guy Adam. Adam, it seems, is to be blamed for everything that goes wrong with his company’s network, never mind the fact that he didn’t build the servers, or write the software while the source of the problem is an ocean away. The lyrics illustrate one of the darker effects of all of the instantaneous communications technology that surrounds us today, mainly the virtual loss of even minimal patience when something goes wrong (as it most certainly will sooner or later) and the impulse to blame someone for the problem with out thinking things through. ‘Tech Support Guy’ will leave you sympathetic for the thankless tasks performed by all of Adam’s real life counterparts – and might also leave you hoping that the marketing manager’s boss walks into his office during the early moments of the system outage (you’ll understand the reference after you read the lyrics).
It’s in ‘Titanic Calls Carpathia’ that the concept of this album is really driven home. Clocking in at a bit over sixteen minutes, ‘Titanic Calls Carpathia’ is divided into six sections. The first two sections deal with two of history’s most famous distress calls, the first being referenced by the title of the piece, the second being Jim Lovell’s call to Houston during the ill-fated Apollo 13. These two sections lyrically set the theme for ‘Titanic Calls Carpathia’, which can be interpreted as a distress call to our modern culture and society, many members of which who become obsessed with their gadgets and gizmos without realizing or stopping to think that what that obsession is doing to them.
And now we can all talk across oceans
If we get things sussed we don’t even have to pay!
We get “FREE iTunes songs” when we return an empty bottle
But there’s so much around
That we throw the damn thing away
Beyond the rusting pylons, beyond the looted homes
People scrabble around for batteries to get more talk time for their phones
We want so much without paying, we forget someone has to make
The things we want for ourselves so we just eat each other’s cake
I’ll leave it to the reader to interpret the meaning of those lyrics for themselves, and indeed they could have different meanings to different people. Needless to say, that in ‘COMM’, Tillison chooses to look at the dark side of technological advance on everyday lives, focusing on our trivial uses thereof, our loss of perspective resulting from its use, and in general, and how much we have let it spoil us.
I’m not a technophobe, far from it – I’m very pro-technology. But the message here is nevertheless something worth pondering. Technology is a tool, and as such is neither good nor bad. The various uses and abuses of technology is what makes it one or the other. It’s great that we can all communicate with one another through avenues such as this blog, Facebook, email, and so on. And it is certainly incredible that we have access to so much information almost instantaneously. At the same time, it’s not so good when the use of technology becomes the preoccupation of one’s life to the exclusion of almost everything else. I guess the real message here is one that applies to much more than just the realms of technology – everything in moderation.
Geoff Banks is an excellent radio host, and Andy Tillison is an equally interesting guest. Banks and Tillison are talking about the nature of progressive rock as well as engaging one another on a variety of topics. On the nature of Prog: Geoff is arguing that prog is ”music that will stand the test of time.” It is the classical music of our day. Andy’s response: Progressive rock is “serious electric music.”
Andy, sounding very much like Owen Barfield or J.R.R. Tolkien of the Inklings stated that his brainchild, The Tangent, is much bigger than himself or a supergroup. He hopes it will keep going long after he’s retired.
The chat room is especially interesting: Alison Henderson, Blake Carpenter (Minstrel’s Ghost), Sally Collyer, and Matt Stevens are all contributing.
Like many of you, I “suffer” from the common “problem” that afflicts those of us who are prog fans in this, the Second Golden Age of Prog – mainly, that there is just so much good prog out there that nobody could possibly listen to it all. In short, it’s like trying to drink from a firehouse.
Happily, this “problem” has been exacerbated for me since joining this site, as I have had the good fortune to be able to borrow a number of albums I had yet to hear. As such, I’m going to write a few quick reviews (which are more like first impressions). Please pardon the lack of detail, but do remember these reviews are worth every penny you paid me to write them .
The Flower Kings, Banks of Eden: This is my second foray into Flower Kings territory, the first being ‘Space Revolver’ some time ago. I thought the latter album was quite good, and ‘Banks of Eden’ only reinforced my good impression of these guys. Even if there were no other good songs on the album, the hippy-dippy-trippy epic ‘Numbers’ that opens the show makes the price of admission worth it. Luckily, there are other good songs, and thus I would definitely give this album a thumbs up.
A brief update on Brad’s post from yesterday, regarding Andy Tillotson’s new project for The Tangent.
The new website is up and running at http://www.thetangent.org/ as of today and is taking ‘pre-pre-orders’ for the new album, entitled Le Sacre Du Travail. According to Tillotson, the new work is The Tangent’s “deepest foray yet into the world of classical/orchestral music” and draws inspiration from Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring. Intriguing, to say the least – and when you consider that Andy is hoping to involve the likes of Theo Travis, Jakko Jakszyk and Big Big Train’s Dave Longdon, the prospect becomes positively mouthwatering!
The notion of pre-pre-orders is an interesting one and mirrors what Magenta did with their last release, Chameleon. Essentially, you pay more for the album up-front and, in return, get access to digital versions of the tracks as they develop. Andy is right to point out that this isn’t for everyone, but if you are a music nerd then what better way to get inside the head of a musician you admire?
Andy has posted an 8-minute clip of his initial demos for the new work:
I’ve pre-pre-ordered and have already received a link to a longer 22-minute demo. When I’ve had the chance to have a proper listen, I’ll post some thoughts here.
Great news this weekend. First, from Matt Stevens:
Hope you’re good. It’s been crazy here, a weird kind of post gigging come down. The Jazz Cafe gig was great fun, they treat you well there, blimey. Dressing rooms and beer!
I made a Spotify playlist with a “best of” my solo stuff. Is there any chance you can share it on your Facebook, Twitter, Groups or on any Forums you are a member of? This stuff makes a MASSIVE difference to obscure/DIY artists like me. The URL is:
I know Spotify is controversial but for me at the moment the important thing is to grow the audience for the music. Your help is really appreciated, thanks loads.
Also if anyone is voting in the Prog magazine reader awards at:
And fancies voting for for Fierce and The Dead or me it would be really appreciated Exposure in these sort of polls really helps Hopefully all the gigging this year has raised the profile a bit…
I’ve no more gigs booked now so the next months will probably be a bit quiet while we write and record the new Fierce and The Dead record and plan my new solo record. Busy busy. The new Fierce And The Dead demos sound really good. They may be some sort of Pledge Music type pre-order. I’ll let you know.
Also we’re planning to tour outside the UK so please let us know where you’d like to see us. Thanks
And, I had the great privilege of listening to about 75 minutes of Geoff Banks’s Prog Dog Radio Show this afternoon. He announced some exciting news from The Tangent. Pre-sales for their next album will be open beginning tomorrow afternoon.
On Friday, The Tangent released this on their Facebook page:
OK Folks the wait is over here is the very first chance to hear BRAND NEW work (in progress) from THE TANGENT. email email@example.com to get updates and find out how you can be part of a pre-pre order campaign to support this project. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkOgivtLy_U
So much good coming out of the progressive rock community right now, it’s more than a bit overwhelming. Of course, it’s the kind of overwhelming any lover of the genre craves.