Tillison’s track-by-track commentary on The Tangent’s new album, Proxy


Prog has the scoop, but here are some quotations from Andy Tillison himself:

1. Proxy is “a song of sadness at the insidious Proxy Wars going on in the world today where big powers, be they governments or weapons manufacturers, play warlords in smaller countries yet absolve themselves of responsibility.”

2. The Melting Andalusian Skies is “an instrumental written as a reflection on a motorcycle ride through southern Spain. It’s another of the Tangent’s jazz fusion tracks, highly inspired by Chick Corea/Return To Forever.”

3. A Case Of Misplaced Optimism is “the first of two songs about missed opportunities, in the case of this song, personal choices and restrictions that we have imposed on ourselves in our lifetimes.”

4. The Adulthood Lie “deals with the sad way in which many of us (myself included) can get caught in the trap of believing that nothing is ever as good as it was when we were 17-21 years old. … We are daft sometimes. I reckon that as people who grew up loving the forward thinking of prog music, it’s ironic that so many of us just want to hear the old songs.”

5. Supper’s Off is “a sarcastic look at my own generation, what we used to believe in and what we believe in now instead.”

Progarchy bottom line: The album is brilliant. Don’t miss it, because it’s one of the year’s best.


Death of the album? Sales drop 41.5% in 2018


Rolling Stone reports:

After a comfortable 6.5 percent drop in sales in 2017, in the first half of 2018, revenues generated by the CD album in the USA were slashed nearly in half – down 41.5 percent, to $246 million.

As we all know, the music business held hands with [Spotify’s Daniel] Ek and dived profit-first into a streaming-led industry.

Now, however, a murmur is quietly breaking out: In the rush to follow the money, did the music business sacrifice something more valuable than it could have realized?

Sure, hits on streaming services make a lot of people a lot of money. But as the death knell rings for the album — and the music industry returns to the pre-Beatles era of track-led consumption — are fans being encouraged to develop a less-committed relationship with new artists?

Live music prog extravaganza tonight at Vancouver’s Space Centre!

44305581_301424893783976_1512316207498264576_oDaniel James’ Brass Camel honours progressive rock legends tonight, underneath the unreal visuals of the HR MacMillan Space Centre’s 360 degree Star Theatre: Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Genesis, Yes, Rush, and more!

Video from the rehearsals is viewable here and here.

Buy tickets here.

Get the DJBC band’s new album here and also on iTunes.

Album Review: Vector – Haken


It took me a few listens before I truly found my way into Vector, the new studio offering from Haken.

And then I realized:

It’s the musical blot!

Genesis pun intended. Allow me to explain…

I was really looking forward to this album, because as I listened to L-1VE, their brilliant live album from earlier this year, I became convinced that, with Rush now retired, it is Haken that reigns supreme.

Haken’s ability to play with such complexity and virtuosity live, in such a compelling and spirited way, embodies that living “spirit of radio” that Rush had been able to offer live for so many decades.

L-1VE reminded me of Exit… Stage Left, in that it was a perfect overview of the band’s career, as well as definitive proof of their being today’s live band without equal.

At any rate, I was baffled by Vector at first, because initially it didn’t seem to be musically or lyrically coherent.

But the breakthrough came for me when I read the Man of Much Metal’s review of it, wherein he put forth the thesis that Vector is “an understated and clever homage to every single previous incarnation of the band within the music.”

In illustration of this thesis, he averred that Affinity can be heard within “The Good Doctor,” The Mountain within “Puzzle Box,” Aquarius within “Veil,” and Visions within “Host.”

This immediately rang true for me, as I realized each song indeed marked a “vector,” or definite trajectory, in fact audible in previous manifestations of the band.

In my mind, I added my own perception of the teleological spirit of Restoration in “A Cell Divides,” and of the jaw-dropping response induced by L-1VE (with its dazzling live display of unmatched technical musical ability) in the instrumental “Nil by Mouth.”

While the Vector album, on the one hand, thus didn’t have the overall coherent feel that comes from a spatio-temporally undivided live performance (which is what the career overview of L-1VE records), on the other hand, its fragmentary studio snapshots of discretely engineered musical styles did supply quantum musical “blots” of a Haken offered via a more scattershot distribution.

Thus, like the “ink blot” on the cover, you can see the Haken you want to see, if only you look more closely.

As for what Haken is overall, who knows; it is as if the band is saying, “It is up to you to perceive it; we are not going to decide it in advance, to fit some marketing categories or any other reductive schema.”

Look within the music, and you will see what is there.

And as I understand the point of this exercise, it is not so much “to project your own meaning” onto the music, but rather to be an active participant in the music itself, along with Haken.

Just as they themselves won’t reduce the musical experience in advance, so too do they invite you not to insist in advance that your musical experience be able to be put in a nice and neat little box.

So, instead they have given us quite the little puzzle box on Vector.

I believe I have solved it.

Not a musical box, but a most satisfying musical ink blot.

Lost Progarchy: Methinks Thou Doth Protest Too Much

If anyone has read the attacks below, posted on Progarchy, that are assaulting the latest from both Roine Stolt and The Tangent, I just want to encourage people to ignore the ranting and raving, and to actually go and listen to the music and lyrics instead.

Stolt releases a song called “Lost America” and suddenly some heads explode at Prograchy. Hey guys, calm down. How about you actually listen to the song? Is it too much to thoughtfully digest what an artist offers, before pronouncing premature rash judgment?

The music to “Lost America” is itself not too bad. Musically, there is nothing offensive. I admit the track doesn’t do much for me, because musically it has nothing too innovative or elaborate to get me excited. But, the guitars are great, and it’s still pleasantly enjoyable to listen to, nonetheless.

Continue reading “Lost Progarchy: Methinks Thou Doth Protest Too Much”