Today is the birthday of one of the handful of the pantheon of Anglo-Saxon demigod guitarists: Matt Stevens, he of solo and Fierce and the Dead fame. Thank you, Matt–for your artistry and generosity. Each make this world more than a bit better!
The term “Kalman Filter” refers to a process of observing and measuring something over long periods of time, rather than simply making a single observation of a single moment at a specific time. The process never claims to be perfect, but it does claim to be a more accurate of understanding over the long term.
Why Andy Tillison chose to name his new band and new project Kalman Filter is beyond my knowledge. Whether he just liked the name or whether he has some intent in comparing his approach to the music to the Kalman Filter process is, again, unknown to me. Still, if it’s the latter, it seems to fit. The music does seem to me to be a way of thinking about a process, seen over moments of great lengths of time, reaching toward perfection.
To complicate matters, Tillison has written an extremely detailed if rather psychedelic story about his encounters with some black-op security forces here: https://www.thetangent.org/index.php/read/the-kalman-filter
Tillison is best known—especially to Americans—as the fountainhead and touchstone of all thing The Tangent related. But, he’s responsible for a number of other groups and projects as well: including, most recently, Tangekanic, as well as Parallel or 90 Degrees and a number of solo albums (Fog, Murk, Electric Sinfonia, and Durch).
It’s hard to believe that I first encountered The Fierce and the Dead almost a full decade ago. They’ve been such a part of my musical life over the past eight years, that it’s actually hard to remember a time when I didn’t listen to them.
As I’ve had the privilege of arguing before, The Fierce and the Dead is, essentially, what might happen if Johnny Marr played with King Crimson.
Who needs them? Just know that Matt Stevens and co. give theirs hearts, minds, and souls for the world of music. And, we are all the better for it.
Past Second Springs:
Inspired by Craig Breaden’s brilliant 104-part Soundstream, I’ve decided to post music that reveals that rock and jazz (and some other forms of music) are not the end of western civilization, but the culmination of western civilization up to this point in time. A second spring, if you will.
Love these guys. Enjoy.
From Mighty Matt:
This is the final reminder about the Fierce And The Dead’s new live record, thank you to all of you ordering, the response has been incredible. We’re 50 orders off our biggest ever pre-order sale and funding our DVD recording. Amazing.
If you want the limited edition signed postcard version of our new live album this is the last week to order it. The link it here:
Tape cassettes are almost gone too.
All of the band really appreciate the support and it would be brilliant if we can do the final 50.
So, I fell in love with The Fierce and the Dead from the moment I saw online the image of their first proper recording, PART 1. That was seven years ago. The image of the lone tree standing in a field took me back not only to the actuality of my childhood in central Kansas, but it also took me back to the fantasy of my childhood in Tolkien’s The Shire.
As such, The Fierce and the Dead has always occupied that tenuous place in the prog world–something undeniably tangible and real mixed with something almost too good to be true. Certainly, the wordless music of The Fierce and the Dead is analogous to my own inability to articulate fully how much joy this band brings me.