This arrived, happily, this evening from Sally Collyer. Great update about all things Tillison.
Happy New Year to everyone and first and foremost a huge thank you to all who supported Andy and the band last year, bought “The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery”, attended the live shows in Europe and the USA and voted for the album and band members in the PROG Magazine readers poll, huge congratulations to Andy for being voted number one in the Keyboard players category and to Jonas and Luke for gaining 5th place in the Bass Player and Guitarist categories respectively, the album “The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery” also achieved 5th in the best album category, all in all incredible achievements considering the wealth of talented output in the progressive music genre over the last 12 months, in addition to the fact that we have a policy of never asking fans to vote in polls, it was wonderful to get this news in the knowledge that people had chosen to give support without any outside influence, the music really did speak for itself!
A very (yes, VERY) special Progarchy Radio in which John Simms and I sit in the same room and talk prog. Prog today, prog yesterday, prog tomorrow. A wonderful way to spend some time. . . with great music and even better friends. Thank you, John.
We talk The Tangent, Big Big Train, Kansas, Genesis, Yes, Steven Wilson, Roger Dean, Jim Trainer, and more.
P.S. Give it nearly 30 seconds or so to load–even to begin. A huge file.
That greatest and most mischiveous redheaded bard of the 21st century, Andy Tillison, has announced that this coming Monday, August 15, The Tangent will be releasing a new single and a film to go with that single.
The title of the single is “A Few Steps Down the Wrong Road,” and it comes in at over 19 minutes.
Having been privileged enough to have a glimpse of this new film, I can state that Tillison and The Tangent fully return the spirit of rock to the spirit of rebellion of the late 1960s.
This is blatantly art as protest.
Whether or not you agree with Tillison’s views, you will happily recognize the importance of what The Tangent is doing and the significance of the film itself in the history of rock. Tillison, who describes himself as a leftist-anarchist, has never shied away from expressing his politics in music. “A Few Steps Down the Wrong Road,” however, takes Tillison’s art and views to an entirely new level.
Again, whether you agree or disagree with Tillison, you should never make the mistake of NOT taking him and his ideas seriously.
Progarchy (and yours truly) is extremely eager to see where all of this leads.
Andy Tillison Diskdrive, DURCH (forthcoming, 2016). Pre-order available now.
Tracks: Machte es Durch; The Pursuit of Oil; and From the Steppes of Central Asia
Whenever I see or hear the name Andy Tillison, two thoughts immediately spring to mind. 1) Class. 2) Mischievousness. A contradiction? Not really. Most of the greatest artists in history have possessed various measures of each.
Tillison is a great artist.
For those of who have been fortunate enough (wise enough?–naw, too strong, even if accurate) to pre-order Tillison’s forthcoming solo album, DURCH, we already know what glory and amazement is in store for us, even if in attenuated form. The pre-order allows us to listen to the raw tracks.
Raw? If Andy Tillison had said, “Here, they are, just as I want them,” I would not have doubted him.
These three tracks are simply glorious. Track one, “Machte es durch” strikes me as a sequel to some of Soft Machine’s best work, though Tillison credits Camel for the inspiration.
Track two, “The Pursuit of Oil,” is atmospheric to the extreme, the soundtrack to a horror movie set within a a decrepit house for at least their first nine minutes or so. The piece screams moodiness. It, too, is glorious. Around the nine-minute mark, Tillison gets righteous, and we hear his voice for the first time, decrying the abuses committed against the eco system but doing so in a way that helps explain our current cultural mindset toward resource use. My words don’t do this piece justice. Tillison is nothing if not about justice in his very personhood, and this is the kind of piece that welcomes the imagination to explore the deeper ethical issues of our day without screaming at us to reform. In other words, in his music and lyrics, Tillison gives us art, not propaganda.
Finally, “From the Steppes of Central Asia,” the remaking of a piece originally written by Alexander Borodin, a chemist and composer. Despite the title–which invokes, at least to my mind, more of what I’d heard in track two–the piece is incredibly upbeat and jazzy in an experimental, fusion way.
Well, what more can I say?
I love Tillison as a man and as a artist and as a class act and as a mischievous character. If you’ve preordered, you’ve already experienced the immense joys I have from this master of all things prog, rock, and jazz. If you’ve not preordered, do so now. No, not then. NOW!
As most of you already know, Tillison suffered some very serious health problems last year, but his lovely equal, Sally Collyer (our prog person of the year) and the NHS kept him in great shape. In his own personal note accompanying the link to the new tracks, he wrote:
“As you may know, I had a full on heart attack last year and essentially the life I now have is all a bit of a bonus track on the album of existence.”
Whenever I write about Tillison, I have to end with a line stolen (and paraphrased) from Mark Hollis and Talk Talk. Rage on, Mr. Diskdrive, rage on.
[This (below the graphic) from Sally Collyer–the wonderful and incredible Sally Collyer, progarchy’s previous PROG HUMAN OF THE YEAR. I will admit, I’m secretly hoping that Andy’s new album, DURCH, is really a tribute of some kind to Geddy Lee–BB]
NEW MUSIC NEWS from Andy Tillison – you can still pre-order DURCH from www.thetangent.org and get an hour’s worth of new music from the album emailed to you personally by Andy ~ see Andy’s message below, he will be sending out the new tracks tomorrow evening (Thursday).
Just a bit of “DURCH” Info here… tomorrow I will be writing to everyone who pre-ordered the album with news of its status – (don’t worry. we’re late but not that far off!). Everyone who’s bought the album so far will have music to listen to – around an hour’s worth of this album which has turned out very different to that foreseen… My apologies for lack of presence here on FB of late, this is a personal choice – to make me concentrate on work!!
If you have ordered DURCH please check the email you used to place the order tomorrow evening. If you haven’t received a mail from me by Thursday, then please PM me here on Facebook.
On a different note (a lot of different notes) I have been asked by Progzilla to do a Keith Emerson tribute broadcast which I have of course graciously accepted. News of that shortly.
The Tangent, A SPARK IN THE AETHER (Insideout Music, 2015).
Tracks: A Spark in the Aether; Codpieces and Capes; Clearing the Attic; Aftereugene; The Celluloid Road; A Spark in the Aether (Part 2)
The Tangent: Andy Tillison; Luke Machen; Theo Travis; Jonas Reingold; and Morgan Agren.
Birzer rating: 10/10
“If Neal can find God. . . what’s in it for me?”
I’ve never hidden my admiration for all things Andy Tillison. I almost feel like I should always be writing AllthingsAndyTillison™ whenever I mention any aspect of him. For, as we all know, this redheaded and motorbiking mischievous Andy does nothing halfway. Like almost every person in the prog world—artist or fan—he’s a perfectionist. Andy’s not just a perfectionist, though. He’s a perfectionist-plus.
It would be nearly impossible to re-do or even try to top The Tangent’s 2013 masterpiece, Le Sacre du Travail, itself a celebration of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring from exactly a century before. The Tangent reached a fascinating peak (at least, thus far) with that one. It sold well, and well it should have. Le Sacre is a thing of true beauty and grace, a tangible piece of eternity, here and now. On it, Tillison combined—almost impossibly—the mundane with the sacred, and he did so in a way that philosophized without preaching. Not an easy task or accomplishment for anyone.
“Careful with that sax!”
Tillison is a restless man, and we all benefit from his need to make, to produce, to continue, to create, and to communicate.
Nothing stands out as much on this new album, A Spark in the Aether, as the almost-signature energetic restlessness of Tillison. This is not to suggest that we don’t also revel in his many satisfactions. Spark, however, ultimately reveals Tillison’s deepest longings, and his greatest (and quite lovely) imaginings and his desire for justice. Tillison is not just the definition of restlessness and perfectionism, he is also the spirit of charity itself. Whereas the last album considered the routine and liturgy of work, this album explores what might and what could be. It’s every bit as subtle as the previous work, but the subtleties are found in the musical passages, especially the ones that linger, rather than in the structure of the album as with 2013’s Le Sacre.
“Struggling with a Hammond until my fingers bleed. . . to an empty room.”
Tillison has rather famously proclaimed progressive rock as the sum of all music. You want jazz? So be it. 1950’s rock? Great. 1960’s bubble gum pop? Not a problem. Combine them in any way you see fit, and you have one of the many glories of prog, the ability to fuse and meld, the combination of infinite diversity within infinite possibilities. On Spark, one hears funk, funkadelic, rock, prog, jazz, and folk. There’s a bit more Pink Floydish influence than is normal for The Tangent, but, of course, it’s all done so very tastefully.
As mentioned above in the header, six pieces make up Spark. The first, “A Spark in the Aether.” Swirling keyboards and sax open the album. This is a rambunctious piece, a prime example of “prog n’roll,” as Tillison likes to call it. The title and the music fit together perfectly. Truly, there is a small fire that sets off something much larger than itself.
The second piece, “Codpieces and Capes,” could lyrically be the sequel to “Supper’s Off,” the fifth track of the 2013 bonus cd, L’Etagere du Travail. Tillison’s lyrics are at their wittiest, a series of comments about pretentions among the first generation and wave of prog stars. Tillison rightfully mocks the self-indulgence of the era.
“Clearing the Attic,” the third track, is the most fantastic of all the songs, a carefully structure dream wondering (and wandering) what would happen if every thing went perfectly well for those Tillison admires and loves most. Interestingly enough, parts of the track somewhat resemble “Feelin’ Groovy” by Simon and Garfunkel as well as Santana’s version of “Oye Como Va.” This, however, is 2015, not 1966 or 1970, for better or worse. In Tillison’s reality, Guy is famous, Cliff spins tracks for the BBC, and Sally gets to ride horseback across the vast and almost limitless plains of North America.
The fourth piece, “Aftereugene,” I misunderstood at first. I thought this might be Andy’s filler, as it were, a way to connect the first half of the album with the second. Upon several listens, though, I’ve come to realize just how complex this piece is. The best moment is Tillison whispering, “Careful with that sax.” The quality of his voice at this moment–the drama of it–is just brilliant, as is the atonal solo that Travis immediately provides. This is a sleeper song, and it will, I predict, one day be regarded as a Tangent masterpiece. It has everything a prog fan craves—weirdness, beauty, and a connection to our rather glorious prog heritage.
Perhaps the centerpiece of the entire album is “The Celluloid Road,” a full journey through and across America. Not the real America, but the America as understood by a non-American receiving his information from Hollywood. Every one from Clint Eastwood to Jesus makes an appearance in this song, and it really is the perfect road music for traversing the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains en route to the West Coast and the Pacific. The story ends in San Francisco, with talking apes and giant lizards destroying everything. As Tillison notes, he gets to observe it all from the haze of Yorkshire.
The last song brings us back to the first, and it becomes obvious that though Tillison has not created another concept album, he has certainly created a song cycle. And, the song cycle takes us back not just to the first song of this album, but to the very first Tangent album ever, The Music That Died Alone (2003).
As a crass American, I often wonder if the English realize how lucky they are to have Andy. I know the Germans understand his brilliance, as do the Scandinavians. The English-speaking peoples of the world have an incredible treasure in Andy Tillison. Add his significant other, Sally, and they’re basically unstoppable.
Andy, thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. It’s such an honor to be a part of AllthingsAndyTillison™.
Well, Andy Tillison and Sally Collyer did, and we had an amazing, very good, awesome, wonderful time! They’re on their way home now, but the memory and goodness of their visit remains palpable. Tillison lectured as well as performed before a Boulder audience on Thursday. It was an amazing event, and I’ll report more fully about it in the next day or two.
In the meantime, pull out some Tangent, put on the headphones, and turn out the lights.
By Andy Tillison (taken without permission from his Facebook post yesterday)
Although it has been mentioned before I would once again like to return to Stephen Lambe and his book “CITIZENS OF HOPE AND GLORY – The Story Of Progressive Rock” which has just gone into its second edition. There have been a few changes, but one of the most obvious changes to us here is that the section on the Tangent has been somewhat updated. In the first edition the album selected to represent us was “A Place In the Queue” – however, this has now been replaced with “Le Sacre Du Travail”. Lambe describes it as “Magnificent” and speaks of it as bringing “Progressive Rock full circle” He finishes the article off by saying “Ten years into a career full of ups and downs, this is not only the finest album by the band but one which perfectly summarises all of progressive rock”. It’s pretty obvious that I’m very happy that Stephen felt this way – in fact I must admit I felt my bottom lip tremble a bit when I read it. “Sacre” was an album that divided folks a bit, and those people have had their say, and more importantly they have been LISTENED TO!!
I have just finished writing the new Tangent album which Inside Out have heard and agreed to release in early 2015. They are exceedingly enthusiastic about it and I can tell you that it is a very different style of album from “Sacre” with a very upbeat and optimistic flavour. It’s an album designed for live sets which we hope to do more of in the future. Very shortly we’ll be starting to harass you all to come and see one of the handful of gigs we are doing this year (still adding) – we’ll even be roadtesting one of the new songs.
We’ve had some critics, we’ve had good and bad things happen to our band over the years. With Stephen’s book, it’s our turn to feel pleased and know we managed to move some people in the way we intended. Some folks from this list have once again been invited to beta test the album as it currently stands. They’re usually frequent contributors and friends, but I also send copies to people who aren’t so keen on the band and people who don’t even like the genre much. Pretty soon we’ll be working out how we’re gonna do the “get involved” bit – we ain’t gonna be going for an established thing like Kickstarter – once again we’ll try to let people hear what we’re up to and allow them to hear stuff as it develops. One person listening to the album at the moment is David Longdon…….
In the meantime – please feel free to check out what PROG magazine calls “An Excellent Read” – “Citizens Of Hope And Glory” by Stephen Lambe published by AMBERLEY. if you have the first edition you’re OUT OF DATE!!!