Here are the albums of new music from 2018 that grabbed me on first or second listen, then compelled repeated plays. I’m not gonna rank them except for those that achieved Top Favorite status, which I’ll save for the very end. The others are listed alphabetically by artist. (Old school style, that is — last names first where necessary!) Links to the ones I’ve previously reviewed are embedded in the album titles. But first, a graphic tease …
What new music, live albums, and reissues (deluxe and otherwise) are heading our way between now and Black Friday? Check out the exhaustive (and possibly exhausting) sampling of promised progressive goodies — along with a few other personal priorities — below. Pre-order links are for CDs or combo packages; vinyl editions are frequently available from the same website.
- September 21:
- Marillion, Happiness is Cologne and Popular Music. Limited edition live reissues from Racket Records and earMusic. Pre-order at Amazon or other online retailers.
- Nosound, Allow Yourself. Pre-order from Burning Shed.
- September 28:
- October 5:
- October 12:
- October 19:
- Greta Van Fleet, Anthem of the Peaceful Army. The first full-length album from Frankenmuth, Michigan’s young Zepheads. Pre-order at GvF’s webstore.
- iamthemorning, Ocean Sounds. Live in the studio; audio/video bundle. Pre-order at Burning Shed.
- In Continuum, Acceleration Theory. With Dave Kerzner and an all-star line-up. Pre-order bundles from Bandcamp. Pre-order deadline for special bundles: September 30.
- Frank Sinatra, Only the Lonely: 60th Anniversary Edition. Yes, really. The greatest concept album of the pre-rock era, with Sinatra and arranger Nelson Riddle at their most gorgeous and devastating. “Make it one for my baby … and one more for the road.” More info at Super Deluxe Edition.
- October 26:
- November 2:
- November 9:
- November 16:
- Marillion, Brave Live and Live in Glasgow. Limited edition live reissues from Racket Records and earMusic. Pre-order at Amazon or other online retailers.
- The Tangent, Proxy. Pre-order special bundles from The Tangent webstore.
- November 23:
- The Beatles, White Album 50th Anniversary Edition?
- Big Big Train, Merchants of Light Blu-Ray
- King Crimson, The ReConstruKction of Light (40th Anniversary reissue) and Heaven and Earth (Crimson ProjeKcts box set)
— Rick Krueger
Pre-orders are open for the new album from The Tangent!
Recorded “quietly and carefully” over Spring and Summer of this year, Proxy is scheduled for release by the esteemed Inside Out Music on 16 November and will be available as a CD digipak, vinyl LP and digital download.
Soon after placing my order, I was delighted to receive a long and chatty email from Andy Tillison, delving deeply into the influences and musical styles of the new album, and the approach used to make it. Absolutely fascinating.
According to Andy, it is a “very organic feeling piece”, featuring a real drummer this time (Steve Roberts). Naturally, we should expect Prog – “not just Prog, but lots of it… often focused on the Hammond and Electric Piano”, with “less in the way of orchestrations – more focus on the core instruments”. Apparently, we’ll “spot influences from Chris Squire, Keith Emerson, Pip Pyle, Pierre Moerlen, Tony Iommi, Chick Corea, Fatboy Slim, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Peter Hammill”. Now that’s an eclectic bunch!
Because Doctor Livingstone from Slow Rust was so well received, we’ll be getting another instrumental on Proxy, along with a 17-minute epic that, intriguingly, has all the hallmarks of Prog and yet is “not made out of Prog… Imagine the Eiffel Tower made in mahogany”. I am very curious to find out what this actually means…
And what of the lyrics? Let me quote Andy in full here:
No overall concept this time. Yes, there will be politically motivated bits – there will be introspect – there will be reckless optimism and ever more reckless pessimism. Some of the songs are tinged with the regrets arising from missed opportunities earlier in life, some are angry and cynical. But the overall conclusion of the album is that there is “still time”.
Bring it on!
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).
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!
Lots going on here at Tangent HQ right now:
As you all happily know, Timelord has announced his top albums of 2017 already. When he did, I was a bit surprised. Wait, is it that time of year already? What about albums that come out in December? The more I thought about it, the more I thought Timelord was absolutely right to announce his top picks. Not much is going to happen this month, and, even if something does come out, it will be hard to measure against what already exists. Should something come out and shake up my list, I will, of course, be happy. For any thing that could possibly shake up this list would have to be really, really good.
And, as you also happily know, Tad Wert took a unique perspective on his top picks, focusing on the live releases of the year rather than on the studio releases. Bravo!
Unlike 2012-2016, this is the first year that I found actually easy when ranking. That is, picking and ranking has been relatively easy. As some of the other progarchists have said over the past half decade, so much prog had come out in any previous years that it felt like “taking a sip from the fire hose.”
This year, 2017, just feels different. The quality definitely outdid the quantity.
Before starting rankings, though, I would be dead wrong not to mention two critical things.
First, God bless, Jerry Ewing, and his glorious PROG magazine. For a time there, we all thought the ship was gone, our captain lost at sea in a corporate hurricane of insanity and avarice. Then, Ewing emerged—and stronger than ever. Congratulations, Jerry. Long may you lead our little platoon of prog-loving weirdos.
Second, may God bless, Tim Hall (Kaylr). I never actually met Tim, but I really appreciated his views on everything. He was always intelligent and prudent, and our loss is heaven’s gain. Tim, if you can, please say hello to Hendrix, Morrison, Emerson, Lake, Squire, and all of the other greats of the last half century. And, say hi to my dad, my grandparents, and my daughter, Cecilia Rose, as well. Someday, brother, someday. . .
On to the show!
The Tangent, SLOW RUST OF FORGOTTEN MACHINERY (Insideout Music, 2017). Tracks: Two Swings; Doctor Livingstone; Slow Rust; The Story of Lead and Astatine; A Few Steps Down the Wrong Road; and Basildonxit.
Andy Tillison is not a happy man.
From the art work, to the vocal work, to the lyrics of this latest The Tangent album, SLOW RUST, Tillison has embraced a critical response to the rapidly growing and evolving fascistic, fascist-lite, and insular movements of the western world over the last several years. As artist, as man, and as thinker, Tillison hopes to stay the dark trajectory of the West or even, God willing, reverse it. While the great red-headed man of prog mischief has never backed away from controversial viewpoints, he’s rarely been this explicit.
Even the album cover makes one pause. Previously, Tillison has joked that he represents the dark side of prog, the antithesis, in particular, to Big Big Train, and the cover seems to project this rather profoundly, as a (presumably) single Muslim mother walks along dilapidated railroad tracks, holding the hands of her two daughters. The once majestic train has derailed, and the crossing sign (the closest thing to the viewer of the album) reads “go.” Clearly, several things have gone very, very wrong. There’s no hedgerow in the distance, only a ruined, collapsed, and spent civilization. There’s some blue sky showing, but it’s obscured by the ruddy reds of smoke and grit floating all too freely in a broken and war-torn world.