Album review: THE TANGENT – Proxy


Inside Out [Release date 16.11.18]

Since I was first introduced to the music of The Tangent via “COMM” back in 2011, Andy Tillson and his Progressive Rock ensemble have released five studio albums, so calling them prolific would be nothing other than a pretty damn accurate description.

What is even more impressive, however, is the knowledge that the five compositions that put together the band’s tenth studio album “Proxy” were conceived while the quintet was on tour with Karmakanic – a group with which they share the services of bassist extraordinaire Jonas Reingold, one of the many stars of this release.

Tillison’s music has always been a melting pot of different musical ideas and styles, so having Jazz-influenced saxophone co-inhabiting with flamenco-sounding guitar tunes should not come as a surprise to anyone.

What is however still pretty impressive to observe is the ease with which the band employs such diverse musical themes into its lengthier compositions and still keep them sounding focused and coherent, while allowing basic melodies to offer the much needed ‘foundation stone’ upon which each track is solidly constructed.

One such example is the album’s opening composition “Proxy”. Infused with 70s-style mellotron melodies and based upon an impressive bassline, courtesy of Jonas Reingold’s unique skills, this sixteen-minute opus enabled the members of The Tangent to flex their technical muscles from the off.

Fans of Theo Travis and Soft Machine will find many things to enjoy in “The Melting Andalusian Skies”, the eight minute instrumental piece that follows suit and which features, among others, flute melodies of incomparable quality.

In “A Case Of Misplaced Optimism” we have the band keeping things ‘relatively simple’, letting Reingold’s groovy bass guitar themes take the lead and resulting in a pretty up-lifting, soul-drenched sing-along piece of music.

Impressive thematic variations, dynamic guitar work and a clever juxtaposition of flute parts and modern keyboard melodies characterize the album’s second lengthy composition “The Adulthood Lie”, however Tillison certainly chose to save the best for last here.

Politics and current world affairs have always been great sources of inspiration for the band and so “Supper’s Off” is the vehicle chosen by the fifty nine year old musician to attack and criticize all the things that are wrong with the world these days, while providing a powerful ending to an album whose quality borders the sensational.

Let’s face it ladies and gentlemen; Andy Tillison is simply incapable of releasing a bad album and that is a great attribute for any musician who has chosen to serve a musical genre as diverse, demanding and often unforgiving as Progressive Rock.

I am pretty sure that the average Tangent devotee will rate this album pretty high in comparison to the band’s previous material and that fans of progressive music both old and new will most certainly find a good place in their record collection for this thoroughly enjoyable release.

Well done Mr. Tillison – bloody well done!  ****1/2 (4.5/5.0)

Review by Ioannis (John) Stefanis

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

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