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The Tangent

Stars and Pyramids

Review by Josh Turner

If you missed them at ROSfest 2005, you missed the best thing they've done so far. If you haven't even seen them live at all, it is essential you hear this disc. In concert, their music has evolved to a whole new and much superior level. I'd even call it supernatural. The transitions are less abrupt, and there is plenty of magic in many of their moments.

Andy truly is a Lucky Man. His first Tangent album sold better than all his previous albums combined (or so he says). He is also a very funny and personable guy. He writes in the liner notes that he contributes organ, synthesizer, piano, vocals, and equally bad German. Maybe I'm into this obscure kind of humor, but trust me, there is more where this came from.

If you get a chance, I strongly suggest you go and see them live. To miss out, would be a colossal mistake. In the interim, I encourage you to check out this recording from Aschaffenburg Colas-Saal on March 11th, 2004. This bootleg is the only official live recording at this time, but hopefully, this will change. There has been some talk about releasing their show at ROSfest. Nonetheless, there have been several line-up changes, so this is the last opportunity to hear them with guitarist Roine Stolt and drummer Zoltan Csorsz, who are respectfully replaced by Karmakanic's Krister Jonzon and Flower King Alum Jaime Salazar.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
The World That We Drive Through
This is executed as tightly as a studio session, but fresh with spontaneous solos, impromptu jazz, and other random riffs.

The Canterbury Sequence
Rather than build up with the other parts of the epic, they cut to the chase and go straight for the jugular with this sequence. While the keyboards and flutes play the parts in the exact same way, they sound somewhat different. Theo Travis might prefer other brands of equipment. Along with this minor change, a lively host, and an energetic crowd, this sounds pretty close to the original.

The Winning Game
Roine's guitars seem to holler louder than the original and his voice is out in front. No doubt the Flower King's influence has domination over this one. These are characteristics you won't get in the new line-up, but I must say Andy's singing and Krister's playing, while noticeably different, are just as good.
The Music That Died Alone
This fine wine has gotten better with age. While everyone has matured to some degree, the piano, in particular, is reincarnated as an entirely new being. You can already see that Theo is more than capable to fill-in for David Jackson. This might be blasphemous to say, but I think he's even an improvement.

In Darkest Dreams
The beginning becomes the ending. Interesting hearing this come later in the concert as this was the song that started it all. So soon after Transatlantic's demise, The Tangent seemed to seal what seemed like a gaping hole in the realm of progressive rock. Yet, it was uniquely different from anything that came before and it arrived with impeccable timing. To have the song that pioneered the way start the concert would have been no surprise at all. Having it come towards the end is the real shocker. The Tangent embellishes on the ending and heats the crowd up for a much anticipated encore.

Lucky Man
When the crowd wailed at ROSfest when they thought The Tangent played their very last song, Andy stated, "You all know an encore is coming." What people didn't expect was that it would be one of the highlights of the evening. When I saw them live, I was fortunate enough to see "21st Century Schizoid Man" cap off the evening. Here we get a totally different cover. There is something similar in how they play their covers. They sandwich the start and end with a familiar tune. However, between the bookends is the most adventurous and mind-blowing jazz you'll ever hear. I've never seen or heard a cover portrayed in this manner. The way they end their sets is quite clever. Between this album and ROSfset, I've now heard this glorious music twice in a live setting. Maybe I need to get out to more of their concerts. It's fortunate we get to hear the line-up, which features Roine and Zoltan, one last time, but never fear the new line-up is just as awe-inspiring. It would be a wonderful windfall to hear an official release from the ROSfest concert. With that particular gig, you even get to hear a song from their next album. Whether they are putting out albums or playing live, whether they are playing with one virtuoso over another, and whether you see them at one venue or another, The Tangent is today's supergroup and they only seem to be refining their superpowers over time.

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