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Tangent, The: The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery

It's strange to think that not all that long ago band leader Andy Tillison was talking about the possible end of The Tangent, the struggle to piece together a band that would commit to the rigours of what he wanted, proving an ever greater challenge. As it's turned out even a heart attack in 2015 hasn't slowed his band's album every two years work rate (not including live albums, EPs and side projects!), the latest being The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery.

Tillison likes a topic, something to get his teeth into and if he can get in a lather about it, then all's the better, and on this latest album he's doing so maybe more than ever before. Now handling drums rather splendidly as well as lead vocals and keyboards, the band's fulcrum welcomes Maschine's Marie-Eve de Gaultier, who also covers both of those roles and compliments Tillison's work on each quite beautifully. While back for more are guitarist Luke Machin, bassist Jonas Riengold and sax-flute-clarinet man Theo Travis. You can already rest assured that the performances here verge on breathtaking; something maybe best illustrated through "The Sad Story Of Lead And Astatine" where, in an unusual step for this band, every musician is given a solo slot. If you needed confirmation that Tillison isn't on an ego trip behind the drum kit, it's right here in a tasteful, dextrous solo slot that's more Buddy Rich than Mike Portnoy. The song itself also finds The Tangent in jazzy mode, dancing piano the basis of much of what goes down. Although the vocal interplay between Tillison and Gaultier is stunning, as it is throughout. It's almost as though a missing component in The Tangent armoury has suddenly clicked into place, the band's long time singer still utilising his storytelling style, while his chanteuse adds an air of beautiful authority.

Four of the five tracks are 12 minutes-plus in length, epics the order of the day as Tillison and his troops balance out the message against the music. Sometimes with rip-roaring success and sometimes sailing so close to the wind that those not of a similar political mind, might find some of this hard to swallow. I may not fall into that category, but with hot topics such as brexit, immigration, fake news and the closed borders-closed minds attitude that is building round the world all being viewed from one distinct stand point, if you fall on the other side of these debates, then Andy's tone may well be seen as finger wagging, if not downright condescending. Although the twist in the tail of "A Few Steps Down The Wrong Road" is clever indeed. That seventeen minute epic is actually more spoken word/poem set to music, the tale of empire, downfall and resentment told in blocks between the more expected 'song segments'. It's extremely effective, I'd guess, whether you are nodding in agreement or shaking your head incredulously.

Where things don't quite click in the same manner is during "Slow Rust", the introduction of a short Tillison 'rap' hitting ever so slightly like your dad getting jiggy with it. Although the song itself is another towering glory, which can also be said for, well, everything else! It's all unmistakably Tangential, and yet with a few new elements introduced, it also finds the band continuing to push themselves and seek new paths. The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery may well be an album angry at the current climate we live in but there's little doubt it comes from a band revelling in the purpose it's given them.

Track Listing
1. Two Rope Swings
2. Doctor Livingstone (I Presume)
3. Slow Rust
4. The Sad Story Of Lead And Astatine
5. A Few Steps Down The Wrong Road
6. Basildonxit

Added: July 24th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Tangent online
Hits: 3100
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Tangent, The: The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2017-07-24 09:24:27
My Score:

It's incredible just how consistent Andy Tillison and The Tangent have been over the years, and The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery is another in a fine line of stellar progressive rock albums from this veteran act. Easily employing vintage styled prog as well as melodic, Canterbury influenced jazz fusion, The Tangent have once again fused these elements here on The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery, an album with just five tracks yet of course most of epic length which allows for plenty of musical & vocal fireworks. "Doctor Livingstone (I Presume)" might just be the most charming of the lot, a near 12-minute journey into proggy & jazzy splendor, Tillison's piano & keyboards lovingly playing off Theo Travis' gorgeous flute & sax before guitarist Luke Machin explodes with a scorching solo of his own. New drummer Marie-Eve de Gaultier also handles co-lead vocals alongside Tillison, as well as forming a stupendous rhythmic team with veteran bassist extraordinaire Jonas Riengold. The quirky "Slow Rust" clocks in at a gargantuan 22-minutes and provides many deep grooves and instrumental & vocal flights of fancy, while Travis' clarinet work on "The Sad Story Of Lead And Astatine" is just sublime, and proves to be the perfect foil to the booming bass, energetic keyboards, and rock guitar. Closer "A Few Steps Down The Wrong Road" is another winner, again an explosion of jazz & prog, Travis' snaking sax weaving around symphonic keyboards and upbeat rhythms, with catchy vocal lines & melodies adding the icing on the cake.

The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery is of course another must hear album from The Tangent, and further proof of just how good this band is. Don't miss it!

» Reader Comments:

Tangent, The: The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery
Posted by James Carlton on 2017-06-26 18:02:37
My Score:

Oh man, can't wait for this. Tangential. Love it.

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