If the name Andy Tillison doesn’t mean anything, there’s a chance that you’ve never heard of THE TANGENT. This progressive rock group was formed by the former in 2002 and he remains the only original member. Their latest studio effort is entitled “Auto Reconnaissance” and is due for release on August 21st, 2020, via InsideOut Music.
“Auto Reconnaissance” is largely written around smooth chamber jazz, which acts as the foundation of each song on the album, alongside storied vocals that are as much spoken as sung. While this laid-back, mellow atmosphere pervades each song, there are quite a few surprises to be found within. The first track, “Life on Hold,” is an excellent combination of jazz, funk, and pure ’70s prog. A more classic singing style is beautifully upheld by a funky groove and soft, smooth drumming. The 16-minute prog beast, “Jinxed in Jersey,” has interludes of pure rock ‘n’ roll at times, as well as almost DREAM THEATER-y progressive keyboard breakdowns and a slow, more solemn, haunting part towards the final third.
“Under Your Spell” opens on pianos before groovy bass quickly joins in. This pleasant, lightly upbeat, jazzy piece has a lot of smooth cymbals and emotive vocals. Of course, there’s a sweet pause where a few different casual riffs are tossed around before it returns to its full laid-back, melodic, saxophone-touched wonderful self. “Take away the fear and let it slide away,” indeed. “The Tower of Babel” has a little more pep to it, with some exciting interludes and a lot of strong synth work. With a much more upbeat, funky, and accessible sound, this track makes perfect sense as an album single. Oh, the lyrics are also really intriguing, so be sure to check them out if you get the chance.
Meanwhile, “Lie Back & Think of England” starts out slow, but in its 28:16 runtime, there’s ample time for it to explore everything, from anxiety-ridden passages layered with radio/TV records or flute-driven anthemic moments, all the way to spacey ’80s synth-drive parts. There’s a slow build-up to the almost disco-funky “The Midas Touch,” one of the shorter tracks at just under 6 minutes. This catchy song has a great chorus that slides in from time-to-time, with great use of brass and flutes lining the catchy melody. There’s nice use of keyboards and synths throughout as well.
If you’re lucky and got the deluxe edition of the album, it wraps up with nearly 12½-minute bonus track, “Proxima.” Starting with gentle, atmospheric sounds, the song builds up for several minutes before a mischievous groove sets in, led by a tricksy bass line. This sneaky song works its way through a jungle of sounds, changing tones completely at points, leaving the listener wondering when it had happened. Everything comes together into a fantastic, chill adventure of a song that’s both exciting and relaxing at the same time.
THE TANGENT‘s upcoming release is definitely not for the faint of heart. The music layered over-top of the jazz vibes is endlessly creative and interesting, with little bits and pieces added here and there to give character to the music. Those with shorter musical attention spans may find this album to be too much, but for listeners who like their music to feel like a journey regardless of where one song ends and another begins, this album will have plenty to peel back on repeated listens. “Auto Reconnaissance” is an album with plenty to offer fans of jazz and prog alike.
Written by Bear Wiseman
- Life On Hold
- Jinxed In Jersey
- Under Your Spell
- The Tower of Babel
- Lie Back & Think of England
- The Midas Touch
- Proxima (Bonus Track)
Andy Tillison – vocals, lyrics, keyboards
Jonas Reingold – bass
Theo Travis – saxophone, flute
Luke Machin – guitar
Steve Roberts – drums
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