The Tangent – A Spark In The Aether


Over the course of their thirteen year history, UK prog rockers The Tangent have undergone several personnel shifts and taken altered musical paths, including their previous 2013 album Le Sacre du Travail (InsideOut) which took a melancholic turn into more orchestral territory; an effort which was as grandiose as it was difficult to delve into for newcomers.

Now after yet another lineup dissolution, founding and sole original member (and leader) Andy Tillison has brought in a few familiar faces in the shape of Jonas Reingold, Theo Travis, Luke Machin and Morgan Agren; and a new album that sees a return to their classic prog rock roots. To give its full title A Spark In The Aether: The Music That Died Alone – Volume Two (InsideOut) represents a nod to their debut, and the influential artists of prog’s golden era.

Where their previous album was a much more sullen affair than usually expected, A Spark…is strikingly upbeat and colourful. Opening track ‘A Spark In The Aether’ is a particularly joyous number, with its immediate and familiar synth tone and buoyant tempo. What’s also prominent is how immediate the album is, even despite its unwavering excess that classic prog is notorious for. Only one track goes past the 20 minute mark; the glorious ‘The Celluloid Road’ which still captivates throughout.

There are signs of a loose concept about prog rock, and in particular its golden era of the 70’s, notably over ‘Codpieces & Capes’ and the following ‘Clearing The Attic’. The former clearly pays homage to the cartoonlike but endearing characteristics of the likes of Jethro Tull, whilst lyrically it follows the loyal prog fan as he wonders whether one’s prog idols care, making reference to both the past and present. It even throws in a cheeky reference to Neal Morse’s relatively new found Christianity. The latter also references the state of prog, even incorporating intricate, seemingly improvised jazz elements.

All throughout A Spark… proves the perfect blend of classic sounding progressive rock, which has the warmth of the classics but does so with its own sense of identity. All the while making clear, uncryptic references to such music sonically and lyrically; both tongue in cheek and celebratory. A magnificent return for one of contemporary prog’s stalwarts.


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The Tangent Releasing A Spark In The Aether – The Music That Died Alone Volume Two In April

the tangent a spark in the aether

The Tangent will release their eighth studio album A Spark In The Aether – The Music That Died Alone Volume Two on April 20, 2015 in Europe and April 21, 2015 in the US via InsideOutMusic. The band, led by multi-instrumentalist Andy Tillison, is made up of Jonas Reingold (Bass), Theo Travis (Sax & Flute), Luke Machin (Guitar) & Morgan Ågren (Drums).

Andy Tillison had this to say:

“After all the different things we’ve done, this time it seemed right to come back to our prog roots and “stock in trade”. At the same time we wanted to go somewhere new too, so we travelled to America in our Imaginations. We all hope you’ll join us!”

This team is joined by Morgan Ågren, Swedish drumming phenomenon who can even count Frank Zappa among his previous jobs (others include, but not limited to, Kaipa, Devin Townsend, and his own acclaimed Mats/Morgan Band). Morgan introduces to The Tangent a real live energy full of inspiration and eccentricity.

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United Progressive Fraternity – Fall In Love With The World



Sometimes bands like to choose their name via the “does what it says on the tin” approach; a sentiment that certainly rings true with United Progressive Fraternity, even if it does clumsily sound like some kind of University society which really should have existed. A band formed from the ashes of Australian act Unitopia, with Mark Trueack at the helm; this also holds the additional talents of Guy Manning of The Tangent and Dan Mash of The Tangent and Maschine fame, oh and contributions from some guys called Steve Hackett and Jon Anderson.

The name even holds little surprise about their sound, and Fall In Love With The World (InsideOut) is expectedly warm sounding. The overall message of the album is one of ecological and preserving significance; spelt clearly in the title this is about our world and the importance of maintaining and saving it; but presented in a more joyous manner than say, a politically charged hardcore act.

Sonically there is quite an array of styles at play, interlinking from jazz interludes, woodwind, traditional Eastern effects and instrumentation, combined with changing paces and flows plus numerous nods to the greats of Prog. Oddly this project took the mantra of an open door policy without a true creative head but with contributions of various people coming in and out; yet it does feel a cohesive effort throughout.

Returning to messrs Hackett and Anderson, although it is clear where Anderson appears (‘Water’ on backing vocals), Hackett’s contributions seem oddly illusive despite his memorable style, which begs the question, could these huge presences have not been more prominent? Otherwise FILWTW is a pleasing, if not spectacular release; proving a decent showcase of a dictionary definition of a ‘typical’ sounding Prog album, but not a great deal else.


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The Tangent – Le Sacre Du Travail

The Tangent albumLike a cloud of smoke, The Tangent’s line-up has always been a fleeting thing but creator Andy Tillison has never given up on the name no matter how many times he has been forced to dissolve the members. Over the past 11 years he has remained constantly at the helm of his prog-rock ship and it’s thanks to his vision and need to produce music that The Tangent name still lives on. Continue reading