THE TANGENT

(SWEDEN)

AUTO RECONNAISSANCE

(2020)
LABEL:

INSIDEOUT MUSIC

GENRE:

PROGRESSIVE ROCK

TAGS:
Funky, Groovy, Instrumental, Jazzy
"Between jazz, funk and progressive, The Tangent perpetuates with "Auto Satisfaction" an uncommon know-how to compose albums of a great richness marked by a certain classicism."
CALGEPO (02.09.2020)  
4/5
(0) opinions (0) comment(s)
The Tangent is a group that is undoubtedly one of the productive in recent years. The rhythm sustained by Andy Tillison is the image of his overflowing inspiration whose imagination is sometimes hard to contain. For apart from the singing, this is one of the criticisms that we often read in the returns of the albums. At first built as a super group, very quickly it almost became the solo project of the Briton who has always known how to surround himself with a hard core. This is confirmed with "Auto-Reconnaissance" where we find almost the same members as for "Proxy". The name of the album fits perfectly with the cynicism that the musician is quite fond of and will not help to forget the image of self-sufficiency that he sometimes has.

The musician doesn't care about this image. Andy Tillison is a talented keyboardist, who brings a very personal sound that one hears relatively little elsewhere, mixing a funky atmosphere on a jazz framework, a little fusion, the whole enclosed in a progressive style. The structures of the compositions also remain very close to those found in The Flower Kings, a band of which The Tangent is almost the English cousin (and of which he shared members), with notably a 28-minute track which nowadays, in terms of current listening standards, seems like a commercial suicide. 

The cover is as loaded as the music of the British. It is necessary to distinguish here the "short" titles from the "long" ones, which offers at first sight a great richness. This alternation of duration brings a certain breathing which makes it possible to better enter in the more developed tracks and to better assimilate the album. It starts with 'Life On Hold', dynamic and swaying thanks to the funky touch brought by the bass line and the loops of keyboards whose measures are repeated. But the track is however a bit spoiled by the effects on the vocals which don't bring much and break the naturalness. The atmosphere changes afterwards with 'Jinxed In Jersey', built as a kind of mini-piece with several characters and a narrator, and in which jazz becomes more prominent, as if coming from the soundtrack of a good detective novel. The whole is shaken up by noisy, quasi-metal, Steven Wilson-like interventions ("Insurgentes") that fall a little too abruptly but that leave place to a more atmospheric interlude with the beautiful interventions of flutist Theo Travis. A title that will only reveal its full message after several listenings.

If a title was needed to digest this ensemble, 'Under Your Spell' is just the right one. The atmosphere is thus appeased in this jazzy-soul ballad, more refined and devilishly efficient, which reminds Simply Red with beautiful and sensitive guitar interventions. Before starting the ascent of Everest, The Tangent prepares us with an almost West Coast track, 'The Tower Of Babel', relatively groovy and fresh. The climax of the album is the song 'Lie Back & Think Of England' with a very pastoral and narrative whole that might be a bit off-putting. The title starts lightly and evolves slowly to some more aggressive jazz fusion measures (with news samples), with a not always accurate vocal. The bass and the flute sometimes engage in a high intensity duel up to the middle of the piece, which alternates between lightness and fury until the almost hymn-like final apotheosis. They have become rare these typically English pieces that evoke stories as Camel used to do and can do (in another genre) nowadays Big Big Train. 'The Midas Touch' comes at the right time to end the album (except for the bonus tracks) with an optimistic and positive touch in the vein of 'The Tower Of Babel'.

In spite of its flaws and its a little pompous side, The Tangent perpetuates with 'Auto Satisfaction' an uncommon know-how to compose albums of a great richness marked by a certain classicism between accessibility and requirement. The album offers enough airy tracks to swallow the two huge tracks that compose it.
- Official website

TRACK LISTING:
01. Life On Hold
02. Jinxed In Jersey
03. Under Your Spell
04. The Tower Of Babel
05. Lie Back & Think Of England
06. The Midas Touch
07. Proxima (Bonus Track)

LINEUP:
Andy Tillison: Chant / Claviers
Jonas Reingold: Basse
Luke Machin: Chant / Guitares
Steve Roberts: Batterie
Theo Travis: Saxophone, Flute
   
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