The Tangent has a highly improbable history, that turns on a couple of tiny events for the lack of which the band would never have existed. They were "formed" in 2002, they've already had numerous changes in personnel. Perhaps that's all you need to know. If so, have a look at the family tree which is more fun than wading through all this text. If you want the details though… read on.
1. The Meeting - Spring 1999
Of course when this all started off there was no "band" at all to speak of. At least not one single band. The groups involved didn't even know of each others existence in 1999….
In May 1999 Andy Tillison and Sam Baine's band "Parallel or 90 Degrees" did a gig at Rotherham supporting a Swedish band that they'd never heard of called "The Flower Kings" Rest assured that the reverse was also true. Andy and Sam were pretty impressed with what they saw… "It was like a wake up call" says Andy "this band were showing that the music I loved so much could still be played and still be relevant in the fast approaching new millennium."
The Kings don't actually remember Po90's set that night……
2. The Idea Percolates 2000- 2001
While writing the next Po90 album, "More Exotic Ways To Die", Andy began to filter out certain ideas that were more overtly "prog" in nature and pass them over to what he called a "Solo Album" Inspired by the Flower Kings albums he was now listening to on a hourly basis he decided to separate his "prog" from his rock, and the result was a Po90 album stripped of much of the floweryness of progressive music which suited that band's cause very well….
And the music that was put to one side began to gather digital dust…. until Andy had a row with a Flower Kings crew member Ian Oakley.
The Only EVER shot of the Tangent#1 together in the same place. The album had already been finished, but this was the first time they met and talked face to face
To actually read the family tree, click it to open a bigger version
3. Realisation - The Music That Died Alone 2002/2003
"I made the fatal mistake of slagging Po90 off in a review of that first concert the bands played together" remembers Oakley, "I was obviously reviewing the Flower Kings, and I'd not in honesty paid that much attention to Po90's set. I guess what I wrote must have looked a bit dismissive, just a couple of lines about them. I got this mail from Andy that tore me to bits. I wrote back and told him it was the first ever review I'd ever written. he wrote back to me and apologised, we started to talk a lot about prog music, discovered we had a lot in common, and he sent me this CD of demos he'd been sitting on. Suffice to say I am now the Tangent's manager…."
Ian Oakley sent Andy's demo to Roine Stolt of the Flower Kings, Roine liked it, offered to play on it, invited Jonas Reingold and Zoltan Csorsz to help out on drums and bass, suggested we got a saxophonist on it and Andy happened to know David Jackson's telephone number and hey presto the lineup for the solo album was almost complete. Fellow Po90 keys player Sam Baine and long term friend Guy Manning were added to the seven piece project which suddenly changed its name to "The Tangent"
"Well I could hardly claim credit for it alone" says Tillison, "it didn't sound remotely like a keyboard player's solo album, it just sounded like a band - so we gave it a name Having heroes old and new like Roine and David just seemed too good to call by my own name"
The fact that it did sound like a band was rather surprising actually. the "band" had recorded it in four different studios in two different countries without actually, for the most part, meeting each other. You can read much more about some of the bewildering and sometimes hair-raising problems that the band have had to face while recording in the "Making The Music" section of our articles page
1999 Bands The Flower Kings (Sweden) and Po90(UK) become aware of ech others' existence at a gig in Rotherham UK
2001 demo for Andy Tillison (po90) solo album sent to Roine Stolt (Flower Kings)
2002/3 project slowly records debut album "The Music That Died Alone" in 4 studios in Sweden & UK. David Jackson (VDGG) Jonas Reingold & Zoltan Csorsz (Flowerkings), Sam Baine (po90) and Guy Manning added to project. Name "Tangent" given.
Sept 2003 "The Music That Died Alone" released on Insideout to rave reviews and numerous poll wins
2004 Work commences on follow-up "The World That We Drive Through". Jackson leaves to concentrate on VDGG, replaced by Theo Travis
Oct 2004 2nd album released. More super reviews and plaudits
Oct/Nov 2004 5 piece version of band tours in Europe
Nov/Dec 2004 Roine Stolt and Zoltan Csorsz quit and are replaced by Jaime Salazar and Krister Jonsson. Andy & Sam re-locate to France
Feb 2005 Live album "Pyramids and Stars" released. Work commences on 3rd album
April/May 2005 new 6 piece band tours Europe and plays the USA ROSfest festival to some acclaim
Autumn 2005 recording sessions for 3rd studio album "A Place In The Queue"
Feb 2006 - Album Released … again to superlative reviews..
Spring Summer 2006… Concerts around Europe and the UK … Sam leaves band just after the tour ends. Andy moves back to England after split.
2007. Band releases DVD and live album "Going Off On One" in May. Special edition sells out in a day. Rest of year spent writing and recording the new album "Not As Good as the Book" due for release March 2008. Jakko M Jakszyk enlisted as guitarist for album.
Early 2008 Tour dates announced for concerts in Europe by a 4 piece lineup, Tillison, Reingold, Salazar and Jonsson.
4. Reception - Autumn 2003
The Tangent's debut (and supposedly ONLY) release was "The Music That Died Alone". It outsold Po90's entire back catalogue in 2 months. The reviews were utterly unbelievable with the word "masterpiece" in about one out of every three. After a late autumn release, by a few months later the album had chalked up number two positions in 3 polls for best progressive album of the year, only being pipped to the post by Neal Morse's debut solo album "Testimony" In the DPRP poll, (very highly regarded in prog circles), the band took #2 best album, #1 best newcomer, #1 best song, (as well as #5 best song!) #1 best artwork. More than 20 reviewers named it their "Album Of The Year"
"I was astounded" says Tillison, "I was sitting in the staffroom at the college where I was working, and the Berlin Evening News rang me on the staffroom phone to interview me about the music my Mum used to play in the house when I was a kid - it was all terribly surreal"
With reactions like that, it wasn't long before the band were talking about a follow up. It became apparent straight away that Dave Jackson wasn't going to be in this time. "We knew what he was up to" grins Andy referring to the then impending re-union of Van Der Graaf Generator, "but we accepted his apologies without pushing him to admit what was going on. After all, who was I to complain about my favourite band of all time reforming?!"
Ian Oakley did another bit of management magic, and before long had Theo Travis secured for the follow up album. Theo had recently worked with Gong and Porcupine Tree, and had also been named as Jazz player of the year a couple of times in the Financial Times. The Tangent decided that he was the guy for the job, firstly because he was an amazing player of both Sax and Flute, and secondly because they all wrongly assumed he would be rich.
Work commenced on "The World That We Drive Through" in early 2004 in Malmo, Sweden. Just Andy, Jonas, Roine and Zoltan were there, Guy Theo and Sam did their parts individually as before.
Four members actually work together this time in Malmo Sweden at the studio of Jonas Reingold
6. The Tour that we Lived Through Oct/Nov 2004
A lot of discussions had ben taking place during the recording of "Drive Through" about the possibility that some live performances could actually materialise. This was so far from the original brief of the Tangent's original manifesto (to make just one album and then dissolve) that it obviously became a turning point in the band's history.
For a while it seemed that it wouldn't happen, but in Late October 2004 Andy & Sam met up with Jonas, Roine and Zoltan just outside London and spent 3 days rehearsing. The day after that they played their first gig at a festival in Chippenham. "It was, and we were TERRIBLE" says Sam Baine, "we got no soundcheck because some idiots spent 3 hours setting up special projection systems for one of the other bands which just weren't needed at a multi-band festival, and added to that someone stole Roine's lyrics sheet from the stage while we were in the dressing room. We didn't fid that out until the audience were cheering, and Andy had to sing all Roine's parts without any time to prepare. Add all that to our first night nerves and you can see why we weren't happy with it."
The gig was amazingly well received though, despite the dissatisfaction of the band's members with it. 5 nights later the band had improved so much that the event at Ashaffenburg in Germany became the band's first live CD "Pyramids and Stars". Journalist Michael Gardiner who followed the tour says "We were watching over a few nights the birth of a band, like a sped up film. Saturday we were watching Amateurs, a week later we were watching seasoned pros who'd been doing it for years"
The live CD "Pyramids & Stars" recorded on the first Tangent tour. Available here.. and clips can be heard here
The first two studio albums..above "The Music That Died Alone" and below, "The World That We Drive Through"
6. The World That We Drive Through Spring/Summer 2004
"Drive Through" was really. REALLY difficult" says Tillison, "because we had so much to live up to. There was a lot of hostility going on towards 'Supergroups' at the time, and despite the fact that we never were one of those, people do tend to see us that way, albeit unfairly, and there was a load of 'Roine Stolt is involved in too much' going on as well. We knew we had to deliver.
Theo Travis' arrival had made things a lot easier in some respects though. He brought with him an enthusiasm for the band and its music, far greater than any of the rest had expected. He wasn't just a session player, he was a 100 percent paid up participant…
Andy finished the mix during a time of turmoil in his and Sam's lives. The reaction to its release was mixed…at first
A few early and quick-off-the-mark reviews (mostly on German blogs) dismissed it as a "poor follow up"… but pretty soon the good ones started to come in. In Floods. Despite a mid OCTOBER release, the album managed a couple of high positions in end of year polls and there were many reviews that felt that the new album was an improvement on the first. You can read oodles of reviews here on this site.
"I think the songs WERE better on 'Drive Through', but I don't think we quite got the feel as good as the first album" says Tillison on reflection… "I think Roine had had enough of Jazzy stuff at the time and he ended up editing out a lot of what I'd written, he wanted to make it more melodic. In the end it succeeded in being more melodic because of his input, but we did lose something on the way. The title track was originally 8 minutes longer than it now is. Strangely it now seems too long, but when it was longer it seemed shorter. It had more pace. more impro and more life… I think the Bloggers had some valid criticisms, but then again, I think Roine's point about keeping the melodic balance high were very valuable Without that check, perhaps the album would have been more self indulgent"
The first Tangent Tour in October/November 2004 - many more photos at the galleries page
7. All Change - Upheavals Removals and 56k Modems
November 2004 - April 2005
The tour had been greeted most enthusiastically by fans and press alike. But changes were afoot. During the tour, Roine had broached the subject that he may not be able to find any time for the Tangent in the following year, because of commitments to the Flower Kings and an assortment of other projects including his solo album "Wall Street Voodoo" Andy, Sam and Guy assumed this meant the end of the project, and were of course somewhat disappointed. Andy and Sam were, within 2 weeks of the tour finishing in the process of moving from Northern England to Southern France. For 3 weeks they existed in an empty house on the top of a hill in a rural backwater before their furniture arrived and they got a telephone installed.
After the 3 weeks of radio silence, they were surprised to learn from manager Ian Oakley that not only were Jonas and Theo still very interested in remaining with the band, but also Jonas had the name of a replacement guitarist, a suggestion for a replacement drummer, and to top it all a booking at a prestigious USA festival in 4 months time.
"This was amazing News" says Andy, "My first musical job in France was to mix the live gig for the Pyramids album. It would have been a fairly miserable affair, had it been a farewell swansong to the band. But I was able to mix it as a going concern. In fact I was so geared up by the news that I started to demo a new studio album at the same time"
The first few months were rather difficult, because as Andy & Sam found out to their horror, there was no broadband internet available in their part of France. This, for The Tangent and their way of working is a bit comparable to not having any electricity….
They worked around it though, and CDs were as usual distributed by post and the new band began to learn the songs for the album and for the live appearance at the USA festival in 3 different countries instead of the previous 2!!
In April 2005 a six piece lineup of the Tangent met up in France to prepare for the USA "Rosfest" gig, discuss the new demos and do a low key tour of Europe to warm up and learn to play with each other. Theo Travis was with the band this time, Krister Jonsson from Jonas' "Karmakanic" had taken over Roine's role, and Andy was delighted that Jaime Salazar, another ex drummer from the Flower Kings had agreed to take the drumstool in the new band.
9. A Place In The Queue - Summer/Autumn 2005
The recording of the third Tangent album will be something that passes into legend. Theres a whole article devoted to its making and the adventures the band had during the process in our "Making the music" section on the articles page. Suffice here to say that the album is musically the most ambitious thing the group has yet attempted, and the logistics of moving people and sound files around a triangle with 2000 km edges were quite mind boggling. The album was finally finished in November 2005 and was set for release in February 2006. You can read about the album itself here (with links to sample audio files), and as previously mentioned you can read Andy's blow by blow account (and there were some really big blows!) of its making HERE.
10. Spring/Summer 2006 -
An astonishing series of reviews and articles on the subject of "Place in the Queue". Some reviewers went as far as saying it may be the best album in 30 years. The group performed a small series of concerts in Europe including the band's first ever gig in Sweden … home to at least half the band's history!. Two gigs in the UK were recorded and one of them was even filmed… the results of which became part of the band's first official live album and DVD, sitting alongside some of the Rosfest material from 2005. The concerts in the UK were the first ever to feature the whole lineup on stage… Guy Manning finally got on stage with the band.
Guy Manning onstage with The Tangent at Southend 2006
12. Not As Good As The Book - Summer/Autumn/Winter 2007
The main body of work for the fourth studio album took place during these months although some of the material had commenced existence as far back as 2005. "NAGATB" is the band's first double CD. Andy got stranded without his passport in Sweden during one of the recording sessions and began writing a book as he waited for the authorities to let him back into England… most of this happened in Jonas Reingold's house, particularly in the Jaccuzi. The book shared many stories that are present on the album and it was decided to release the album as a special package featuring the CDs and the novel together.
Andy decided that after Sam Baine's departure from the band, he needed another English person to work with and the band approached Jakko M Jakszyk. celebrated London based session musician and well known prog conspirateur. He'd just released a solo album with a guest list that read like a who's who of British Prog and was up for helping the Tangent build this next important album. As usual the internet buzzed with files travelling thousands of miles to take part in the same project. Krister Jonsson was still busy with his contributions to the new Karmakanic project, and TT have not sacked him, or anything remotely resembling that. The band's fluidity seems set to continue.
A photoshop impression of what the Tangent would look like if they ever managed to be in one place at the same time
The overall production of NAGATB was done at Guy Manning's facility in Leeds as Andy was currently without a studio as he nomadically wandered between the UK and France. At the beginning of 2008 Andy once again moved to France to live near Toulouse where a garden shed ominously awaited him. During 2007 Andy met the young artist Antoine Ettori and was highly impressed with his work. The Tangent having made 5 album sleeves using Ed Unitsky plus a further 3 by Guy Manning and most recently the Flower Kings with their "Sum Of No Evil" album, decided that a change might be a good idea, and with the storylike element of the new album the job was given to Antoine, who has presented the Tangent in a whole new way.
A tour by the band is going ahead in May 2008, just after the album's release in March. KRISTER JONSSON will return to the guitarist's seat in a four piece Tangent that is otherwise composed of Andy, Jonas & Jaime. No official lineup changes here… just another chapter in the fluidity that is The Tangent. "We can either play gigs, or wait forever until the alignments of the planets are correct" said Andy Tillison in an interview with Spanish webzine "Metal Cry"…. "In the end, I'm sure people will welcome the chance to see the band play in some form and the small format band will be an exciting unit for us all"
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