Review – Cyan – Pictures From The Other Side – by John Wenlock-Smith

This November sees the release of the second instalment of the Cyan story. If you recall, this project saw the resurrection of an album and concepts from the very earliest years in Robert Reed’s musical journey and development where Rob and his school friends made an album that was actually released in the 1990’s on a small dutch label that allowed further parts to be released. Although Rob felt that these releases fell somewhat short of how he saw the album should have been envisioned.

To this end, when Rob decided to update the concept afresh with a more competent and rewritten version, he enlisted the talents of Peter Jones, Luke Machin and Dan Nelson, with Rob himself handling the keyboards and other things like production. ‘Pictures From The Other Side’ continues that journey and, again, the original source material benefits both from a 2023 production and also the reimagining and experience that has been gained the last 30 years.

The album has just six tracks, including the epic Nosferatu, opening with an extremely strong and compelling opening track, Broken Man, which allows Peter Jones to sing and channel his inner Gabriel. The track begins with what sounds remarkably like Uilleann pipes but is probably more likely to be Peter’s whistles or something similar, this is accompanied with a soaring guitar line from Luke Machin that takes the track forward in style. The song has great backing vocals from Angharad Brinn ( who featured on the Kompendium album from 2013) and also benefits from the athletic and agile bass playing of Dan Nelson, who is all across this track, adding solid and expressive support. When Machin’s guitar lets fly it really warms the heart to hear this marvellous collective really making an impact and allowing the song to really flow. The vocals are very much like Peter Gabriel and, again, this really makes a strong and favourable impression, in conjunction with Angharad Brinn, this all sounds really strong and enticing, especially when you factor in the fabulous music that Cyan offer as a unit. It is very imaginative, well nuanced and textured with an expansive sound and simply excellent musicianship from all parties involved, a stunning opener all told. Title track Pictures From The Other Side opens with gentle piano lines before the band join in and a jazzy saxophone plays in tandem with the vocals. The song sings of stories from the other side of life, although what that actually means is a little abstract and unclear. It is another excellent song though, relatively short but with a strong keyboard part in the mid section and some classy saxophone lines before a sweeping Luke Machin guitar line plays out over Rob’s keyboards. This has great dynamics to it, an ethereal vocal from Angharad taking centre stage as the song moves forward. There are some fabulous guitar parts within this song and, again, it really makes an impact. The track ends on a syncopated jazzy section with guitar, keyboards and sax all playing their parts to perfection, another winner!

Solitary Angel is a more restrained piece really although, again, it builds well in its intensity and does allow room for more of Luke Machin’s flights of fingers and notes to occur. That takes the track to greater heights, Machin really lives up to his growing recognition and skills here. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this young man grow, not just in his confidence, but also in his abilities, to become the valued player that he is. This understated song has real class and adds a testament to the strengths that the group possess and display so well. The wistful and poignant Follow The Flow is a bewitching and beguiling piece of music that focuses on the twin strengths of Peter’s vocal and Rob’s piano playing to deliver just shy of four minutes of musical wonder. Once again Angharad’s beautiful, touching voice adds to what is a marvellous musical brief encounter. Tomorrow’s Here Today starts with an acoustic guitar alongside a fine vocal from Peter Jones and ethereal vocals from Angharad Brinn, who really add to this slow burn of a track as their voices blend really well and expressively. Deep keyboards are employed to add to the atmosphere and the dynamics as a synth solo is performed by Rob and, as Luke Machin joins in the fun, the song gathers pace and urgency and becomes a platform for swapping solos before returning to the previous mood. I really like this track and its use of dynamics to convey its points.

The final song of the album, Nosferatu, is also the longest at just shy of eighteen minutes in duration. Nosferatu is a reference to vampirism like Dracula but with its roots further back to Roman times in Transylvania and that region of the world. It’s all very Gothic and removed from Whitby and the Dracula legend of today. This has a gothic horror element to it but it is all done with a degree of reverence and respect. The elongated running time gives room for the track to breathe, expand and explore the themes more fully and this means lots of spaces for Robs expressive keyboards, Luke’s fiery guitar and Dan’s solid bass and gives them all the ability to have room to breathe, Angharad Brinn especially gets the opportunity to shine here. There is a definite strident section that really works well before the song returns to a more gentle feel part and then Luke’s defining guitar break takes the listener on a flight of wonder, the closing moments are especially strong with real pace and urgency to them as Peter ushers in the morning sun to dispel the vampires. This is a class ending to what is a very accomplished album of strong material.

In a year that has seen some excellent releases this one can easily be added as one of the year better ones. A real treat and one that most definitely warrants inspection and deserves being heard by as many as possible as it contains much very fine music and strong performances from Cyan

Here’s to the next part of the story!

Released 17th November, 2023.

Order the album here:

https://tigermothhosting.co.uk/CYANCD2023/

Magenta’s Robert Reed and Camel’s Peter Jones join forces once again with new Cyan album ‘Pictures From The Other Side.’

Alongside Luke Machin and Dan Nelson, the second Cyan album will be released on Nov 17th 2023.

Keyboardist and composer Rob Reed, known for his work with Magenta, Kompendium and Sanctuary solo albums, has once again joined forced with Peter Jones, along with Luke Machin and Dan Nelson for a new Cyan album titled Pictures From The Other Side. The second album from the resurrected project is due out on the 17th of November 2023. The new album contains 6 songs, including the epic 17-minute track ‘Nosferatu’. The CD is accompanied by a DVD with a full 5.1 surround mix of the album and a live acoustic performance of songs from the previous album For King And County.

Watch the video for the album’s opening track “Broken Man” here:

Pre-order Pictures From The Other Side here:

tigermothhosting.co.uk/CYANCD2023/

Cyan was originally formed by Robert Reed (Magenta) when in school, back in 1983. After recording some demos at a local studio, the band went their separate ways. Years later, those demos led to the release of ‘For King And Country’ on the Dutch SI music label. It was the first of three Cyan albums released in the 1990s before the project was shelved and Rob went on to form Magenta.20 years later Rob Reed, along with a killer line-up, decided to brush off the cobwebs and successfully release a completely re-worked version of the ‘For King And Country’ album.  Cyan has since performed at the 2023 Night Of The Prog festival in Germany, and at the 2022 Summers End and Fusion festivals in the UK.

Rob Reed:
“I remember that the first Cyan album ‘For King And Country’ was written when I was still in school with a band I formed with some school friends. After I left school, we went our separate ways and it was several years later that I was approached by the record company. After the success of the first album, they wanted a follow-up so I wrote new material for what became ‘Pictures From The Other Side.’ It was more song-based, but included a couple of long epics. 

Obviously, I was influenced by the classic Prog of Genesis and Yes when writing this originally, but I was also listening to a lot of other bands of the time like It Bites, Simple Minds and Marillion. It’s been great to finally hear this material played by this line-up, it’s a completely different album. Re-written, re-recorded and re-arranged. Hopefully, I’ve brought to the album, everything I’ve learned in my career.

Pete Jones:
“It’s a joy to be involved in the ongoing resurrection of the Cyan canon and the vision Rob has for these new interpretations. As a vocalist, there’s so much to work with on the new album, with epics like “Broken Man,” which really let me dig deep into my inner Genesis prog vocals. The title track has some great hooks, as does the rest of the album. Tracks like the dark but beautiful “Solitary Angel,” and the vampire world of “Nosferatu,” really call for some vocal gymnastics where I can stretch myself and really go for it. Then there’s “Follow The Flow,” which is just gorgeous. As with all Rob’s stuff, it’s the feeling and emotions which are key to the whole thing. I hope I’ve managed to do my bit with the vocals.

We’ve now got a few gigs under our belt, including the recent fabulous time we all had at Night Of The Prog in Loreley. That was a real highlight of the year for me. The live band is sounding really great, with Luke, Dan, Jiffy and the man himself Rob Reed all at the top of their game. As well as doing the vocals, I play sax and whistles, and rhythm guitar which Rob asked me to do in a moment of madness. Ha-ha. All being well, we’ve got some rather special shows in the pipeline for next year. So I’m looking forward to the album coming out, and taking it to the stage!”

CD tracklisting:
1- Broken Man
2- Pictures From The Other Side
3- Solitary Angel
4- Follow The Flow
5- Tomorrow’s Here Today
6- Nosferatu 
 

DVD consists of:
Full album in Dolby Digital and dts 5.1 surround
Promo videos
The Quiet Room session (live acoustic performance)
1- I Defy The Sun
2- Don’t Turn Away
3- Call Me
4- Man Amongst Men/The Sorceror
5- Snowbound
6- For King And Country

Cyan is:

Robert Reed
(Magenta / Kompendium / Sanctuary / Chimpan A)

Peter Jones
(Tiger Moth Tales / Camel / Francis Dunnery’s It Bites)

Dan Nelson
(Godsticks / Magenta)

Luke Machin
(Maschine / The Tangent / Karnataka / Francis Dunnery’s It Bites)

Review – The Tangent – Pyramids, Stars & More: The Tangent Live Recordings 2004-2017

Collecting together tracks from 3 line-ups of The Tangent, this 2CD & 3LP album collects together show recordings from 2004, 2011 & 2017. Band leader Andy Tillison comments: “A Triple Live LP is the stuff of Bucket Lists, dreamed of doing one of these since I was a kid”.

Included in its entirety is the 2004 ‘Pyramids And Stars’ concert in Germany featuring the “Roine Stolt” lineup of The Tangent playing its way through the majority of the debut ‘Music That Died Alone’ album along with (then) new material from their second album ‘The World That We Drive Through’.

Added to that, there are tracks from the ‘COMM’ era line-up of the band at a concert in the UK – plus music recorded in the USA in 2017 by the band’s current line-up. These originally appeared on the ‘Southend On Sea’ and ‘Hotel Cantaffordit’ fan releases respectively. 

All is presented inside a re-imagined Ed Unitsky sleeve, to create a package that fans are sure to love. 

“This is a real, proper, live album” says Tillison. “It’s candid, it’s spontaneous, it has mistakes and things that are a bit too loud and things that are a bit too quiet. It’s what happened on stage at three gigs at which “making a live album” never crossed our minds.”  

Right, that’s the PR blurb out of the way (it’s a good way of getting a background to the album actually) now let’s see what we make of ‘Pyramids, Stars & More: The Tangent Live Recordings 2004-2017’ from a reviewer’s perspective…

Let’s just think, when people first started to play music there were no mediums to record on, even wax cylinders were centuries away from being invented so you could say that live music is music in its purest form. To take that one step further, live music can’t be tinkered with like it’s recorded version, honed to perfection (sometimes too much, if I’m being honest!) and often sanitised because of this. Live music is in the moment, spontaneous, what you hear is definitely what you get and when it’s delivered well, it is one of the most natural and unadulterated forms of entertainment that you can get.

Also, some bands were just meant to be heard live and seem to thrive, their music comes alive and goes up another level or two and you can certainly include The Tangent in that group. It’s criminal that Andy and the guys have not played as much live as I’m sure Andy would like and I am one of the lucky ones to have seen them play in a live setting and I am so thankful that I did. Putting these concerts and live performances on record gives a lot more people the chance to hear what this iconic band sound like when they can play uninhibited. They are spontaneous, instinctive and free spirited and just bloody brilliant.

Virtuoso musicians doing what they do best gives us free-spirited (and high-spirited) versions of classics like The World We Drive Through and The Winning Game, songs that deserve the wider audience that this live release will give them. The musicianship on show is exemplary and impeccable with Andy Tillison’s keyboards and vocals the driving force throughout. Andy’s Yorkshire personality gets to shine through in a live setting and his vocals are superb. The rest of the band play in perfect accompaniment and the improvisation is just scintillating.

If you are a true fan of music than you cannot help but enjoy music this good when it’s played in a live setting. A truly incendiary version of The Music That Died Alone is one of many highlights and this fan favourite takes on a new life, becoming something deeper, more funky and, well, just gorgeous. It’s part of a triumphant triumvirate in the middle of the album along with a rather poignant version of ELP’s Lucky Man and a riotously incandescent version of my all time favourite short song by the band, A Spark in the Aether. Now, Andy knows I love this song as I’ve told him enough times and this live version is just the best one yet, just magnificent!

This wonderfully nostalgic live journey through some of The Tangent’s back catalogue continues to put a smile on your face, there’s a edgy and jazzy version of Perdu Dans Paris, a tumultuous romp through the fine instrumental Doctor Livingstone (I Presume) and the album comes to a close with an epic rendition of ‘COMM’ classic Titanic Calls Carpathia and one of my favourite songs from ‘The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery’, the wistfully nostalgic Two Rope Swings.

Ah, to reminisce is a joy we should always hold dear and this wonderful live release from one of the UK’s most venerated prog bands is a sentimental journey down memory lane and one that will remind you why The Tangent are held in such warm regard and also why live music is something worth cherishing and preserving. We, the fans, hold it in our hands to make sure music stays live so albums as brilliant as this can still get made!

Released 27th January, 2023.

Order the album here:

Pyramids, Stars & Other Stories: The Tangent Live Recordings 2004-2017 (burningshed.com)

The Tangent launch ‘A Crisis In Mid Life’ from their forthcoming live collection ‘Pyramids, Stars And Other Stories’

The Tangent recently announced the release of ‘Pyramids, Stars & Other Stories: The Tangent Live Recordings 2004-2017’ on the 27th January 2023 via InsideOutMusic. Collecting together tracks from 3 line-ups of The Tangent, this 2CD & 3LP album collects together show recordings from 2004, 2011 & 2017. Band leader Andy Tillison comments: “A Triple Live LP is the stuff of Bucket Lists, dreamed of doing one of these since I was a kid”.

Listen to the band performing ‘A Crisis In Mid Life’ live in the UK in 2012, featuring the line-up of Andy Tillison, Luke Machin, Dan Mash & Tony ‘Funkytoe’ Latham, here:

The album will be available as a 2CD Digipak, a Gatefold 3LP+2CD & LP-booklet, as well as digitally worldwide. Pre-order now here: https://TheTangent.lnk.to/PyramidsStarsOtherStories_TheTangentLiveRecordings2004-2017

Included in its entirety is the 2004 ‘Pyramids And Stars’ concert in Germany featuring the “Roine Stolt” lineup of The Tangent playing its way through the majority of the debut ‘Music That Died Alone’ album along with (then) new material from their second album ‘The World That We Drive Through’.

Added to that, there are tracks from the COMM era line-up of the band at a concert in the UK – plus music recorded in the USA in 2017 by the band’s current line-up. These originally appeared on the ‘Southend On Sea’ and ‘Hotel Cantaffordit’ fan releases respectively. 

All is presented inside a re-imagined Ed Unitsky sleeve, to create a package that fans are sure to love. 

“This is a real, proper, live album” says Tillison. “It’s candid, it’s spontaneous, it has mistakes and things that are a bit too loud and things that are a bit too quiet. It’s what happened on stage at three gigs at which “making a live album” never crossed our minds.”  

The full tracklisting is below:

Side One

1. The World We Drive Though

Side Two

3. The Canterbury Sequence

4. The Winning Game

Side Three

5. In Darkest Dreams

Side Four

6. The Music That Died Alone

7. Lucky Man

Side Five

8. A Spark In The Aether

9. A Sale Of Two Souls

10. Perdu Dans Paris

Side Six

11. A Crisis In Mid Life

12. Doctor Livingstone (I Presume)

The CD’s (included with the vinyl edition) also include all of the above with the addition of:

13. Titanic Calls Carpathia

14. Two Rope Swings

Andy Tillison – Keyboards & Vocals (all tracks)

Jonas Reingold – Bass Guitar (all tracks except 9,10,11,13)

Luke Machin – Guitars & Vox (Tracks 8-14)

Steve Roberts – Drums (Tracks 8, 12, 14)

Roine Stolt – Guitars & Vocals (Tracks 1 – 7)

Zoltán Csörsz – Drums (Tracks 1 – 7)

Sam Baine – Keyboards (Tracks 1 – 7)

Tony ‘Funkytoe’ Latham – Drums (Tracks 10,11,13)

Dan Mash – Bass (Tracks 10,11,13)

The Tangent announce ‘Pyramids, Stars & Other Stories: The Tangent Live Recordings 2004-2017’ for January 2023 release

The Tangent are pleased to present ‘Pyramids, Stars & Other Stories: The Tangent Live Recordings 2004-2017’ for release on the 27th January 2023 via InsideOutMusic. Collecting together tracks from 3 line-ups of The Tangent, this 2CD & 3LP album collects together show recordings from 2004, 2011 & 2017. Band leader Andy Tillison comments: “A Triple Live LP is the stuff of Bucket Lists, dreamed of doing one of these since I was a kid”.

The album will be available as a 2CD Digipak, a Gatefold 3LP+2CD & LP-booklet, as well as digitally worldwide. Listen to the track ‘A Spark In The Aether’ recorded by the bands current line-up, and pre-order now here: https://TheTangent.lnk.to/PyramidsStarsOtherStories_TheTangentLiveRecordings2004-2017

Included in its entirety is the 2004 ‘Pyramids And Stars’ concert in Germany featuring the “Roine Stolt” lineup of The Tangent playing its way through the majority of the debut ‘Music That Died Alone’ album along with (then) new material from their second album ‘The World That We Drive Through’.

Added to that, there are tracks from the COMM era line-up of the band at a concert in the UK – plus music recorded in the USA in 2017 by the band’s current line-up. These originally appeared on the ‘Southend On Sea’ and ‘Hotel Cantaffordit’ fan releases respectively. 

All is presented inside a re-imagined Ed Unitsky sleeve, to create a package that fans are sure to love. 

“This is a real, proper, live album” says Tillison. “It’s candid, it’s spontaneous, it has mistakes and things that are a bit too loud and things that are a bit too quiet. It’s what happened on stage at three gigs at which “making a live album” never crossed our minds.”  

The full tracklisting is below:

Side One

1. The World We Drive Though

Side Two

3. The Canterbury Sequence

4. The Winning Game

Side Three

5. In Darkest Dreams

Side Four

6. The Music That Died Alone

7. Lucky Man

Side Five

8. A Spark In The Aether

9. A Sale Of Two Souls

10. Perdu Dans Paris

Side Six

11. A Crisis In Mid Life

12. Doctor Livingstone (I Presume)

The CD’s (included with the vinyl edition) also include all of the above with the addition of:

13. Titanic Calls Carpathia

14. Two Rope Swings

Andy Tillison – Keyboards & Vocals (all tracks)

Jonas Reingold – Bass Guitar (all tracks except 9,10,11,13)

Luke Machin – Guitars & Vox (Tracks 8-14)

Steve Roberts – Drums (Tracks 8, 12, 14)

Roine Stolt – Guitars & Vocals (Tracks 1 – 7)

Zoltán Csörsz – Drums (Tracks 1 – 7)

Sam Baine – Keyboards (Tracks 1 – 7)

Tony ‘Funkytoe’ Latham – Drums (Tracks 10,11,13)

Dan Mash – Bass (Tracks 10,11,13) 

The Tangent online:
www.thetangent.org

https://www.facebook.com/groups/alltangentmembers/

Review – The Tangent – Songs From The Hard Shoulder

It’s always a highlight of the year when a new album is announced by seminal British proggers The Tangent. ‘Songs From The Hard Shoulder’ sees the venerable and much loved outfit, led by esteemed musician, and fellow Yorkshireman, Andy Tillison, releasing their 12th studio album and sees the band focusing almost entirely on their long format songs or “epics” with only one song being less than 16 minutes long. 

I have been a long time fan of The Tangent and Andy’s topical, witty and often acerbic lyrics which are weaved into their unique, funky, flowing musical style and this latest release sees Andy on absolute top form, both as an exceedingly clever lyricist and an amazing musician. Andy is joined, once again, by a distinguished cast of fellow musicians with Jonas Reingold (bass), Luke Machin (guitar/vocals), Steve Roberts (drums) and Theo Travis (sax & flute) reprising their roles from the previous two The Tangent albums.

The Changes uses a mini story about The Tangekanic band in Germany trying to find a hotel after a gig they didn’t get paid for – after a week of rehearsal and a journey of about 900 miles as a focus. It’s almost a metaphor for all the lockdowns that the world had to suffer and all the isolation and uncertainty that everyone was feeling. The thing about this fantastic song is that it uses that background as a positive metaphor. Trust me, this upbeat and quite wondrous song will leave you smiling as it uses a huge dose of The Tangent’s positive mental attitude to deliver seventeen minutes of buoyant optimism that’s all wrapped up with Andy’s astute lyrics and a band on top form. The music is an utter delight and fits the theme and mood perfectly, there’s a wistful and contemplative note to the middle section of the song as Andy tells the story of the German gig perfectly. This epic track ebbs and flows superlatively and the closing section is one of the best bits of music that The Tangent have ever delivered, if it doesn’t leave you in a really good mood and with a huge grin on your face then I swear you can’t have a soul. It’s quite possibly the best long track that Andy has ever written, I love it!

Highly influenced by Swedish artists from the 70s like Bo Hansson, Flasket Brinner – and also by Andy’s go-to influences in Canterbury Style fusion like National Health, Supersister and Egg, Prog/Fusion romp GPS Vultures is another in the series of outstanding The Tangent instrumentals personified by tracks like Doctor Livingstone, Andalusian Skies and Music Inspired by Music Inspired by The Snow Goose. A long (again, seventeen minutes plus) instrumental piece has to be really good and pretty ingenious to hold the listener’s attention throughout the track and it comes as no surprise to find that this particular track is clever and inventive enough to keep you entertained from start to finish. It’s almost like a musical story, each individual section telling its own tale to perfection as it snakes its way through Canterbury style fusion to an almost Crimson and VDGG influenced improvisation, all with the band’s thoroughly modern interpretation. What’s evident from these first two tracks is how the musicians seamlessly work together and how Luke Machin is utterly on fire on the album, his style is simply perfect for this music.

The Lady Ties To A Lamp Post is a very sobering piece that returns to the theme of homelessness that Andy explored from a very short personal experience of that on the ‘Down & Out’ album. The “Lady” in question was a person that he encountered in Leeds on my way home from a Christmas party in 2012. Dressed in rescued council worker hi viz orange waterproofs repaired with Gaffa she was tying herself to the lamp post so that she could sleep upright without falling over. The temperature was in the low minus figures and the wind was biting like a Doberman. Andy had the briefest of conversations with her and only had cigarettes to give her. Andy treats the subject in a very sympathetic manner and, once again, the lyrics and fantastic music impress. I don’t know how they manage to do it but every note in this twenty minute song has its place, there is nothing superfluous and Andy’s vocal delivery, along with the intricate musicianship, is just right for this sobering tale. The skill of Theo Travis is well known and his sax playing adds a real sophisticated jazz influence throughout and Steve Roberts’ precision drum skills should be lauded in equal measure. This absorbing and impassioned epic shows Andy’s songwriting skills at their consummate best and is yet more proof that he is one of the best at this long form style of music, his keyboard skills, as evident here, aren’t too bad either!

The one short track on the album is the utterly sublime, soul infused and totally funky Wasted Soul and shows that, while The Tangent do the long form epic to perfection, the band can still rock with the best when it comes to catchy shorter songs too. Harmonised vocals, hammond organs galore and a brass section to die for, this song is like a total beacon of light and will have you rocking in the aisles (metaphorically speaking of course!), it’s uplifting and just, well, bloody good! Jonas’ bass playing is top notch throughout the album but, on this stellar track, he just shines.

Early editions of the album and the Vinyl Edition will include the bonus track In The Dead Of Night which is, of course, a cover version of the classic song by UK and the band give it a little dose of The Tangent magic to deliver a track that sounds as if it could have been written by them in the first place. A particular highlight is Luke’s ever impressive guitar playing and here he just seems to have been given free rein to deliver a lengthy solo that has you nodding furiously in appreciation.

I had a discussion with Andy about the new album and the one quote I will take from it is this; “There was a lot of hope in my heart when writing it (the album) and I think it forced its way through”.

‘Songs From The Hard Shoulder’ is just a wonderful piece of work, The Tangent at their brilliant best. People need some cheer in the world and music has the power to lift people, after just one listen to this amazing album I was smiling again. Andy and the band could just have released their most important record yet…

Released 10th June, 2022.

Pre-order from the band’s website here:

The Tangent : Official Website – Home

Also pre-order here:

Songs From The Hard Shoulder (lnk.to)

The Tangent announce new album ‘Songs from The Hard Shoulder’, Hear the first single “The Changes”

The Tangent, the progressive/jazz-rock collective led by Andy Tillison, are pleased to announce the release of their 12th studio album ‘Songs From the Hard Shoulder’ on the 10th June 2022. This album sees The Tangent focusing almost entirely on their long format songs or “epics” with only one song being less than 16 minutes long. 

Today, you can check out an edit of the album’s opening track and first single “The Changes (single edit)”:

Andy Tillison comments: 

“The Changes was written in the depths of the first and strictest of the Covid Lockdowns. During this strangest of times there was an emptiness in all of our lives and this song explores my own such feelings in that time. I began to wonder whether the band would ever meet again, and more importantly, how long it would be before I could see my family again.  Some of the song is focused on the minutiae of being on tour with a band… not so much missing the gigs, the stages and the playing, but missing he crazy little things like not being able to find a hotel, being lost and the general camaraderie that is all around when a band is out on the road. It’s important to say that this single edit is just 5 minutes of what is a 17-minute song – and this only gives a hint at what is there in the full version… which includes a standout Luke Machin guitar solo of unbelievable quality which isn’t represented in this at all…”

Tracklisting:

1.     The Changes (17:06)

2.     The GPS Vultures (17:01)

3.     The Lady Tied To The Lamp Post (20:52)

4.     Wasted Soul (4:40)

5.     In The Dead Of Night (Bonus) (16:11)

The album is available now for pre-order as:

https://thetangent.lnk.to/SongsFromTheHardShoulder

With ‘Songs From the Hard Shoulder’, the band (who are celebrating their 20th year in the business) have audibly focused on the compositional structure of this album which in the case of the three long pieces is also highly complex and “thought out” – from a luscious and uplifting song about loneliness in Covid lockdown, to a full on 17-minute long jazz/prog/canterbury fusion instrumental, to a darkly electronic story of a homeless woman with shades of Nine Inch Nails, Po90, Japan and Van Der Graaf lurking within. The album’s final track is the 4 minute bouncy Motown-style track “Wasted Soul”, where the band anticipate a wonderful day in the future when the pandemic is over forever. Early editions and the Vinyl Edition will include the bonus track “In The Dead Of Night” which is of course a cover version of the classic song by UK. The band lineup remains from the previous 2 albums as Andy Tillison (Vocal/Keyboards), Jonas Reingold (Bass), Luke Machin (Guitar/Vocals), Steve Roberts (Drums) and Theo Travis (Sax & Flute).

Review – Cyan – For King And Country

Taking music written and recorded over thirty years ago and rewriting, rerecording and reimagining it can be said by some to be a cynical marketing exercise and I must admit I wasn’t entirely convinced when I heard that prog scion Robert Reed was resurrecting his old Cyan band name and doing just that with the original material.

To be fair to Rob, I had to listen to the album and make my own mind up and, after just a couple of listens all the negative connotations disappeared. Whether it helped that I had never heard the material before, I don’t know but this ‘new’ album is like a breath of fresh air, the songs are wonderfully created and performed by this stellar collection of progressive rock stalwarts.

You will never go wrong when you have the dulcet tones of Peter Jones ( and his superb flute playing) gracing your album, add in the searing guitar talent that is Luke Machin and the stylish bass of Dan Nelson then you have the beginnings of something special. Take that trio and add the unique talent that is Robert Reed and you take everything up another notch and on this album they create something quite remarkable indeed.

A beguiling musical journey from the powerful and compelling The Sorceror to the emotive highs and lows of the incredibly moving title track For King And Country, I have never stopped smiling through my multiple listens to this outstanding achievement. There are some highlights, like the amazing Snowbound and its dazzling display of instrumental brilliance, the warm and tender wistful tones of I Defy The Sun, the epic and intricate scope of Man Amongst Men and the joyous strains of the beautiful Call Me, but every track is a sweet-sounding gem and whenever the amazing voice of Angharad Brinn blends seamlessly with Peter Jones then the symmetry is just perfect.

Rob Reed: “Little did I know in 1983, sitting at the school piano writing these songs, that almost 40 years later those same songs would sound like they do on this album. I remember the original Cyan, made up of school mates, pooling our money, £35 to record them at a local 4 track studio with basic equipment. It’s been amazing to finally hear the songs at their full potential, with modern recording techniques and an amazing line up of players.”

I never mind admitting when I am wrong and my initial thoughts about this release were so wide of the mark that they were downright embarrassing. Robert Reed has looked to the past to create something that is definitively of our time now. A masterpiece of intricate melodies, mellifluous vocals and intelligent songwriting, ‘For King And Country’ delights on every level and makes you smile. You can’t really ask for much more than that, can you?

Released 24th September, 2021.

Order the album here:

Cyan (tigermothshop.co.uk)

Magenta’s Rob Reed and Camel’s Peter Jones come together to resurrect the band CYAN with reimagined and reworked material from the band’s debut album.

CYAN features Luke Machin, Pete Jones, Dan Nelson
 
New album ‘For King and Country’ due out on Sept 24th

Keyboardist and composer Rob Reed, known for his work with Magenta, Kompendium and Sanctuary solo albums, is pleased to announce a brand-new album from Cyan – For King and Country, due out on the 24th of September 2021. 
 
Prior to Magenta, almost 30 years ago, Reed release three albums with his then band Cyan. Out of the ashes of that band, Magenta was borne.  Now, on this new Cyan album, Reed has rewritten, rerecorded and reimagined material from the early days of Cyan, and this time with a brilliant new lineup. The group features vocalist Pete Jones (Camel, Tiger Moth Tales), guitarist Luke Machin (Maschine, The Tangent), and bassist Dan Nelson (Godsticks, Magenta).  The band will be playing their first show at Summers End Festival, Sunday, Oct. 3rd
 
The album is available for pre-order here:
https://www.tigermothshop.co.uk/store/Cyan-c117062595
 
Watch the video for the 15-minute opening track and first single “The Sorceror” here: 

Rob Reed on the new album:  “Little did I know in 1983, sitting at the school piano writing these songs, that almost 40 years later those same songs would sound like they do on this album. I remember the original Cyan, made up of school mates, pooling our money, £35 to record them at a local 4 track studio with basic equipment. It’s been amazing to finally hear the songs at their full potential, with modern recording techniques and an amazing line up of players.
  
“I’d held off releasing this album because I couldn’t find a vocalist to do it justice. Meeting Pete ticked that box, as soon as I heard him sing the first track. His voice just blends so good against Angharad Brinn, who I’d worked with on the Sanctuary solo albums. Having Luke play the guitar parts was just the icing on the cake. He is such a great player, with technique and feel. What a line up!”
  
Pete Jones had this to say about the project: “I had known about the reworking of For King And Country for a while, so it was a great thrill to be asked by Rob to work with him on the project, alongside the other amazing musicians such as Luke and Angharad. The songs are fantastic. They have a youthful and yet vintage quality to them, as well they might, given that they were first done in the early 90s. But with the benefit of Rob’s experience, they have been reworked into an album which I feel is right up there with the classics.”

Tracklisting:

1.The Sorceror
2.Call Me
3.I Defy The Sun
4.Don’t Turn Away
5.Snowbound
6.Man Amongst Men
7.Night Flight
8.For King and Country

Magenta/CYAN/TigerMothTales Website
https://www.tigermothshop.co.uk/

Review – The Tangent – Auto Reconnaissance

Welcome to the post-Covid-19 world. My day job has got ridiculously busy and I have not been able to write any reviews so I’m going to alter my usual in-depth method and just give things to you straight.

The Tangent, the progressive rock group led by Andy Tillison, are set to release their 11th studio album ‘Auto Reconnaissance’ on August 21st, 2020.

The follow-up to 2018’s ‘Proxy’, sees them taking the band philosophy of celebrating the golden age of prog, whilst bringing it to the present and exploring new paths for the music to take in the future. On ‘Auto Reconnaissance’, they bend that philosophy to their will, taking in prog rock foot Stomping, sublime Jazz, humour, narrative, a modern R&B love song, funk/soul and a 28 minute long emotional epic about the band’s home country of England.

Andy comments: “I utterly refuse to accept that Progressive Rock Music is some kind of museum piece. It is actually a living and breathing movement that has a past, a present and above all, a future. It once had an album-chart-topping golden age, but the genre was never about that. It has subtly and virally kept itself alive for decades where many new musical genres have risen to glory and faded away.”

For this release, Andy is once again joined by long-time collaborator Luke Machin (who also helped produce the album), Jonas Reingold, Theo Travis, and Steve Roberts. Together they bring to life an album that has been influenced by the likes of ELP, The Isley Brothers, Steely Dan, Aphex Twin, National Health, Rose Royce, Squarepusher and Return To Forever amongst others.

Right, that’s the record label PR out of the way, what do I think of the album…

Simply put, Andy is at his acerbic and witty best when it comes to the lyrics, especially on the travelogue-esque track 2, Jinxed In Jersey where he regales us with his journey around New York and it is a brillaint, amusing and tongue in cheek clash of cultures between the largesse of the good ol’ U.S of A and your basic, down to earth Yorkshireman.

The wonderful, laid back jazz-infused soundtrack to Andy’s spoken word is superbly judged and takes you back to the 70’s. To be fair, the whole album has that sepia tinged edge of halcyon days gone by but given that ‘turd polishing’ skill that only Andy Tillison can do.

You want funky, you’ve got it, the five and a half minutes of opening track Life On Hold is as good as anything released recently with even a passing resemblance to the decade that gave us disco and corduroy flares! It’s a song that makes you smile and we all need some of that at the moment.

Dare I say that Under Your Spell has the feel of a 70’s love song? Almost as if Andy is channelling his inner Barry White (now there’s an image!). Whether you agree with me or not, what it is is a wonderful, classy and velvet smooth piece of music and there’s no arguing with that, just listen to the way Luke’s solo just oozes empathy.

There’s a sea change and a move to the 80’s with the edgy keyboard note of Tower Of Babel and it’s direct and in-your-face chorus. Think Huey Lewis And The News get down with Talking Heads and you won’t be far from the mark.

Lie Back And Think Of England could well be seen as Andy’s Magnum Opus and, in my humble opinion, it is the best piece of music he has ever written. Twenty-eight minute progressive rock epics are everywhere nowadays but this never fails to engage the listener and keep them under its captivating spell. The highs and lows and dynamic crescendos are utterly brilliant, taking you on an engrossing musical journey through all that is good about prog rock and one where every word and every note have their place.

Back to the 70’s and the funky, disco edge of soundtracks like Shaft and Starsky and Hutch, the bedrock on which The Midas Touch could have been built. There’s wah-wah pedal and tinkling of ivories galore in a song awash with the feel of lazy, hazy summers. The album closes with the bonus track Proxima, a twelve minute instrumental that could have come straight from a Tangerine Dream record.

The Tangent are a British progressive rock institution and every new album is eagerly awaited by the fans and, while every fan will have their own opinion, ‘Auto Reconnaissance’ is my favourite album from the band yet. Andy is on top form, his song writing is as sharp and clever as ever and he has gathered around him a group of musicians who seriously have no peers. A superb release and one which cements The Tangent’s already exalted reputation.

Released 21st August 2020

Order from Burning Shed here:

https://burningshed.com/the-tangent_auto-reconnaissance_cd