Rock Impressions

INTERVIEW WITH TANGENT (italian version)
by Giancarlo Bolther

Can you describe to us how have you met and how is born your collaboration?
Well… actually we didn’t all meet at the time. I met Jonas Reingold AFTER we had made the album, although Po90 had done gigs supporting the Flower Kings.

I remember that into the booklet of Unbranded i've found various references to the Flower Kings and now here you are with half of that band playing together, a dream come true?
Yes, absolutely. They are fabulous musicians, and people who I respected the first time I saw them. To have members of such a band helping me is a great honour, and was a superb learning experience. It’s true, I’d already quoted them on the Unbranded album, largely because their music had helped me when I was very ill a few years ago. Every time I hear their music I feel uplifted.

Can you tell me something about the origin of The Music That Died Alone and how did you realize it?
2 years ago the songs were all part of a solo project that just got "out of hand". Initially, I just wanted to do some music outside my normal field, do something that was actually more "Progressive" (note the CAPITAL P), and more instrumentally complex than Po90. I wanted to make a great "English Progressive Rock Album". I’d heard (and really enjoyed) the new wave of progressive bands like Anglagard, The Flower Kings and Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic etc. It just seemed there was room for a little of that "Englishness" and that’s where I started to work…. As the different musicians became involved, the whole piece began to change and develop a life of its own, It was in effect, an album that was making itself!!. It involved sending recordings all around northern Europe, assembling, dis-assembling and re-assembling all the pieces on different recording systems. Somehow it all managed to work, and some of us are still trying to understand HOW???

How much time did you take to realize it?
The album took 2 years to make…. Such were the schedules of the very busy people involved in it.

The album is divided into four parts, did these parts are linked or not?
The album’s parts ARE separate, it’s not a long running CONCEPT album as such. Each song is about a different subject, although the Canterbury Sequence and The Music That Died Alone sequences share subject material… But there is a stylistic concept, i.e. the desire to make an album of progressive rock and say something ABOUT progressive rock… probably for the first time ever. I don’t think there’s ever been a track or song about it before. The song “The Musc That Died Alone” is a lament to all the great things that were trashed by the Media in the time of the first wave of progressive music, including the Moon Missions, the Hippy movement, CND and progressive rock itself.

What are you planning to promote this new release? Do you will play live?
We really do not know at this moment…. 7 people in 2 countries, with everyone very busy… it would be hard. But maybe not impossible!!!

Your sound is very '70s, why do you play so old fashioned?
The Tangent album is undeniably 70s-retro in its feel and in its whole musical construction, although it was recorded in a completely up to date way. I didn’t want to copy anybody in particular, but I wanted to capture the mood of an era, an era which may be 30 years ago, but an era which produced music which is still far further advanced than much of the music produced today. Hence I didn’t feel I was doing something retrogressive, I still felt that this was a progressive statement to make. It’s not "old fashioned" – but it is definitely fuelled by hindsight.

There will be a second album from the Tangent or this one will be the only?
I would love to make number 2, and if allowed to, we will. I can’t speak for everyone else. Roine has said he’d like to be on number 2, and I have written a lot of material for it already.

Why don't you have made this project as a new Parallel Or 90 Degrees album?
The original aim of the album was to be a solo album where I could “get back to my roots” and play some Progressive Music in styles that I’ve previously had to ignore in my work with Po90. I really wanted to do some flashy keyboards stuff, use a few more Jazz and Classical influences, and do something a little bit more reliant on musical freedoms than the tighter disciplines of Po90. Essentially, the music for The Tangent does not sit comfortable alongside the music of Po90 because the two bands have quite different aims. Po90 is AT THE CORE a Progressive Rock Band. We mix and match styles, incorporate new sounds and technologies, and we develop the songs we have in the way the original Prog bands did in the 1970s. But in the 2000s, the sounds are new, the technologies are new and therefore we do not always sound like a 70s prog band in the way the Tangent does. Dan Watts is a vital contributor, a new Robert Fripp if there ever was one, someone who can make sounds from another planet on his guitar… but not in the way many prog fans expect to hear. We have a bigger palette open to us than the 70s bands had, because of the new technologies, and because of the fact that there is so much more music around to inspire us, people like Radiohead, Muse, Beck, Tool, Perfect circle, Cooper Temple Clause are all as important to Po90’s inspiration as Yes and ELP.

What are you doing with Parallel Or 90 Degrees?
We have been recording a new Po90 album this year, at the Flower Kings South Studio in Malmo Sweden. The album was recorded by Jonas Reingold, and we are currently working on it here in the UK. The album should be out next year, and it’s called “A Kick In The Teeth”. It’s a very varied piece of work, with songs dealing with many subjects including a 20 minute examination of the Iraq war called "Four Egos, One War".. a very progressive style piece, then there are smaller pieces like "A Kick In the Teeth for Civic Pride" which is about homeless people on the streets of apparently affluent cities. Dan Watts and Sam Baine have both contributed songs to the album as well as myself, and I think we will have the best Po90 album yet. It has the scale of "Afterlifecycle", the power of "Exotic Ways to Die" and the song quality of "Unbranded".

Do you are considering to sign with Inside Out with Po90D too?
I would certainly consider it…. It’s a question of whether they would consider US!!!

Have you found some differencies between Cyclops and Inside Out?
There are of course big differences. Inside Out has so many more resources available to it, and they have the means to get the music out to the people a lot faster and more efficiently than Cyclops. Obviously there are trade offs though, Cyclops is a very friendly and almost Family-like business, and it has been great working with them in the past. We have no complaints about either of the labels that we have dealt with either as Po90 or The Tangent.

Cyclops, unfortunatly, is no longer distribuited in Italy, are you happy with them?
I was not aware of this. Of course I am not happy with that situation, as Italy is a very important country to consider for progressive rock musician.

Don't you think that in the prog movement of today there are too much projects and so it will be very hard for the people to follow all the artists?
Music is about music. It doesn’t matter who makes it. Who is working with who, what records such and such a guitarist plays on are all immaterial next to the simple question… is the music good? Some projects are great, some are not. Some bands are great, some are not. Some Yes albums are great and some are not. There is no fixed rule!!!

Sometimes i feel that the new prog bands of today are too much oriented in technical exhibitions and not enough in giving good emotions to the listeners, what's your opinion about?
I agree with you here… but not in all cases. In general, I always feel that no matter how much a musician wants to show off, how good the musician is, how well and technically they can play, the musician is NOTHING without a good song or composition to play. The song can be extended to have as many complex jams as you want, as long as the focus of attention is never lost. The SONG is EVERYTHING. The jams are just the fillings of the cake… (which probably won’t sound as good in Italian.:-)) I do think that occasionally modern prog bands lose that motivation, but plenty of older prog bands did too.

According to you what developments will be for progressive music in the next few years?
Progressive musicians and music fans have to constantly attack the media industry to rewrite the history of this vitally important music form. Without people standing together and saying how important this actually is, we will see Progressive Music die alone, and unlike other musics that died but were not forgotten, Progressive Rock will be forgotten, because the media choose to ignore the fact that it ever existed…..

Today English prog artists are very few and the scene is poor in comparison to its tradition, how do you live this situation?
My answer to the problem has been to produce high quality English Progressive Music for the past 8 years. We have been largely ignored because the fans of Progressive Music gave up hope on the English bands years ago. They were wrong, and we are here, waiting to be discovered. Look us up and download a whole album for FREE at and visit the Tangent website at

Thanks very much for asking these questions… it has been my pleasure to answer them.
Andy Tillison

Reviews (in italian): The Music That Died Alone; The World That We Drive Trough; Pyramids & Stars; A Place in the Queue; Going Off On One
; Not As Good As The Book

Live Reportage (in italian)

Web Site

Related Artists: Parallel Or 90 Degrees; Flower Kings; King Crimson

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