The Tangent: Le Sacre Du Travail (The Rite Of Work)

Prog concept album devised by ex-punk Andy Tillison.

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Le Sacre Du Travail, with its reference to Stravinsky, also takes inspiration from such works as Deep Purple’s Concerto For Group And Orchestra, Camel, The Moody Blues and Roger Waters. It’s a return to the days in which prog, having attained levels of grandiose virtuosity and symphonic pretension, took it upon itself to resolve to take in the unhappy picture of humanity’s lot in its totality.

Tillison’s work, split up into five movements, imagines a planet of seven billion people all called ‘You’, all sharing a dismally common, spiritually alienating experience of an oppressively mundane world. Musically, it’s highly adept, easily blending a range of styles from jazz and rock to classical, while at the same time sounding like it could have been made at any point in the 70s.

With his caustic references to the world as it is, with its ‘business parks and retail outlets’, Tillison betrays his beginnings as a punk, to which he pays tribute on the 76-second outing Hat, but then this isn’t so improbable – Roger Waters would have made a good punk, as The Wall shows. All the same, like Waters, you feel Tillison is raging against a world with which he is only distantly acquainted and which has moved on while he has been noodling in the studio.

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.