Parallel or 90 degrees - More exotic ways to die - 2002


Intense, intricate, dark, emotional, distorted passages, regressive melancholy, deformed beauty, wonderful-desperate cry. These could be the main adjectives to describe the music composed by Parallel or 90 degrees. A formula already invented many years ago by one of the most adored and least understood groups of progressive rock, Van der Graaf Generator.


This is the sixth album of this magnificent english group that has been trying to keep that formula alive for many years, and that has come back to work this year creating a new record. A record that is still more personal and innovative than the rest of their discography. Andy Tillson is the main character of this band. His voice and also his lyrics have become the most important element inside the group. He’s got that kind of strong desperate chanting that made Peter Hammill or Roger Waters famous. Nevertheless, Po90 have created a work plenty of some other influences such as, Porcupine Tree, Radiohead, Tool, or even Nine Inch Nails. A record where the analog and the electronic elements melt together, something that was not very used in their last albums, and also that brings some new and refreshing sound rather than trying out the same old regressive structure.

Andy Tillson takes over all the voices, organ and synths; Sam Baine plays the piano and synths; Dan Watts the guitar and samplers; Alex King the drums and percussion and Ken Senior the bass.

The most important features of his music are the voice and the guitar, riding together at very high speed in this new CD. A CD that lunge into the delicate concept of man meeting his adult period and facing the dawn of life. “Impaled on railing” is one amazing demonstration of the strength of this band and how Tillson’s is able to hypnotize the listener. And if the first song is great the second one is even better. With “A man of thin air” you have to imagine the wildest VDGG together with Roger Waters. One of the most interesting points in their music is how they combine the powerful instrumental just like Tool, and the sweet relaxed emotional experimental face, like the third piece called “Embalmed in acid”. “ The heavy metal guillotine approach” a nice title for a song that if we try to talk about it we have to say that is like Van der Graaf in their “Still Life” period intending to create some heavy metal with Porcupine Tree’s help. “Drum One” is a short piece of piano and computer drumming. From now the CD goes on stage and the last four songs are played live. The first one is “The one that sounds like Tangerine Dream”, well, yes it has some Tangerine influences but on my opinion a think the piece is like listening a new song from Pink Floyd’s “Animals”. “A body in free drift” returns to the instrumental delirium that leaves the audience completely shocked. “The Dream” is a small bridge to the tremendous “Petroleum Addicts”. You just have to imagine all that I’ve been telling above multiplied by the live show and adding a bit of UK, Fripp, Bryan Eno, Roxy Music.. Yes, maybe is one of the best pieces I’ve ever listened in these last ten years.


I have to recognize that I’ve been high-rating my reviews, I know it, but the truth is that I can not complain, the records that have come to my hands lately have been very interesting or even excellent, let’s see if I keep on being so lucky. About this last Po90’s work please get it, you’ll thank it to me.

author - date - rating - label

Jordi Costa - August 2002 -   - Cyclops