Author Topic: The Yes Discography  (Read 54809 times)

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Online Orbert

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The Yes Discography: Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974)
« Reply #140 on: July 02, 2012, 05:25:02 PM »
Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974)



Jon Anderson - Vocals
Steve Howe - Guitar, Vocals
Chris Squire - Bass, Vocals
Rick Wakeman - Keyboards
Alan White - Percussion

----------

The Revealing Science of God: Dance of the Dawn
The Remembering: High the Memory
The Ancient: Giants Under the Sun
Ritual: Nous Sommes du Soleil

If the epic "Close to the Edge" was their masterpiece, then this is what happened when Yes asked themselves "What now?"  Tales from Topographic Oceans consists of four pieces of music averaging over 20 minutes each, together forming a single, larger work.  This is the only concept album by Yes, but what a concept it is.  Jon wrote the lyrics based on the Buddhist Shastric scriptures.  Critics point out that that alone is pretentious and ridiculous, but neither of those criticisms is particularly new to prog rock.

The cover and gatefold were once again was created by artist Roger Dean.  Click for the full original painting.  Click for gatefold.  It was reaching the point where people would ask two questions when a new Yes album came out: "Have you heard it?" and "Have you seen the cover?"

Once again, Yes had produced an album which divided fans and critics alike.  With each piece filling an entire LP side, some accused Yes of deliberately noodling about in order to fill a double LP, while others embraced the more impressionist, improvisational approach.  "Close to the Edge" takes most listeners, even seasoned prog veterans, several listens to fully absorb and appreciate.  Multiply that by four, and you have some idea of what it takes to digest Tales from Topographic Oceans.

It is difficult to discuss the individual pieces within the album, as each is itself an epic suite and goes through multiple changes.  Each runs the gamut from quiet and pensive to loud and bombastic.  Each has extended instrumental sections woven around bits that could almost be standalone songs.

"The Revealing Science of God: Dance of the Dawn" opens and closes with a chant and introduces some of the album's main themes.  It originally was even longer, with an ambient introduction which was eventually cut, one of the last editing decisions made before final pressing.  The restored intro is now on most CD versions of the album.

"The Remembering: High the Memory" is pastoral, the mellowest of the four movements, but it has its moments of excitement and bombast.

"The Ancient: Giants Under the Sun" is the most manic-depressive.  It opens with an atonal guitar solo by Steve Howe over a synth-and-percussion backdrop that sounds like a primitive wardance, but also includes extended acoustic guitar work, and some of most beautiful "song" parts of the entire album.

"Ritual: Nous Sommes du Soleil" brings everything together.  Each of the major themes is revisited, and it ends with, of all things, a love song.

----------

I listened to this album twice recently in an attempt to prepare myself to speak intelligently about it for this discography, but this is the best I could do.  It is easily the deepest and most challenging Yes album, due simply to its immense size.  I consider it one of my favorites, but it's hard to say why, other than that it's just so amazing to be able to put on a single piece of prog music that lasts over an hour.  There aren't any individual songs to discuss, just song-like parts.  There are some incredible solos, but by time it's over, it's hard to remember exactly where and when they were.  I liken it to a Beethoven symphony; there's just so much to it that the best you can really do is say "I do like that part that goes like..." and then sing a bit of it.  ♫♫  After perhaps 50 or 60 times through the album, maybe more, I've reached the point where I can sing along with most of it, or whistle or scat with most of the instrumental bits.

In the 70's, you used to be able to buy posters, large beautiful prints of most of Roger Dean's more popular album covers for Yes and other bands.  I had several of them, including this one, and I still have it tucked away somewhere.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 05:10:04 PM by Orbert »

Offline Jaq

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Re: The Yes Discography: Yessongs (1973)
« Reply #141 on: July 02, 2012, 05:40:05 PM »
Attempting to discuss Tales is a little difficult, largely for the reasons Orbert has already laid out. One thing I noticed about it as I listened to it on CD during my big Yes binge of a few years ago is that the CD age has been kinder to Tales than to some albums. After all, with some editing and cutting here and there, and Tales could be a single CD album much like The Whirlwind is today. It's easier to digest now with most of the album on one CD and able to be listened to in one go without taking the time to flip the album over and get out the next one.  I understand perfectly why a lot of the late 70s critics of prog rock can point to it and laugh; it is definitely over the top, even by the standards of 70s prog. I'm not sure if it can be called a masterpiece-I've always thought a single album of the best ideas from Tales would have made a fantastic album-and it may have been one of the nails in the coffin of 70s prog as it was then, but it was also an album that, I think, someone in the progressive rock world needed to make, just to see if it was even possible.

Nowadays, of course, we have Transatlantic banging out 76 minute suites and no one blinks. Yes did it in 1974. For that if nothing else it deserves respect.
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Offline The Letter M

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Re: The Yes Discography: Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974)
« Reply #142 on: July 02, 2012, 05:51:01 PM »
When I first got into progressive music, epic songs were what drew me to some bands/albums, the type of song that was symphonic and had parts or sections or movements, and were long (12, 15, even 20 minutes or more) - this was the type of music that drew me into Yes.

So when I came to Yes (with Genesis and King Crimson at about the same time), it was THIS album that drew the most attention. Four songs, four epics, and such an obtuse concept that would take awhile to figure out, let alone fully understand. In fact, I can't even claim to say I understand the lyrics or their meaning, but it's a very spiritual album, as were much of Jon Anderson's lyrics.

And like the other 1974 double-LP concept album (Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway), Tales is an album that really divides the fan-base - some love it, some hate, while others just ignore it. In the case of both, I love them, and Tales delivers some unique musical experiences. While it's not all flash and style, there's a lot of depth and density here, which probably explains why many fans offer the advice of "Listen to it a LOT before you write it off!" because for me, I had to listen to it for over a year before it really sunk in and 'clicked' with me. There's a lot going on in each piece, and really, the whole album must be taken in, and not each individual song. I view the album as a huge symphonic piece, and each 20-minute song is a movement, like a classical 4-movement symphonic work.

Tales From Topographic Oceans does, however, have a sense of prog-rock-pretension, with it's other-worldly artwork, lyrics based on scriptures, long song titles, and the fact that each song took a side of vinyl, but looking beyond all of that, the band really took the next big step after Close To The Edge, and what a step it was. Definitely one of my favorite albums of all time.

Regarding a single-CD mix, I did make one for easier listening without having to switch CDs. I cross-faded the songs and took the 2-minute ambient intro out of the first song. I think I still have that CD-r somewhere...

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Offline Nel

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Re: The Yes Discography: Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974)
« Reply #143 on: July 02, 2012, 07:59:07 PM »
Oddly enough, I've probably listened to this album the most out of all the Yes albums, just because I wanted to digest it so much. Most times I'd listen to each song at random points, twice I've just listened to the whole thing in one go. Each song does have something to offer. I remember really liking at least one section in each of the four tracks. However, I've never found that it was all that great. None of the songs are really that memorable to me (I honestly couldn't tell you which song was which) and it's really hard to sit through four epics when none of them are particularly remarkable.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: The Yes Discography: Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974)
« Reply #144 on: July 02, 2012, 10:33:30 PM »
I didn't much care for this album for a long time.  I first heard it in the mid 90s shortly after I had gotten into almost all of their 70s work, and it came across to me as bloated and too all over the place.  Fast forward to now, and I still think it is a bit too bloated and over the place, but I gave it more shots a few years back and managed to finally get into it.  As a whole, it is a nice album to listen to from start to finish once in a while and just kind of get lost in, but I can't call it one of their best albums.  I like the other four albums from 1971-1974 all a lot better, and I'd take the two best Rabin era albums (90125 and Talk) over it. 

The two obvious best songs are The Revealing Science of God and Ritual.  While neither are top 10 Yes tunes, both are mostly really, really good.

The Remembering is one of the biggest teases ever.  It is like it is constantly building up to a major climax that never really happens.  No more is this more obvious than when the keyboard solo kicks in around 14:10.  For one, that should have been a huge epic keyboard solo, considering the build-up that preceded it, and it is cut way off way too quickly.  And two, Steve Howe soloing along with it and almost overtaking it was a travesty.  That should have been an all-time great keyboard solo, but Howe and Anderson, the two main writers of the album, just had to take center stage once again, hence Howe soloing over it too much and Anderson cutting it short with yet another vocal reprise section.

The last five minutes of The Ancient are terrific, but the beginning is hard to handle, thanks to that screechy guitar tone of Steve Howe. 

Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: The Yes Discography: Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974)
« Reply #145 on: July 03, 2012, 07:19:40 AM »
The one thing I often hear when it comes to Tales is that you either love it or hate it. Well I do both.

Sometimes I think that Yes went completely overboard. Tales is over-ambitious, pretentious, the songs are long for the sake of long. The story is too much, too esoteric, too vague to put into music and to this day I haven't understood what it's really about. There's too much noodling for the sake of noodling etc.

On other days I admire Tales because Yes show that they have no boundaries, neither concerning the lyrics and concept nor concerning the music. They created some beautiful parts and to me they clearly gave a shit to what the fans might expect, saying this is what we want so this is what we do and we want to take everything to the next level. For that I have to admire them.

All in all I'm really torn. I have given up in trying to understand what the concept and the lyrics are about but when I listen to it from time to time I always find parts that are simply great and I always find parts where I think the record would be better without. I seldom listen to it in one go because I find it to much to digest. Still it's one of the better Yes records for sure.

Offline lonestar

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Re: The Yes Discography: Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974)
« Reply #146 on: July 03, 2012, 09:33:01 AM »
My no. 1 album of all time.


Tales took me till about five years or so ago to fully capture, and once I did, I was hooked.  This album serves as a sort of spiritual meter for me, it centers me and gives me focus.  There is a lake up in the Tahoe area where I do my yearly camping trips. As the sun sets over the granite cliffs, I put Tales on. Following the setting sun, and watching the ripples in the water reflect its power, I let the music take me, and it takes me to a place where no other can, as I meld with all the beauty around me. The reflected sunlight changes as it sets, the ripples dancing and scampering in tune to the music, tears slowly form, every time. It is the moment I go camping for, sitting on a specific rock about ten feet out in the water, when the guys see me there with the headphones on, they know I am out of commission for a good hour and a half, and they also know I come back at peace with myself and with the world around me. Just typing this brings up those memories and emotions.  When I was getting sober, in the very early months, this piece saved my ass on numerous occasions, because it would bring me to that place, that spiritual place where my desire to drink doesn't exist, the place I needed to live in to keep on living, so in that aspect, this album had a part in saving my life too.

On the thematic elements of the album, I just want to touch on Rituals. This song expresses to me my ideal state of being, that of love.  The simple yet resounding elements of "we are of the sun" and "we love when we play" strike a chord with my very soul.  Nous somme du soleil, we are of the sun, we are beautiful one and all, warm, bright, and giving, that is a potential I honestly feel exist in all of us, and to achieve it, we need the second half, we love when we play.  Being to exist in that childlike state of play and innocence, we come to a place where love is not an emotion or a commodity to be given and taken, but a state of being that we can exist in together, this piece taught me that, and I have given my life and soul over to living in that state of being as best as I can, and it has made a resounding and wonderful impact on how I live within the world around me.

Musically, I just love the way this album carries me.  The layers of it are constantly growing and changing for me, as I grow and change myself, each member shines brightly on it, and the variation is endless. I don't listen to Tales, Tales decides on the moment where to take me, and I always willingly go, it has never steered me wrong before. I can only hope to live long enough to fully capture what else this work has in store for me.
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Online Orbert

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Re: The Yes Discography: Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974)
« Reply #147 on: July 03, 2012, 10:49:44 AM »
That's awesome! :tup


Offline MasterShakezula

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Re: The Yes Discography: Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974)
« Reply #148 on: July 03, 2012, 03:45:04 PM »
I do not care for it as much as its 3 predecessors.  I've only sat through it a couple times, so it isn't exactly familiar territory.  Not bad at all, just not as memorable to me.  Needs more listens; I suppose that's what vacation's for. 

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Re: The Yes Discography: Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974)
« Reply #149 on: July 05, 2012, 11:11:17 AM »
I listened to it again over the past couple of days.  I'm as certain as ever that this album just isn't meant to be consumed the same way as other Yes albums.  As I said upthread, it's like a symphony, a huge piece of music that you sit back and listen to and let it take you on a journey.  It's not for everyone, so if it doesn't really work for you, that's okay.  But prog is music to be listened to, not danced to, not played in five-minute chunks, and not put on in the background during a party.  Sure, there are times and particular prog bits that are the exceptions, but you know what I mean.

Also, Steve's closing solo, starting around 19:50, is absolutely amazing.  I love how it goes through all the different changes in mood, all in while wrapping things up.  And then the ending.  Wow.

And I screwed up in my original writeup.  The drum solo is in "Ritual" not "The Ancient".  The writeup has been corrected.

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Re: The Yes Discography: Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974)
« Reply #150 on: July 05, 2012, 11:22:40 AM »
So true. That is when my shift of perception happened with the album,when I started letting it carry me as opposed to listening to it. The more I let go of self,the greater the experience is.
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Offline Mladen

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Re: The Yes Discography: Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974)
« Reply #151 on: July 06, 2012, 07:23:48 AM »
This was the first time I listened to Tales from topographic ocean in a couple of years, I think. Not because I don't like it, I actually really do. But man, it's requires patience, concentration and a prog mood, if that's even a term.

The Revealing science of God is still my favorite Yes song that contains everything I adore about this band. I personally love The Ancient, Steve Howe is all over it and delivers some of his best work on this song. With it, he managed to create a song that's insanely chaotic and absolutely beautiful, and this is the only time he achieved to have those two sides of his playing so extremely dominant within one song. I don't enjoy Ritual quite as much as others. For me, the drum solo kills it, although everything prior to that section is wonderful. And then there's The Remembering, a song that, in my opinion, builds and builds, but nothing really happens in the end. I understand that it needed to be stretched out to 20 minutes, but that didn't help it become a better song.

I wouldn't call it one of my favorite Yes albums, but it's still really good, and there are some undeniably magical moments.

Offline ytserush

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Re: The Yes Discography: Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974)
« Reply #152 on: July 06, 2012, 04:38:10 PM »
So true. That is when my shift of perception happened with the album,when I started letting it carry me as opposed to listening to it. The more I let go of self,the greater the experience is.

This pretty much nails it for me. I mostly like it better than the two that came before it and it really resonates. I don't know how anyone could take it all in after one listen. Depending on the day in might be my favorite Yes album, but there are so many great ones from all of the decades.

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Re: The Yes Discography: Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974)
« Reply #153 on: July 06, 2012, 05:03:12 PM »
I personally love The Ancient, Steve Howe is all over it and delivers some of his best work on this song. With it, he managed to create a song that's insanely chaotic and absolutely beautiful, and this is the only time he achieved to have those two sides of his playing so extremely dominant within one song.

Yeah, he goes from that harsh Telecaster sound to the beautiful acoustic stuff.  The whole album is really a showcase for Steve's playing and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Jon's lyrics.  It makes sense, as they wrote almost all of it.  I think most other Yes albums show a bit better balance, though I've never really thought about it before.  Alan gets to go pretty nuts too, I guess.  Chris finds his moments, and as always, he seems pretty happy to have the entire lower end as his playground.

Rick was the only one really upset about this album, and didn't much enjoy making this one.  He says that as the songs got longer and seemed to incorporate more noodling about, he lost interest.  He finished the album and played on the tour, even though he didn't really enjoy either of them, before quitting the band.

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The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #154 on: July 07, 2012, 05:09:56 PM »
Relayer (1974)


(click for full painting)

Jon Anderson - Vocals
Steve Howe - Guitar, Vocals
Patrick Moraz - Keyboards
Chris Squire - Bass, Vocals
Alan White - Percussion

----------

The Gates of Delerium
Sound Chaser
To Be Over

With Tales from Topographic Oceans, Yes had hit their pinnacle, recorded and published their symphony, and needed to get back to making regular (for them) albums.  They eased into it, with an album having the same structure as Close to the Edge: a side-length epic on Side One and two nine-minute pieces on Side Two.  And of course another beautiful gatefold cover by Roger Dean.

Rick Wakeman had finished the Tales tour and left Yes (for the first time).  Having worked for many years as a session musician with the likes of David Bowie ("Space Oddity"), Cat Stevens ("Morning Has Broken"), Elton John ("Madman Across the Water") and others, and also tasted success as a solo artist, he found working with Yes to be fine when he liked what they were doing, otherwise he didn't see the point in staying on.  On his birthday in 1974, he made the decision to leave Yes and called them to tell them.  Literally minutes later, his own label A & M called to tell him that his solo album Journey to the Centre of the Earth had just hit Number 1 on the British charts.



Chris Squire had spent the band's off-time converting his garage into a studio, which they filled with Eddie Offord's audio gear.  The result was a recording space where the band didn't have to worry about what time it was or how many hours they'd have to pay for.  They hadn't really worried too much about it before, but now they truly had the freedom to write and record at their own pace and were anxious to begin work on the new album.  Unfortunately, they had just lost their keyboard player, so they conducted interviews and auditions while the Relayer sessions began.

An early favorite was a friend of Jon's named Vangelis Papathanassiou, who would later reach international fame with his soundtrack to Chariots of Fire.  Vangelis unfortunately had some trouble adjusting to working within a band, especially a band such as Yes as they were pushing into a more jazzfusion, improvisational period, and after two weeks, they all agreed that it just wasn't working.

Yes eventually decided upon Swiss keyboard player Patrick Moraz of the band Refugee, a prog trio in the style of Emerson, Lake & Palmer.  (The other two-thirds of Refugee were in fact bassist/vocalist Lee Jackson and drummer Brian Davison, who were in The Nice with Keith Emerson before he'd broken up that band to form ELP.)  Before Refugee, Patrick was in Mainhorse, another prog band which had recorded one album before breaking up.



Patrick's mastery of the keyboards seemed to nicely fill the hole left by Rick Wakeman's departure, and his energetic style fit well with the direction Yes was going.  The middle section of what would become "Sound Chaser" was already written, and in one of their first sessions together, they asked Patrick to provide an introduction to it.  The frenetic, improvised solo that he provided impressed everyone, and things were off to a great start.

"The Gates of Delerium" -- at 23 minutes, Yes' longest epic of all -- is based loosely on Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace".  It begins with an examination of some of the reasons for war, includes a lengthy instrumental "battle scene" and concludes with a hymn to peace titled "Soon".  Atlantic, becoming somewhat frustrated in their efforts get some radio exposure for Yes, released "Soon" as a single in the U.K. and eventually the U.S. as well.  In general, Yes maintained their popularity by word of mouth more than by radio singles.

The aforementioned "Sound Chaser" is mostly instrumental, largely improvised, and highly energetic.  It is inspired by the jazzfusion sound of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever, but with Yes vocals.  "Sound Chaser" was originally the opening number on the Relayer tour, but the band eventually realized that by starting with such a high-energy piece, it took another two or three songs until they'd settled down enough to play some of the older material properly.

"To Be Over" starts and ends quietly, but it (like all songs on this album) features an extended Telecaster solo by Steve.  Trivia: Many people have tried to figure out the lyrics to the chant at the end of "To Be Over".  Jon Anderson finally revealed in an interview that they are gibberish.  They just figured out some syllables that sounded nice and fit the music, wrote them out, and sang them.

The recording sessions for Relayer started off well, with the band very excited about their new direction and having a new keyboard player with new ideas, but both musical and personality conflicts began to arise.  In particular, Steve had some specific ideas about what he wanted Patrick to play under his guitar solos, and Patrick disagreed with much of it.  And while the band was trying to incorporate more improvision into their work, they each had different ideas how that should work.  There was also a slight language barrier between Patrick (whose English was not yet very good) and the rest of the band.  This would be Patrick's only Yes studio album.

By the time the album and its tour were done in 1975, a group decision was made, and Yes took its first official hiatus.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 05:14:01 PM by Orbert »

Offline Nel

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #155 on: July 07, 2012, 06:15:05 PM »
Gates Of Delirium has the "Soon" section on it, yes? Always loved that part. Rest of the song is boring to me though. Sound Chaser is a fun song, but it's low-tier on the list of Yes songs I like. To Be Over... I can't remember what the song sounds like.

I guess it's obvious that I don't think much of this one.  :lol Delirium turned me off the first time I heard it, but even though it's one of my least favorite Yes "epics" it still has some good stuff in there. Sound Chaser weirded me out at first too, but I've grown to like it enough. Otherwise, eh. I barely ever listen to Relayer.

Always loved the cover art though. One of my favorite Dean pieces, to the point that the cover art is on one of the only two Yes shirts I own.

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #156 on: July 07, 2012, 08:00:54 PM »
Relayer isn't really one of my favorites, either, to be honest.  I don't dislike any of the songs, but they each took me quite a while to get into, and I just haven't reached the point yet where I'm as comfortable with them as I am most other 70's Yes.  This is at least partially because Relayer was one of the last Yes albums I bought, back in the 70's when I first started collecting them.  Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure it was the last one I picked up.  I had both Going for the One and Tormato before this one.

Each Yes album, at least back then, had its own character and personality, so it's no surprise that there are a lot of them which tend to divide the fanbase.  This one's the most chaotic, the most out-there.  The album cover was another winner from Roger Dean, though.

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #157 on: July 07, 2012, 08:10:44 PM »
Love the music on this album.   But to me, the production is one of Eddie's worst jobs.   It doesn't feel to me like anything has any separation at all. 

Almost like the production on WDADU....sortof like the band was performing in the back of a huge cave, and they hung a single microphone at the mouth of the cave.

The performances are stellar.   But it's quite hard to listen to.   Tinny and harsh...
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Offline Nel

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #158 on: July 07, 2012, 08:15:15 PM »
What's really sad is that we're finally reaching the point where I'll actively have to force myself to listen to the next two albums on the list in order to discuss them. I never listen to the next two.  :lol

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #159 on: July 07, 2012, 10:22:11 PM »
im loving the thread, though i keep taking large breaks between reads.
Concerning Tales:

a friend of mine and myself are both fairly big Yes-heads, or at least are of 70's Yes, though neither of us have ever been able to get into Tales. well, about 7 months back, another one of our close friends started joining us for board game night, and was, all of a sudden (12 years late to the party), interested in getting into all the prog we were into. apparently he had already scratched the surface with some recommendations from my other friend i found out. anywayz, the other friend and i start discussing Yes at great length when Newbie friend chimes in with, "I dont even know what Yes is, but i know i like it" which i found quite amusing and laughed pretty hard at. so that night we basically both recommended all of the early 70s Yes to him EXCEPT Tales. now i dont know if it was our descriptions, or maybe something he went home and read up on, but the first two Yes albums he gave a shot were Fragile and, of course against our 'orders', Tales.

by the next time we saw him, probably about 3 weeks later, he's raving about Tales, already knows it WAY better than us two Yes-heads, and claims he's having trouble getting into anything else by the band. the guy was a complete prog-Noob, and he embraced Tales like it was an easy feat and he had fallen in love. im still not sure how he did it.

about a year ago in the Yes thread, i discussed my inability to get into the album despite knowing its 3 predecessors and its follow up inside and out. Orbert and maybe KevShmev(?) suggested just tackling one track at a time. i think i only managed to get through the album once more in this fashion, even though it shoulda made things way easier. i guess im gonna have to give it another try. maybe i need newbie friend to get ME into a Yes album now. man, it still trips me out.

Regarding Relayer:

i dont have much time here to write up anything, but to me its their crowning achievement. absolutely love the album and really wish they had done one more with Moraz, somewhat along the same lines (even if i already think the album feels like its along the same lines as CTTE).

Offline Phoenix87x

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #160 on: July 08, 2012, 04:48:59 AM »
The Soon portion of The Gates of Delirium is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard.
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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #161 on: July 08, 2012, 07:38:15 AM »
im loving the thread, though i keep taking large breaks between reads.
Concerning Tales:

a friend of mine and myself are both fairly big Yes-heads, or at least are of 70's Yes, though neither of us have ever been able to get into Tales. well, about 7 months back, another one of our close friends started joining us for board game night, and was, all of a sudden (12 years late to the party), interested in getting into all the prog we were into. apparently he had already scratched the surface with some recommendations from my other friend i found out. anywayz, the other friend and i start discussing Yes at great length when Newbie friend chimes in with, "I dont even know what Yes is, but i know i like it" which i found quite amusing and laughed pretty hard at. so that night we basically both recommended all of the early 70s Yes to him EXCEPT Tales. now i dont know if it was our descriptions, or maybe something he went home and read up on, but the first two Yes albums he gave a shot were Fragile and, of course against our 'orders', Tales.

by the next time we saw him, probably about 3 weeks later, he's raving about Tales, already knows it WAY better than us two Yes-heads, and claims he's having trouble getting into anything else by the band. the guy was a complete prog-Noob, and he embraced Tales like it was an easy feat and he had fallen in love. im still not sure how he did it.

about a year ago in the Yes thread, i discussed my inability to get into the album despite knowing its 3 predecessors and its follow up inside and out. Orbert and maybe KevShmev(?) suggested just tackling one track at a time. i think i only managed to get through the album once more in this fashion, even though it shoulda made things way easier. i guess im gonna have to give it another try. maybe i need newbie friend to get ME into a Yes album now. man, it still trips me out.

That's kinda crazy, but it happens.  Is your friend into Classical music by chance?  Classical fans seem to have less trouble getting into longer pieces of music.  It's not anything new to them.  As I said a few posts ago, it's more in the way you listen to it.  You don't try to absorb it all at once; you enjoy it for the journey it takes you on, and eventually become more familiar with the individual passages within it, and ultimately can follow the whole thing.  It can take a while.  But it sounds like your friend dove right in, which is another way to go, I guess.

Regarding Relayer:

i dont have much time here to write up anything, but to me its their crowning achievement. absolutely love the album and really wish they had done one more with Moraz, somewhat along the same lines (even if i already think the album feels like its along the same lines as CTTE).

Some folks on the Yesfans boards feel the same way, that Relayer is it.  Yes took the epic attitude and the improvisational element and combined them, and reduced it to three songs.  The result  was concentrated awesomeness.  I've listened to Relayer a few times recently to prepare for the Discography and have been appreciating it more, especially "The Gates of Delerium".

"Close to the Edge" (the song) was and is still amazing.  But as I pointed out, it ultimately follows a standard format -- intro, verses, bridge, last verse -- just on a grand scale.  "The Gates of Delerium" is linear; there's a progression to it.  We go through the different parts and don't come back to them.  It wouldn't make any sense musically to somehow come back to the beginnining section at the end.  That kind of thing.  So while the two songs have a bit in common at first glance, being the two standalone epics, it's really only superficial.  They're very different songs, which is why many folks are more strongly drawn to one than the other.

Some radio stations received copies of Relayer marked "Banded for airplay".  "The Gates of Delerium" was divided into the three sections (the opening part, the "battle", and the "Soon" section) with minor fades between them, so they could play it on the air.  The "Soon" edit, which was released as a single and later appears on the compilation Yesyears, came from that.

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #162 on: July 08, 2012, 07:42:21 AM »
Relayer is great, but their best?  No way.  Really, it follows the same format as Close to the Edge:

Long ass epic: Close to the Edge and The Gates of Delirium are both top 5 Yes tunes, but so I can see the argument for either being better.
9-minute rocker: And Siberian Khatru destroys Sound Chaser, the latter of which has its moments, but is kind of a mess.
A 9 to 10-minute mellow tune: To Be Over is great, but is it really as good or better than And You And I?  No chance.

So, given this, I fail to see how Relayer is better than Close to the Edge.

But it is still pretty great, and arguably a top 5 Yes record.

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #163 on: July 08, 2012, 07:49:32 AM »
But that's all just personal preference.  "Siberian Khatru" is a favorite of mine, but it's a standard rocker.  I know some people really love the manic intensity of "Sound Chaser".  Really, it comes out of the gate screaming and never lets up.

I'll give you "And You And I" over "To Be Over" though.  :lol  But again, that's just taste.  "To Be Over" is pretty sweet, too.

And if you're firmly in the camp that prefers "Gates" over CTTE, I can see that swinging the album preference.  Relayer is a unique one, and if it's got something that resonates with some people, more power to them.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #164 on: July 08, 2012, 07:50:54 AM »
Oh, absolutely.  That was just me thinking out loud there. :biggrin:

Offline Sketchy

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #165 on: July 08, 2012, 07:59:54 AM »
I have to say, I do like Relayer. It's one of those albums I play when I want something a little different, as it does sound pretty different from most Yes, but I have to agree that Close To The Edge is the one I get on most well with because I love Siberian Khatru, and To Be Over doesn't stick in my mind as well as And You And I, although with the two epics, I'm pretty much equal on both.

On the subject of Tales: I think that album's probably one of those that it just clicks with some people instantly (it did with me and my speaker system I was listening to it through was completely boned at the time too), but sometimes, I can see it will just refuse to click. I think it's not one for the classical fan, but one for the jazz fan because it does meander like crazy and feels less rigid, but I love it very much.
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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #166 on: July 08, 2012, 09:46:34 AM »
I love Love LOVE this album. Relayer came to me a bit easier than Close To The Edge, especially the epics. Don't ask me HOW, but "The Gates Of Delirium" just impressed me a lot more during my initial listens than "Close To The Edge" did. I also enjoyed the "manic intensity" (as Orbert put it) of "Sound Chaser" - it's just all over the place and blazing fast, and also quite unlike anything they had done so far. Then there's the cool-down of "To Be Over", soothing and a bit catchy.

Then there's also the cover art, also unlike their previous covers, it's got a colder feel, reflecting the bleak outlook of war as seen/heard in the opening track. Whatever the cover REALLY means, though, is beyond me but it's one of Roger Dean's best with Yes.

Definitely a Top 5 Yes albums for me...perhaps even Top 3!

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #167 on: July 08, 2012, 10:46:50 AM »
Like most of classic Yes albums, I discovered Relayer in the summer of 2009. It was the only one I honestly couldn't get into. After giving it many, and I mean many chances, it finally clicked about two years later. I would now say it's my 3rd favorite Yes album, and the last of their classic period.

The centerpiece, of course, is The Gates of delirium, an absolute beast of an epic with one of the craziest instrumental sections in the history of prog, which is followed by an adorable soft section that almost brings me to tears. Sound chaser is pretty rad as well, I love how Patrick is just going insane here. As for the closer, To be over, it's a very nice song, but not as impressive as the rest of the album, and not as touching as their other ballads.

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #168 on: July 08, 2012, 11:00:27 AM »
I like Relayer, but it feels, I don't know, a little jagged and angular, with all kinds of rough edges. While I know the band was getting more into being improvisational, I'm not entirely certain that sort of music was particularly their forte. I think they worked better with a framework, and probably should have left the more improvisational passages to the live arena. The Gates of Delirium is certainly a fantastic track, but I've often thought that Yes spent a little too much time in the 70s wrapped up with an approach that they weren't as good at as they thought they were. One can argue that after this they whiplashed too FAR in the opposite direction, but we'll talk about that when we get to the next two albums.
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Offline pain of occupation

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #169 on: July 08, 2012, 06:16:43 PM »
Relayer is great, but their best?  No way.  Really, it follows the same format as Close to the Edge:

Long ass epic: Close to the Edge and The Gates of Delirium are both top 5 Yes tunes, but so I can see the argument for either being better.
9-minute rocker: And Siberian Khatru destroys Sound Chaser, the latter of which has its moments, but is kind of a mess.
A 9 to 10-minute mellow tune: To Be Over is great, but is it really as good or better than And You And I?  No chance.

So, given this, I fail to see how Relayer is better than Close to the Edge.

But it is still pretty great, and arguably a top 5 Yes record.

Destroys?!! i guess one can use such a strong word if one really feels Sound Chaser is "kind of a mess". but man, thats strong. maybe im being a little defensive/dramatic cuz i would probably call Sound Chaser my all time favorite Yes song (and THAT's what i would have liked to see them do more of, particularly if they HAD done another album with Moraz). but really, even my aforementioned buddy, who calls Siberian Khatru his favorite Yes song, wouldnt give SK a landslide dominating victory over SC.

comparing those two albums (Relayer and CTTE), i'd say i slightly favor Relayer's epic, more than slightly favor Relayer's rocker/ripper, and enjoy the two slow-builders/mellow-tunes about equally. maybe when my current album is finished i'll throw them in for closer inspection (particularly the two mellow tunes).


That's kinda crazy, but it happens.  Is your friend into Classical music by chance?  Classical fans seem to have less trouble getting into longer pieces of music.  It's not anything new to them.  As I said a few posts ago, it's more in the way you listen to it.  You don't try to absorb it all at once; you enjoy it for the journey it takes you on, and eventually become more familiar with the individual passages within it, and ultimately can follow the whole thing.  It can take a while.  But it sounds like your friend dove right in, which is another way to go, I guess.


um, i wouldnt say hes particularly into classical music, though he has been more interested in going to the symphony the past couple years. i would say before his recent interest in prog, he was mostly more into indie, folk, and ambient type instrumental stuff. but you never know what youre gonna get with that guy, i guess...while hes never struck me as someone overly 'into' music, he HAS explored a lot of different types of stuff over the years.

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #170 on: July 09, 2012, 01:26:35 AM »
Relayer is a weird one for me. I love the songs, especially Gates and Sound Chasers, but this to me seems to be the point where they took a step back spiritually in their music, and never went back to what made the previous two albums so incredible.  The songs just don't carry me like the previous ones did.  Still some phenomonal music, and Gates is probably my favorite live, absolutly stunning.,
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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #171 on: July 10, 2012, 10:29:29 PM »
I absolutely totally adore this album. I LOVE it!

I always get funny looks whenever I say I prefer albums like Tales and Relayer over Fragile and Close to The Edge. But I do. It's not that I don't like those albums, but it just seems like they kept raising the bar with these.

Do I wish it was in Fragile's league sonically?  Hell yeah. But I don't let that detract from what could be on any given day the best album they ever recorded.

 I really wish at this point they would have kept pushing the envelope in the future. I'd have loved for Moraz to have hung around for a few more albums.

 After this is really where I think all of those managerial problems really started to affect the musical vision of the band.

After this one Drama is really the next album I'd put in the same league.


It's funny but I just realized that maybe people really put the Rick Wakeman albums a lot higher on their top list than I do. (Except for Tales of course and he didn't even enjoy that one himself.) I think I need to check if this is more than just a coincidence for me because I don't hate the guy or his playing. Wow! Interesting realization for me after 30-plus years that I need to dig deeper into. Thanks Orbert! It might have taken me even longer to realize this if it wasn't for this thread.

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #172 on: July 11, 2012, 08:07:03 AM »
:tup

I always find it interesting when a band has been around a long time and has gone through a lot of changes, how different people are drawn to different eras or different things over that time.  There's so much Yes, and there's some of it that I'll admit I don't listen to very much.  There isn't much that I really dislike, it's just that there's so much more that I'd rather hear, and I'm just not likely to play something I don't like as much.  But one of the things I was looking to happen with this discography was for people to point out things that they like about certain albums, especially if it's not something I'd noticed before or agree with.  Ultimately, I'd like to see it add to my own appreciation for all aspects of Yesmusic.

Rick is a lot like Jordan.  Both classicially trained, both with a substantial background in playing different types of music (mostly rock, but different subgenres within that), both better known for their work with a particular band but also known for other stuff.  And both very good at supporting and playing within a band, and just a bit of a tendency to overplay or otherwise get carried away.

On Relayer, I can't fault Patrick at all for going nuts a few times, especially on "Sound Chaser" because that's exactly what he was asked to do, and they loved it.  Then later they decided they didn't like his style and dumped him.  Go figure.  If Jordan is the Rick Wakeman of DT, then Derek is the Patrick Moraz.  One album, brought something new and different and pretty cool, then dumped.

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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #173 on: July 11, 2012, 03:56:42 PM »
Leaving Tony Kaye to be Kevin Moore, of course.  :lol

Actually the more I think about it...
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Re: The Yes Discography: Relayer (1974)
« Reply #174 on: July 11, 2012, 04:31:59 PM »
Actually, that analogy works up to a point.  He was the original keyboardist and the band certainly could not have gotten started without him.  Also, in some ways, he created the template for what was to come.  Tony actually came back in the 80's and played on three albums, while KM apparently wants nothing to do with DT anymore, so that's where things fall apart.  But yeah.