Yes or No? Tales from Trollographic Oceans - Music Banter Music Banter

Go Back   Music Banter > The Music Forums > Rock & Metal > Prog & Psychedelic Rock
Register Blogging Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Welcome to Music Banter Forum! Make sure to register - it's free and very quick! You have to register before you can post and participate in our discussions with over 70,000 other registered members. After you create your free account, you will be able to customize many options, you will have the full access to over 1,100,000 posts.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-16-2023, 07:19 PM   #71 (permalink)
AllTheWhileYouChargeAFee
 
DriveYourCarDownToTheSea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 1,159
Default

I am fully expecting you to absolutely loathe the next 3 albums. :P
__________________
Stop and find a pretty shell for her
Beach Boys vs Beatles comparisons begin here
DriveYourCarDownToTheSea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2023, 07:51 PM   #72 (permalink)
Music Addict
 
Synthgirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2023
Location: Cheeseland USA
Posts: 154
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Queen Boo View Post
Genesis are less flashy than other prog bands yeah but they still liked their extended instrumentals, especially on Selling England which just happens to be my favorite album of theirs.
Hear hear. That five minute synth workout on The Cinema Show is near the top of my favorite moments in prog. Tony Banks is a man after my own heart.
Synthgirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2023, 08:49 PM   #73 (permalink)
From beyooond the graaave
 
Queen Boo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: The state that proudly brought you Disco Duck
Posts: 1,513
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Synthgirl View Post
Hear hear. That five minute synth workout on The Cinema Show is near the top of my favorite moments in prog. Tony Banks is a man after my own heart.
I can confidently say that synth solo is my favorite moment in prog. The first half of the song is also incredibly beautiful but it's that second half that clenches it as my favorite Genesis song.

As much as I love Tony as a musician though he doesn't come off as a particularly pleasant kind of person in the interviews I've seen, some of his takes on his own music is baffling to me, he seems overly critical of a lot of the early prog stuff while giving even the cheesiest 80s stuff a pass, he also comes off as a d*ck to Steve and dismissive of a lot of his contributions, I can't blame Steve for leaving when he did.
__________________
https://www.twitch.tv/drrobuttnik

Quote:
Originally Posted by boo boo
A whole bunch of stupid sh*t that I regret

Last edited by Queen Boo; 02-16-2023 at 08:57 PM.
Queen Boo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2023, 08:12 PM   #74 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,971
Default

Okay, okay! Let’s deal with the elephant in the room. Hello? Dublin Zoo? Yeah, I think I have one of your animals - what? Of course it’s yours. Who else would own a - what’s that? You’ll see me in where? Well! That’s charming I must sa - hello? Hello? Dammit! Hello? Peanut delivery? Yeah it’s me again. I know! I know! You have any idea how much an elephant eats a day? What? No you don’t have a crossed line! I did in fact say ele - hello? Hello?

Well, I’ll with that later I guess. Look, this is the very last time, all right? I’ve listened to this so-called “perfect prog” album about four times now. It’s never impressed me as being any more than a very very good prog album. My disinterest in, if not to say disdain for seventies Yes may feed into that, but I have tried, and it just won’t click with me. I see it constantly at the top of lists like Best Prog Albums Ever and Prog Classics, and that’s fine. All of that is okay. I have my own opinions. Genesis? Their best album? As Captain Redbeard Rum said in Blackadder II, opinion is divided on the subject. Everyone else says it’s Selling England by the Pound, I say it isn’t.

But this is not about Genesis. This is almost in fact not about Yes, as such. This is about an album that has reached such heights and levels of praise and renown that, somewhat like perhaps Sgt. Peppers or Dark Side of the Moon, it’s attained an almost sense of unassailability, and the idea that if you don’t think it’s the paragon child of prog, there’s something wrong with you.

Well, maybe there is something wrong with me, because I don’t see it. Never have. The first time I played it, in concert with most seventies Yes I’ve listened to, I was bored. The second time I played it I was bored. The third time… well, you see where this is going. So don’t expect any sudden epiphany, or for me to see the light. I really don’t think I will. My opinion would certainly light up the “Unpopular Music Opinions” thread in heated debate, but as they say, that’s how it is. I’m not about to change my opinion just to suit the masses. Listen: I’d be happy to change my view of the album if it gave me a reason to, but after three or four listens, so far it has not. And I doubt this is going to be any different. But it is the last time because I am sick of trying to justify and explain, not my dislike of this album, but my disbelief that it is held in such high regard. Besides, I want to get on to the albums after it.

In deference to those who are reading this and who do love the album, though I reviewed it extensively last year in my Fortress of Prog, I’m not going to take the easy way out and repost that review. This will be another - as I say, the last (other than when I get to 1972 in my History of Prog journal, damn: forgot about that!) attempt to, not understand or “get” the album, but to give it one more proper listen through and then explain why I think it’s only a great album, and nothing more. Not the Second Coming of Prog Jesus, not fuel for furtive under-the-cover prog wanking at night, not a fitting subject for building prog altars to and bowing down before. Again, I like the album, but I don’t love it, and I don’t get the reverence that it attracts. Will I ever? Probably not.

But let’s do this one more time, and after this we shall never speak of it again.

Well, we will speak of it one more time after that.
But then, that's it.
Really.
I'm serious.


Album title: Close to the Edge
Year: 1972
Personnel: Jon Anderson (Vocals), Chris Squire (bass), Rick Wakeman (Organ, piano, Hammond, Mellotron, MiniMoog, Harpsichord), Bill Bruford (Drums, percussion), Steve Howe (Guitars, Electric sitar, Steel guitar)
Track by track:

“Close to the Edge”
What I like about this: Organ work and keyboard work is great, not enough of it though. Vocal harmonies as ever are excellent.
What I don’t like about this: Can’t follow it, very disjointed to me. Bored.

“And You and I”
What I like about this: Nice intro on the acoustic guitar, great work on the keys.
What I don’t like about this: Another one I find hard to follow, just not interested.

“Siberian Khatru”
What I like about this: Not much
What I don’t like about this: Never really liked this

Bonus Tracks

The only one I see which isn’t either one I’ve already heard on other albums or an alternate version of one of the tracks is one called
“Mass Retain”
Okay scratch that: seems to just be a rewritten part of the title track. Not listening to that again. I’m done then.

Note: Again in deference to its fans, I'm going to try to approach this album and write as if I had never heard it before. So I won't be saying "as happened the last time" and so on; although I have certainly heard it, I will attempt, as best I can, to forget all that and really try to come at it fresh. I doubt it will make any difference but hey, I'll give it a go. Can't say fairer than that.

Comments: It might seem odd, as a prog head, for me to say this but one of the fundamental reasons I find it hard to get into this album is the paucity of tracks, and the length of them. We’re talking three in all, and while I like my prog epics, for me, not enough happens in the longer tracks to make them worthy of being that length. Not only that: they’re both cut up into four sections, but not measured, so there’s no way, that I can see, to differentiate between the separate, as it were, movements, so I have to take each as a full and complete piece of music. The title track comes in slowly and in a sort of ambient way, then bursts into a flurry of guitar from Howe and some pretty powerful drumming from Bruford, shimmering keys from Wakeman as everyone gets in on the act, Anderson letting loose a bit of vocalise in the second minute, but other than that we’re talking an instrumental introduction that runs for four, settling in on a nice guitar line before Anderson comes in with the vocal proper.

Much of the melody is then based on a Hammond line with some powerful bass and guitar, with something (guitar?) making a sound that reminds me of morse code. Yeah. Good vocal harmonies, as you might expect, but as per usual I’m just not interested. Anderson is singing “I get up, I get down”, which is the title of the third part, so I don’t know if we’re there already or whether this just runs as some sort of continuing motif through the track; I would imagine the latter as we still have more than half the track to go. Some nice funky guitar from Howe, though I would say that at the moment, for a track that runs for eighteen minutes, I don’t hear enough of Wakeman here. He’s coming in now with a sort of organ sound, but I feel that up to now the track has been mostly driven on Steve Howe’s guitar.

Slowing down now in the ninth minute, getting quite relaxed and ambient, surely going into another long instrumental passage, a sequence there which reminds me of Peter Gabriel’s later “San Jacinto”, at least the closing section, now Wakeman’s keys are tapping back in and Anderson’s voice is low and almost muffled as he returns to the song, again crooning about getting up and also getting down. There’s a nice little melody about this piece, but as usual I know for a fact if anyone asked me to sing any part of this track even a minute after it’s ended I would have to shrug. It just does not appeal to me or hold my attention at all. We’re now in the twelfth minute, and it is nice to hear it all slide back to a nice restrained pace and the buildup to what I assume is another burst of guitar is nice, presaged by a heavy, sonorous church organ giving the piece a very dramatic, almost sepulchral feel.

I guess you could say Wakeman is perhaps making up for lost time, or at least lost contribution here as he starts to somewhat take over the track in its latter stages, and it’s good to hear, but for me this epic does not flow in the same way as, say “Supper’s Ready” or “Grendel” or even “This Green and Pleasant Land” does. It seems disjointed, disconnected, and again for me this is one of the problems I have with Yes: their music never seems to follow any real sort of pattern. I know DriveYourCar noted that they are more based on a jazz ethic than a rock one, and maybe that’s a point, because - newsflash! - I don’t like jazz. But I think it’s more than that. No matter how I TRY to like this, to see the genius in it or the lasting effect on prog rock (well I guess I can see that) or the reason why people cream their pants over it, I just can’t. It’s not for the want of trying, but I do have to admit that at this time I’ve become tired of trying, and I’m pretty much done with those efforts.

So now we’re at the end of the track and I feel no different. The second track is another epic, not quite as long - only ten minutes - also broken into four sections, also impossible for me to divide them up and know what’s what. “And You and I” begins on a lovely acoustic guitar passage, which immediately grabs me more than the behemoth title track that has just finished. Anderson’s vocal then is pleasant, and the harmonies are as always really well done. The powerful rush of keys is really effective, a slow, stately march that has almost orchestral tones about it, Howe adding some fine flourishes of his own. Again though, good as it is - perhaps even great - I find it hard to thread any sort of path through the tune and hook it all together. It’s almost like a few disparate and separate pieces of music with little resemblance to one other, rather than parts of the same suite.

Now we have what appears to be a sort of semi-country beat on the guitar as the tempo picks up a little, and we’re into the seventh minute. This turns into a march of sorts, the percussion slow and measured, guitar sounding a little discordant to me, Wakeman’s keys all over this, and then in the last minutes it slows down in quite an atmospheric, dramatic manner, the vocal dropping out and I think it may go full instrumental to the end. No, we have a short vocal piece to end. Okay. So that’s what, twenty-eight minutes of music and I’ll be honest: I could not pick out one piece of the melody I could sing afterwards. Hey, maybe it’s just me.

I’ve never had any time for “Siberian Khatru”, and I don’t see that changing. A lot of you cite this as your favourite track on the album, and that’s cool. You do you. In my case, if there was one track (yeah, out of three) on the album I liked least, it would have to be this. Rockier than anything that has gone before, very much guitar-driven and with the close vocal harmonies, it should probably impress me, but it doesn’t. Meh. What can do you? Nothing, that’s what. And that’s what I’m doing: nothing. Nothing more. I’ll review it briefly for the History of Prog, because I have to, but I’m done with this now. I don’t get it. I probably never will.

Now, everyone fuck off and leave me alone. This is my last word on this. I do NOT want to be shown the error of my ways. I do NOT want to be convinced of how great this album is. I do NOT want to be told I need to listen to it 100 times before I can “get” it.
I.
am
done.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Rating: 8/10 (I’ll give it its due: it is a good album) but
Yes or No? No


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNkWac-Nm0A
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2023, 10:58 PM   #75 (permalink)
Zum Henker Defätist!!
 
The Batlord's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Beating GNR at DDR and keying Axl's new car
Posts: 48,216
Default

Then you're gonna love the next one lol!
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien
There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal.
The Batlord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2023, 07:25 AM   #76 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,971
Default

I already expect to be struggling, but sure we'll see. You never know..

__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2023, 08:17 AM   #77 (permalink)
Music Addict
 
Synthgirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2023
Location: Cheeseland USA
Posts: 154
Default

I think the title track has an incredibly cohesive flow to it. It's 18 minutes but feels like it goes by in a third of that because I always get so into it. And it all still feels like the same song rather than a bunch of barely connected songs strung together into a suite.

The part where Wakeman comes in with the Moog and Mellotron solo in And You and I is my favorite moment on the album. Beautiful song all around but that part is just jaw-droppingly gorgeous.

I think Siberian Khatru is the weakest track, but that's probably due to over-familiarity since I listen to a lot of bootlegs and they used it as their opener for a long time.

For the record, CTTE is my favorite prog album of all time, and Selling England by the Pound is my number 2. I don't need anyone else to see its greatness, everyone has different taste and I respect our differences in what elements of prog really tickle our fancy. Thank you for the review!
Synthgirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2023, 12:17 PM   #78 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,971
Default

It's an interesting point you raise: what would be my greatest prog album of all time? Hmm. You know, it might not even be a Genesis one. I'll have to go think about that. I can tell you Selling England would not even be in the top ten though, but again that's me, and I've already outlined the weaknesses I see in that album. Thanks for your comment.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2023, 11:19 AM   #79 (permalink)
AllTheWhileYouChargeAFee
 
DriveYourCarDownToTheSea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 1,159
Default

To some extent I sort of agree with Trollheart on this one. Whenever I listened to this album I always just listened to And You and I and didn't pay much attention to the other two tracks. Have been listening to a lot of Yes lately including this one, and trying to pay more attention to those other two tracks, and have concluded that they do sort of meander kinda aimlessly and if you skipped them over you wouldn't be missing much. Yes did a much better job with their extended tracks on Tales and Relayer IMO.
__________________
Stop and find a pretty shell for her
Beach Boys vs Beatles comparisons begin here
DriveYourCarDownToTheSea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2023, 03:40 PM   #80 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,971
Default


Album title: Tales from Topographic Oceans
Year: 1973
Personnel: Jon Anderson (Vocals), Chris Squire (bass), Rick Wakeman (Keyboards), Alan White (Drums, percussion), Steve Howe (Guitars, electric sitar, lute (!))
Track by track:

“The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)”
What I like about this: It’s relatively simple with mostly guitar backing and seems to be more a vehicle for Anderson’s voice than anything else. Got a reasonable beat and a discernible melody. I can, mostly, follow it.
What I don’t like about this: Starts very abruptly with vocal before even any music, yet not acapella, just like he started singing too soon. Might be my copy I guess but it took me by surprise. Minimal keys.

“The Remembering (High the Memory)”
What I like about this: More keys, nicer sort of laid-back melody for much of it
What I don’t like about this: Ah it's all right I suppose.

“The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun)”
What I like about this: The ambient keyboard passages
What I don’t like about this: Howe’s guitar seems too insistent, trying to break through all the time. Again there’s no pattern I can follow.

“Ritual (Nous Sommes de Soleil)”
What I like about this: Just bored now, couldn’t be bothered
What I don’t like about this: I told you: just bored now

Bonus Tracks

Jesus Christ sailing the seven seas in a leaky clipper ship trading tea to America! TWO “studio run-throughs” of two of the already-twenty-minute-long tracks? As Jesus himself once said, **** the hell off! You think I’m wasting any more of what remains of my life on this ****ing album, you have a few screws loose.


Comments: Well this just looks perfect, doesn’t it? After one epic track on the previous album, we have FOUR on this. And they’re the only four tracks on it. Arty-farty spiritual mystic lyrics, no track less than twenty minutes (well, one, but only barely), oh and it’s a double album! Great. Even the title screams prog pretension to me, and shows how those who hated prog would certainly target this band later as one of the dinosaurs of rock music, and blame much of the perceived indulgence, arrogance and overblown complacency of prog on them. And not without cause, I feel. It’s one thing to have four almost side-long tracks - well, they are side-long, aren’t they: only four tracks and a double album, which back in 1974 meant two records, four sides - but to have the lyrics so, well, unconventional and abstract is, I think, as the man says, pushing it.

Apparently the entire thing is based on the writings of some swami or yogi or winne the pooh or something, which doesn’t make it sound like it’s going to be a) of any interest to me or b) understandable. Reminds me of that joke I once saw, where this guy climbs to the top of a mountain where there’s a holy man sitting and he asks him “O Great One, tell me: what is the secret to eternal life?” The holy man thinks - probably in a holy way - for a moment before smiling benignly and replying “Refrain from dying.” Says it all, really.

I don’t expect to have much but contempt for this, but we’ll see. The reviews mention words like “inaccessible”, “overblown”, “indulgent” - some of which I’ve used above - so it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a happy one hour, twenty-one minutes and fourteen seconds for me! But it starts out okay, with the first track, the pretentiously-titled (maybe it’s the name of the book, I don’t know, but man is it prog rock seventies excess to the max!) “The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)” a reasonably restrained piece, mostly driven on guitar but mainly the vocal from Jon Anderson. Sounds like some Mellotron here, though none is mentioned. Interesting to see the drummer is gone, not that I have to say it makes any difference to me, no offence to drummers but I just can’t tell one from the other. Seems Bruford left in something of a huff?

You know, that one is not so bad. I mean, it wanders a bit but not so much as to really get on my tits, and it’s a nice little melody with a sort of chanting vocal and some fine keyboard arpeggios at the end, so not the mess I had expected, not quite. I suppose though I would still have to say it’s not anything I’d remember, or do remember, after the track is over. I don’t hear any hooks, there’s nothing there to grab my attention; just a pleasant piece of mostly faceless music. Track two is “The Remembering (High the Memory)” (um, what? Sounds like someone was indeed high) and has another good vocal harmony line with again Howe’s guitar pretty much leading things. Slower at least at first, but of course this is twenty minutes long so I don’t expect it to remain that way. There is certainly a sense of joy and innocence about this one, I can hear the organ coming in a little more here, a certain sense of the medieval in it at times. Gets a little spacey and atmospheric then, kind of a nascent Jarre or Tomita sound, some fine bass work from Squire too.

I begin to wonder if I can’t pin down the dislike I have for seventies Yes to their lyrics. By and large, they’re pretty esoteric and someone said Anderson chose the words for their sound rather than their meaning, which ends up giving little meaning to the lyrics, and if the music is wandering all over the place and I can’t understand the lyric, what’s left? I prefer a basic narrative lyric, something that either tells a story or at least something you can follow, which is probably why I’m more a Genesis/Rush guy than a Yes one. But even on their eighties stuff some of the lyrical material is a little hard to follow; nevertheless, I can sing it, or at best I can follow the thread of the melody through the music, which mostly here, and on previous albums, I can’t. So maybe that’s at the root of why I can’t really get into this music. Or not. I don’t know. But it certainly does not help.

The music on this one approaches the ambient at times, quite relaxing and stately, but again not really following any pattern, at least none I can keep up with. Of course it the midpoint it speeds up on Howe’s guitar, then slows back down again into some nice synthscapes which remind me of Genesis around this time, though perhaps Anderson’s lyric from “Close to the Edge” fits the pattern best here: “I get up, I get down”. You certainly do. I can’t keep track of this at all and it doesn’t seem to have any real sort of structure, something I’ve said before about Yes. The next track, the shortest at only (!) eighteen minutes and change, “The Ancients (Giants Under the Sun)” seems pretty avant-garde in its way - lot of effects, odd sounds, a squealing guitar underlining how Howe (sorry) will not be left off any of these tracks and will take over if he can. Settles down then into a nice ambient piece, but not for long: Howe’s off battering at the guitar again, trying to force the melody into a harder groove, and you kind of almost get the impression of a battle going on between him and Wakeman, with the latter muttering “**** off and leave me to meander along here, willya Steve?” In fact, the keysman would depart after this album, unhappy with his contribution and how it turned out.

Yeah, there’s some choir going on and Howe has burst out with the guitar, but it’s all to me a case of style over substance, again, something I find with a lot of this early Yes material. I want something I’m going to remember, maybe something I’m going to be able to hum. Hell, I can sing passages from “A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers” and I know “Supper’s Ready” backwards, I know a lot of “2112” and I can sing other prog epics fine, but don’t ask me to even remember what the first track on this was like as we go through the third. There’s some sort of battle emerging between Squire and Howe now, but I really don’t care. It’s, again, technical wankery to me with nothing really behind it. Yawn. Wake me up when it’s over. Or before you go-go. Either is good.

I read that a listening session was set up to introduce the album in a record store, and by the time it was halfway through most of the audience had ****ed off. Shows how hard it is to maintain the interest; there’s just so little to grab onto. It is, again, very much a vehicle for the band members to show how great and talented and clever they are, but the problem is that it’s almost more like someone tuning a guitar and showing how well they know it, then someone says play a song and they can’t. Not saying Yes can’t play of course, but the idea seems to be more that they do clever things with their instruments (including Anderson’s voice - words for their sound rather than their meaning indeed!) rather than actually make music you can remember or even sing. Parts of it, yeah, but most of it just gets lost, for me, in a musical morass of ideas and themes and textures and moods, and it really does nothing for me. The acoustic-like vocal part at the end is nice, but they’ve already lost me at this stage.

And we’re, thank Christ, on the final track. But we have another twenty minutes to go, as “Ritual (Nous Sommes de Soleil)” opens with some sort of chant and - oh look! Howe’s guitar again! How surprising. Well to be fair there’s a decent melody going through this and it is mostly thanks to Howe, with riffs that would surface later on the Asia albums, but the real question that has to be asked is why the **** did this have to be so long? I mean, a twenty-minute track is not now, and perhaps was not quite then even, that big a deal, almost expected by the time prog came of age. But FOUR twenty-minute tracks? All right, one was only eighteen, shut up. And no shorter tracks to break them up? Listen to almost an hour and a half of music all at once over four tracks? Bah. Wouldn’t mind doing that if the music was worth listening to, but, while in some places Yes do get it more right than they get it wrong here, mostly it’s the other way around, and if I had to pick one word to describe this album it would be indulgent. Another would be pointless.

Ah, **** me lads! Drum solos are for LIVE ALBUMS ONLY! **** THE HELL OFF!

Rating: 4/10
Yes or No? No, no, a thousand times no.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rwNe2QXwrU
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads



© 2003-2024 Advameg, Inc.