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Old 03-14-2023, 04:54 PM   #81 (permalink)
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You have to listen to it at least five times before you can get it.
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Old 03-14-2023, 05:39 PM   #82 (permalink)
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I was actually listening to Tales just a short while ago today. The thing about the album is, it has a lot of really great passages, which, if they had isolated them and put them into more digestible songs, and made it a regular album instead of a double album, it probably would have gone down as one of their top 3-4 albums. They could have made each album side 2-3 tracks and it would have been a hit.
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Old 03-14-2023, 07:24 PM   #83 (permalink)
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I was actually listening to Tales just a short while ago today. The thing about the album is, it has a lot of really great passages, which, if they had isolated them and put them into more digestible songs, and made it a regular album instead of a double album, it probably would have gone down as one of their top 3-4 albums. They could have made each album side 2-3 tracks and it would have been a hit.
You're right: there are good ideas but not developed, or stretched out too long or just jammed in alongside other, more sub-par stuff. It's too much to try to take in; also, it's something I have no interest in taking in because it really just seems incredibly indulgent, like they decided this is what we're doing and if you don't like it **** you. Arrogant.
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Old 03-28-2023, 10:30 AM   #84 (permalink)
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Album title: Relayer
Year: 1974
Personnel: Jon Anderson (Vocals, acoustic guitar, piccolo, percussion), Chris Squire (bass), Patrick Moraz (Hammond organ, pianos, MiniMoog, Mellotron), Alan White (Drums, percussion), Steve Howe (Guitars, electric sitar, pedal steel)
Track by track:

“The Gates of Delirium”
What I like about this: The end section mostly
What I don’t like about this: Confused, sort of “tune-up” opening, overall quite boring I find

“Sound Chaser”
What I like about this: Has, at times, a decent flow. Nice singing.
What I don’t like about this: Too experimental/disjointed; see also under jazz fusion

“To Be Over”
What I like about this: Very relaxed and gentle, a good closer
What I don’t like about this: Nothing really

Bonus Tracks
“Soon”
What I like about this: Everything
What I don’t like about this: It’s part of the closing section of “The Gates of Delirium”, innit?


Comments: I’m not surprised at all, but I am rather disappointed that again I’m presented with an album of three tracks. My track (hah!) record with Yes on this has not been good; any time I can handle early seventies Yes it’s been on the somewhat shorter tracks, so I don’t hold out a whole lot of hope for this. It’s also unfortunate - though of course I knew this - that Wakeman is gone, replaced by Patrick Moraz, of whom I know nothing. I have a vague recollection of his being involved in some disco hit? Maybe that was someone else. Can’t see anything about it, and now it says he was involved with the Moody Blues, so yeah, maybe I’m confusing him with someone else. Either way I’m sad to see Wakeman go, as for me, other than Anderson’s distinctive vocal, his keys were what made Yes.

You have to love the cover though, which for me follows on a little from the previous behemoth. Reviews for the album seem to be mostly complimentary, whereas they had a lot of bad things to say about Tales from Topographic Oceans, so it will be interesting to see how this goes. It kicks off with the epic, and it is an epic: twenty-three minutes of “The Gates of Delirium”, not even broken up into sections, so you can’t call it a suite, but one long unbroken piece of music. Good thing or bad thing? Well I must say it sounds a little like the band tuning up as it opens, and it’s really about two minutes before it settles down into anything cohesive, and when it does it is again on mostly Steve Howe’s guitar and of course Anderson’s vocals that it finds its shape. I can’t say I notice much of the new guy’s work yet, but there are still nearly twenty minutes to go.

Yeah. Twenty boring minutes. Again, the old problem. I really couldn’t care about this and my attention is wandering, especially as I read about the album on Wiki. It’s just not holding my interest, and now we’re into a bouncing, uptempo section about halfway through, which I guess, from what I read, is the “charge” section of the piece, and there’s of course some great musicianship in it, but I just can’t make myself care. At least I can hear Moraz’s keyboard parts now, but to be honest, for me, they’re not a patch on Wakeman, who used to take over the melody when he was required to. It’s kind of another long jam, as I find - probably incorrectly, but certainly to me - most of the longer Yes pieces are. Y is for Yawn.

Sixteen minutes in then and it’s slowed down (aftermath of the battle?) on a humming keyboard line with some squeaky lines that could very well be on slide guitar or keys, I don’t know, and I don’t much care. Does remind me though of later Pink Floyd, especially on The Division Bell. Seems an age since we’ve heard Anderson sing, and it is. Now he comes in with the soft and soulful ending, which is nice, but there’s no way this track would ever grow on me. I’m just too bored with and uninterested in it. Dare I retitle it “The Gates of Tedium”? Oh, you know I do. I see my friends Pendragon robbed part of the closing melody, something I have accused them of doing with a few other well-known bands, including Floyd, Supertramp and Genesis. Not that you care about that.

So that’s the big epic over, but Yes being Yes, the two remaining tracks can also be classed as epics, or perhaps mini-epics, over nine minutes each. To my delight (!) “Sound Chaser” turns out to be a jazz fusion jam that just sets my teeth on edge for nine minutes and twenty-five seconds, almost an abstract expression of musical ideas. Oh well wait now, was I too quick to judge? Maybe. Meh, you know, it’s not that bad: Anderson sings like an angel as usual, and there’s to me more cohesion to this at times than there was to the previous track, but it does tend to degenerate (sorry) into what sounds to my untrained ear musical chaos too often. I will give it this: it’s holding my attention, which the other piece did not. I still wouldn’t sing or hum it, or even remember it, but I’m not drifting away from it in boredom as I did with “The Gates of Delirium”.

And that leaves us with one track, as “To Be Over” closes out the album with another nine-minuter, which has a nice relaxed feel to it, almost the calm after the storm if you will. A nice gentle instrumental intro on which I think I detect use of this electric sitar Howe is shown as playing, then the vocal is low-key and sedate. I read the song was written after experiencing a boat ride down the Serpentine River, and that certainly shows in the relaxed, almost drifting style of the music. There’s one bonus track, which is “Soon”, and I must say it’s really nice, kind of reminds me a little of “Holy Lamb” off Big Generator. Isn’t it though using parts of the closing melody from “The Gates of Delirium”?


Rating: 5/10
Yes or No? No


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quPoq2699Xo
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Old 03-28-2023, 04:44 PM   #85 (permalink)
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Boo. Relayer is my favorite Yes album.
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Old 03-28-2023, 08:28 PM   #86 (permalink)
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Oh boo yourself. And welcome back.
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Old 03-29-2023, 08:36 AM   #87 (permalink)
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Yep, nice to that Paul S is still following us on MB.

It took some time, but I grew to really like about 3 sidesworth of Tales Of Topographic Oceans. To me the best sides have such a complex, majesterial structure which is unusual in even prog rock. As for Relayer, that was the last Yes album that I ever bought or even listened to. Suddenly I was simultaneously satiated and bored with Yes, so while I have defended the earlier albums here, from now on you can say what you like about their albums here,TH: no need to mumble your criticisms from behind that :shycouch: of yours (...which I now realise you have not really been doing. You have been fairly defiant about Close To The Edge and Topographic too)
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Old 03-29-2023, 11:06 AM   #88 (permalink)
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Oh yeah, I make no secret of my inability to get into 70s Yes. And so far it's been borne out here. All I'm doing here is - well, two things really - trying to show WHY I don't like the earlier stuff, and how I have at least given it a chance and also seeing if maybe I'm wrong, if I've been overly harsh or judged their seventies output on the few albums I'd heard until I started this.

So far, I've not been proven wrong.

I don't expect by any stretch to suddenly get into 70s Yes. It would probably be nice if I was surprised but I don't see it happening. It's just an exercise so that I can say later, arms folded, defiant look on my face, there! I tried it. I gave it a chance. I don't like it, and I've shown you WHY I don't like it. Now let us never speak of it again.

I'm also curious to see what happened after the rather disappointing The Ladder, if I'm honest. That's some time away though.
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Old 04-11-2023, 12:37 PM   #89 (permalink)
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Album title: Going for the One
Year: 1977
Personnel: Jon Anderson (Vocals, harp), Chris Squire (bass), Rick Wakeman (Organ, piano), Alan White (Drums, percussion), Steve Howe (Guitars)

Introduction: Seems this may in fact be a slight turning point for me with Yes, not only for the return of Rick Wakeman but the idea of the songs being shorter and more accessible, and a distinct lack of suites. Plus there’s one song on this I already know, and love, so I’m one-fifth of the way there. Mind you, I’m not naive enough to think that this is going to be the album that opens Yes up for me, but I hope it will be less of a struggle than the last three or four have been. I do mark the similarities between this and Rush’s Hemispheres, (though this album came out first) both of which would no doubt have ended with a black bar across the bottom - literally - in order to be sold in record shops later. Ooh! Cheeky! Is that meant to be Anderson? Looks to me, always did, like the guy is staring up at some graphs or charts on a board. Hey, no kidding! I read they actually added a pair of trousers to the guy on the album cover for one of the advertising posters! Only in America, huh? And probably England. And Ireland. And...

Track by track:
Note: I’m cancelling this “What I like/don’t like about this” as it’s getting boring. I keep saying the same things and while you’re used to me droning on and probably block me out as white noise I ---------- so that’s what I’m going to do now. Sorry? Weren’t listening? White noise, was it? Hah. Tough. Maybe next time you’ll pay more ------------ and it’s your own fault. I can’t help it if ----------- and is perhaps one of the most profound things I have ever written, I think you’ll agree. Anyway, on we go.

”Going for the One”: I must admit, the rock and roll guitar at the beginning took me by surprise; no gentle fade-in or ambient opening here. I almost feel like I’m back in the days of the first two or three albums, when Yes seemed to be searching for their sound and had not yet settled on the intricate multi-part compositions that characterised most of their later seventies albums. There’s a sense of exuberant energy here though, particularly evident both in Howe’s almost blues-like guitar work and Wakeman’s sprightly piano. Anderson is in fine voice, and it’s a fun song. Not something I’ve been saying about Yes, I have to admit. Good start.

”Turn of the Century”: Is the title here a little too reminiscent of Supertramp’s 1974 album? Hmm. Possibility of not copying, but taking from, two other big groups in the prog scene at the time. What to make of that? This is a nice reflective, introspective little song, led by Howe’s this time Spanish guitar I think with that sort of spiritual idea in the vocal, very restrained. Some really nice piano from Wakeman, though I do admit I have yet to see him really stamp his authority on this album, mark it as his triumphant return. But I’m impressed so far.

”Parallels”: The only song into which Anderson has no input; it’s a Chris Squire solo. Ah and here comes Wakeman now with a sonorous throaty church organ. Nice one, Rick! This to me sounds really close to something off later 90125 or even the ABWH album. Class. Howe still holds court, of course, but the keyboard wizard is clearly back, and letting everyone know it.

"Wondrous Stories": This is of course the song I know, and it was a single and quite a successful one too. Anderson’s voice is the glue that holds the melody together here, and it’s a lovely song that always gives me the idea of slowly drifting along on a river. Does the basic melody sound familiar though? Bowie? Lovely ethereal work from Rick Wakeman here. I guess this qualifies as a ballad, though I wouldn’t really consider it one, as such.

"Awaken": Well it wouldn’t be Yes without at least one track that ran into double digits, would it, and indeed this, the closer, chops fifteen out of the overall running time, almost half of it in fact. Opens on a very upbeat and sprinkly piano run from Wakeman, utilising his love of classical music, and while I would hope this isn’t a throwback to the overwrought style of the last few albums, even if it is, there’s been enough of a real seachange here that I can allow them one indulgent track. There’s some really fine guitar from Howe, and though as with most of Yes’s epic pieces I find it hard to follow the idea, or even the melody, it’s not as attention-losing as some of the other songs off previous albums.

The piece slows down in the midsection for a nice instrumental passage that for me gives something of a nod to western movies. The choral stuff is good too, using two different choirs that ties in well with the church organ. A nice sort of ambient, atmospheric ending with Anderson’s voice floating in the air like a songbird, fading into the music.


Bonus Tracks

Other than, as usual, unfinished or different versions of almost every song on the album, there are three:

”Montreux’s Theme”: A nice little guitar-driven instrumental which somehow manages to rise above itself and become more than the sum of its parts, or something. Nice.


”Vevey Revisited”: Again mostly runs on Howe’s guitar, though Wakeman backs it nicely with some lush deep organ and keys which really give him a chance to add to the overall melody and make it complete.


”Amazing Grace”: Sure, but I always love hearing this song, or I should probably say, hymn. Perhaps an odd one to choose, given Anderson at least is more into spirituality than religion, but then, I love it and I’m a pagan, so what harm? Always stirring, always emotional, always impressive whether it’s sung with a full choir or against a single acoustic guitar. This reminds me a little of Jimi doing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and it’s mostly Howe again. I think they could have done a better job, especially with a church organ at their disposal, but however.


Afterword: (What? Weren’t you listening when I said… ah. White noise again? I see. Well, I said I’m going to split the comments section up, with a sort of introduction first, then, once I’ve listened to the album there’ll be an afterword, where I’ll comment on what I thought of it.

And here it is.

Much has been made of Yes re-inventing themselves on this album, and I would agree. Gone, mostly, are the weird, esoteric lyrics, the long multi-part suites and the melodies that - in my opinion - went nowhere. As most prog bands would find as the seventies wound on towards the new decade, and even as their successors would discover in the decades ahead, though prog fans love their epics, the world at large does not, and if you want to make it as a band, particularly a prog rock one, you have to be able to write those shorter, snappier and more commercial tunes and get radio airplay. It’s all very well writing a twenty-minute masterpiece, but who’s going to play it?

So here I think Yes realised that, targeted their audience and began to make their music more accessible. It immediately benefitted them with a number one album and a top ten single in the UK, which remains their highest-charting single there. The return of Wakeman helped, I believe, but for me it’s the shorter and more relatable tracks that make this album different to its predecessors, and points the way towards what Yes would begin to evolve into.

Rating: 8.5/10
Yes or No? Yes


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl6w...Ugb25lIA%3D%3D
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Old 04-11-2023, 06:09 PM   #90 (permalink)
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I pretty much figured you'd like that one better than the others.

The next one, Tormato, is basically a preview of their 80's stuff. Even this one gives us initial glimpses of it.
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