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Yes - Close to the Edge
Label: Atlantic Records
Release: 1972

Tracklisting:
Close to the Edge
---i. The Solid Time of Change
---ii. Total Mass Retain
---iii. I Get Up, I Get Down
---iv. Seasons of Man
And You And I
---i. Cord of Life
---ii. Eclipse
---iii. The Preacher The Teacher
---iv. Apocalypse
Siberian Khatru
Close to the Edge - Yes
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Average Blamo User Rating: (7 votes)

The best album ever recorded? One of the worst exercises in self-indulgence to exist in music? Or somewhere inbetween?Either way, a discussion about the positive or negative points of progressive rock cannot be conducted without mentioningthis 1972 album along the way. This album is often considered by prog afficionados as the absolute centerpiece of the genre, right alongside In the Court of the Crimson King and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway - and it's easy to see why.If "The Yes Album" was Yes planting the seeds of it's transformation from a fun psychedelic group to the defining bandof the entire prog genre, then this album and 1971's "Fragile" saw the transformation complete. With these two albums,Yes were at the absolute height of their creative powers, with classic prog staples coming out of every orifice. Yes,at this current moment, could not do any wrong.

This album is as good as Fragile - 3 fantastic songs, all pretty well thought out (with the exception of "Siberian Khatru")and a prog masterpiece in the title track. The title track is a side-long affair, with plenty of stupid Jon Andersonlyrics, and virtuoso playing and atmosphere galore. The catchy melodies still exist too - perhaps not as catchy as the masterworks on Fragile, but still certainly memorable. Although you could argue that there isn't that much melody atall, and that it's just 1 melody rewritten over and over in different ways (You'd probably be right, actually), I think itdoes alright - the melody is catchy enough to deserve a few repetitions. All in all, this is a great suite - not the best, and probably overrated a little, but still great.

Any complaints about lack of melody though are laid to rest after the excellent "And You And I" - a wonderful piece, withsome beautiful, resonant acoustic progressions from Steve Howe. It also holds well on those big symphonic explosions, withSteve contributing some great slide guitar. A fantastic track, and a definite Yes great. There's more melody to be had on the rocking "Siberian Khatru", although not as good as And You And I - it's bouncy and full of energy, even though it'sgenerally Howe and Wakeman trying to outdo each other. Great main riff and some excellent Bruford drumming, and as usual,Squire is there to play all the right notes on that bass of his.

This album is definitely worthy of a high 8 - it does have a few irritating moments, but overall, all 3 of the tracks aregreat (With And You And I being excellent). Not the absolute masterpiece of prog rock that it's often claimed to be, butstill fabulous.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

ah a rock symphony. Yes (pun intended) this may be the band's finest moment. Relayer is close, but that's a weird anamoly that doesn't make sense if you hear the stuff before it. Relayer is hard edged reaction to the etheralness of Tales from topographic oceans which was the band's epic song writing style taken to the utmost limit. however, they PERFECT their style on close to the edge.

close to the edge, the song, has been described as many things. a reggae song. a classical influenced piece. an 18 minute pop song. a RAP song. acid rock. free jazz. the fact that it's all of this and more shows the genius of the piece. it follows the intro verse chorous verse bridge chorus outro structure of a pop song, but the actual music is so mucked up and insane, that it can't but be called acid rock free jazz. YET most of the verses follow a reggae rhytmn, and jon anderson sings in an almost rap way. the classical influence is of course in the interweaving of the various themes throughout. it's the second best yes song ever, and THE reason i began investigating them with a passion.

and you and i starts out with some beautiful, if random accoustic picking, then turns into a nice accoustic ballad with some great percussion underneath. then out of nowhere, a beautiful symphonic sounding (yet it's jsut keyboards) moment comes in, and you're in heaven. the song does this a few more times, and it goes into siberian khartu, a rock/funk song with weird time signatures, odd lyrics, a cool harpsichord break, and some great soloing and ensemble playing.

the whole album has the best ensemble playing i've ever heard. it sounds like all the band members are linked to one mind, and playing according to it. i hate to use the word, but the playing is so tight, it boggles the mind. the whole album is remarkably consistent in tone as well, and the whole album could be looked at as one composition (no, i don't mean one song written over and over like AC/DC, i mean one composition with several themes). In fact, this style of album creation consisted for two more albums. the pretention reached a peak on tales from topographic oceans (one composition, four themes, each taking a side of an album) and produced more mixed results, on here and the album after that, relayer, pure prog perfection is acheived.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

 


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