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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans
Label: Atlantic Records
Release: 1973

Tracklisting:
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)

Tales From Topographic Oceans - Yes
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Average Blamo User Rating: (1 vote)

"Tales" is a tricky one. It's a pompous, overblown masochist's dream with all of the bad aspects of prog included - theridiculous concept, the stupid lyrics, the boring avant-garde sections, and the merciless, overlong wanking of the instruments - it's all here on this album. However, there are moments where it can all fall into place and work.

You aren't going to find these moments on the first disc, as "Revealing Science of God" and "The Remembering" are bothpretty dull - bar the opening section of Revealing, both songs pretty much feature 3 sections of music, that are repeatedagain and again and again. Too, too long. And that's all i'm going to say about the lacklustre first vinyl.

When you reach the second disc, you may very well wonder whether it can get any worse, as "The Ancient" starts with someridiculous musical ideas, and the song generally makes no sense whatsoever. Just when you think that this album is aboutto go to shit, and just as you're about to turn off in disgust, who saves it? Well...who else? Step forward guitaristextraordinaire, Steve Howe. As the Ancient's horrible mish-mash of music fades out, the "Leaves of Green" section sets in.we have a little acoustic/vocal duel, and then Anderson says "Ah Kin", and Howe begins his classic acoustic guitar solo. It's truly wonderful, and this moment saves the entire album - beforehand, it would have been a complete duffer. But this part of the "Ancient" is wonderful.

And then we get to "Ritual". Finally, after three attempts at 20-minuters on this album, Yes create one that works here.It's much less boring than the first two, and not as messy as "Ancient" - it strikes the perfect balance, to create a greatpiece, which along with the last 8 or so minutes of the Ancient, saves this album.

It manages to pull it back to a 5, in fact. Unfortunately, even though "Ritual" and that last section of "Ancient" are brilliant, it can't help the fact that there is approximately 50 minutes of crap on this record. The album is saved by these songs, and only just. It's still a pretty average record, but probably not deserving of all the shit that it constantly takes. Unless we're talking about Jon Anderson of course, who writes terrible, terrible lyrics, especially on this album.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

one composition, four album sides, four songs!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wow.

i love this album. it's true. sure, sometimes the band loses focus and seems to jam too much for the sake of jamming, but this album really takes you places. at least me any ways. i have tons of fun listening to this album. sure, it may seem like dull background music, but it's well played, immaculately written, and actually quite exciting in many places if you take the chance to listen to it intensely.

describing an album like this song for song is the work of a mad man, but i want to describe the theme a bit. basically, jon anderson creamed in his pants reading some autobiography of a yogi and was reading this lengthy footnote, about how all is one and god is love and some weird crap. he decided to write a double album with four songs.

he told steve howe about his idea, and steve creamed his levi jeans. they smoked pot, lit some candles, and stayed up all night writing the album. wow.

then they took a bunch of months to rehearse it with the band, take their ideas and add them, and then record it.

sounds idiotic? well, the lyrics are a hoot. "dawn of light lying between the silence and sold sources. chased amidts fusions of wonder. in moments hardly seen forgotten. colored in pastures of chance dancing green casts spells of challgenge. amused but real in thought. we fled from the sea, whole." HHAHAHAHAHAHHA. actually, the lyrics do a good job of giving a mood.

the album is actually pretty succesful, relatively, at what it's trying to do. fuck man, at least it's not ambient music which is 99% crap!

Reviewer Rating of CD :

 


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