Thursday, April 05, 2007

250. Yes - Close To The Edge (1972)

Track Listing

1. Close To The Edge - (i) The Solid Time Of Change (ii) Total Mass Retain (iii) I Get Up, I Get Down (iv) Seasons Of A Man

2. And You And I - (i) Cord Of Life (ii) Eclipse(iii) The Preacher, The Teacher (iv) Apocalypse

3. Siberian Khatru


If you are thinking this is that album with the song that goes "Don't Push Me 'cose I'm Close To The Edge" come back in about a year when I'll be reviewing Grandmaster Flash. Now we are approximately at a quarter of the albums list and this is a really good album to mark this spot. Close To The Edge is very possibly the apotheosis of Yes and that is no mean feat.

The album is composed of only 3 tracks, and abviously they are really long tracks, the first two take a particularly suite-like format. They are also the three best Yes tracks ever with the possible exception of Roundabout. Here Yes achieve the perfect balance between experimentation and listenability before the excesses of Tales From Topographic Oceans. And how could you ever fault an album with the lyrics "There'll be no mutant enemy we shall certify"? No way can you fault that perfection of poetry.

So, of course lyrics are inane, but this is prog, for god's sake. At least here Wakeman isn't going too far with his wizardry, no pun intended. At moments the album is actually beautiful and the vocal delivery was never better. So really a highwater mark in the world of prog and something you need to listen to if you have even a passing interest in prog, so get it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Close To The Edge

Final Grade

9/10 (My girlfriend, the Philistine, would give it 4... I'd burn her if I wasn't marrying her in exactly a months time.)


From Wikipedia:

Close to the Edge set a trend for Yes of including a single epic song significantly longer than the others which was followed in the later albums Relayer (which featured "The Gates of Delirium") and Going for the One (1977) (which featured "Awaken").

The religious influences introduced by Jon Anderson, which later formed the basis of Tales from Topographic Oceans, are already evident in the music and lyrics of all three tracks on Close to the Edge. Renewal and repetition are other main themes; the title track starts and finishes with the same sound effects of running water and birds and in "Siberian Khatru" there is the repetition of two-syllable phrases.

According to the band's official website, Yesworld, the song is inspired by Hermann Hesse's book Siddhartha, an explanation which can cast the cryptic and mysterious lyrics in a new light, tracking the awakening of Hesse's character "close to the edge" of a river (and, symbolically, of the serial lifetimes of his soul) where he experiences a spiritual awakening.

In June 1972, just as recording ended, drummer Bill Bruford suddenly left the line-up (to play with King Crimson), forcing Yes to find a replacement (ex-Plastic Ono Band drummer Alan White) before starting a new U.S. tour.

The album was released on Atlantic Records in September 1972. It reached #4 in the UK and a career high of #3 in the United States.

The cover art was by Roger Dean. Some of the photography for the album sleeve was by bass player Chris Squire's former bandmate in The Selfs and The Syn, Martyn Adelman.

The album is featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. voted it the greatest progressive album of all time in 2006.

Rhino Records issued a remastered and expanded version of Close to the Edge on August 26, 2003. It added four bonus tracks: single versions of "America" and "Total Mass Retain" and early versions of "And You and I" and "Siberian Khatru" (as "Siberia").

Close to the Edge (Atlantic K 50012) reached #4 in the UK. It also reached #3 in the U.S. during a chart stay of 32 weeks. In the Netherlands it reached #1 on the Dutch album charts, the only Yes album to do so.

Close to The Edge, part 1:

part 2:

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