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Yes - Tales from Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.90 | 2497 ratings

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Grimble Crumble
5 stars Highest progressive adventure ever?

During the last months before TFTO, Yes experienced their first experience with a real duel between keyboard and guitar sound in Fragile, after the all-guitar dominated The Yes Album. By the time that Rick Wakeman joined the group, Anderson was becoming more interested in instrumental music, and the band was giving an essential step out of the vocal harmony oriented sound. Heart of The Sunrise and their cover version for America were signs of this change, being the two first Yes songs to pass the mark of ten minutes. Close to the Edge wasn't at all the definitive step on progressive rock, as the suite idea was formulated by Eddie Offord, and it was dominated by Anderson's voice and lyrics. Anyway, even in more lightweight songwritings like 'And You And I', Yes was showing a move, yet modest, into the realm of huge progressive rock ambitions. But, by no meanings, one could imagine that the band's next step was to be one of the most dangerous and intricate adventures of the genre. An eighty minutes, four songs containing album, but YET DOMINATED BY ANDERSON'S VOICE AND LYRICS! Anyway, by every single meaning, Anderson and Howe managed to put out four master songwriting opus, full of spiritual and indulgent lyrics, and that, with bless of luck, fulfilled all progressive ambitions the band could have. Bill Bruford left to be replaced by Alan White, which is much more of a drummer (at least a rock one) than Bruford would ever be. Steve Howe is at his most inspired moment here, and his guitar work is one that no blame can be put in it. A true class of clean, smooth, mellow and acoustic guitar sound. The Revealing Science of God is the most acessible song of the album, with strong and beautiful lyrics, covered by a wave of excellent keyboard work and flowing guitar licks, that carry the song for several minutes, until the first side is over. The Remembering is the andante movement (one can note that this is in fact, a rock symphony, with four movements, presto, andante, scherzo, presto). Rick's keyboard work is dreamy and beautiful. Anderson sings in a slow and soft driven mood. This is arguably the most cosmic, dreamy and mind-travelling song ever did. When you find yourself lost in so many minutes and listening to the 'relayer' part, it seems like you're really in the bottom of a topographic ocean. The second side is the avant-garde, less comercial, more self-indulgent one. Alan White simulates a xamanic ritual with the percussion, and steve keeps on fuzzing around with the guitar. The songwriting is very fine, similar to what was done on Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow album. Kind of a ethnic sound. The acoustic section is sublime, maybe the highest point of the album. Steve shines on his Martin 00-18 and Anderson sings like a embarassed angel. Ritual is a song in the vein yes would keep in developing on Gates of Delirium. The introduction is mind-blowing, with flowing-synthetizers and a reprise of CTTE'S theme. The lyrics and melodies here are those with the most recognizable Yes signature in the whole album. An excellent final movement. Anyway, all I can say is that this is the most misunderstood album in rock history, even being made by a 'standard' progressive band, and is arguably the most creative moment in the history of rock. 6 stars.

Grimble Crumble | 5/5 |


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