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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover

TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.88 | 1748 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

gimsom
4 stars Stormy Seas Of Topographic Oceans

Tales From Topographic Oceans has sometimes been solely blaimed for the downfall of prog after mid 70's. I can't deny that the massive album is partly a failure and very bombastic, yes, even boring. On the other hand the album does have lots of beautiful soulful parts that will stay in your mind forever. The album has been many times cited as the most ridiculous album of prog, mostly because its lenght and far out themes. I can assure those people that Yes wasn't the only one sailing in the borders of what we consider "normal" music. There are many other examples such as Mike Oldfield with his Incantations and especially with Amarok.

Lets get to reviewing. The gigantic album is opened with The Revealing Science Of God - Dance Of The Dawn (the longer the better seems to go for with the titles too) is exellent opener. The beginning is amazing when Anderson creates pressure with his vocals which is finally released with amazing grandiosic intrumental choir. After that theres some singing and long instrumental parts which don't unfortunately have the same kind of power. The opener is a miniature version of the enitire album: it has some amazing and powerful parts and parts with sheer beauty. It unfortunately has very boring parts which really seem insignificant. "Getting over wars we do not mean" is especially one of those amazing parts that gives me the shivers.

With the moderately good opening we hit the low spot with The Remembering - High The Memory. Lets just say that it has some nice playing and I can't find any part that is bad but unfortunately the whole song seems to insignificant as it doesn't stir any emotions. Too much lenght with too few thoughs results in pure boredom. Unfortunately the seconds cd is opened with The Ancient - Giants Under The Sun. Like The Remembering, The Ancient is pretty insignificant song. The only good part is when Steve takes his acoustic guitar and delivers perhaps the best solo on classical guitar ever. Jon singing is also particulary good.

The last song, Ritual, is one of the best songs Yes has ever crafted. Perfect musicianship, geniosity through the whole song and strong emotions is what Ritual is all about. Let me just say that its the perfect ending for unfortunately not so good album.

Summary: I might sum up and say that the album is extremely two sided. It has two good songs, of which one is perfect and two weak songs of which one has some good parts. You might think that in that case the album deserves three stars but when I think about it I cannot find any parts that are complete disaster. Some are just more boring.

At that time Yes was sailing in the stormy seas of topographic oceans. Yes was starting to split up and there were lots of thoughts that were never finished or thought through. After Tales Wakeman decided to leave and the album left an ugly stain to Yes in eyes of many people. On a final note I would like to say that no matter how weird or even ridiculous, Tales From Topographic Oceans is also an album that can easily require more than ten listenings before one can truly review it.

gimsom | 4/5 |

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