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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover

CLOSE TO THE EDGE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.65 | 3151 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars It's always a challenge to review an album that's considered an icon by most Progressive Rock fans, especially when you have venerated it for more than 20 years, but I'll try to be objective if this is possible when writing about Close to the Edge.

I know many people don't like song by song reviews, but in this case the three are so individual that I find no other way to do it.

CLOSE TO THE EDGE.-

The opening track Close to the Edge represents what Progressive Rock is, the band has divided it in several parts but I find really three clear divisions. The first part is chaotic and dramatic, the instruments seem to fight one with the other, guitar and keyboard seem to go through different paths and that's exactly where the beauty of the song relies, around the third minute the song begins to show a perfect structure that is often interrupted by another confusing and brilliant passage.

Around the tenth minute the music starts to fade and with delicacy prepares the listener for the climax which is IMO the second clear part of the track, I'm referring to the famous Rick Wakeman keyboard solo that transports us to another dimension using a sound created by Johan Sebastian Bach 300 years ago, a beautiful conflict between modernity and classic Baroque, simply extraordinaire, absolute perfection.

The third part of the song is more structured, keyboard, guitar and bass complement each other perfectly and Wakeman takes the lead role by moments joining the central melody. Bill Bruford deserves a special mention because combines styles using by moments jazzy beats that change the timing of the track.

I know I'm probably wrong but I see this three parts as an almost religious epic totally different to what the lyrics say, the confuse beginning is like a chaotic world or society, the keyboard solo is like a divine intervention that changes that chaos into a more structured and organized world or society.

AND YOU AND I.-

After a great epic as Close to the Edge the band had a difficult task, to compose a song that won't sound out of place after the first one, so instead of starting a competition to see which one is more complex, they created a more melodic and softer track with a perfect structure and order.

And You And I starts with a soft intro with all the instruments taking exactly the same path and a very defined rhythm marked clearly by Steve Howe and Bill Bruford, no chaos or confusion, everything fits perfectly in it's place, especially when Jon voice joins to complement them.

After this intro comes a beautiful and complex vocal work perfectly done by Jon and very well complemented by Steve Howe (Believe it or not) and Chris Squire who is an expert with backing vocals.

Then comes the explosion of power where Jon and Rick take the lead again complementing perfectly Chris Squire's bass, until a soft guitar passage leads to a very beautiful section where the soft keyboard blends again with Jon's voice.

Of course the needed a keyboard solo but Rick's approach is totally different, instead of the Baroque one from Close to the Edge he does a softer and more melodic, somehow more modern than in the previous song but not exempt of drama that leads to the final section where Jon and Steve close the track. As soft as it started.

SIBERIAN KHATRU.-

One thing I love of this album is the perfect balance, Close to the Edge is complex, Baroque and clearly Progressive, And You And I is melodic so they needed something harder or heavier to close the album, and this is Siberian Khatru, which starts as a rock song. powerful and dynamic, but progressively the hardness turns in a more melodic track where the vocals are delightful.

Again Rick's work with the keyboards is outstanding using semi baroque passages that suddenly change into explosive sections where Steve How takes the lead and again to melodic parts where Jon sounds more comfortable than ever.

This sudden changes are repeated several times to keep the dynamic of the song, and I like specially the hard and complex vocals at the end of the track that lead to a powerful finale.

Again Chris Squire does a perfect work with his bass and the outstanding backing vocals, a great closer for a great album.

This is one of the few occasions when I don't have any trouble rating an album, there's no way I could give Close to the Edge less than 5 stars, an absolute masterpiece essential for any collection.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |

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