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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover

RELAYER

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.36 | 2144 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Organised chaos!

After the controversial "Topographic oceans" album, Rick Wakeman's decision to move on led to his replacement by the (at the time) relatively unknown Patrick Moraz. Moraz had effectively replaced Keith Emerson in The Nice, when they became Refugee, so his credentials were sound. His style however is somewhat different to Emerson and Wakeman in that Moraz has a much jazzier sound to his keyboards. He is less of a soloist, and much more of a contributor to the overall sound. This gives "Relayer" a different, but refreshing feel.

The basic structure of "Relayer" is the same as "Close to the edge", with one signature piece on side one of the LP, and two tracks on side two, each occupying half of the side.

When I first heard "The Gates of Delirium" (at the time of its release) I was considerably disappointed. The music seemed chaotic at times, and far less melodic that I expected. I have however over time come to list it as one of my all time favourite pieces not just by Yes, but by any band. "Gates of Delirium" is unquestionably challenging, requiring a significant number of hearings to really get it. The track opens in a similar vein to "Revealing science of God" on "Tales from Topographic oceans" perhaps with a bit more bite. There does indeed appear to be chaos as the battle section builds to an overwhelming crescendo. Just as it seems order has been completely abandoned, and the music has broken down into an enormous cacophony of unstructured noise, Alan White's drums authoritatively take control, then hand over the baton to Moraz and Howe to restore order. This leads into the beautiful section referred to as "Soon". This section was, in an act of folly, extracted from the track for the "Yesyears" compilation. The reason it sounds so great within the track is because of the way it contrasts with what has gone before. That effect is largely lost when heard in isolation. The track concludes with a similar section to that which ends "Revealing science of God" and indeed "The remembering" on "Tales.." A truly awesome composition, written in an almost symphonic classical way, but with a thoroughly modern sound.

As for the other two tracks, "Sound chaser" leaves me totally cold. Moraz jazz influences come to close to the foreground here, but the song also lacks a decent melody, and is sub-standard for the band.

"To be over" is a lovely melodic track, but it's a bit of a poor man's "And you and I". It straddles the line between melodic symphonic music, and schmaltzy commercialism. The track is one of those rare Yes pieces which loses appeal with repeated listening. It did however recently gain a new lease of life when Howe used it as the basis for his solo live spot.

"Gates of Delirium" alone makes this an essential album. While the second side is weaker, this is by no means comparable with say "Tarkus" in terms of the contrast between the sides.

The expanded remastered version includes the "single version" of "soon" plus studio run throughs of "Gates.." and "Sound Chaser".

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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