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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover

CLOSE TO THE EDGE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.65 | 3129 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars I guess it was time for me to, one fine day, get to this momentous piece of music, perhaps one of the most fulfilling and fulfilled musical creations regardless of genre, style or history. There have been hundreds of thousands of reviews praising and dissecting this recording (a very few have decided to slam it, please forgive them for they do not understand) and it still proudly sits enthroned in the perennial classics of modern music. I purchased this beauty when it came out and has been a lifelong companion ever since. Everything about Close to the Edge exudes a sense of assured achievement, from the effortless Roger Dean artwork (have you ever seen a green so luxuriant!) to the grainy "little windows" band photographs, the groundbreaking production and the scintillating compositions. The playing is majestically raunchy and alternately grandiose with Wakeman in particular setting down his eternal reputation as a keyboard wizard/octopus, Howe sexually perverting the electric guitar with dexterous fingering, Bruford setting new standards for rock drumming, bashing in complex simplicity (or is it simple complexity?) while Chris continues being the bass Squire, trebling into new low-end horizons with his deadly Rickenbacker. Jon Anderson was and remains a unique vocal trampoline, singing like few can or would even dare (Okay, except maybe for Robert Plant!).

So I have decided to eschew the usual tszirmay dramatics and the prosaic (Prozac) linguistic virtuosity and refer to what I wrote in 1974 within the confines of a philosophical essay on progressive rock, fully illustrated with vivid and at times lurid pictures, gleaned from various magazines including Playboy, not of women scantily clad but odd pictures and artistic drawings for which the mag was also less famous for). The final segment describes a "trip" while listening to "Close to the Edge", head firmly gauzed in the clouds and pen wildly scratching on paper. I received a great grade and got praise from the philosophy professor who at the time seemed intrigued by this kind of daring music. So here it is, a frozen impression in time back in1974, now dedicated to all those youngsters who wonder what it was like to get up and then to get down in the golden years of Prog. Hey, it's a bit corny but those were the na´ve times! "All is dark and all is silent. A shadow and a silence that is dirty, morose and doleful. An emerald spot suddenly emerges, escorted by the clamor of shrill bird chirpings, the noises of the dense jade jungle, of cascading waters brimming with vitality. Oh my, it's a green world, symbol of human purity, I believe! The spot grows, spreading unctuously in depth and width like some melted matter. A warm and soft breeze enters this paradise, it feels so good, I am not cold anymore nor am I too hot, as the wind refreshes me; the green spot is now invading my entire horizon and impregnates everything. Then, as if by magic, the opaque colored mist lightens and reveals a golden staircase with multi-hued railings, surrounded by a lush and bountiful jungle, yet somehow sunny, more like a universe of perpetual sun. There is no night, no death, all is life and seems to breathe. The air is pure with the delicious aroma of luxuriant fauna. The choir, this voice orchestra that trembles with gentleness, is attracting me irresistibly, my feet seem to be moving as I scale the steps one by one, stopping only to watch a macaw, toucans, a silver panther and strangely humanoid monkeys. A universe laden with exotic rhododendrons, wild blue orchids and superb animals. It's unreal, I turn to look back and in the distance the vile demons together with the ugly and dishonest monsters try following me , as I run desperately way. Fearful, I scream, they have disappeared, wiped out by purity and worship. I am safe, I am protected, I am loved, I am no longer afraid! The sublime choirs are singing me their love, their invitation to a celestial paradise that is so spiritual and celebratory. My ascension on this infinite stairway becomes faster-paced guiding me towards the heavens. On the horizon, I can see the crimson red mountains, the deepest vertiginous valleys, the most beguiling gorges and scintillating torrents of limpid water. All this is beyond me! The majesty of the floating liquids stemming from the waterfalls is impossible to resist, what perfection as the firebirds streak across the sky, like plumed meteors suddenly landing on endless trees, perched elegantly atop, preaching the harmony of love to all the other animals below. Celestial messengers of devotion. In such a deliriously gorgeous atmosphere, tears begin to trickle ever so slowly on my cheeks, the joy that intense. Yes, I cry, I am so consumed by happiness on that 7,000th step; I kneel and bring my palms to my face. I sob for a very longtime, so totally overcome with happiness. She was the most beautiful creature that my eyes had ever contemplated! Breathtaking in a dress of a million diamonds, she touched me gently; she was the image of all that surrounded me. I was mesmerized by such pure beauty, the definition and the incarnation of utter exquisiteness, nearing the ideal of a woman. She uttered no word and I was trembling by the unexpectedness of it all. I kissed her, I loved her, words refusing to leave my mouth, no point in saying anything really. I desire this woman with overwhelming power and more than I ever thought possible. She steps back, reversely scaling the remaining stairs while staring into my eyes . I want to follow but her gentle hand signals me to stop and she continues her elevation towards the heavens. Once far away, she sends towards me a paradisiacal avian creature of unparalleled splendor that lands next to me with majesty and elegance. A golden plaque sculpted with expertise had the following words - You love the Universe and it loves you, I am the Universe and you love me. I love you- . The disc just finished its run on my record player and silence reaffirms its place. Where is my love gone? My eyes open with difficulty, my body numb as if frozen. I have returned from faraway; the boring and monotonous life and the daily grey routine is back. My mom calls out for me to buy milk, was I just dreaming?.My cheeks are chafed from dried tears" 5 near abysses

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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