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Yes - Tales from Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.90 | 2455 ratings

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4 stars "Emotions revealed as the Ocean made..."

Revelations, dreams, celebrations, remembering... I think this period of Yes can be described as Romantic (in classical music terms!) and especially this album: mystical, wandering, sometimes experimental and extended form. They made before only one super-epic (Close to the Edge which turned out to be one of their best) and now they do four in a row! Of course you can't expect that ALL of them will have the quality and the perfectness of CTTE, but actually the first and last ones are pretty close (to the edge...) In fact, this could have been a 5 star album, but unfortunately the sound is not that compentent and the guitar playing is not emotional enough, and with a good tone. This will distract many listeners, but just listen to the notes! It's a very great musical piece, a four-part symphony.

Dance of Dawn: You must have the remastered version, it has the three-note introduction with the seashore sounds which are essential in the mood setting, in fact it gives VERY much to the album as a whole!!! It turns into a mellow recitative, with mannheim crescendo (all instruments slowly coming in, and backing vocals). Then they pick up the beginning 3-note motiv and start to explore all the boundaries! Long and rhapsodic guitar solo concluded with descending, very symphonic and powerful moog. The song is transcendental. In fact they don't move fast into the second section in a different key (They move fast...).There is a glorious ascending-descending theme which returns several times. The tempos are more and more extreme (fast and slow sections alternate) and finally the comeback of the recitative makes complete the bridge-form of the song. The theme is finding God in ourselves. Extatic and wonderful song.

High the Memory: The spacey and wandering intro is beautiful, repetitive and sometimes stops on an uncertain note, than goes further. He stops for thinking a bit! Later, he moves into more powerful sections. This is a three part song, the middle one called "relayer" which is a more upbeat, but still enigmatic piece. There are three strange, but very intense moments, tempoless tremolo chords with symphonic synth, very oceanic feeling (you can call them the drowning or diving parts.. a bit like Pink Floyd's Dogs!) Not that profound ending, in fact the guitar solo is almost like in the first movement. (They use returning themes through the whole album, by the way!) Of course the song is about the huge wells of our memories and temporary forgetting...

Giants Under The Sun: Really interesting beginning, churning Bass/glockenspiel/drums riffs but with a contrasting, soaring guitar melody (even the tempo isn't on the same measure, you have to got used to it...). Again a slow, symphonic part with a short chorus, that moves into this celebral march, with sudden frightening stops and murmuring spells, this is my favourite part of the song. (People tend to like the second half of the song, strangely I like the first better...) The march turns into a rather atonal guitar solo at the middle of the song, yeah it's noisy and disturbing. In fact you can find the pieces of the opening melody if you listen carefully. Suddenly there is an acoustic guitar part a bit reminding of "Mood for a Day" that turns into a nice pastoral with just guitar, vocals and minimal synth. The march comes back at the end, look out! the giants are back!...Wahhoo!!

Nous Sommes Du Soleil (We Are The Sun) contains my favourite parts of the album. Maybe the intro is too long. Slow guitar melody turning into a vigorous dance with vocals and synths. A wandering guitar solo that refers back to the first three songs, even Close to the Edge... (Why do I think of Beethoven's structure? 9th symphony?) The main melody comes after 5 minutes, a very harmonic, peaceful song. I'm a fan of the vocal parts from the 5 minute mark to the 10. So profound! Then comes a solo section which could have been better, they just throw the notes to each other, from bass to guitar... The guitar has a good part though, when it comes clear and slowly turns into atonal. Then suddenly everything stops, just drums. The synths are irritating. Well, they could have made a better ending to this profound album...! The last chord just hangs up and it's like a question mark...(What could I say? F sharp Minor...)

Still, four stars.

klvin | 4/5 |


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