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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover

TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.88 | 1686 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Flucktrot
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Take about 1 part A-grade Yes material, 3 parts relatively boring filler, and another 2-3 parts nonsensical pretentiousness, and we get something approximating Tales.

I still fondly remember the day when this CD arrived in the mail...I was a Yes-obsessed graduate student, and I thought that Tales might be something like Close the the Edge (the track) and Gates of Delirium, except times two! Sometimes boundless irrationality gets the better of all of us I suppose.

I listened to Tales an awful lot, thoroughly enjoying roughly half it it each time. As I branched out into new and exciting areas of prog, I find myself returning to Tales with less and less frequency.

My opinion has basically settled on viewing Tales as yet another double album that should have been one. Take most of the opener, probably the last 5 minutes of Remembering (and what a glorious 5 minutes those are!), the last half of Ancient (I even enjoy the heavier parts toward the end of the jam...though it just takes forever to get there), and the first 11 minutes of Ritual (or maybe extend another 5 minutes if you want a killer, but completely unnecessary and unrelated, Yes jam), and you might have something of Fragile or Yes Album quality.

However, 'tis not to be, as the haphazard structuring, the shockingly poor production in places, and abundance of C-grade Yes material just kills any chances of Tales obtaining masterpiece status.

Anderson and Howe let their faith in a singular vision get the best of them. I don't begrudge them this for a second, because with the material that came before Tales, they certainly earned the right to see if pushing the boundary further would result in ever greater music.

With Tales, they got their answer, and it wasn't the answer they were looking for. Oh well--mistakes happen and are often for the better, as Yes learned their lesson and righted the ship with the subsequent Relayer.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |

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