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Yes - Keys to Ascension 2 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 501 ratings

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4 stars This time the live:studio ratio is about 50/50. Yes deliver more new music alongside the rest of their one-off concert at San Luis Obispo.

As with 'Keys One', there are some songs here that, although make the gig sound complete, are just unnecessary when the album is aimed at Yes fans (who will already own Yessongs, Yesshows or whatever else...). 'Time and a Word' and 'Turn of the Century' are probably the only fresh-sounding tracks that make these live cuts worth having. Both are beautifully played with some variation and flair. Nevertheless, even the epic 'Close to the Edge' lacks it's original power on this disc. In terms of live songs, I believe the first 'Keys to Ascension' album delivers better variety and enjoyment.

But boy, is 'Mind Drive' an excellent composition or what?! Eighteen minutes of craziness juxtaposed with sweet melodies and a clever use of thick and thin textures. The fact that this song originated in the early 80's 'XYZ' sessions kind of confirms my suspicion that the best Yes music was never written in the 90's. Other tracks here vary in quality but I am a fan of 'Bring me to the Power', which is sort of quirky. Some of the textural passages on these songs already sound dated in a way that the 70's material never does, but it is a pleasant listen and a few moments are shockingly brilliant.

So while the live cuts here are not really worth the trouble, there is at least one fantastic Yes song on the second disc of this package, and some other above average ones. It makes me think that the band perhaps could have paired the live songs on 'Keys One' with the studio tracks from this one (or, released the concert in it's entirety and assembled the studio cuts onto a single new album (this has been done since and is known as 'Keystudio')).

This album is anyway worth getting for 'Mind Drive' alone.

thehallway | 4/5 |


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