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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover

CLOSE TO THE EDGE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.65 | 3068 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Australian
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The name "Close to the Edge" carries more significance that would first appear to most people. Perhaps it implies that Yes, who had recently had overwhelming success with 'Fragile' (# 7 UK, #4 US) and 'The Yes album' (UK# 7, #40 US) were suspended on the edge, hanging by a thread. So really when you think about there was a lot resting on the success of the Yes's next album, they were on the edge of fame or obscurity. Luckily for them and us the band were able to create something so amazing, so good, that it continues to enthral people almost forty years after it's initial release. Being very honest "Close to the Edge" is my favourite album, ever, and I believe that it is one of the very few albums that will survive and still be respected and popular in another forty years.

Never before has any piece of music so captured me as this here, for some reason it has had a profound impact not only on the music I listen to, but I daresay my entire life. "Close to the Edge" is on of those life changing albums. Such albums are literally one in a million but when they are found they mean everything to you. Some of this may seem stupid to however is reading this but think of your favourite album, and if you're serious about it has it not altered you life in any way. Everyone potentially can have album that will change their life, it's just a matter of finding it.

"Close to the Edge" is Yes's most experimental album and it, along with counterparts from Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Genesis broke the barriers of conventional rock. The result of this experimentation is some of the greatest music ever written. Think about it, what makes these epics "Close to the Edge", 'Tarkus' and 'Suppers Ready' so amazing? They are basically the first albums to harness the idea of a rock symphony, with varying instruments, methods and ideas. So, why do you think that most modern epics written by bands don't contain the same brilliance? Well, for one it has been done before and therefore are not original, and most importantly in most cases they lack the spark of being something new, unexplored. Man has always wanted to expand his horizons, go unseen places; this new style of music is just another form of exploration. And yes I know that "Close to the Edge" wasn't the first album to do this.

Let's start from the cover. When going through the CD's in my collection The "Close to the Edge" album cover always stands out, all Yes albums do. The spacey, cosmic feel, helped along by the transition from black to green makes the album seen, unknown. The feeling of mystical deepness is easier to feel in the LP version or the remaster special edition version. From the very start you are confronted by strange, but oddly familiar sounds. Take the birds in the into for example whose singing gradually build up until everything falls over the edge and a very Mahavishnu orchestra sounding section ensues. After this opening section there is a different feel, one of quite happiness in space, if that makes scene. It is basically a guitar solo by Steve Howe with minimal backing which is not immediately noticeable but does grate things for the mood of the section.

The next section begins which is called "Total Mass Retained" and it is an almost monotonous chorus sung by Jon Anderson, Chris Squire and Steve Howe. There are short guitar licks here and there which add some interesting elements to the section. The Next section, titled "Get up I get down" is where the song starts transforming from masterpiece to something greater. It starts of quietly with floating synthesizers and twinkling sitar. There is the drip of water in the background as the sitar and synthesizers build up the mood and bring the section to the crescendo. At the climax of this section there is an absolutely amazing organ solo from Rick Wakeman which showcases his skill. There is a short lull in which Jon Anderson sing for a while and then the real climax takes place which is overridden by the guitar synthesizer. Following this begins the last and greatest piece of music I've ever witnessed. It starts off with a lavish fusion of everything the band could muster and then the rest as they say is history, amazing stuff at the end of the song. The song closes with the birds singing in a decrescendo.

Following "Close to the Edge" is another song, possibly my second favourite song behind the song mentioned above. And You and I passes through several different stages one may be an acoustic section, then a more textured progressive section then something else. The song starts off with Steve Howe playing harmonics on a 12-string acoustic guitar, I don't think the band intended this to be included in the song but they decided to add it because it makes the intro seem warmer and friendlier. After the harmonics in comes the opening melody played again of an acoustic guitar. This melody sounds disjointed, but not in a random way and after a while you are able to foresee where the pauses are.

Then comes the first section names "Chord of Life" which, at first consists of the 12- string acoustic guitar playing some very nice chords. There is a mini-moog solo a small way into this section which suites the music remarkably well and gives it an otherworldly feel. The very mystical and ambitious vocals then come in which then lead into the next section called eclipse. The title is very fitting for the mood as the song changes pace and the acoustic guitar is replace with a pedal steel and Rick Wakeman provides much of the feel with atmospheric backing synthesizers. You can almost imagine the eclipse taking place, as the music changes, and more mystical vocals lavish the mood of the section you get lost in the content. There is a drop and the next section begins which is called "The Preacher The Teacher." The opening melody is repeated and another breathtaking section of music begins, the major highlight is a mini-moog solo from Wakeman and driving bass and guitar to complement. There is a very short section at the end called "Apocalypse" in which the song is ended on a satisfying note. (side note: I may have the sections mixed up.)

Last of all is "Siberian Khatru" which is slightly different compared to the rest of album as it is upbeat the whole way through. The opening section is the whole band for once as they punch out a dignified tune. There are several guitar and synthesizers solos, the best being a harpsichord solo from Wakeman. Towards the five minute mark the song starts to change slightly and a silent intensity begins to build which is dispersed at the end of the song. The closing guitar solo leaves you shaking after the last forty or so minutes of music.

If you can't tell "Close to the Edge" is basically flawless in my opinion, with only three songs its hard to get anything wrong. I know many people will disagree with this but "Close to the Edge" is the single best album ever. There is magic to this album which doesn't effect everyone, but it did catch me. The remaster of "Close to the Edge" comes with four bonus tracks which range from single edits to studio run-throughs and alternate version of songs. The sound quality of the "Close to the Edge" remaster is superb and everything has amazing clarity. "Close to the Edge" is probably the most successful Yes album overall reaching the highest rank ever in the US by a Yes album, number 3. It also reached number 4 in The UK, but that's to be expected, ha ha ha.

1.Close to the Edge (5/5) 2.And You And I (5/5) 3.Siberian Khatru (5/5) Total = 15 divided by 3 (number of songs) = 5 = 5 stars Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

When I mean everyone must have "Close to the Edge", I mean everyone. Even if it may not dazzle you or change your life, it's still worth having since it is the best album according to the top 100 list here. So I'll leave you will this message: You must have this album.

Australian | 5/5 |

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