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Jon Anderson Open album cover
3.69 | 28 ratings | 5 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Open (20:54)

Total Time 20:54

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / vocals, keyboards

Releases information

Released digitally.

Thanks to Eärendil for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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JON ANDERSON Open ratings distribution

(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JON ANDERSON Open reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ProgressiveAttic
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Yes Nostalgia?

After years apart from Progressive Rock, Jon Anderson releases this single that shows all the symptoms and pretensions that are an undeniable sign that we have before us a typical piece of Prog. "Open" is the very first epic suite penned by Jon since "In the Presence Of" from Yes' "Magnification". Both epics although 10 years apart have much in common and "Open" seems to be the natural progression from "In the Presence Of", sounding more mature (although I rate them equally as I think "In the Presence Of" is better accomplished). To me this attempt seems to be Jon trying to pick things up where he left off with Yes composition-wise a decade ago.

Lets begin by reviewing the instrumental elements of the piece. Contrary to "In the Presence Of" where the orchestra serves as a very effective atmospheric element (somewhat of a wall-of-sound effect), here the dominant element are the orchestrations while the rock group assumes a secondary role. The ambiance introduced by the orchestra-group interaction reminds of Renaissance's most orchestral moments, probably due to a Rimski- Korsakov influence introduced by the orchestrator (whose perspective is quite different from Magnification's). The orchestration is brilliant and the music is quite complex and never boring with the transitions from subtle to bombastic Jon is well known for (specially with Yes).

The big problem with the instrumental elements of the piece is that the melody relies too much on the vocals and the whole bombastic instrumentation works in the most part as support. This brings us to the central element of the piece: Jon Anderson's vocals. "Open" is a proof that Jon's voice has suffered little change in all these years and is still able to deliver with the same precision and charm as always. The lyrics are your typical Jon Anderson abstract love-themed poetry (recurring themes such as light, love, freedom, etc.), with quite incomprehensible parts ("Sun is calling, sun it sings you", ) and a message ("Open doors will always open hearts"). As always with Jon the lyrics' strong point is their inherent musicality.

Despite of the track's Yes-like nature (complex and bombastic Symphonic Prog) it is quite clear what this single is: a Jon Anderson solo project. While a Yes composition is formed by the juxtaposition of the strong and complex melodic and rhythmic contributions of every instrument, "Open" is basically a vocal display backed by an instrumental work that has little strength of its own.

The downside of "Open" is that it often sounds like a combination of recycled ideas from places such as "Olias of Sunhillow", Yes (70s era, "The Ladder", "Magnification"), "Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe", "Anderson & Wakeman", among others.

"Open" is a beautiful epic suite and a gem of Symphonic Prog highly recommended to any Yes fan. The different tone set by the use of the bombastic orchestra balances out the use of recycled ideas and it gets extra points for flowing effortlessly between its 4 movements while remaining interesting for its 20+ minutes length.

As I said before: this seems to be Jon trying to pick things up where he left off with Yes composition-wise a decade ago. This makes me wonder, is Jon suffering of some Yes nostalgia? Nonetheless, there are many elements missing for this to become a complete Yes tune, mainly an instrumental work able of matching in strength the vocal melodies (added to which I would have liked to hear Chris Squire doing backing vocals for this). On the other hand, as the best pieces in the Yes catalog there is a whole new musical world waiting for you in every single repeated listen. Make sure to give a few listens to this one!

My verdict: An excellent addition to any Prog Rock music collection! 4.25/5

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One may ask how can a musician have the strength and lucidity to create a 20-minute composition after so many years of being in the musical realm. Jon Anderson is still capable to do such a thing, like if he was that 20-year Yes frontman, and that is something that we have to praise. "Open" is a track that he just released as a digital download, via iTunes.

And is it worth it to review one song? Yes (pun intended), because it is a complex and well- crafted composition that shows the quality (we all know his quality) Jon Anderson still have as a composer and performer. The song is divided in several passages, it starts like if it were a film score, with that orchestration making happy and intense sound; later it slows down, Anderson's voice appears softly and accompanies that pastoral sound. After five minutes there is a moment I truly enjoy, when the intensity is higher, one can appreciate the emotions that he adds with his voice, and with the other instruments.

I will quote Anderson in order to explain a little bit: "To create this work, I sat with my 19th Century guitar and strummed ideas last spring 2010. Songs just poured out of me that week, and before I knew it I had created a long form musical idea, and with the help of Stefan Podell's powerful orchestration, we put together what is now 'OPEN.' It has 4 movements all intertwined, and seems to have a life of its own. For those who love this kind of music, I feel so happy to present it as one of many I hope to create over the coming years"

I like the intercalation between purely instrumental passages with beautiful landscapes and mellow and pastoral sounds, with the moments where Jon's voice enters, reaching high and low notes, creating diverse atmospheres. After ten minutes, there is a moment of tranquility when the music slows down considerably and creates a peaceful sound. Later as you imagine, the song changes, increasing and decreasing in rhythm, but never with drastic changes, all of them are soft and go well with the previous passages.

At minute 16 the song returns to the sound it offered in the beginning. The song overall is colorful, wonderfully written and easy to enjoy. Now remember that this is a Jon Anderson release, not a Yes one, so do not expect something like "Gates of Delirium", no, you better download it and listen to "Open".

Enjoy it!

Review by lazland
4 stars Open, released as a single download only available on itunes in 2011, is Anderson's first genuinely epic tome recorded since his last Yes release, Magnification.

Although other reviewers have, rightly, pointed potential listeners towards that fine Yes release for pointers as to how they might like it, I would also make the point that his own wonderful solo release, Change We Must, which had a London Symphony Orchestra as an integral part, is also very much an influence on this latest opus, as is the exceptional Olias of Sunhillow. That Anderson is promising a sequel to that work is a mouth watering prospect!

What this single does, more than anything, is reassure us that Anderson's incredible voice has fully come through the ravages of ill health, and he fairly soars throughout. What is it about? Only he knows, as ever. Love, afterlife, Divine Mother, getting on, man. Actually, I shouldn't be sarcastic, because I have always really enjoyed the abstract, but loving, nature of the great man's lyrics, and here is no exception.

The playing throughout is accomplished, and the orchestration, especially, provides the listener with a wonderful symphonic suite. Think of Yes, but with the bombast stripped out (not always a bad thing).

This probably would not appeal greatly to those yet to appreciate the joys of Anderson's solo material, or his Vangelis collaborations. For the rest of us, though, this single is a wonderful late career addition to a fine body of work, and is highly recommended.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars "Open hearts will always open doors"

Open is a 20 plus minute long track that was released (in digital form only) as a "single" in 2011. It is a Symphonic piece in four movements featuring orchestration as a central element. Jon wrote and recorded it in 2010/2011 and released it through iTunes in 2011. Perhaps the fact that it was a digital only release is the reason that not many people have heard about it, let alone heard it. I learned about its existence only recently (through this website) and as soon as I did I immediately opened iTunes and bought it. At the time I listened to it a couple of times but then left it waiting for some time before hearing it again now. It is a good composition that deserves several listens.

This music is by no means straightforwardly comparable to that of Yes, but it is nonetheless probably fair to say that it is somewhat closer to Yes (in both style and quality) than most other things in Jon Anderson's uneven solo discography. I'm not yet familiar with all of Jon's solo albums, though I've heard most of them. I would say that Open is one of Jon's best and most interesting solo releases, up to the standard of his better albums like Olias Of Sunhillow and Toltec.

As is to be expected, Jon's lead vocals are a very central element of this music. There is also some piano, some acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums and various percussion instruments, and several backing vocalists, but all instruments take a back seat to the vocals and the orchestra. Thankfully the piece avoids sounding bloated and overly bombastic as is so often the case when orchestras are involved. Jon's innocent voice helps here and there are just enough other elements to keep the orchestra from being overpowering. The lyrics are very much in his characteristic style and he comes across a bit like a spiritual guru or mystic.

If you appreciate in particular those aspects of the music of Yes that are brought by Jon Anderson, you are going to like Open as here these aspects are kind of isolated and concentrated. A worthy addition.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Here is Jon's 20 minute creation from 2011 that was released as a download only. It really shows his strength with long-form pieces, and definitely succeeds in capturing his musical vision. He does re-use some of the vocal melodies and structures he's visited before, but for the most part it's ... (read more)

Report this review (#2138413) | Posted by Progfan1958 | Thursday, February 21, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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