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YES

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Yes biography
YES formed in 1968 with Jon ANDERSON (vocals), Chris SQUIRE (bass, vocals), Peter BANKS (guitar, vocals), Tony KAYE (keyboards), and Bill BRUFORD (drums). Well-known and influential mainstream progressive from the 1970's, and still around in some form ever since, they were highly influential in their heyday, especially notable for the really creative "Relayer", which included at the time Swiss keyboardist Patrick MORAZ who replaced Rick WAKEMAN

During the 1970s, YES pioneered the use of synthesizers and sound effects in modern music. Driven by Jon's artistic vision, they produced such timeless, symphonic-rock masterworks as "Roundabout," "Close To the Edge," and "Awaken". In the 1980s, YES pushed new digital sampling technologies to their limits, selling millions of records and influencing a generation of digital musicians with classics like "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and "Rhythm Of Love". Moving through the 1990s and into the new millennium, the band keeps expanding its boundaries by using the latest hard-disk recording techniques and, most recently, working with a full orchestra to create their genre-defying music.

YES gained large popularity with their brand of mysticism and grand-scale compositions. "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge" are considered their best works as it's symphonic, complex, cerebral, spiritual and moving. These albums featured beautiful harmonies and strong, occasionally heavy playing. Also, "Fragile" contained the popular hit song "Roundabout". This was followed by the controversial "Tales from Topographic Oceans" LP, which was a double album consisting of only four 20-minute length suites centering on religious concepts. Also, "Relayer" was their most experimental, yet grandiose and symphonic. They broke up, until the new jewel "Going For The One" and its incredible "Awaken" was issued in 1977. In later years, YES would go through many transformations. There were other very good YES albums after "Going For The One" ("Drama", "Keys To Ascension" and suprisingly "The Ladder") but this is the last great album.

These albums can be found under Various Artists - Concept albums and themed compilations :
Yes - Solo Family Album (19...
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Buy YES Music


Songs From Tsongas 35th Anniversary ConcertSongs From Tsongas 35th Anniversary Concert
Eagle Rock Entertainment 2014
Audio CD$15.71
$26.04 (used)
Heaven & EarthHeaven & Earth
Frontiers Records (Universal) 2014
Audio CD$6.62
$9.00 (used)
Close to the EdgeClose to the Edge
Elektra / Wea 2003
Audio CD$3.99
$1.50 (used)
Yes AlbumYes Album
Import
Panegyric 2014
Blu-ray Audio$22.39
$24.50 (used)
RelayerRelayer
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$35.98
FragileFragile
Elektra / Wea 2003
Audio CD$4.44
$3.61 (used)
9012590125
Elektra / Wea 2004
Audio CD$3.44
$1.76 (used)
Tales From Topographic OceansTales From Topographic Oceans
Rhino/Elektra 2003
Audio CD$10.91
$7.50 (used)
The Studio Albums 1969-1987The Studio Albums 1969-1987
Atlantic Catalog Group 2013
Audio CD$45.38
$40.33 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Yes Live From House Of Blues 2-CD NEW SEALED 2000 Jon Anderson/Steve Howe US $8.08 Buy It Now 30m 19s
Flying Machine - Yes I Understand 1971 7" Pye 7N 45093 US $5.67 Buy It Now 31m 59s
Jon Anderson of Yes Rare Hand SIGNED Vinyl LP Record In The City Of Angels 1988 US $124.99 [0 bids]
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YES shows & tickets


  • Yes at ASB Theatre, Auckland on 10 Nov 2014
  • Yes Australian Tour on 15 Nov 2014
  • An Evening With Yes on 18 Nov 2014
  • Yes performing Close To The Edge & Fragile on 23 Nov 2014
  • Yes performing Close To The Edge & Fragile on 24 Nov 2014
  • Yes performing Close To The Edge & Fragile on 25 Nov 2014
  • Yes performing Close To The Edge & Fragile on 27 Nov 2014
  • Yes performing Close To The Edge & Fragile on 28 Nov 2014

YES discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

YES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.24 | 889 ratings
Yes
1969
3.26 | 937 ratings
Time and a Word
1970
4.28 | 1944 ratings
The Yes Album
1971
4.42 | 2419 ratings
Fragile
1971
4.65 | 3163 ratings
Close To The Edge
1972
3.88 | 1734 ratings
Tales From Topographic Oceans
1973
4.36 | 2111 ratings
Relayer
1974
4.04 | 1404 ratings
Going for the One
1977
2.94 | 1069 ratings
Tormato
1978
3.74 | 1170 ratings
Drama
1980
2.92 | 1105 ratings
90125
1983
2.46 | 804 ratings
Big Generator
1987
2.48 | 739 ratings
Union
1991
3.03 | 664 ratings
Talk
1994
2.04 | 584 ratings
Open Your Eyes
1997
3.27 | 689 ratings
The Ladder
1999
3.76 | 795 ratings
Magnification
2001
3.45 | 779 ratings
Fly From Here
2011
2.49 | 252 ratings
Heaven & Earth
2014

YES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.28 | 685 ratings
Yessongs
1973
3.62 | 350 ratings
Yesshows
1980
2.23 | 178 ratings
9012 Live: The Solos
1985
4.11 | 368 ratings
Keys to Ascension
1996
3.95 | 344 ratings
Keys to Ascension 2
1997
2.53 | 107 ratings
BBC Sessions 1969-1970 Something's Coming (2 Cds)
1997
3.59 | 163 ratings
House of Yes: Live From the House of Blues
2001
2.79 | 65 ratings
YesSymphonic
2001
2.64 | 33 ratings
Extended Versions
2002
2.91 | 29 ratings
Roundabout: The Best Of Yes- Live
2003
3.23 | 120 ratings
The Word Is Live
2005
3.80 | 121 ratings
Live at Montreux 2003
2007
4.28 | 211 ratings
Symphonic Live
2009
4.48 | 96 ratings
Keys To Ascension (I & II + DVD)
2010
3.38 | 26 ratings
Astral Traveller (The BBC Sessions)
2011
3.58 | 101 ratings
In The Present - Live From Lyon
2011
3.46 | 27 ratings
Union Live
2011

YES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.62 | 132 ratings
Yessongs (DVD)
1973
3.14 | 81 ratings
9012 LIVE (DVD)
1985
4.33 | 74 ratings
Yesyears - A Retrospective
1991
3.67 | 34 ratings
The Union Tour Live
1991
2.88 | 43 ratings
Greatest Video Hits
1991
3.57 | 97 ratings
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (DVD)
2000
3.65 | 103 ratings
Keys to Ascension (DVD)
2000
4.59 | 252 ratings
Symphonic Live (DVD)
2002
3.15 | 59 ratings
Yesspeak
2003
2.34 | 70 ratings
Live in Philadelphia 1979
2003
3.09 | 27 ratings
Inside Yes 1968-1973
2003
3.59 | 72 ratings
Yes Acoustic: Guaranteed No Hiss
2004
4.28 | 132 ratings
Songs From Tsongas: 35th Anniversary Concert (DVD)
2005
3.38 | 55 ratings
Live 1975 At Q.P.R. Vol. 1
2005
3.27 | 50 ratings
Live 1975 At Q.P.R. Vol. 2
2005
3.60 | 49 ratings
Yes (Classic Artists)
2006
3.91 | 113 ratings
Montreux 2003 (DVD)
2007
3.86 | 48 ratings
Yes - The New Director's Cut
2008
3.81 | 43 ratings
The Lost Broadcasts
2009
3.17 | 28 ratings
Rock Of The 70's
2009
3.91 | 52 ratings
Union - Live
2010

YES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.15 | 170 ratings
Yesterdays
1975
3.87 | 141 ratings
Classic Yes
1981
3.23 | 87 ratings
Yesyears
1991
3.40 | 60 ratings
Yesstory
1992
3.04 | 63 ratings
The Very Best of Yes
1993
2.58 | 30 ratings
The Best of Yes
2000
3.55 | 438 ratings
Keystudio
2001
2.72 | 21 ratings
Yestoday
2002
4.30 | 97 ratings
In A Word
2002
3.18 | 85 ratings
Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection
2003
2.06 | 55 ratings
Yes Remixes
2003
2.50 | 22 ratings
Topography: The Yes Anthology
2004
4.15 | 26 ratings
Essentially Yes
2006
3.42 | 17 ratings
Collection 2CD: Yes
2008

YES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.21 | 24 ratings
Something's Coming
1969
3.34 | 13 ratings
Looking Around
1969
2.79 | 25 ratings
Sweetness / Something's Coming
1969
3.24 | 13 ratings
Sweet Dreams
1970
3.76 | 29 ratings
Time and a Word
1970
3.91 | 37 ratings
Your Move
1971
5.00 | 1 ratings
Carrusel (Roundabout)
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
And You And I (Part 1 & 2)
1972
3.21 | 37 ratings
America
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
And You And I
1974
3.48 | 14 ratings
Yes Solos
1976
3.17 | 35 ratings
Soon - Sound Chaser - Roundabout
1976
3.60 | 37 ratings
Wonderous Stories 12''
1977
3.95 | 34 ratings
Going For The One 12''
1977
4.00 | 1 ratings
Turn Of The Century
1977
2.58 | 41 ratings
Don't Kill The Whale
1978
3.21 | 30 ratings
Into The Lens / Does It Really Happen?
1980
4.20 | 37 ratings
Roundabout
1981
2.27 | 36 ratings
Owner of a Lonely Heart (promo single)
1983
2.19 | 35 ratings
Owner of a Lonely Heart (EP)
1983
3.27 | 29 ratings
Leave It 12''
1984
3.49 | 26 ratings
It Can Happen
1984
2.81 | 19 ratings
Twelve Inches on Tape
1984
3.27 | 22 ratings
Love Will Find A Way
1987
2.45 | 31 ratings
Rhythm of Love (EP)
1987
3.29 | 19 ratings
Saving My Heart
1991
2.42 | 36 ratings
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
1991
2.82 | 19 ratings
Make It Easy
1991
2.52 | 10 ratings
Yesyears - Sampler
1991
2.82 | 14 ratings
The Calling (single edit)
1994
3.17 | 55 ratings
We Can Fly - Single (Radio Edit)
2011

YES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tales From Topographic Oceans by YES album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.88 | 1734 ratings

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Tales From Topographic Oceans
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Jordi Planas

5 stars Even Jon Anderson has claimed that in digital times "Tales?" would be only about 60 minutes in one CD if they had recorded it now, this masterpiece is incredibly creative in every of his four suites and 80 minutes long. The first two have some of the most pastoral passages in Yes music. The third may be (delightfully) odd at times, but perhaps it was the reaction to the runaway of Bill Bruford with King Crimson, just like saying, "Yes is not enough adventurous for you, even if we've just recorded 'Close to the Edge'? You want challenges with King Crimson? Ok, dig this one?" But one cannot imagine what Yes was yet to achieve with "Relayer" without the unique "The Ancient". And the fourth one, "Ritual", has every special ingredient that has made Yes one of the best prog bands in the known Universe? In a way, every Yes record (at least their classic period from "The Yes Album" until "Going for the One") planted the seeds for the next one. You have dreamy melodies, challenging instrumental passages, superb musicianship. But also plenty of surprises and MAGIC that grows with every listen. "Tales?" is not only a phenomenal record, it's a very pleasant voyage into the depths of spiritual music.

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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.49 | 252 ratings

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Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

1 stars No. My goodness, no.

Beautifully written songs put through an industrial-grade production blender to produce porridge. Fodder. Cotton wool for the ears. Music that begs to be played as the background to something else. Music that never, not for a second, commands attention. No feathers ruffled. Nothing out of place. Music so scared to offend it misses any chance it had to delight. Unambitious. Safe.

Bland.

If this were food it'd be the stuff they feed you after a major operation while you're waiting to resume your life. Which is exactly how you feel waiting for this album to end. Waiting. Waiting...

Look, if you don't want to be compared to your years of greatness, don't hire a soundalike vocalist. Don't come up with a Roger Dean album cover. Don't pad your AOR songs out to prog length. I cannot tell you how much I prefer the risks you took when you made 90125 (yes, risks) than the deathbed music you've come up with here - six terrifyingly meaningless black holes of suck sandwiched between two marginally acceptable sub-YES numbers.

Here's a plan: stick 'Believe Again' and 'Subway Walls' together with the 'Fly From Here' suite and you've got a decent three-star album.

Anything rather than this soggy, samey exercise in limp banality.

YES. Does it blend? Yes it does.

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 Fly From Here by YES album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.45 | 779 ratings

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Fly From Here
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

3 stars If there was ever an album which would stand or fall based on how it met people's expectations, YES's 'Fly From Here' is the one. Well, until PINK FLOYD's 'Endless River' comes out, I guess.

So, how does one listen to the first new album in a decade from YES, indisputably the poster group for Prog Rock? Because that first listen really matters: it colours one's subsequent approach to the music. Get it wrong and it might be years, if ever, before the music makes sense.

You set aside expectations as much as you can. You refrain from doing your research: don't read about it in advance, don't even find out which of the twenty or so ex-YESsers are actually playing on the album. Don't read reviews...

Er. But seriously, do you really need to be told you need to listen to this with an open mind?

I listened with a closed mind, sadly. Listening for nothing but any echo, however faint, of that insane period in the early-mid 70s when YES were possessed by mad music-lovin' space alien prog gods with power and funk and glory and beauty. I never actually heard the music on the album. I listened for the absence, not the presence, of music - and so, of course, I heard it. Absence. It wasn't until I heard them live in Auckland that I actually 'heard' the album, or at least the 'Fly From Here' suite, because it snuck up on me: I was there to listen to the classics, so had no expectations.

So what do we actually have here, as opposed to what we don't have?

First, a genuinely powerful epic long-form classic. It's a little simpler than I'd like but it is classic symphonic prog: intro-main theme-variations-breakdown-reprise. The titles of the subsections make this explicit. Second: a series of five rather dispensable rock tracks redolent of 80s rock. Third: excellent musicianship by three of the band members. SQUIRE plays well, even vigorously at times: his work on the title track is superb, reminding me more than a little of this bloke I remember in a 70s band - can't quite put my finger on it... HOWE and DOWNES use their instruments mostly to add solidity and colour without ever being outstanding. BENOIT DAVID, sadly, is a disappointment. He's a small grey speck almost completely obscured by the long shadow of JON ANDERSON. His voice is apologetic rather than commanding. Selected for his similarity to ANDERSON, DAVID struggles to impose himself.

But the worst criticism must be leveled at the drum machine... hold on, it says ALAN WHITE played on the record. Surely not? WHITE single-handedly (well, it sounds like he's playing with one hand and no feet) rips a star off the rating for this album. Imagine if the band had used a drummer interested in syncopation, who could inject a little bit of funk, or swing - who worked with SQUIRE to counterpoint the melodies. That's all we needed here to make these songs pop from the speakers, but we don't get it. The drumming is insipid. I imagine when they fished WHITE out of the cryo- revival unit they didn't notice the red lights blinking. Listen to his work on the final song, 'Into The Storm'. The chaps are really trying, bless them, funky Tormato-era bass, melodies tripping over themselves, and WHITE's flat rock-by-numbers snare-on-the-third-beat drumming. And I am deliberately targeting his best performance on this record: for the worst, listen to the lettuce-limp 'Hour Of Need'. No, don't.

'Fly From Here' is a genuine entry in the YES canon. I think it represents a nice freshening of their late 70s period, and the eponymous six-part suite is worth the price of the record.

But don't take my word for it...

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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.49 | 252 ratings

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Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by DragonsDream

4 stars I really wanted to like Fly From here. I was hoping for a return to drama-style harder edge prog rock. Unfortunately, I didn't get that and as much as I tried, I just didn't love the album. So when I picked up Heaven & Earth, my expectations weren't sufficiently lowered. Despite being excited by another gorgeous Roger Dean cover and the promise of 4/5 of the Drama line up, I knew not to expect too much. And Yes didn't deliever too much.

However, I find myself really loving this album. The melodies have stuck in my head and I have played it innumerable times in the past weeks. What's weird though is that it isn't a great Yes album. It's barely a good Yes album. It's Yes-light. It's pleasant, professional elevator-Yes. If I didn't know it was a Yes album, I'd be praising the songs and referring to this unnamed band as "sort of like Yes but poppier" Sort of like Yes. That's a good description. It's really excellent sort-of Yes.

I love Yes. I love this album. And yet, those two statements aren't related. Because this fails as a Yes album. But succeeds as a good light rock album.

It's not bad in an Open Your Eyes way or generic mainstream like Big Generator or even interesting mainstream like Talk but neither is it prog rock Yes a la Drama or CttE. I guess the closest thing I can compare it to is that (to me, dreadfully boring) Anderson/Wakeman album from a couple of year ago, but done really well.

So should you get this? If you are a Yes diehard and all things are measured against Fragile and TfTO then probably not. If you like the lighter side of Yes and can appreciate something that is more Yes-like than actual Yes, give it a spin. You'll probably still be disappointed but it is worth a listen.

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 Keys to Ascension 2  by YES album cover Live, 1997
3.95 | 344 ratings

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Keys to Ascension 2
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Keys to Ascension 2' - Yes (69/100)

Even if it fell short of its promise to bring back Yes as they were in their golden age, the Keys to Ascension duology made for a thankful respite, following a string of terrible or otherwise underwhelming work. Especially as someone who has seen fit to go through their discography in chronological order, "That, That Is" and "Mind Drive" in particular feel like an oasis after some Biblical trek through a sweltering desert of inspiration-deprived AOR, cheap pop antics and enough lineup changes to make me wondering if the band I had been listening to could rightfully be called Yes anymore. Anyways, Keys to Ascension seems to acknowledge every gripe a long-time fan of the band could ever have. We have the classic lineup and the promise of fresh epics delivered alongside some of their best classic material. Considering this was happening around twenty years since their last great album, the whole thing sounded too good to be true.

In a way, it was too good to be true. Other fans have lauded Keys to Ascension as a true return to form for the boys who brought us Close to the Edge, with the lion's share of the praise going towards the first half. Keys to Ascension 2, on the other hand, has never achieved the same popularity. While the first Keys to Ascension disappointed me for not having enough of an emphasis on the promising studio material, this sequel has disappointed me for the opposite reason. Looking back on my experience with the first, most of my lasting appreciation towards it had to do with the impeccable, Yessongs-calibre live set. Keys to Ascension 2 has more (and better) studio material than its companion, but the 'new' songs Yes offered on this one aren't enough to balance out the less impressive live portion this time around.

I think part of the lacklustre response towards Keys to Ascension 2 has to do with the fact that we had an otherwise strong first half to compare it to. "Be the One" and "That, That Is" felt dry to me, but the hour-plus of live material was enough to give Yessongs a run for its money. "Awaken", "The Revealing Science of God", "Siberian Khatru", "Roundabout" and "Starship Trooper" are here for the taking- really, it's the sort of god- tier live set I would have dreamed the lacklustre Yesshows from 1980 to be. In comparison, Keys to Ascension 2 has "Going for the One", "Turn of the Century" and "Close to the Edge" going most in its favour. The choice of songs isn't bad to be sure, but there's a certain sense that these tracks were the live cuts that didn't make it onto the first half. Even the most promising cut seems to be missing something: "Close to the Edge" was an absolute firestorm when heard on Yessongs, but here, they're slowed down the tempo to the point where it seems anaesthetic compared to other versions. On the other hand, the beautiful "Turn of the Century" (one of my favourite Yes songs period) is given a gorgeous treatment, possibly even outdoing the original off Going for the One.

While Keys to Ascension may have been devised as a pair of live albums, I was honestly most excited to hear them on the merit of having fresh material from the 'prog' Yes. Since Drama, the only great progressive piece the band had done was "Endless Dream", from the otherwise awful Talk. Just listening to a few minutes of the hyperpowered synth solos on "Mind Drive" was enough to get me hooked on the potential. While "That, That Is" off the first Keys to Ascension offered the shape and form of an epic, it honestly sounded like the band were still too stuck in the AOR mindset of Union to make the translation back into progressive rock really work. Thankfully, Keys to Ascension 2 shows Yes operating on a better level than before with the new stuff. "Mind Drive" in particular has earned a vast repute among hardcore fans, and for good reason; although it feels rigidly structured, the nineteen minute epic is home to some of the best instrumental passages the band had offered up in decades. "Foot Prints" starts off with a bright a capella redolent of "I've Seen All Good People", and evolves into a powerful track that actually feels a mite better written than "Mind Drive". "Bring Me To The Power" and "Children of Light" take this same throwback-ish approach, though they're more tangled in the hollow cheese of their recent era than I might have liked. Lastly, compared to the relative fireworks of the rest of the studio material, "Sign Language" caps off the album on an almost Floydian note, with Steve Howe noodling softly over some quiet instrumentation. Were this an official studio album, I'd say that "Sign Language" was undercooked, or belonged on a Howe solo album. For the sake of this however, it's enough to know the band want to play with sounds like that again.

Best intentions and displays of excellence aside, I cannot help but feel that Yes committed some sort of hubris to present new material alongside their immortal classics. Keys to Ascension is as well-intentioned a project as ever you're going to hear from a once-great band; when you've had success in prog and pop alike, it takes courage and dedication to challenge your heyday head on. While I'm not convinced the studio material is excellent, Keys to Ascension 2 shows the band demonstrating more confidence in their current work, rather than simply performing (admittedly brilliant) renditions of their older work. This zeitgeist would lead Yes into a brief renaissance, leading on with The Ladder and culminating with Magnification. Taken as a whole, the Keys to Ascension duology is one of the most promising turnarounds in progressive rock history. It's a shame it wouldn't be long before they burnt out once again.

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 Keys to Ascension  by YES album cover Live, 1996
4.11 | 368 ratings

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Keys to Ascension
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Keys to Ascension 1' - Yes (74/100)

As well-intentioned as some of their reinventions may have been over the course of their career, Yes have been notoriously bad at handling lineup changes since their golden period ended with Tormato. Drama and 90125 could both be argued as successful evolutions in their own way, but those moderate success have long been outshadowed by the string of bumpy failures that followed them. Union marked a particularly horrible moment wherein two lineups attempted to collaborate. Open Your Eyes tried to pick up the pieces after Trevor Rabin's departure as guitarist and resident composer, resulting in some of the most anaesthetic music this side of Kenny G. I need not mention the recent failure Yes have had with their latest 2014 garbage; dwelling on these insults to Yes' once-glorious career has the pleasant effect of making the Keys to Ascension duology feel that much more meaningful in context. Instead of trying to reinvent themselves into another AOR-induced oblivion, Yes appear to have a moment of lucidity after Open Your Eyes wherein they seem to understand the shape of their career the way their listeners do. Virtually everyone can agree Yes released their best material in the classic lineups of the '70s, and that's exactly what the band try to reconstruct here. Keys to Ascension I is the best thing released by Yes in years, and while the predominantly live content on album is not quite so appetizing as the thought of relatively 'fresh' material by the classic, proggy Yes, it's undoubtedly the best thing they had released in years.

For the first time in years, Yes appear to have been taking their listeners into consideration. While the 90125 era earned them just as much (if not more) of a fanbase, it's Close to the Edge, Fragile and The Yes Album that contemporary listeners take heed of. Whether it's due to external outcries for the 'old Yes', or simply a result of the classic members being in the right mindset, and in the right place and time, Keys to Ascension is a throwback to the Yes of old. Both parts feature live and studio tracks; of the two, Keys to Ascension 1 offers the superior live half. Yes have never shirked away from the lofty aim of realizing their biggest epics on live records, and this side of the duology is no exception. To me, Keys to Ascension 1 fills in the gaps that the disappointing Yesshows from 1980 failed with; Tales from Topographic Oceans and Going for the One each offered epics that could work wonders in the live sphere, but with the faded inspiration the band had going for them at the dusk of the 70's, Yesshows ended up feeling much more dull than it rightly should have been, especially in the wake of the marvellous first live LP, Yessongs. Here, on top of some of their best live staples (including the energetic "Siberian Khatru" and "Roundabout"), Yes perform two epics. "The Revealing Science of God" is realized beautifully here, and makes for a far better live demonstration of Tales of Topographic Oceans than Yesshows' choice of "Ritual". Even better still, Yes perform the masterful "Awaken" in all of its neoclassical glory. That epic is like hearing a symphony transposed onto rock instrumentation, and I feel the same sense of awe here as I did first hearing it on Going for the One

While Keys to Ascension 2 offered more (and better) studio material, the pair of studio tracks that round off this release are impressive. While the quality is not up to the standard to which I hold their old stuff (only "Mind Drive" from the second part dares to compare), it's refreshing to hear the band sound like they're really trying again. It would be a pipe dream to hope Yes would pick up where they left off in the '70s; the influence of their career since still weighs heavily in the music; the punchy Rabin production is here, as well as the unfortunate schmaltz of Union and Open Your Eyes. "That, That Is" has some moments of brilliance, but suffers from an aimless structure and many parts that feel as if they'd have been best kept in a pop song. Specifically, the de facto 'verse section' of the compostion has the same chippy and rushed vocals that made "Almost Like Love" off Big Generator the wreck that it is. While Yes have clearly set out to write epics here, they still seem stuck in pop mode, and as a result, these two tracks often feel like a pair of muddled pop tunes that had their instrumental sections branched out. With that in mind, Keys to Ascension 1 doesn't excite me as much as I was hoping it would; even if the live material is spot-on, both albums in this duology are made or broken based on the studio material, and neither "Be the One" nor "That, That Is" carry much magic in them. Luckily, the second album would fare better in this department.

My biggest gripe (or confusion) with Keys to Ascension is the structure of the duology itself. There's no harm in a live album, but the mix of live performances of the '70s material with a handful of fresh studio tracks feels odd. Yes are clearly trying to revive the excitement and respect created by their classic material here, and as great as it is to hear live renditions of "The Revealing Science of God" and "Awaken" especially, it's difficult to feel so excited about a band releasing recordings of songs that were close to thirty years old at the time of Keys to Ascension's release. For better or worse, the studio material was (and is) the most promising thing on the album, but we're left to hear these recordings without the benevolent context of an album structure. And yes, I know Keystudio compiles all of the studio work from the two halves together, but it should be seen as a compilation, rather than the songs' native home. Neither side of Keys to Ascension has ever achieved much attention compared to the classic work, and I'm left to wonder whether that would have been different, had the studio material been originally released together, and the album sported as a flagship in their discography, rather than the ancillary role live albums tend to fall into.

Both in the studio and live tracks, there is quality here. For the live set, Yes offers the experience the disappointing Yesshows should have been, giving Going for the One and Tales from Topographic Oceans in particular the representation they deserved on a live album. While the studio material isn't quite as successful in living up to the expectations I'd have for the classic lineup, "Be the One" and "That, That Is" offer a much-needed reprieve from the nonsense Yes put out throughout the 90s, though for my money, Keys to Ascension 2 offers a stronger set of studio material. Ultimately, Keys to Ascension 1 covers the ground of the classic Yes quite well, and makes for an excellent live album. I'm just not convinced it goes any farther than that.

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 Relayer by YES album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.36 | 2111 ratings

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Relayer
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Deathangel

4 stars Relayer is a bit of a contradiction

On the one hand it has one of the best epic tracks ever written: The Gates Of Delirium is an effortless, massive journey of a track that takes the listener to the brink of war and back. It builds brilliantly, like only Yes can, and the extended instrumental section is literally breathtaking (for me at least) in its excitement. The build and release and subsequent explosion of Steve Howe's guitar riff is sooo good, and of course the emotional end section with Jon's perfect voice always sends shivers down my spine. An epic in every sense of the word, made all the better for having Patrick Moraz's breath of fresh air keyboard sounds in the mix.

So, what a great side of vinyl (for those that remember such things). And then you turn over and get two very run of the mill Yes tracks, both of which are 'not too bad'.

Admittedly 'Sound Chaser' is a great example of how to develop one musical idea into a 9 minute track, and it's certainly exciting in places, but ultimately not as good as anything from 'Fragile' or 'The Yes Album'. And 'To Be Over' is, well, just a little pointless. Similar but nowhere near as good as the closing section of TGOD.

Relayer has a similar layout to 'Close To The Edge': one great side of music and one 'so so' side. A definite 4 stars for TGOD though.

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 Yesshows by YES album cover Live, 1980
3.62 | 350 ratings

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Yesshows
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Yesshows' - Yes (55/100)

There seems to be a general consensus that Yes' first live album Yessongs is something of a masterpiece. At two hours and six sides long, it takes the scope of the band's vision to its natural zenith, offering a cross-section of the band's best work over the span of their three most classic records. It seems fitting, then, that Yes' second live album would attempt to follow in the ambitious footsteps of Yessongs, this time largely representing the period between 1973's Tales from Topographic Oceans and Tormato, the tumultuous swansong to the band's classic era. While Tales from Topographic Oceans and Relayer are actually my two favourite Yes albums, Yesshows still seems to fall short of Yessongs in virtually every way. Besides feeling like a half-hearted addendum to their first live LP, Yesshows doesn't quite come together the way it could have. There's nothing dreadfully wrong it, but there's very little of that same refreshing magic that made Yessongs such a gem.

I don't think there could have been any way Yes could make a truly weak live album using material from their 1973-78 period. Although a live album should be judged for the way it presents material rather than the material itself, having a library of brilliant music to work with certainly makes the matter of making a good live album that much easier. In the case of Yesshows, I'm surprised it didn't work out better than it did. Tormato and Going for the One had choice cuts readily available for the energetic short-form songwriting, whilst Relayer and Tales from Topographic Oceans offered a taste of Yes at their boldest. Not to mention, there were still plenty of songs from their earlier catalogue they could submit without dubbing over the selections on Yessongs. While Yessongs had a nigh-impeccable choice of material, Yesshows is more of a mixed bag. "Going for the One" is a suitably amazing choice for the album, with an infectious chaos that translates perfectly live, and while I've never been a fan of the organ-heavy "Parallels", it's a solid way to open the performance following their signature Stravinsky's "Firebird" intro.

On the other hand, "Time and a Word" and "Wonderous Stories" do very little with the potential allotted to them by the live setting. Neither of them are particularly marvelous in studio, and there's nothing here that changes my mind any. "Don't Kill the Whale" fares a little better, but lacks the kick and punch of "Going for the One". I think the most pronounced element that defines Yesshows is actually the wasted potential for the more ambitious cuts. I've made no secret about my love towards Relayer's "The Gates of Delirium", and any track from "Tales from Topographic Oceans" would (and should) have made for an excellent cornerstone to the album. Sadly, these live renditions don't do nearly as much as I would have hoped for. Perhaps I'm comparing it too much to the vivace of Yessongs' most proggy material, but Yes' performance feels dull compared to their studio versions. With a live album, I expect to hear the music performed with more intensity and urgency than the studio. While Relayer's version of "The Gates of Delirium" sets a heavy precedent with its chaotic faux-musique concrete noise and production, Yesshows' version is dull and streamlined. Undoubtedly for the sake of vinyl limitations, the originally twenty minute "Ritual" has been split into two parts. If there's any part of the album where Yes have clearly tried to reinnovate themselves, it's with this epic, but even then I don't find myself entirely convinced. Whereas "Ritual" was originally a sleepy epic with some beautiful restraint and otherworldly atmosphere, the two halves are packed up with a noddy intro from Jon Anderson and added percussion passage towards the end. The Alan White drum showcase is a nice touch, but the introduction to "Ritual" here feels pretty undesired. Having some banter and dawdling helps to create a live impression, but here Anderson is only giving thanks to the road and laser/light people. It's good to give credit to people who have helped make a show a success, but it's entirely puzzling to hear this credit given for the part of the performance we're not seeing.

Yesshows doesn't match Yessongs in any way, nor does it offer any improvement on the muddy mixing that album had. What we have is an inferior live album that seems to acknowledge the fact it is lesser in inspiration and ambition to Yes' first bout. Released following Drama and the breakdown of Yes' classic lineup, Yesshows was compiled with the knowledge that the days of glory were now over. Maybe that sense has translated somehow into the album. It's a functional live album in most respects, but there's nothing here that would make the songs favourable over their in-studio counterparts.

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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.49 | 252 ratings

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Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by fraanco3

2 stars What a dull and schmaltzy affair Heaven and Earth is!! Karaoke Yes all wrapped up neatly with a bow and ready for an elevator.

I'm sorry, but it is NOT too much for a Yes fan to expect creative, intelligent music. Instead, we get a squishy, safe record that satisfies none of a Yes listener's musical senses.

If Yes wants to make this kind of fluff, call it something other than Yes. Labeling this a Yes product and capitalizing on a 'name' brand showcases the obvious greed of the the record company and musicians. Sad to say I spent money on this unmemorable effort.

1.5 stars.

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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.49 | 252 ratings

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Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Gallifrey

1 stars I feel like I've just eaten 40 kilos of gummy bears.

Like quite a few people, I didn't actually think Fly From Here was that bad. Sure, a lot of it was down to Benoit David, and the titular suite had enough glimpses of those stellar melodies from the last two Mystery albums that I love so much, but on the whole I thought the album was okay.

Unlike quite a few people, I have never really liked Yes, ever. Now, a whole lot of you are going to be shouting "then what the hell are you doing here! Piss off!", and I completely understand that. Yes are a band that have been constantly recommended to me, but aside from "Roundabout" and those aforementioned moments on the Fly From Here suite, I have never understood any of the praise this band has gained. And yet here I am, reviewing this new album from them, which has had near universal panning from fans and critics alike. I guess I'm a bit of a masochist - I regularly come towards these sorts of albums knowing I will hate the hell out of them with no expectations, just ready to write a scathing review. It's therapeutic, in a way, writing my feelings on such complete an utter garbage. Admittedly, this is nowhere near as fun as the panning I gave Transatlantic's Kaleidoscope earlier this year (an album which is no better than this), since everyone seems to hate this (not just me). But after listening to this album a whole two times (!) I can't help but feel that the sick feeling in my stomach wasn't worth any form of therapy, and to answer the people questioning why I'm here - I don't need to be a Yes fan to know that this album is mind-numbingly bad.

What gets me the most about this kind of modern symphonic prog revival music is how utterly vapid and empty everything sounds. From the fluffy synths to the light guitar lines to the bouncy bass to the soppy AOR vocal melodies, everything just sounds so inoffensive. If saying the word wouldn't get me stoned to death, I might even call it "gay", in both the modern meaning relating to flamboyant homosexuality and the traditional meaning relating to saccharine happiness. Listening to this sort of music is like watching a show like the Teletubbies - everything feels so joyous and happy and wondrous and amazing, but in such a fake sort of way, that you can't help but feel there's some seriously dark [&*!#] going on. Are Yes all collectively on laughing gas? Is that how they can make music so lifeless and empty and somehow be happy with it? Honestly, it's a better theory than most. One of my favourite writers, Conor Fynes, noted in his review that it feels like Yes are an insane villain after a brain-altering lobotomy, and I can totally get that vibe. Aside from bits on "Subway Walls" (which has a bunch of other problems to pull it down), all of this album feels like it was written on some mind-altering chemical, but not one of the ones that does anything exciting - more like an anaesthesiac or a sleeping pill.

In terms of the vocalist change, I was actually happy that Benoit David left, if only for the reason that his fantastic voice is better suited with more competent songwriters, but Glass Hammer's Jon Davison as a replacement only made me even more expectant of this album's inevitable failure. Although I know some people who condemn this album and love Glass Hammer's work, I have always felt the same sort of disdain towards them as I do to Transatlantic or The Flower Kings. They're all competent musicians, but none of their music has any sort of punch, it just kind of floats around in the clouds being happy, with synth lines in 7/8 and long winded guitar solos coming along for the ride. Davison isn't a bad vocalist, but his voice to me is so utterly uninteresting that it just sort of meshes in with the uninteresting synth and bass and guitar and drums to make some sort of uninteresting soup. Benoit David has a real knack for a strong vocal hook, so even though the music surrounding him on Fly From Here was as soggy as half- hour old weet bix, he managed to punch his way through the clouds to bring some rather pretty and memorable melodies to the table. Davison has no such skill, unfortunately.

Most of this album just sort of floats by aimlessly without much really happening, all at the same level of emotion (read: none). But I think that when you have music that is completely flat, the terrible moments that come really, really stick out. The synth line that runs through "Step Beyond" is absolutely atrocious. It reminds me of the sort of "music" sounds you'd find in a children's toy, and it's kind of tolerable for a while, but when the kid starts pressing the sound button every five seconds, you have to resist the urge to grab the toy, furiously it apart, smash the batteries and make the child drink the acid from your bleeding hands. It's just that maddening. And it makes everything else in the song so much worse - like when someone does one thing to annoy you, and then you start getting annoyed at literally everything they do. The vocal melodies on it are just so cheesy and pathetic, like they're from a children's sing along show when the kids are learning the names of the colours. And then there are the guitar lines, which really just feel like Steve Howe is playing them because he's expected to as a guitarist. "Oh yeah what key are we in? Oh ok, I'll just play a scale at the end of every bar. Luckily I can still remember what a scale is!"

I think calling this music 'progressive rock' is an enormous push, and not just because it's really poor. There are longer tracks here, but most of them just feel like cheap AOR songs extended to nine minutes because "Yes are supposed to have long songs". There are no diverse or interesting parts here, no groove changes and no great song structures. This, to me, is exactly like those bands that call themselves "prog" because they have synthesisers and moronic concepts. Genre-wise, this album is like every terrible symphonic prog revival album from the last 10 years, but without any of the prog in it. Of the three "prog" tracks here, none of them really do anything other than go in one direction and keep going. There is no climax, no build, just a linear progression of lifeless to lifeless. The first minute of "Subway Walls" is literally the only time this album reaches out of generic AOR, but once that poor organ line comes in, it's straight back to nothingness. But it's not just the terrible prog - "In a World of Our Own" sounds like an 80's pop song, but it hasn't even got a super-catchy chorus to go with it. I recently did sound tech for a musical production of ELO's failed Xanadu album, and I can tell you that every single one of those songs beat this, because although they were cheesy as hell, they embraced it and used it to be super fun, but this is just so half-done, even as a pop song.

So is Heaven & Earth really that bad? I really want to say that no, it isn't, since it's just empty music, not the worst thing in the universe, but the truth is that this album does leave me feeling physically ill. It's is so basic, it's so flat, it is so uncomfortable. On the whole it's just there and it's inoffensive, but there are little moments like the "whooaa whoaa" in the back of "The Game" that turns that nauseous feeling into a little bit of bile at the back of your thought. I would compare this to adult contemporary, but honestly half way through this album I'd give anything to hear Celine Dion come in and put some damn life into it. When I picture this album being played, I picture a bunch of old men sitting down in their rest home waving their arms in sync to "whooa whoaa". There's just no punch to anything here, and in the little moments where we hear a guitar line with a bit of energy (there's one in "Step Beyond"), the rest of the instruments just do nothing to match it, especially Jon Davison's voice. While I can't exactly say this is the worst thing in the universe, I think that music that is so lifeless and so middle-of-the-road deserves such a low score, especially since this is clearly just a cash-grab album and an excuse to tour. Sickeningly soppy and worth every bit of the hatred it's getting.

1.9

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to easy livin for the last updates

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