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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 2348 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars This is one of if not THE most divisive album in prog history. This double album that followed CLOSE TO THE EDGE had the unfortunate problem of being compared to the last album (another masterpiece) and being panned by critics (but not universally so) and Rick Wakeman himself who left the band afterwards because of it.

The concept is of a magnanimous nature. It is based on Jon Anderson's interpretation of four classes (called shastras) of Hindi scripture. A concept that allowed the band to build huge sprawling tracks around. After several albums of increasing timespans for the tracks, YES decided to go for broke on this one, recording only 4 tracks and none under 18-minutes long. The consequences of building this symphonic prog behemoth resulted in many fans, who were used to instant gratification with YES' music, bewildered and unsure what to make of the whole thing.

It is a shame, because I consider this one of the best prog albums in all of history. This is my favorite YES album, not by a long shot but it sits right up there with all the other masterpieces that bookend it. The secret to unlocking the inaccessibility of this album is not one, not two, not three listens but a committed return to it. I have been listening to this since the 90s and I still hear new things. The nature of the music is like that of the religious dogma it is based on, it is a practice, a ritual and it's certainly not easy listening. For those who continue to listen to this album, they will find great pleasure and it only gets more cohesive and meaningful over time. For those who do not have it in them to commit the time to really understand this release, it might be better just to avoid it altogether.

Pretentious? Maybe. Enjoyable? Definately!

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |


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