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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4370 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Unbelievably brilliant and thoroughly beautiful, this is truly the band's finest hour (well, finest 38 minutes). The players never sounded better, the music is perfectly conceived and realized, and the mood is by turns joyous and reflective, mystical and earthy, groovy and pastoral. Put on the title track and close your eyes...seldom has music had the power to sweep me away so totally from start to finish. The lovely ambience slowly fading in, setting the natural and yet exotic mood, building to a peak and then bursting as the frantic first movement scatters around you like surprised birds. Ultimately the chaos resolves as Howe establishes the musical theme, and the band follows in complimentary permutations until the 'song proper' begins with Jon's yearning vocals. I have a slight stirring of discomfort sometimes during the big echoing organ part in the "I get up, I get down" section, but its grandeur works nicely to counterpoint the quiet simple beauty of Jon's little-boy refrains, also to set up the big crashing return to the opening theme, which in turn drives inexorably to the exultant climax ( I'm not ashamed to say this has given me tears of joy from time to time). Then we have the lovely "And you and I", a pastoral ode with 12-string guitar and subtle leslie-filtered electric sliding luxuriously into a soaring mellotron and synth climax. To me, this is the best-sounding Rick Wakeman ever; he comes the closest here to blending his synthetic tones with the more organic mix of the rest of the band. Finally we have "Siberian Khatru" which ends the album on a mystical but driving (almost funky!) note. In a perfect world, there should have been another song afterwards to bring the album full circle, as it is sadly just a little too short, but as it stands this is an almost flawless musical achievement that I will very likely love deeply for the rest of my life.
James Lee | 5/5 |


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