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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4329 ratings

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5 stars This write-up serves two purposes. As far as the album concern, I just want to express my appreciation towards this seminal work of YES from the best line-up they have ever had in their more than 35 years in music industry, ie. Bruford, Wakeman, Anderson, Howe and Squire. As far as release concern, I just want to give e some words on the 2003 release of the album by RHINO in the expanded and remastered digipak vesion that includes additional 4 bonus tracks : America, Total Mass Retain, And You and I, and Siberia. The reason of preparing this write-up is to commemorate "the dream came true" event that happened exactly one year ago: 25 September 2003 when my prog friends in Indonesia and I were attending YES Second Leg tour in Singapore. What a magic moment that we experienced at that time - it was 29 years in waiting for most of us. Today, some Yesmania in Indonesia play YES music to commemorate the event. Rizal plays "Fragile" DVD audio version and Teguh opened the day with "Siberian Khatru". And I'm writing this review.

The album opens stunningly with an excellent epic track CLOSE TO THE EDGE. It's a long track and structured into four sections of captivating music: i. The Solid Time of Change, ii. Total Mass Retain, iii. I Get Up I Get Down, iv. Seasons of Man. The track starts with a nature sounds of birds created from keyboard and flows into full music with a very complex arrangement: dazzling bass line, dynamic drumming, complicated guitar fills and keyboards. It's interesting to observe at the beginning part of "Solid Time of Change" section where guitar and keyboard do not seem to go in the same direction yet it produces fascinating music. It's brilliant! Vocal line adds up with "aaaaaa" produced by Anderson and Squire voices. This complex beginning is one that makes this track so attractive. When it reaches minute 3:00 the music starts to unite in a more melodic structure led by electric guitar work (the part where people emulate the melody because it's rather simple) and then moves to lyric-based vocal. The music turns to a rhythm section with great drumming, bass line and guitar rhythm in an upbeat mode. I would say that this part is really fascinating and will not erode by the passage of time or by other measures of music advancement.

The transition from first section to second "Total Mass Retain" happens smoothly, marked by lyrical melody in higher tone followed by a transition bar. This second part flows alike the first part but in a relatively higher tone until it reaches lyric part that spells "I get up. I get down" and the music goes silent with keyboard solo. This part remarks the beginning part of third section. The arrangement of vocal line, be it as single voice or duo (Squire and Anderson), coupled with stunning solo keyboard has made this part is really memorable. This is the part where listeners experience their ultimate orgasm enjoying this album, especially the part where the drumming part enters back to the music and Wakeman keyboard creates a fascinating sound.

The experience moves up to the concluding section "Seasons of Man" where all the music and vocal line sum-up in a cohesive way, create an ultimate climax of this epic. No one would argue that the ending part of this track really creates a true climax. It is well composed and skillfully performed by the band. "Seasons will pass you by - I get up. I get down ." is really a true encore. Overall, CLOSE To THE EDGE is a track with great structure and composition - it brings the listener through the waves of musical enjoyment. The more we listen to it, the more we enjoy the track.

Second track AND YOU AND I comprises four sections as well: i. Cord of Life, ii. Eclipse, iii. The Preacher The Teacher, and iv. Apocalypse. As compared to the first track, this one is rather mellow and has relatively lesser high and low point variations. It starts with a stunning acoustic guitar fills followed by vocal line that marks the "Cord of Life" lyrical part. The music flows smoothly with acoustic guitar rhythm at the background till the end of first. The most interesting musical piece is the transition to the second section. The second section is relatively short and it ends up with an acoustic guitar cast in the vein of intro part of the track. But t this one is then followed with a soft keyboard solo that marks the beginning of third section "The Preacher The Teacher". In this section, Wakeman demonstrates his excellent keyboard solo accompanied with dynamic drumming style of Bruford. The music flows to the end section "Apocalypse" that melody-wise is exactly the same with the end part of first section. I don't know why the band names it differently. In another words, it returns to the orginal tagline melody of the track "And you and I called over valleys of endless seas".

Third track is well-known track SIBERIAN KHATRU that used to be an opening track of any Yes live performance (except YESshows that used "Parallels" of "Going For The One" album). It's an uplifting track with relatively fast tempo. It's really a great track for opening the show. All instruments are played dynamically in this track, and the tagline melody of the track is really stunning.

The expanded and remastered version of the CD (RHINO) has an excellent package with colorful booklet including photographs of band members. The design is really good. I enjoy the story in the booklet - it provides great nuances when this great album was created. This was the major reason why I need to own this version. The price was relatively cheap (Sing $ 16.95), I purchased it during the time when I attended Singapore for YES 35 Anniversary Tour (second leg) last year. For those of you who enjoy "the evolution of music" before was made commercial, you might enjoy this version because it has 4 bonus tracks of which 2 were previously unissued ("And You and I" and "Siberia"). However, despite a note of "re-mastered", the sound quality is worse than the original CD version remastered by Eddie Offord. That's why, I still keep the previous version even though I have got this new (2001) version. Overall, I rate this album 5/5 - it's a true MASTERPIECE. Long Live YES! - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Gatot | 5/5 |


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