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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4345 ratings

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Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars This is an album that has been discussed and reviewed to hell and back again so I'll try to keep this as concise as possible and try to keep things original and interesting.

"Close To The Edge" is a masterpiece; that is already well established. If one were to look at the first three albums of Yes' classic era, they'd find a situation not too much unlike the movie "Rocky". "The Yes Album" is like the trailer and exposition, setting a goal and direction. "Fragile" is like the classic training montage, with its segmented solo pieces forming snippets of the talents at hand. And finally comes "Close To The Edge", the prize fight, the grand spectacle. A powerful catharsis summating the years of work and training and development, the crowning achievement.

There are no weak moments on this record. On all three opuses themes and melodies are highly developed and tie into each other seamlessly, chaos and calm play against each other for a cathartic effect and no musical ideas ever feel too strained or overblown. In all, "Close To The Edge" is one of the golden standards of symphonic prog.

But like I said, that has already been well established by the previous nearly 500 reviews before mine. What I would like to say that doesn't appear to have gained much traction is that, though all three tracks are Olympian-tiered, I believe that "Siberian Khatru" doesn't get enough recognition and is possibly the strongest in the trifecta.

From a strict standpoint of analyzing the music theory of this song, "Siberian Khatru" is a wonderful piece of work. If I had a score of all the song's parts, I could analyze it for weeks without tiring it out. The harmonic and melodic innovations and creativity are impeccable and the frequent time changes are some of the most seamless I've heard in any music. And though its lyrics are Jon Anderson-confirmed nonsense, the song brings about the most clarity and unity in theme and imagery on the album. Steve Howe's subtle rock-and-roll influences hint at the primordial, raw quality of the North Asian landscape while Rick Wakeman's suspended chord motifs enchant the listener with the feeling of overlooking the vast Siberian expanse. Jon Anderson's poetry, cryptic as it is, manages to emulate the trials and tribulations of the humans in this harsh land and the interplay between man and the overwhelming force of nature. This is further amplified by Rick Wakeman's harpsichord solo; the domestic, baroque, eloquent qualities of the instrument counteract the ruggedness of the untamed wild. The song's emotional climax comes, however, at its end, in which several motifs from earlier in the song build upon each other in a thick yet free-flowing instrumental brew reminiscent of the active wilderness of Siberia when eventually Steve Howe's guitar alone shines above the chaos like the aurora on a clear night. And all of this in the most concise time frame on the album!

To summarize, if you like prog rock and have not yet heard "Close To The Edge", you're in for a real treat!

Magnum Vaeltaja | 5/5 |


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