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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 2360 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars For those not completely decided from the previous 435 reviews and ratings here I offer my two cents on this oft disputed classic.

Perhaps no progressive rock record has generated more controversy, disscussion and pandemonium amongst aficiados as this 6th studio album from Yes. Sandwiched in between the release of what have become arguably two of the band`s finest studio recordings, Close To The Edge and Relayer, Tales From Topographic oceans was issued during a short period during the early 1970s when extended suite-like compositions were in vogue and everybody from Pink Floyd to Jethro Tull were riding this fashionable wave. Hungarian band Omega from behind the Iron Curtain even recorded an epic simply entitled Suite on their 1973 200 Years After The Last War album.

Despite keyboardist Rick Wakeman`s outspoken abhorrence for the work which comprised 4 musically complex peices which each lasted roughly 20 minutes in duration and featured spiritual themes virtually incomprehensible to the average kid buying rock records in 1974 it is to this day one of the biggest selling prog rock albums of all time. Any notions of commercialism were discarded save for a special press package with 3-5 minute suggestion from each track indicated on the actual records sent to radio stations to figure out for themselves what to play. In any case Rick Wakeman departed in disgust, the critics had a field day with it, audience`s attention spans for protracted compositions and thresholds for existential ruminations were tested and by March `74 it had gone gold on both sides of the Atlantic.

Today, almost 35 years after it`s release, the debate rages on as can be gleaned just from the reviews on this website alone. With such mixed standpoints, perspectives and attitudes toward the work, to offer a proper evaluation seems nothing short of a futile proposition. For this very reason one can safely assume that it is indeed unquestionably one of the band`s most important albums and with the convenience of hindsight looking back at over 40 years of the band`s work (more than some classical composers!) it is really up to the individual to evaluate for oneself how this paradox fits into the context of a 40 year recording career. The best advice therefore would to be to explore some of their more quantifyable material such as Close To The Edge, Fragile or more recently The Ladder before attending to this esoteric colossus from one of prog`s undeniably bona-fide upholders of the realm.

Vibrationbaby | 3/5 |


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