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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 2347 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars So, here we are with one of the most contravertial work of Yes ! My entry to Yes was "Yessongs" which I purchased in November 1973. Their first studio album I purchased was "TFTO". I bought it second hand a few weeks after its release from a deceived fan (already) ! And I quite liked it. At the time, no one was arguing about the fact of getting four tracks to fill a double album. Isn't it what we call YesEpics ? People say it is a pretentious work. Well, I do not know. To me, it does not sound more pretentious than "CTTE" which I consider as a masterpiece of the genre we all love and one of the many highlights of the band.

It is true to say that if they had stuck to a single album (my original one being a double vinyl) they should have produced another masterpiece. Actually, the first LP is absolutely gorgeous. "The Revealing Science Of God" and "The Remembering" truely belong to the most elaborate and nice YesMoments. Incredible bass and guitar playing, subtle keys and great, great emotional vocals. IMO, the vocal parts are absolutely MAGICAL on those two tracks. There are less musical passges than average here, so the amount of text to be remembered (hence "The Remembering ? - just kidding) is really impressive. You'd better not suffer from Alzheimer to perform that one. This reminds me of a comment from Ian Anderson saying that they were scared to S H I T before their supporting tour for "Thick" because they were afraid to forget something. I guess Jon (the other Anderson) must have felt this as well. Unfortunately, the second disc, is way behind. "The Ancient" being really boring all the way through. Fortunately, it is the shortest track (still over eighteen minutes) ! "Ritual" is again far much better, it rocks solidly and Steve's guitar is really great. But the song has also its weaks : a quite dull section that will last for almost three minutes with some "percussion" work (from 14'15 through 17'00). This section reminds me of the later "Waiting Room" from Genesis on "The Lamb". It is beautifully followed by the closing part "Nous Sommes Du Soleil - We Love When We Play"). It is a pure marvel of almost five minutes. It is the core of the inspiration of a future epic to come : "Gates Of Delirium" and its wonderful closing section "Soon".

I have listended extensively to this double album (YES, IN A ROW). I can only advise one thing : if you can get hold of the remastered version, there is an alternate version for "The Revealing Science Of God" which is really worth and almost on par with the final one. I only had wished that instead of a studio run-through for "Giants Under The Sun" (The Ancient") which is as boring as the final version, they would instead add an alternate version of "The Remembering". But maybe this was not available. With this remastered version, you'll get an additional forty minutes of TFTO. Isn't it great ? Four stars.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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