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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 2348 ratings

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3 stars YES`s less accessible album. Mainly, an album composed by basic ideas by Anderson and Howe, later completed by musical ideas and arrangements by Squire, White and Wakeman. If "Brain Salad Surgery" by ELP could be called "excessive", this could be called "two times excessive". If some critics of prog rock call this kind of music as "excessive", this album is maybe a good example for them. Still, this album also has good things, despite being the YES`s album which I don`t listen very much to. Every "Movement" (as Anderson calls the songs in the sleeve notes) of "Topographic Oceans" has some good melodies, very good keyboard arrangements (even if Wakeman has said that he doesn`t like this album),very good drums and percussion by the then newest member of the band (White) and the usual very good bass guitar parts by Squire. But I don`t understand the meaning of some parts of the lyrics, which as part of a "conceptual album", had to be very important."The Revealing Science of God" is the best song in this album, more accessible than the rest of the songs. "The Remembering" has very good melodies, and it reflects "tranquility" and "musical atmospheres". In this song, Wakeman`s keyboards have a more important role. "The Ancient" is "noisy" sometimes, but it is "Universal" in giving importance to the contributions of several Civilizations to the development of Humanity. In this song, the best thing is an acoustic guitar section with lyrics, which is played sometimes in the present in YES`s concerts (called "Leaves of Green" by some fans in concert reviews in the website "Forgotten Yesterdays"). "Ritual" has some good things, too. In this song, White and Squire have their most important contributions. Howe reprised in this song his "signature melody" from the "Close to the Edge" song. Squire plays a bass solo, followed by White`s drums and percussion solo. After this, the song returns to the musical theme of the start of the song, but the end of the song is like an "anti-climax" because it ends abruptly, and with the sense of sadness or even disillusion (at least for me). Maybe this album could be better if the four "Movements" were originally recorded for one L.P. in shorter forms. But being a double L.P. album, it has a lot of ideas which sometimes seem disconnected one from the other, like the members of YES were struggling how to fill four sides of a double L.P. album. But this album was a good attempt to expand musical ideas over the main conceptual theme of the album. But it also is not the best start for someone who is new to YES`s music.
Guillermo | 3/5 |


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