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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover

CLOSE TO THE EDGE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4329 ratings

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TenYearsAfter
5 stars "The sound of a masterpiece"

Back to early 1976. I am watching the new music movie Yessongs (recorded during the Close To The Edge tour in 1973) with some friends who want to introduce me to Yes. Since a year I have become a sympomaniac, and I am very heavy into Peter Gabriel Genesis. But now I am on the brink of discovering Yes, and indeed, I am blown away. Especially during the Wakeman solo spot (hail to the Minimoog and Mellotron choirs), and the epic Close To The Edge: what a mindblowing combination of images and music, it makes a very deep impression on me, as an adolescent who wants to be flooded by this kind of symphonic rock. Late 1977 I am watching Yes during the Going For The One tour, again I am blown away, especially during Awaken, and, yes, indeed, the epic Close To The Edge: when the band plays the bombastic eruption after I Get Up, I Get Down, standing in the mist of frozen oxygen, magical! Because it is a while ago that I listened to CTTE I decided to listen to it this evening, this is my impression.

1. Close To The Edge (18:50) : After a the sounds of nature-like intro a dynamic part follows with amazing interplay featuring fiery guitar, a powerful bass and tight drum beats, inspired by the Mahavishnu Orchestra, some band members were very impressed by this legendary jazzrock formation. Then a swinging rhythm with the focus on Anderson his distinctive vocals and Squire his mighty Rickenbacker. An instrumental break delivers a churchy Hammond sound, followed by a dreamy interlude with soaring Mellotron violins, experimental sounds and vocal harmonies. Anderson sings I Get Up I Get Down in a dramatic way. This builds up the tension, culminating in a mindblowing part with a majestic church organ sound, then fat Minimoog flights, you cannot beg for a more bombastic symphonic rock sound, goose bumps all over my body! Now a heavy eruption with awesome interplay, and a swirling Hammond organ solo, fuelled by a powerful rhythm-section, soon topped with Anderson his inspired vocals singing 'Close To The Edge, Down By The River' and 'I Get Up I Get Down', and the sounds of nature, emphasizing the band its ideas about this composition as a four part suite.

2. And You And I (10:09) : First an intro with fragile twanging acoustic guitar with flageolets, then a cheerful folky atmosphere with acoustic rhythm guitar, Minimoog runs and dreamy vocals, the mellow side of Yes. Suddenly a bombastic eruption with awesome Mellotron violins, tender steel-guitar, from folk to symphonic rock, simply wonderful, and a strong vocal contribution from Anderson. In the second part a slow rhythm with that pleasant folky atmosphere featuring acoustic rhythm guitar, Minimoog flights, a growling bass and Anderson his inspired vocals, building up to another bombastic eruption with those majestic Mellotron violins, and ending with a dreamy folky part, topped with a slowly fading steel guitar.

3. Siberian Khatru (8:57) : This composition starts with a bombastic sound in a mid-tempo featuring awesome interplay, and a delicate presence of the sitar, harpsichord and steel guitar. Steve Howe shines with fiery work on the electric guitar, along subtle Mellotron drops (violin and flute section). Now the sound gradually becomes more lush and dynamic with inventive drumming, then again that swinging rhythm and awesome interplay. Anderson and Howe lead it to a bombastic finale, Yes in its full splendor, what a captivating blend of symphonic rock and jazzrock!

For me there is no doubt this is a masterpiece in the world of progressive rock: Yes is scouting the borders between folk, classical, symphonic rock and jazzrock, in a very fascinating way, with a very varied instrumentation, from warm folky acoustic guitars to a bombastic Hammond, Mellotron and Moog sound, YES!

TenYearsAfter | 5/5 |

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