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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.37 | 3002 ratings

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5 stars After coming under critical fire for their self-indulgent, pretentious and overblown 1973 leviathon Tales From Topographic Oceans, Yes continued to push the envelope with Relayer which was released a scant 11 months later in November 1974. With keyboardist Rick Wakeman having baled out in disgust with the music direction the band was taking and Swiss-born Patrick Moraz now in the fold, Yes acquired a more devious quality with shades of The Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson and Stockhausen.

The tighter, more metallic sound was a deviation from their brand of progrock which, unlike contemporaries such as ELP or Gentle Giant, tended to have a "pretty" countenance to it. Relayer was certainly their most mathematical work beset with counter-tempos, counterpoint and speed of light instrumental passages that bordered on jazz rock fusion particularily on Soundchaser, which was based on a guitar/synth cadenza and which also became their show opener. This can be directly attributed to Moraz`s entry into the band with his improvisational prowess which also gave the band ethno textures in the form of South American elements. The philisophical lyrics were still in place, however, as were choral sections and disjointed song structures on the side long showpiece Gates Of Delerium which was unequivically a return to the form of Close To The Edge. A war & peace theme is established on the closing section of Gates Of Delerium entitled Soon The Light and was resumed on the album closer To Be Over. Ironically, in the conext of the rest of the album these two captivating pieces with their intense lyrics and meliflouous melodies are perhaps the "prettiest " compositions to be heard in the etire Yes lexicon..

In 1974 progrock was still in vogue and the addition of Patrick Moraz further consolidated Yes` faculty to progress within the framework of the genre. Although he would not stay with the band for long, Moraz`s contributions gave the band another dimension that most definitely would not have surfaced had Rick Wakeman, who was adamant about not wanting to have anything with free-form jazz explorations, remained with the band. Nonetheless, Relayer was the last Yes album to be true to the spirits and traditions of `70s progrock until the The Ladder was released in September 1999. A fan favourite of many, Relayer is a Yes album that stands alone and offers a darker more contemplative aspect of the Yes collective.

Vibrationbaby | 5/5 |


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