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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 2327 ratings

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3 stars This is one of those few releases that has split the prog community down the middle. Those who love Tales From Topographic Oceans proclaim it to be a complete masterpiece, while others say the opposite. As for me, I find the content of this album to be questionable but I'm not talking about quality of the compositions, since that's up to each listener to decide upon. My real complaint comes with the fact that this album is not a team effort like the ones that came before and after it.

I think that the first part of The Revealing Science of God/Dance of the Dawn gives a clear indication that everything was not right in the Yes camp. Jon Anderson and Steve Howe dominate the sound of this entire release, leaving Rick Wakeman and the newly recruited Alan White far in the background. Chris Squire does try to compete with the duo in command, but never really manages to get more than a few notable moments in the sun. This is a huge problem for me that makes this release almost unworthy of the classic Yes title.

How could a band with such a clear direction in the past forget all about what made them great and concentrate on only a small portion of its sound? I've never considered Steve Howe's contribution to the Yes sound nearly as important as that of Chris Squire and especially Rick Wakeman. His guitar was a complementary addition to the overall style but never made much sense as the stem of the Yes sound. This gets even harder to gasp while listening to these stretched out performances.

I was never able to get through this release in one sitting but that doesn't mean that I haven't learned to enjoy this album in smaller portions. Even to this day, I find many of the arrangements here to be highly questionable. Still, it's difficult to imagine that Yes would remain at their golden era status quo after Bill Bruford's departure and I certainly respect them for taking a risk. Ultimately Tales From Topographic Oceans is a gamble for any Yes fan and I recommend to approach this release with a careful consideration.

**** star songs: The Revealing Science Of God/Dance Of The Dawn (22:22) The Remembering/High The Memory (20:38) Ritual/Nous Sommes Du Soleil (21:33)

*** star songs: The Ancient/Giants Under The Sun (18:35)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |


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