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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4367 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars A little under 40 minutes of sheer progressive bliss - this is "Close to the Edge", undeniably Yes' finest hour and one of the undisputed milestones of the genre. I am one of the lucky people who, being older than others on this website, own the original vinyl recording enclosed in Roger Dean's gorgeous gatefold sleeve. But what you can find inside is even better than those magnificent, green-hued images of falling water...

There are only three tracks on the record, but they're worth more than many double albums full of dross. As everyone here knows, Yes have been through innumerable lineup changes, but the one performing on CttE represents without any shade of doubt the cream of prog aristocracy: a rythm section other bands can only dream about, Jon Anderson's inimitable vocals and wonderful nonsensical lyrics (which, by the way, complement the music quite perfectly), Steve Howe's jaw-dropping guitar skills and, of course, the Caped Crusader himself, Mr Rick Wakeman.

As to the music, it is not something you put in the background when you're doing the housework (although I've been known to do that from time to time). It is music you have to listen to if you want to appreciate it in full: Chris Squire's monstrous, rumbling Rickenbacker bass sound, Bruford's crisp, perfect drumming, Wakeman's whistling synths or majestic organ, Howe's razor-sharp electric guitar and lilting, wistful acoustic playing and, over all that, Anderson's soaring vocals create a progressive symphony which the band have never again equalled.

The title-track begins with distant birdsong, then Howe's guitar slices through the peaceful atmosphere. Frantic, bass-driven sections alternate with quieter moments, like "I Get Up I Get Down", where Wakeman's organ playing takes the lion's share, providing a background for Anderson's graceful vocal delivery. "And You And I", a track still very often played live by the band, starts with a beautiful acoustic melody by Howe and features wonderful singing by Anderson. However, strange as it may sound, my favourite track is the closing "Siberian Khatru", with its opening heavy-metal-style riffing and the absolutely marvellous, nonsense-filled ending, "Outboard river/Blue tail/Tail fly/Luther/In time....", where the beautiful vocal harmonies merge with Howe's driving guitar strains.

As everything else in life, CttE may not be to everyone's taste, but if you really want to understand what vintage prog is all about, do yourself a favour and get it at once!

Raff | 5/5 |


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