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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 2354 ratings

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4 stars One of the most ambitious albums of the 70's, Tales From Topographic Oceans is 4 sidelong epics of truly creative music, and like all of Yes' output from this period, is a work of art that must be sunk into to fully appreicate. In fact, I may not have fully sunk into it myself, as at this point I only see one of the songs to be up there with their best sidelongs, "The Revealing Science of God," a masterpiece that is every bit as good as "Close To the Edge" and "The Gates of Delirium." It's just one of those immaculately written epics that grabs you and says, "hey, this is one of the really good ones." It contains a wonderful main melody, very creative construstion and developements, some of Rick Wakeman's best keyboard work (I really, really love the main synth theme close to the beginning, along with those rising scales he uses to get back into the theme later), and the singing division of the band sounds uncharacteristically relaxed this time around. When they arrive at the final chorus of "what happened to this song we all knew so well... we must have waited all our lives for this moment", before the ending chanting from the beginning, there is a real sense of completion, and you know you've just listened to one of the greatest symphonic accomplishments, waiting to see what could be next. What's next is some very deep, moving music, the melody and synth accompaniment to "The Remembering" being like none else Yes has ever done, with it's own unique developements, on to "The Ancient", with it's more percussive tones, and the unpredictable "Ritual." I don't think those three side long songs are quite as consistant as the first one, each having about a minute's worth of uninteresting music or seeming directionlessness, but it could be that I need to sink into them more, and besides those 3 minutes, all is very pleasant and transportative, the whole album having a very deep, relaxed, "cool colors of the spectrum" sound (very much like the cover) that is very good for a night of getting stoned to low lighting. Each of the 4 pieces sort of belong to a respective instrumentalist, and they all take the oppotunity to shine, with Jon Anderson adding some of his best and most philiosophical lyrics to all 4. Highly recommended.
7headedchicken | 4/5 |


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