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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4398 ratings

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5 stars Why does YES' "Close To The Edge" deserve 5 stars? Simply because it is - and I don't use this word loosely - a "masterpiece" of Progressive Rock and music in general.

Close To The Edge is not just an essential album for Yes fans or prog fans, but it is an album that I would place on a "Desert Island" list with Tchiakovsky, Pink Floyd, Elvis and Muddy Waters.

The Why: Close To The Edge has all the elements of an epic piece of art - from Roger Dean's minimalist, but engaging design, to the complex arrangements of the musicians, to the transcendental vocal styling of Jon Anderson. Like Fragile, this album soars with goodness.

With only three songs on the album, Yes preferred quality over quantity and they delivered big time here. The beginning arrangement of CTTE is almost like a surreal trip through a jungle that ends around 2:56 into the title track when the harmonic salvation of familiar Yes music comes in. You know that Howe, Bruford, Wakeman and Squire are about to take you on a journey of musical delight and that Jon Anderson is about to awaken your mind to something you may not understand, but feel nevertheless.

The breakdowns in the title track go from a bouncy, almost safari-type ride through the landscape to a funky interlude of musical bliss with Squire's bass dominating and carrying the verses all the way to the "edge". The middle section (or what I refer to as the middle section: Part III - I Get Up, I Get Down ) seems to take the listener to an expansive, dream-like textured world with angelic harmonies comparable to anything classical music has to offer - very ethereal and peaceful before going into organ piece from Wakeman that is nothing less than celestial and returning into a chaotic breakneck arrangement that brings to mind the earlier travel through the jungle before falling back into the bouncy and funky stylings of earlier and climaxing with a transcendental crescendo that surpasses even that of "Wurm" (from Starship Trooper) with Anderson ending the track with a very beautiful rendition of "I Get Up, I Get Down" with the band building and finally fading into the nature sounds that begin the track.

The second song, And You and I, is a classic Yes tune. The beauty of the song touches anything that Yes has ever put together including the 3rd part of CTTE and Time And A Word (which I consider to be a beautiful song). And You and I begins in similar fashion to Roundabout (from Fragile), but does not go into the funky whiplash like Roundabout does. Instead AYAI is a slow, ballad-esque type track that is definitely the friendliest-sounding song on the album. It is very similar to Led Zeppelin's "Rain Song" - or something similar during the opening moments of the strumming guitar. Around about 3:54, Wakeman and Co. deliver another otherworldly, celestial moment of magical musical bliss. The song doesn't change as much as CTTE, but is a precursor of what is to come in later Yes albums, especially "Going For The One." As a matter of fact, AYAI could've easily been a track on late 70s or 90s Yes albums, but I am glad it is on CTTE. It is the middle section of total happiness.

Finally, but not at all least, we come to Siberian Khatru. This is my second favorite song by Yes (CTTE being the first). Siberian Khatru is a groovy piece that takes you on a ride over planet Earth. I imagine soaring through the stars and planets when hearing this piece of music and it always brings me up. Wakeman's keyboard riff and the song's main riff is one that I find myself humming or replaying continuously, but that isn't all of the goodness of this piece. Chris Squire's descending bass gives the track the punch it needs.The section falls into vocal harmonies that are very ethereal (once again), until falling back into the grooving verse riff and finally into a section beginning at 5:22 that takes the listener into deep space with serious intent and very similar to the beginning "Revealing Science of God" (on Tales From Topographic Oceans) before going back into the "space odyssey" riff I mentioned at the beginning. This track is definitely one I wear out on my iPod or CD player.

Close To The Edge is a definitive Yes album; a definitive prog album and one of the greatest (imo) ensembles of music in the history of electric music.

PinkYesGongMachine | 5/5 |


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