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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover

TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 2357 ratings

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aramg
5 stars No other album on this site has divided reviewers as much as TFTO. An album said to be a "love-it or hate-it" piece. I, for one, am among the former group, as Tales is my favorite Yes album.

While seemingly overblown...to the point where even certain band members hated it, Tales From Topographic Oceans must be viewed as a journey. It begins with The Revealing Science of God...a powerful piece with great work by Howe and Anderson. The Remembering is a much calmer and poppier piece (as close as it comes on this album) with mellow vocals by Anderson, and simpler and more repetitive song structure.

Next, comes the most controversial track on the album: The Ancient: Giants Under the Sun. While this song ends on a smooth and melodic note as many yes tracks do, throughout most of it Yes dares to venture into unchartered territory. Much of this track contains dissonant structure, which strays from much of what Symphonic Prog stands for. This sort of music would receive high praise on a Frank Zappa album, but somehow when Steve Howe plays it, many argue that it's bombastic, meaningless, etc.

The final track on the album, is the often overlooked tour-de-force of the album: Ritual; one that I wish had been performed live more often. This track begins with one of Howe's greatest solos then progresses and constantly builds energy until it's thrilling and emotional finale.

While this album may not be a masterpiece or essential to someone new to Yes or Symphonic Prog, I believe it can certainly grow on listers: apparently many disagree.

aramg | 5/5 |

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