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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4369 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars My two cents worth for this heavily reviewed album in the Archives (and any other important prog e-zine anywhere). "Close to the Edge" bears deservedly one of the highest rank medals in the history of prog, and quite rightly so, since it is not only one of Yes's most archetypical musical achievemtns, but it also comprises all the ingredients of classic symphonic prog enhanced at their ultimate expression. A sense of melody that installs while defying itself, a clever set of arrangements that turns basic idea into something complex, well ordained contrasts between serene and somber sections between and within tracks, beautiful and varied colors delivered by the guitars and keyboards, mystic (and even obtuse) lyrics. While not as ballsy as the most energetic "Fragile" material, the "Close to the Edge" repertoire carries on with supreme inventiveness all the way through from the very first sounds of birds at the beginning of the namesake suite. Occupying the whole A- side, 'Close to the Edge' sees the initial bucolic mood of natural sound and synthetic layers effectively broken by the instrumental intro, led by Howe's cleverly dissonant guitar licks and sustained by a precise rhythm labor of Squire and Bruford (special mention to the latter, whose rolls and other adjustments are plain genius). Meanwhile, the keyboard adornments provided by Wakeman are just unreal in its pertinent weirdness. When the sung sections come, you can tell that the new found harmony is set to bring a majestic air to the musical fire that has already been created. The 'I Get Up I Get Down' section comprises the most celebrated use of pipe organ in the history of art rock: Wakeman is so amazing at it, as well as at providing such an electrifying Hammond solo soon after, for the fourth and final section. All thorugh the sung sections, the abstruse lyrics by Anderson had found solid ways of expression across beautiful musical lines and harmonies. If you want more amazing vocal harmonies but in a very different context, you should manadatorily enjoy 'And You and I', one of the most beautiful acoustic-driven prog songs ever. Howe knos how to explore the special peculiarities of the acoustic 12-string and pedal steel guitars for the benefit of a diversity that is effectively developed within the confines of one only song. Once again, Wakeman appropriates a composition not written by him, giving his distinctive Moog sound for enhancing the serenity of the acoustic guitar and the mellotron for completing the cosmic flavors initiated by the floating steel guitar licks. Pure beauty conceived and performed with full enthusiasm: 'And You and I' incarnates a perfect marriage of the mind and the heart. After these two Yes prototypes, comes the third one, the rocker 'Siberian Khatru', which retakes some of the vibe of 'Roundabout' with a lesser level of complexity but a more stylish completion. The harpsichord solo in the middle feels unlikely very coherent within the song's general structure, while the rhythm section builds a solid foundation for Howe's strumming and soloing. The sense of emotional power that this songs inspires in the aware listener's spirit makes it the perfect closure for this undisputed prog milestone.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |


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