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Yes Keystudio album cover
3.59 | 522 ratings | 45 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Foot Prints (9:09) *
2. Be the One (9:51) #
- a. The One
- b. Humankind
- c. Skates
3. Mind Drive (18:38) *
4. Bring Me to the Power (7:25) *
5. Sign Language (3:29) *
6. That, That Is (19:15) #
- a. Togetherness
- b. Crossfire
- c. The Giving Things
- d. That Is
- e. All in All
- f. How Did Heaven Begin
- g. Agree to Agree
7. Children of the Light (6:34) *
- a. Lightning
- b. Children of Light
- c. Lifeline

Total Time 74:21

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / lead vocals, synth guitar (3), harp
- Steve Howe / pedal steel, 6- & 12-string acoustic & electric guitars, 5-string bass (2), backing vocals
- Rick Wakeman / keyboards
- Chris Squire / bass, piccolo bass (2), backing vocals
- Alan White / drums, backing vocals

- Billy Sherwood / producer (1,3-5,7), mixing

Releases information

Studio tracks recorded in 1995-96, previously included in the Live albums:
# "Keys to Ascension I", 1996
* "Keys to Ascension II", 1997 ; track 7 with a partially different mix

Artwork: Roger Dean with Gottlieb Bros. (design & photo)

CD Sanctuary Records ‎- CMRCD177 (2001, UK)
CD Castle Music ‎- RAWCD 179 (2002, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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YES Keystudio ratings distribution

(522 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

YES Keystudio reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars I don't have the album as such but I have the two Keys To Ascenscion , which amounts to the same. I was planning to do my own compilation from those studio tracks and will still do it but probably not in the track ordershown here. Their best album since Relayer , this was the return of greater things for Yes. I would start with the strongest of those numbers Mind Drive (as good as Awaken) . Children and prints would follow up then probably coming up next That That Is but then the quiet Howe number and Power to separate That from Be The One as the two tracks from Keys 1 sound a lot alike to me and remind me of the Drama album sound. This easily makes the better album since the 70's and until now . And to think they will make a horrible album just after that ...... please shut your ears.
Review by chessman
4 stars I have been a Yes fan since the early to mid seventies. They were the first prog band I got into (about a month before I got into Genesis). Like most fans, I think their best material started with "Fragile", and ended with "Going For The One". Every album at this time is a classic, with the possible exception of "Tales From Topographic Oceans", which I purchased on vinyl when it came out and found to be disappointing. However, I haven't heard it for years, so may have different views now. I have to admit I haven't heard every Yes album - most of the ones after Tormato are unknown to me, although I have heard a couple through a friend of mine. Anyway, I read the reviews for Keystudio on this very site and decided to take a chance on it, seeing as how everyone said it was 'back to the 70's' in style. Well, I have to say I haven't stopped playing it since I purchased it! It really is tremendous! Yes, it should have been the follow up to "Going For The One", it is that good. It has a similar sound and production to that classic, although does sound a little more modern. The opener, "Footprints", is excellent, Jon being in fine voice here, and Steve Howe sounding like the vintage Steve Howe from days of yore. In fact, he is like that throughout the album, with one brief, notable exception. Anyway, the opener has strong melody, maybe a little repetitious, but infectious. Chris Squire plays as he did in his youth, although I have to say, looking at the band pictures in the booklet, he is the member who has changed the most to look at! I wouldn't have recognised him. Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson have, by comparison, changed very little. Anyway, back to the music. Rick's keyboards are vintage here as well, carrying on where "Going For The One" left off. A good track! The second track, "Be The One", is another strong number, this one split into three sections. Plenty of melody here too, and excellent band work, with the classic Howe and Squire backing vocals in full force. However, towards the end of the song, Steve Howe's guitar, for maybe a minute, sounds so basic and tinny, that it made me wince! Not sure why he played it like that, but then things return to normal. Probably, because of that minor glitch, this song is my least favourite on the album, but that is only comparatively. It is still a strong and satisfying piece of music. Third song is the epic "Mind Drive". This lasts has been described as being as good as "Awaken". Not sure really, as it is a little different, but it has many subtle techniques and changes in structure in play, and is breathtaking with, again, strong melodies to the fore. Brilliant. Then comes "Bring Me To The Power". Another song, along the lines of "Be The One" in tempo and a little similar in style too. Very melodic again. Enjoyable! Next is the subdued and delicate instrumental, "Sign Language." This is excellent and serves as a prelude to the next epic, "That, That Is". Alan White's drumming is superb here, and throughout the album, by the way, but that goes without saying. I think the whole band enjoyed themselves recording these tracks. "That, That Is" is unusual in the subject matter, which concerns babies, drug users and more worldly things than Jon is usually describing. As we know, his lyrics are not always the easiest to understand. This is another song broken up into sections, seven of them this time, starting with nice guitar work, exploding into a fast paced and insistent verse, then slowing down again. This album is all about moods, and that is again wonderfully shown in the last track, "Children Of The Light". This is also broken into sections, three of them, like Be The One. This is the second shortest track on the album, only beaten to the number one spot by "Sign Language". It still lasts for over 6 minutes, however, ending with some nice instrumental guitar and as it finishes you get the urge to press play and hear the whole lot again! I think Steve and Jon have been the dominant forces for this album, although all band members get credited for writing various parts of the album. Apparently, these tracks all appeared on the "Keys To Ascension" albums. I, for one, am glad they were released as a single album. For Yes fans who don't possess this, and are unsure what to believe, as all reviews are different, I can definitely say to you all this is worth the money. In sound and production, it is closest to "Going For The One", but stands on its own as a superb album and a welcome return to form for a classic band. Their best? Well, some people might think so. For me, "Fragile" probably still holds that title, but this is up there with the top four or five. Fans of the 70's won't be disappointed, I guarantee it!
Review by Muzikman
5 stars Keystudio is seven previously unreleased tracks from Yes originally recorded in 1995/96. Recorded as bonus cuts for the live albums Keys To Ascension and Keys To Ascension Vol. 2, these tracks recently became available to help promote their current 2002 concert tour. This material is so good that it actually surprises me that the group did not release it earlier. I think the fact that Rhino released a career spanning boxed set this year has also helped their cause.

This is the Yes lineup including the keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman. With songs like "Mind Drive" and "That, That Is" clocking in at 18:38 and 19:15 respectfully, this CD gives ardent progressive-rock fans and longtime followers of the group a big helping of the band at their very best, performing long and complex compositions with Jon Anderson and his heavenly vocals floating over the top of each note. Most of the album has tracks with a sizable length except for "Sign Language," which comes in at an uncharacteristic 3:29.

This is an excellent album; I do not know what else I can say except that you should buy it if you are a Yeshead or progressive rock enthusiast. It is all here, great vocals, keyboards, bass, guitar, bass, lush and powerfully sweeping compositions that seemingly go on infinitely, the complete package as this band has always been. I really appreciated the way Steve Howe was able, as he always is, to add his beautiful acoustic guitar passages to the softer parts of each song then in the same token provide authoritative chops via his electric six-string. I recognized the importance of each member of course; I was more captivated with prowess of the guitar playing, which I always am actually. Then again, how could you not recognize the quality of musicianship at every position in a group like this?

There is no doubt that this great group are the one band that popularized progressive rock and this is one more gem to add to their massive treasure chest of music that they have recorded since their inception over 30 years ago.

Review by Zitro
3 stars What a Major Surprise! Yes could still composed progressive music in the 90s!

The classic lineup is here, and while the members are not playing at their best, they are still doing a very competent job at playing their instruments and composing the solid tracks found in this record. There are 2 epics, and several moderately long songs. Most of the melodies are good as well as the musicianship. However, this is far from a masterpiece. There are moments where the music is not very enjoyable. There are also some amateur-sounding instrumental sections that. Thanksfully, there are no weak tracks in this album.

Short-Medium Length Tracks: Footprints is one of my favourite tracks from the album. The band managed to fuse the catchiness of Roundabout with the structure of Dancing with a Moonlit Knight. The result is a nice and accessible long track full of energy, decent melodies, and cool bass licks. There is not one weak moment in this track. Be The One is an energetic track with plenty of good melodies, riffs, and the magical squire backing vocals. Bring me to the Power is similar to Be the One, but shorter and more varied. Sign Language features Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe playing soft melodic music that is a high point of the album. The last track of the album is THE big highlight and ends the album perfectly. The first minutes is accessible rock&pop with singing that sounds like rapping. The last 3 minutes lets you remember the beauty of And You And I. It assures you that Steve Howe can still play his slide guitar like he used to.

What about The Epics? Mind Drive is very flawed, but there are moments of brilliance to be found. It begins extremely well with a gorgeous 'shine on you' atmospheric introduction that leads to the main theme of the album. The main theme is the main reason I like this track. It has a hypnotic 13/8 rhythm (I think?) with a repetitive bass/drum unison riff, some keyboard stabs/riffs, and Steve Howe playing one of the most random guitar solos I've ever heard. For some reason, the nonsensical guitar playing fits well. The chorus is the same thing but louder. Then Anderson sings powerfully (almost screaming) with the same rhythm and the chorus is played again. This is absolutely phenomenal symphonic rock! What follows is almost a disaster. It incoherently switches from the theme to pretty yet silly verses and very cheesy and terrible choruses ("Hooooooope"). After that embarrasing moment, a mediocre bombastic instrumental follows it and then the weak verses/choruses are played again. After that, the main theme is played again to try to redeem the weak middle. I think it does ... but then, more horrid stuff follows: When you least expect it, the music changes suddently into a chaotic mess that 'shuts down' at the end. Seriously, the song would have been a masterpiece if it only covered the main theme/chorus of the beginning and some good instrumental section. However, The live version of this song is terrible.

What about That That is? The first 3 minutes are very good, and the main theme of the song is heard (an acoustic riff). It fades and a bizarre chanting + percussion overtakes the music and gets gradually louder. This gives way to a strange speedy bass riff. Anderson begins singing here with good melodies. The main theme is repeated and this time, there's vocalizations. The rest of the song continues in a similar way, changing a lot. In Summary, "That that is" is more cohesive than Mind Drive, but lacks great hooks. I prefer Mind Drive over this song, even though there is not much to complain about in this epic.

Overall, I recommend this album to yes fans. However, If you do not like Yes (including Close To the Edge and Going for the One) I doubt this will convert you into liking the band.

1. Foot Prints (8/10) 2. Be The One (5.5/10) 3. Mind Drive (7/10) 4. Bring Me To The Power (5.5/10) 5. Sign Language (8/10) 6. That, That is (6/10) 7. Children Of The Light (8.5/10)

My Rating: B/C

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars Wow! Keystudio kind of makes you wonder what Yes were thinking all those years between when these tracks were recorded and when they were finally released in a single, cohesive album. Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman and White return to form with a vengeance on this dizzyingly brilliant collection of tracks from recording sessions in Los Angeles from 1996. The sequencing and production of the material is impeccable, and the tracks flow together like a truly unified work of art.

After years of bad management, bad career moves, moderate- to bad solo and side projects, Yes returned to some semblance of their former glory on the extremely well- received Keys to Ascension releases in 1996 and 1997. From this same period these studio tracks were recorded but largely forgotten. That changed when they were gathered together for what would amount to practically a new studio release with Keystudio in 2001. Whatever painful suffering fans had gone through in the eighties was forgiven when these tracks finally came to light. There is nothing even close to a bad compostion on this album.

The opening tracks “Footprints” and “Be the One” both feature Jon Anderson’s voice as strong as ever, and Rick Wakeman proving once and for all that this band is not the same without his complex and bombastic keyboards. Steve Howe plays at least three different guitars on the two works and each to perfection, including bass on “Be the One”. These lengthy works signal a coming treat in the rest of the album, and the band doesn’t disappoint.

Howe’s opening acoustics on “Mind Drive” hearken back to the sound of Tales… and Relayer, giving way to a staccato keyboard/drum combination that gets a mystic and intense treatment from Chris Squire’s bass licks. This is a much more mellow work than the band’s epic tracks from the mid-seventies, but carries just as much weight in terms of musical complexity and emotion. The smooth sound sets the stage for the even more melodic “Bring Me to the Power”, which picks up steam as it moves toward a funky, almost jazzy conclusion. Very much reminiscent of Fragile.

“Sign Language” is another very mild and lazy track, but full of exquisite piano from Wakeman and Howe’s reflective guitar picking. This is just an instrumental interlude to the next extended-play epic, “That That is”. This one starts off with slow guitar picking as well, followed by a brief symphonic simulation by Wakeman that is quickly followed by a quintessential brooding and harmonic verse dominated by Anderson and Squire. Toward the end Howe, Squire and Wakeman combine in a torrid instrumental very much in the vein of Siberian Khatru, with an ending that is disappointing largely because it means the song is over.

The closing “Children of the Light” sounds as if it were made to close an album, with it’s reflective vocals and eerie synths. Wakeman and Howe play an extended, haunting instrumental that is both beautiful, and also as fresh as anything the band has done in the past twenty years. Another sad ending follows.

If you’re like me and just hung on to Yes out of habit (or blind loyalty) during the eighties and most of the nineties, this album is your reward. It may not be as technically impressive as some of the band’s pivotal seventies works, but the shock value alone of listening to this after years of 90125, Big Generator, Talk, Open Your Eyes, and even the Ladder are enough to raise it to the level of essential. If you are a Yes fan, or just a symphonic music fan in general, you should have this album. Four stars for a strong effort by the band to reestablish themselves as the true symphonic rock masters, because I love the way the record turned out, and because it does my heart good to hear the band return from whence they came.


Review by ghost_of_morphy
5 stars Keystudio is the last Yes masterpiece. Write it down in your day planner.

This album (culled from the studio parts of Keys to Ascension I & II) captures the grandeur and the spirit of the '70's Yes. Honestly, Yes hasn't released anything this good since Going For The One, and Keystudio can be compared to such masterpieces as Fragile and The Yes Album. 5 stars all the way!!!

Let's break it down.

Footprints (5/5): I didn't even bother listening to this track for the review. It's that memorable. Everybody in the band goes all out on this, and Jon's lyrics consist of memorable one liners. (Sure, they don't make much sense when you put them together, but since when have we ever demanded that from Jon?) The best song on the album, I promise you.

Be The One (2/5): From the best song to the worst. This song never quite gels. I remember one person describing it as of the quality of a Steve Howe demo. That's far too harsh, but it gets the point across.

Mind Drive (4/5): This one gets praised to the heavens by Yes fans. Sure it's an interesting epic, and it doesn't suffer from the fault of something like The Ancient or The Remembering in starting out poorly. On the other hand it doesn't reach the heights that most Yes epics do at the end, either.

Bring Me To The Power (3/5): A slow start knocks a point off this jazzy song. Stick with it, though, because there's a lot of fun in the second half.

That, That Is (4/5): A great but flawed epic. What are the flaws? Well, there's that slow part 7:05 that really takes a while to get going anywhere, but the real problem is 4:24 -7:05 where Jon inserts a song about a gangland driveby. Sure, it makes sense lyrically, but this is not what we expect from Yes. If you can ignore that though, this might be one of Yes's best composed epics, with recurrent themes and a great guitar solo later on. If they just could have had sense enough to put something else in at 4:24.

Children of Light (5/5): Keystudio contains the UNEXPURGATED version of Children of Light, including the Wakeman intro that he used as an excuse for quitting the band once again. Frankly, it doesn't add anything. But it's developed into a great song. The Keystudio version sounds a little bit busier than I remember the Keys to Ascension version being as well, but I still like it.

Complex, thoughtful, inspiring. That's Keystudio. And those are the reasons I started listening to Yes in the first place. This is the Yes that has been missing for twenty years. Get this album and enjoy it.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Regrettably, not a key album

The two "Keys to Ascension" double CD sets consisted of a mixture of live tracks, and new studio recordings. All the studio recordings from both albums have been gathered together here into one album. As such, this is really a compilation album rather than a bone fide new release. Personally, I would have preferred it if the "Keys to ascension" albums had been released as separate live and studio albums, and thus "Keystudio" represents the first step towards that.

The tracks here are more in the traditional Yes mode than those on say "Open your eyes", with "Mind drive" lasting for over 18 minutes. Rick Wakeman's performance, especially on the tracks from the first of the KTA albums is notably understated. He seems to be so far back in the mix as to be almost superfluous, and appears to have had little involvement in the song-writing and track development. His involvement in the tracks from KTA2 is a bit more obvious, but still by no means as strong as on the classic Yes albums.

While there are some good pieces of music here such as the aforementioned "Mind drive" the tracks as a whole lack real inspiration. It is almost as if the band are trying to rediscover the old formulas, but do not quite succeed.

In retrospect, it may have been better for Yes to have released Keystudio as an official album at the time of the "Keys to ascension" albums, and to have given it a more inspired title! The live tracks from the KTA albums could then have been bundled together, and would have fitted neatly onto a double CD. As an official release in its own right, "Keystudio" would have reassured fans that the band were once again keen to explore their prog roots, by developing tracks beyond the limitations that 4-6 minutes imposes. By setting them alongside their illustrious peers such as "Close to the edge", "And you and I", "Revealing science of God", etc., Yes merely succeeded in highlighting the comparative weakness of their new material.

Review by Prog Leviathan
2 stars I came very close to giving this one 3 stars... if only to reward Yes for dragging themselves out of the limitless mire created by their previous 8(!) albums; but in an attempt to be objective, I have to say that Keystudio is a not a Yes masterpiece: it's only barely an enjoyable Yes album. I have to think that the majority of these favorable reviews are coming from the gushing euphoria legions of Yes fans have in hearing their favorite band FINALLY recording songs worth hearing.

However, even though Keystudio demonstrates a much higher level of musicianship and songwriting than any Yes album since Tormato (but that isn't saying much of anything), the end result is an album only a mother could love.

The return to extended, finely crafted symphonic music is very well appreciated. Even more so is the musicianship of the group, which is much higher and in general more energetic than we've heard for a long, long time. Steve Howe has finally come out of his waking coma, and plays here worthwhile solos on most songs-- some even demand one's attention! Squire cranks out fine grooves and even Wakeman's notoriously childish keys sound more polished and classy here than I could ever wish.

BUT, even though Keystudio is the most worthwhile thing the band has produced in years, it is a long, long way from being an exceptional album. To me, this is a conscious attempt on the band's part to produce music similar to that which made them popular in the '70's, which forces me to compare this rather bland release TO those albums... and in that case Keystudio is completely, utterly dead-on- arrival. There are ZERO truly outstanding instrumental moments, say, in Howe's frantic soloing on Relayer, or Squires massive basslines in Fragile, and Anderson's voice has lost nearly all of its power. Not to mention his trite, trashy, love-beauty-blah-blah-believe lyrics which lack any sort of magic or memorability.

Given the innumerable choices we're presented with, even at the time of this album's release, there is no good reason to purchase Keystudio other than the reason that Yes' name is attached to it, and even then only if you're a fan who is DYING to hear something worthwhile from the old masters. There are many other more interesting options out there, which makes Keystudio an unnecessary listen save for the most dedicated of fans.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 1 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars Keys To Yes

This should have been released as a proper studio album in 1996 (just after it was recorded) instead of as bonus tracks to the two live albums Keys To Ascention I & II. Now that it has been released on one disc we will have to consider it a proper studio album by the band. This is great stuff and at the time of its original release in 1995/96 this was the best new Yes material since Drama from 1980.

Mind Drive is the best song here with amazing guitar and keyboard work from the definitive Yes men Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. The rest of the songs are all very good too.

Excellent addition to any Prog collection!

Review by russellk
4 stars Lovers of the 'classic prog' era of the 70s, when YES ruled the world for a short while, ought to get this album. For you, the essential YES purchases are 'The Yes Album', 'Fragile', 'Close to the Edge', 'Tales from Topographic Oceans', 'Relayer', 'Drama' - and this.

The reason this album evokes that classic period are three-fold: first, the songs are compositionally unrestricted. There's no attempt to fit the increasingly narrow radio-rock formula that YES pursued mindlessly - with few exceptions - after 1987. And second, and even more importantly, the mix separates out the musicians rather than fusing them into an overproduced whole: for the first time SQUIRE gets room to breathe, and he can play that bass like a a lead instrument. HOWE gets to use his guitar to colour the song rather than as a traditional rock axeman. WAKEMAN is a little lower in the mix than one would expect, but he's definitely audible. WHITE's drumming is actually far more assured than his muted efforts in 1974-5, and ANDERSON shuts up long enough to let us hear the band. And third, look at the lineup I just listed.

That said, this album teeters on the edge of mediocrity in places. And even the best of the music here is not on a par with their vintage years. Poor YES, forever cursed with comparisons to that era: of course, with this album, they invite such comparisons. This is a solid four-star album, no more. 'Foot Prints' is a competent opener, but there's much less here in nine minutes than anthems such as 'Yours is no Disgrace' or 'Roundabout' offered. We get even less in 'Be The One'. 'Mind Drive' is the album's standout track, full of drama, beauty and proggy as a very proggy thing. A delightful tune, serious instrumental workouts, a slow build and a satisfying conclusion. It ought to be on any YES fan's playlist, but at eighteen minutes, guess what it gets compared to, and guess how it fares. 'Bring Me To The Power' rocks out in a way YES has seldom equalled since 'Siberian Khatru'. Welcome back, jazz-funk YES, I've missed you. It's great to see the band all making a contribution (though WAKEMAN's is belated and less significant than I'd like, but still fantastic). 'That, That Is' is an odd beast, hastily-assembled amalgam of a dozen ideas that wouldn't have made an album in their glory years (except 'Tales', maybe, where it would give 'The Remembering' and 'The Ancient' a run for their money). The last track is a naive rant set to a musical backing and is rather an unfortunate way to end the album. I wholeheartedly endorse the sentiments expressed here, but I'd rather have them presented to me than force-fed them.

The weird thing is, this isn't really an album at all. It's a compilation. YES took the ludicrous decision to release two live/studio composite albums, and some years later produced this compilation of the studio tracks from those mixed efforts. The release date is 2001, but this is music from 1996-97, and came out after the dreadful 'Open Your Eyes'. Such a shame. After their unexpected 1983 success, YES really didn't get much right. Despite that, this is a surprisingly good listen.

The aliens from planet Proggadocia visit us again, briefly, and we are blessed. Make the most of it, fellow worshippers.

Review by JLocke
3 stars Keys to Ascension (Or 'KEYSTUDIO', whatever) is a collection of studio tracks recorded in the years 1996-97. It was originally released in two parts, with a handfull of live songs accompanying the studio efforts on each release. One part only contained two or three studio tracks, while the other release included the rest. Now we the fans have both parts' studio tracks compiled together into one definitive volume. So if you don't care much for live albums like me, just pick this copy up and call it ''Keys to Ascension'', because that's essentially what this is, just not including the live stuff of the original release(s).

Okay, let's get things started. First of all, this album is not the epic that alot of people are claiming it to be. It is however a very superb modern effort by one of the most influential classic prog bands of all time. Considering that these guys hit their stride ages ago, the quality of this album is quite staggering. Just don't go into it expecting the next Relayer or CttE and you should love it. I know I do.

''Foot Prints'' - The beginning had me a little worried to be perfectly honest. The melody was cheesy, even for Yes. However, once the instruments kicked in, I was comforted. Finally, Chris Squire is playing his signature style, again! Finally, Steve Howe is playing something worth paying attention to if you are a budding lead guitarist! Finally Rick Wakeman decides to show up! Finally, finally, finally! Oh yeah, and, um, Jon Anderson and Alan White are absolutely masterful at their respective jobs as always, no surprise there, but certainly welcome! All of these good things to say, and that's just the first song. 3/5

''Be The One'' - For some reason this song has been getting alot of low scores from people. I personalyl don't see it. What's so wrong with it? The harmonics being played only thirty-five seconds in is some truly beautiful stuff. Sure, it may not be 'epic' or 'soaring', but this is '97 Yes, not '72 Yes. For this song (or any of the tracks on 'Keys', for that matter) to be this good this late in the game, it's a miracle, frankly. In fact, I would say that this track is clearly harkening back to the Fragile days when the melodies were so uplifting that the listener felt like he or she would die of ecstasy. Truly. If you don't think this song is as beautiful as anything on the Fragile album, then I honestly don't know how you can call yourself a Yes fan at all. I didn't say that this song was as good or better than any of the stuff on Fragile; it clearly isn't any where near the caliber. But in terms of melody and mood, I think this track feels the most similar to those days than any of the other tracks on the album. Truly uplifting. 4/5

''Mind Drive'' - Well, this one is tough. That first , dreamy riff that Howew so wonderfully executes is some of the most heartfelt playing I have heard on any modern effort by any classic band. Wakeman compliments it well with his atmospheric, humble keys in the background. He really should do more of this than he does, because he's really good at it. However, as soon as the song hits 02:10, the whole thing sounds unorganized and amature-ish in my personal opinion. Unlike in Relayer where the jazzy riffs worked, the stuff being playing overtop of this annoying, tuneless riff is random doodling that does nothing to help the song in my view. If you can sit through this section of the song, however, the middle section becoms much more pleasant. Something interesting to me is that I have noticed alot of reviews saying the exact opposite. It seems that I am alone in my opinion that the middle of this song is good. However, it is truly how I feel. Well, actually, at about five minutes in is where I start to truly enjoy this track. So whatever section that is considered to be, that's when things kick back into gear. While that God-awful bass riff does return for a moment, it isn't very long or loud, so it isn't much of a problem. Everything else in this song is fantastic as far as I am concerned. Is it classic Yes? No, but you know what? Nothing ever will be. Ever. Again. Does that mean that we shouldn't listen to the band's modern work? Well, if it's bad, the by all means, pay it no mind, but if it is actually worth listening to, like this album, then I think we owe these guys that much. Nothing will ever be like the old days again, but that doesn't mean that the Yes guys can't release anything fairly decent anymore. Besides, even shoddy Yes work is top-notch for alot of other people. 3.5/5

''Bring Me To The Power'' - The guitar solo at 05:33 truly gave me chills. That's saying a helluva lot considering that Steve Howe hasn't been able to move me with his playing since Relayer. Squire is once again on top of his game, with some very cool funky pop-and-slap playing that compliments this song's undeniable groove well. Anderson sings in a style very reminiscent of Siberian Kahtru to me. As with the previous song as well, ''Bring Me To The Power'' has great acoustic guitar playing. The background vocals are also very good and very welcome. More old Yes stylings are always welcome in my book. The truly melodic, scale-venturing vocal stylings that made Yes' lyrics so prevolent and meaningful was somewhat lost to us in the eightees and it's good to see that Jon, Steve and Chris have all stepped up their game in this regard. It's truly great stuff. Not too short or too long, either, so it's really a perfect song. 5/5

''Sign Language'' - I love, I repeate, LOVE the piano-meets-guitar-meets symphonic opening that this song has. It doesn't particularly remind me of anything Yes-like, but it sure as hell gets me in a very happy mood when I hear it, so it's very enjoyed by myself and I'm sure many other people as well. It's an instrumental track, and while instrumentals can always be either very good or very bad, this one always seems to stay interesting and compelling, while not getting over frilly or pompous. The players take only the amount of time needed to say what they want to say, then they say adeu. clocking in at just under four minutes, the track should never half to be skipped when playing through the album, unless you just can't stand instrumentals. Since you're on this website I doubt that is the case. 5/5.

''That, That Is'' - Hmmm. Well, to be perfectly honest, I'm not all too sure yet as to how I feel about this one. I probably should wait a bit before I review this album just for this one track alone but I have decided instead to openly admit that I am unsure about my feeling regarding this one track. It's ceertainly epic, but is it really worth waiting around through the nearly twenty-minute song just to enjoy the few moments of genious peppered throughout? 3/5, I think? That, that is not my final answer.

''Children Of The Light'' - There is nothing particularly wrong with it per say, and it may even grow on me the more and more I listen to this album (Which I can assure you, I will be doing alot of), but when compared to the other tracks, it just isn't all that impressive. Though, I don't really think 'epic' is what they were aiming for with this track. I think they just wanted a nice little song to close the album proper, and in that thjey truly have succeeded. A nice little jingle with exceptional piano work; nothing more or less. Just decent. I'm a big fan of the funky stuff about four minutes in, however, so that helps the song's score a little bit. Very. VERY Space-Rock-ish, especially for Yes. Quite different. Not everyone who likes Symphonic Prog will go for it, but I think it's very cool. 3.5/5

Overall, I can't really complain. Yes had their day already, and anything they make in more recents years should be accepted for what it is: decent music from a once great band. This is above-average music, truly. Indeed, we may yet hear Yes' final epic in the futur, but for now we will accept what we can from them, and this is a very good effort from all five guys from the classic line-up. By today's standards, it is essential. By vintage Yes standards, it's an excellent addition. On the whole, when put up against the entire archives, it's Good, but non-essential. That's what I'm grading it. The album as a complete piece gets three out of five stars. If you are a Yes fan, you owe it to yourself to buy this album. Just don't expect to be blown away like you were back when Roundabout was new, and you should be generally and genuinely satisfied, even.

Happy listening.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars All tracks here were made in the studio but were already included in their live albums Keys to Ascension 1 and 2. So, if you already have the live albums, I don't think you need to buy this album that I consider as compilation. Despite, all tracks contained here are excellent with my true favorites are Be The One and Mind Drive. Be The One has a great combination of acoustic part and when the drums also be part of the music. It flow wonderfully from one segment to another. Mind Drive reminds me to the band's creativity in the era of Close To The Edge or Relayer. It's beautifully composed and as the music flows I relate the music with their early days in the 70s. Not only the music that is excellent, the sonic quality / production of the CD is truly great. I usually play Be The One with relatively high volume at my amplifier. It's really cool.

Overall, musically this is very satisfying album that reminds us to the band creative years in the 70s. It's a must have for the band's fans. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by poslednijat_colobar
2 stars Strange hybrid of Yes' album. Very strange is the fact that I don't know what exactly this album is?Is it studio album or it is compilation.I think this is chaotic release gather from two half-live and half-studio albums - Keys to Ascension and Keys to Ascension 2.I think the wright description for this strange album is - a compilation of previous released studio materials - inadmissibility!!!I am and I will continue to be follower of making reviews only about the music quality,but especially in this case I shan't do like that.I think that person have to proceed by different way in different situations... And that situation is exactly different! This is nothing more than collectors/fans only album. not because of the music quality,but because of the definition of the album.I think when you release some studio materials somewhere,you have to keep from releasing them for second time. For the band this is easy way for making more money;for listeners this is lazy and easier way to get to all music Yes ever made. The music is quite good,but I will talk about that in my reviews about Keys to Ascension and Keys to Ascension 2.
Review by lazland
2 stars Strictly speaking, this album was released in 1996 & 1997 as the studio parts for Keys to Ascension 1 & 2. Keystudio is merely the rather unnecessary release of the studio recordings the band made to complement the live pieces. It was, of course, the great coming together of the classic Yes lineup of Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman, and White. All of us who had been fans for donkeys years slavered when we purchased the original Keys albums, and we were certainly rewarded with exceptional live performances of the classic tracks from the seventies. However, would the studio tracks pass muster?

I am sorry, but I think that a lot of the previous reviews of this album have suffered from the fact that it was this lineup recording the tracks, because to my ears, this really isn't a very good album at all. I listened to it today for the first time in some while, and I am of the opinion that if you hardly ever listen to an LP, then it really cannot be that good. It is not a patch on Talk and also pales into comparison with The Ladder which was to follow two albums later.

The band certainly made an effort to return to their grandiose roots. The shortest track on the album is Sign Language at 3.28 minutes. It is also, by the way, by far the best. The other tracks range from six minutes to the official epic 19.15 minutes.

The trouble with it is that a lot of the longer tracks sound as if they have been thrown together simply to make them lengthy epics, without any coherent theme or purpose.

I will discuss the tracks in the order they appeared on the Keys LPs.

Be The One starts the LP off nicely, with some lovely Howe acoustic guitar work. Howe is by far the best performing member of the band on this LP.

That, That Is is exceptionally long at 19.15 minutes and would appear to be about LA gangs, childhood abuse, and those sorts of typical Yes subjects...Not!! I find it a messy and incoherent attempt at relevance, and there is no melodic theme against Squire's strong bass backdrop. The lyrics meander. Even when at 16 minutes, the track gives a lovely Howe accompaniment to Squire's great bass line, the noodling by Wakeman somewhat spoils it - it feels far too jazzy.

Mind Drive clocks in at 18.39 minutes, and gets off to a fantastic start with Howe's beautiful acoustic lead and Wakeman's gentle backdrop. As the opening passage moves on, we are reminded of just what a fine bass player Squire is. The main section is led by Squire's dark, brooding bass guitar. It is four minutes until we hear Anderson, but the almost staccato delivery of the lyrics is very unsatisfactory. The Bring You sequence is lovely, but the remainder is all, again, a bit of a mess.

Foot Prints is another in excess of 19 minutes, and starts well. The references to the revolution put me in mind very much of Tormato, but the track again descends into what can only be described as a jazzy session piece, with absolutely no coherence again.

Bring me to the Power is a far gentler piece, better for it, and has a lovely Howe backdrop. However, Anderson again seems to ramble rather than sing in the flowing manner all classic fans of his and the band enjoy.

Children of Light has another very strong bassline, the piano at the start is very nice, but then Anderson starts again, and this time, it's almost as if he feels he has to turn into a rap vocalist in order to be relevant. It sounds horrible, and that is not an easy thing to write from such a big fan of his. However, the closing sequence of Howes slide guitar with Wakeman's gentle keyboard backing is ecsquisite.

The closer is Sign Language. The opening acoustic guitar and piano duet leads to a relaxing, fantastic keyboard composition by Wakeman, accompanied by a fine Howe solo. This track has what the others lack - it glides effortlessly from start to finish, feels and sounds like a whole piece, rather than a bunch of different sessions thrown together in the hope of making an epic as with the others.

The live albums easily get 4.5 stars. Unfortunately, I can only rate this album at 2/2.5 stars. Absolutely for diehard fans and collectors only.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Why The Ladder is somewhat loathed and this album so highly regarded is something I don't understand. Certainly the compositions are robust, but they are unremarkable in almost every respect. No particular track stands out, which is really troublesome. The worst aspect is, however, those "are you kidding me?" lyrics. Jon Anderson uses some of the corniest clichés about love and power and Heaven. Each line just overflow with nebulous ideas that go nowhere (except one noteworthy exception, where the lyrics are so concrete they make me want to hit my head against a wall made of the same substance, so to speak). Chris Squire is the most remarkable member on this album, because, while his trebly bass is not here, he still manages to dominate the album with a somewhat similar sound he had on The Ladder. Alan White is solid as always- with exception of a few places here and there throughout his career with the band, I've rarely found reason to fault him. Rick Wakeman is on board, and in terms of soloing, he's the star- he far outshines Steve Howe, but Howe takes a role as a rhythm man, lending the album the benefit of his various styles, from classical to gritty rock and roll.

"Foot Prints" The album begins promisingly enough, with this step in the right direction (no pun intended). After an a cappella introduction, the music gets going, led by Squire's full bass. He is largely responsible for the main section in 5/4. Wakeman and Howe enjoy a couple of solos, both of which are some of the best moments on the album. The vocal harmonies are as thick as Chris Squire's bass tone. There's a guitar, mandolin and harmonica during an acoustic reprise that comes in at the conclusion of the song proper.

"Be the One" While the music is very good and moving, the lyrics are typical latter-day Jon Anderson cheese, and some of his worst at that. It gradually becomes a heavier piece of music that jumps back into the chorus and eventually fizzles out.

"Mind Drive" A gentle classical guitar with soft synthesizer, eventually accompanied by bass, begins one of the two most enterprising pieces. The bass begins a staccato riff that becomes a more menacing creation with each added layer. Abruptly the music becomes acoustic and frivolous, and without much of a transition. In almost every moment, the vocals just seem sloppily pasted onto the music- much of the singing just doesn't fit what's going on. Ultimately, this is a failure for several reasons, most notably the lack of coherent transitions- "Mind Drive" doesn't exist as a unified piece, but as a bunch of seemingly unconnected segments. That doesn't mean this extended track is without merit. One of the greatest moments is buried in this unnecessarily lengthy track: Wakeman's various keyboard solos over killer bits of bass from Squire.

"Bring Me to the Power" A dynamic song full of several different musical moments (for better or worse), this song has goofy verses but excellent instrumental sections. The "tough rock" section is a throwback to the 1980s, which sounds painfully silly.

"Sign Language" This is a lovely keyboard and guitar instrumental that does sound like it belongs on a Howe solo album (since the band really isn't involved).

"That, That Is" What begins as a promising epic, starting out with Howe's impassioned classical guitar playing, degenerates into a pop-infused mess with some of the goofiest lyrics I've ever heard from Yes. The good news is, halfway through, the song becomes enjoyable again, even if it does sound like something from Open Your Eyes. After thirteen minutes, the best part of the track, features Anderson's lovely uplifting vocal melody. It's a track that rewards patience, but as a whole track within itself, it shouldn't need patience, especially from such a brilliant band. Much of this is unfortunate.

"Children of the Light" After a cheesy "grand" symphonic opening, some equally cheesy music occurs. The lyrics are a monotonous chant of apparently ACLU-inspired lyrics, and the vocals don't sound blended as they usually do. The ending is a last minute shot for Howe to cut up on his steel guitar, but it sounds excellent anyway, and, in my opinion, is a clear preview of some very similar sounding material on Magnification.

Review by Flucktrot
3 stars If you're like me and have made one too many forays into the most recent generation of Yes--read, bought a lot of CDs but have received diminishing musical returns--you may view Keystudio as "the one with Mind Drive", and possibly one or two additional keepers.

Mind Drive is a solid song, with a heavy 7/4 intro/outtro and a pleasant, if just a little cheesy, verse. It may not truly be classic Yes, at least according to most of our definitions, but it does sound like it at times, with Squire cutting loose, Howe getting in his shots, and Anderson leading the way, with plenty of that perfectly imperfect Yes vocal harmony.

I also enjoy Be the One. It's definitely in the vein of Yes' newer positive psychology perspective, but because of the catchy melody, the nice middle section, and the overall low levels of cheesiness (tacky synths, etc.), this one gets me, and I get it. We all have at least some recent Yes that can get us interested again I hope!

Children of the Light is a nice closer, if only for the soothing atmospherics in the final minutes with Howe working his magic on the slide.

That, That Is has its moments--you'd sure hope so with 19 minutes!--but Howe's nice contributions throughout are not enough to keep me involved for the duration.

It was definitely a suboptimal, perhaps hamfisted, way to release this material, but there still apparently is a demand for Yes material--even the stuff that probably isn't all that great. I have to admit I'm still pleased if I can just get a few nuggets to resonate with me, and in that regard, Keystudio delivers.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Easily Yes most satisfying and inspired album since Tormato (yes, I´ll be dammed, but I love that record!). After the good, but incharacterisctic, Talk, the classic line up reunited (sans Bill Bruford, but I you can´t have everything, right?) and the magic was back. For a long time I thought the only good thing Keys To Ascension produced was a terrific video that I own for a long time. I ddin´t bother to listen to the album for fear of another disappointement. Recently I decided to face it and got the Keystudio album, the one that has only the studio tracks of 1996. And I was amazed of how good the new stuff sounded.

Ok, this is no Close To the Edge or Fragile, but the chemistry is still working when those guys do reunite. It´s been a long, long time since I heard an Yes studio album that has such strong, progressive and convincing tunes. And they don´t really sound retro: the arrangements, the production and even some song strutures are quite modern and slightly different, but the results are inequivocally Yes. It´s a great pleasure to hear them doing a 74 minute CD without any fillers.

Even if some tracks are better than others, none is crap. Wakeman´s keyboards are a bit subdue in parts, but still they have the old feeling, while Howe and Squite are shining all over the place. The former is indeed in great form, using very well his great technique for subtle effects and doing a fine team work. White´s drums are also much better recorded than on Talk. His playing is much more looser, organic and progressive. Anderson´s voice soars with confidence.

For a Yes fanatic like me, it was a great discover that I like to hear from beginning to end without skipping a single track. I thought I´d never do that with their post 70´s output. Listen and judge for yourself

Conclusion: best Yes album since their heydey in the 70´s. A CD that will remind everyone of what they are capable of when the right line up gets together. Without any soubt Yes is bigger than the sum of its parts. A great find, albeit a late one, that I´m proud to have in my collection. Rating: something between 4 and 4,5 stars. Highly recommended.

Review by thehallway
3 stars Two of the tracks here can be found on 'Keys One', the other five on 'Keys Two'. Here, they are jumbled up a bit.

'Mind Drive' is very progressive and interesting throughout, definitely one of the best Yes songs since Awaken. It juxtaposes a lot of loud and quiet, happy and sinister, fast and slow, etc, and to good effect. The other extended work, 'That, That Is' has some great individual moments, some of them very tribal, but feels a little too long and isn't as strong and tough as 'Mind Drive'. They are both the highlights of this album though. 'Foot Prints' is a long pop number basically, towards the end incorporating what I believe is the only harmonica ever found on a Yes recording. 'Be The One' is rocking and emotional, but lacks variation. This pair of 9-minuters are not quite as memorable as I had hoped, given Yes's skill at writing songs of this length.

'Children of Light' is an interesting mellow piece in two parts, but nothing special really. 'Bring me to the Power' has a lot of sudden changes in its rhythm and tonality, sometimes without much of a transition, but it has grown on me considerably. The shortest cut, 'Sign Language' is probably just there to fulfil the band's increasingly frequent desire to end an album with something short and forgettable. Having said that, this song has a beautiful melody to it.

It is debatable whether this is a better purchase than the two 'Keys...' albums or the super box set. Certainly, some of the live tracks on those collections are non-essential... but others have become indispensable to me! Perhaps if Keystudio were released as a proper album, and the live cuts released on a subsequent purely-live album, more people would be able to appreciate the gems from both song groups. In any case, 'Mind Drive' deserves a place beside 'The Gates of Delirium', 'Ritual', 'Close to the Edge' et al.

Review by colorofmoney91
2 stars Keystudio is the last of Yes' weakest period of albums. This album is arguably the best and most interesting of the '80s, '90s, and '00s Yes albums for the fact that it loses some of it's plastic synthesizer sounds that made recent albums sound so cheap. The songwriting here is at it the highest point it's been since Going for the One, which feel really weird to say. Unfortunately, the ambitious epic tracks don't nearly live up to their classic epic tracks. The epic tracks also lack any stand out moments, as does the rest of the album.

Fortunately, Yes would follow up this album with their best album for two decades, Magnification.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars If you don't want to invest money in two live albums containing almost the same material of Yessongs, Yesshows, and another bunch of lives just to grab the few previously unreleased studio albums, you can save some money with this Keystudio.

Of course, if you have the two "Keys of Ascension" (4 CDs in total) you don't need this one.

The good thing is the classic lineup with Anderson, White, Wakeman, Howe and Squire, the same of Going for the One.

"Foot Prints" sounds strangely as the YES of Big Generator. It's the composition of course. If we concentrate on the single instruments the style is the good old one. It's only the song that has an 80s flavor, except for the instrumental part in the middle that has a lot of ABWH. Thinking better, this is the correct reference. It's possible that this song was ready for another ABWH album, who knows?

"Be The One" is a classic (for this period) song enriched by the good arrangement. The touch of Anderson and Howe in the songwriting is very clear. I think it's an Anderson's song with Howe's "inclusions". Not bad.

The whole band is credited on "Mind Drive". Squire and Howe start over a keyboard chord. Spanish guitar and Spanish bass (if something like this exists). After a two minutes intro we are back to the end of the 70s. This epic is something unexpected in the XXI century. The bad is that we soon discover that it's a patchwork of parts written by the five old guys and tied together. All good enough but it's not Awaken. It has some great parts, anyway, specially the instrumental part at minute 11 with Wakeman and Howe dueling on an uptime odd signature.

"Bring Me to The Power" starts with guitar harmonics like "And You And I" but suddenly starts moving across most of the classics: there are things reminding to Cose to the Edge, Starship Trooper and so on.

"Sign, Language" is a short nice instrumental, a classical Howe thing.

"That, That is" is the second epic of the album. Also this seems to be reprising ideas from the old goodies and this is not a bad thing. Also the reminds to Stravinskij's Rites which was the intro to Yessongs have probably a meaning. After the crescendo, when Jon sings, it's very close to ABWH. The rhythm has that South American influence typical of Anderson's solo works with the significan difference of having Squire and Howe. Wakeman's effort is here limited to some "brasses". There are some good moments but it's not at the same level of the other long track.

"Children Of Light" sees Vangelis credited as author. He appeared on ABWH and I think it's the first time that he's credited on an official YES release. Even with the Greek genius this is just a good track but his touch is more than evident in the second half of the track.

So this is just a good album, without highlights and lowlights. 3 stars are appropriate also because it can't be a collectors item. Collectors surely have the two Keys to Ascension already.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars For some reason I never heard this album when it was released in 1996, but this is by the line- up that many Yes fans still feel to be the 'proper' one, namely Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe and Alan White.

In addition, it has to be said that this is a very enjoyable album, one that I am sure that I will play repeatedly. It has great vocals, plenty of harmonies and melodies, with some quite stunning solos. But, and there has to be a but, it just doesn't have any of the show stopping songs that Yes fans are used to. There is nothing on here that could stand up to "Starship Trooper", "Long Distance Runaround", "Yours Is No Disgrace", "All Good People" etc etc.

Maybe that is too much to hope for. It may not be classic Yes but it is still better than a lot of the prog that is available today, with "Foot Prints" in particular an attempt to bring together the Yes of the Seventies with the Yes of the Eighties and make it a band for the Nineties. Now where did I put that vinyl version of 'Going For The One'???

Originally appeared in Feedback #63, July 01

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Keystudio' - Yes (54/100)

Keystudio is one of the best-intentioned failures in progressive rock history.

Is it simply a compilation, or an overlooked Yes studio album? The record should state its the former, as it technically offers nothing past the fresh studio cuts on the Keys to Ascension albums. Even so, putting an hour of freshly written material together begs to be judged as a full-length. While Keys to Ascension (and Keystudio, by extension) would salvage the band's waning quality and get them out of the AOR rut, Yes' return to progressive rock isn't as propitious as I would have hoped. The bold attempt at multiple epics and instrumental fireworks would thankfully pave the way for The Ladder and Magnification, but for the sake of Keystudio, it sounds like Yes were still getting back on their feet.

Rick Wakeman originally wanted Keystudio to be released as a proper full-length; while I had initially wondered why he didn't get his wish, I'm sort of glad the band decided to veto him. While Yes made the right move to return to progressive rock after the tragically dull Open Your Eyes, the classic quality is nowhere to be seen. Nothing on Keystudio is outwardly bad- some parts are even truly impressive- but the proggy edge seems contrived. The structures are mechanical, the longer song structures often feel like pop tunes that were forcibly drawn out. The hooks are none too effective, and every moment of brilliance on a track is offset by an idea equally as dull or complacent. I'm really happy Yes got their head out of the dirt and tried to reclaim what they were best at, but the magic wasn't so quick to return. Seriously; Jon Anderson- a middle-aged British progger- chanting on about being 'strung out on crack time' in the ghetto is utterly ridiculous, and not in the way that would endear them to me at all.

If there's an issue with the material, it's consistency. "That, That Is" and "Mind Drive" are two of the longest, most conventionally 'epic' works Yes have ever crafted. Both are endowed with incredible ideas; "Mind Drive" in particular is seen by a few fans as one of the band's best works, and a few of the most fiery instrumental passages might suggest I should agree with them. As start-to-finish compositions however, there isn't a track on Keystudio that doesn't escape problems of flow and consistency. The two epics are the worst contenders for this- so many of the ideas feel dull and uninvolved; in contrast, "Close to the Edge" was utterly captivating even during its least involving passages. It's a case of a band trying to replicate their former glory, and not quite replicating the formula.

If something portrays Keystudio in a positive light, it's everything that came before it. Union and Open Your Eyes made it evident Yes had no idea where to go with their sound, and half of Talk was equally as terrible. With their one-time leader Trevor Rabin out of the picture, it wasn't looking likely that Yes would find their way again. The Keys to Ascension duology was a blessing for Yes fans, and while they were far more impressive on the merits of their live showcase of classic material, the studio material at least showed that Yes weren't going to rest on the laurels of their 70s material. Even if Keystudio is a mixed success at best, the Keys to Ascension series would beckon in a brief renaissance for Yes, continuing with the far-more engaging The Ladder and culminating in their latter-era masterpiece, Magnification.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars After their "Talk" album and tour from 1994, both Tony Kaye and Trevor Rabin left the band in mid 1995. Billy Sherwood also have been working with the band in the 1994 tour as an additional guitarist, keyboard player and backing singer (and also playing a bit of bass guitar along with Chris Squire in the "Talk" title track in concert), and also in previous years in the recording studio without him still being an official member of the band. But it seems that by mid 1995 with the lack of enough success from the "Talk" album and tour, the band was planning to do other things, and both Kaye and Rabin left the band. It also seems that by mid 1995 they had an offer from a record label to reform the "classic" line-up of the band from the seventies, as , if I remember well, Chris Squire said in one interview. So, Jon Anderson, Chris Squire and Alan White were joined in the band again by Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. It also seems that Wakeman due to his solo career commitments was not available to work with the band full time. Anyway, the band started in late 1995 to write new songs, to rehearse them and to record them with the aim to release a new studio album. Wakeman's absences are more clear to me in some songs, with his keyboards sounding more like being overdubbed in the finished songs (in "Be the One" and "That Is, That Is"), but his work with the band maybe started to be more frequent in the rest of the songs (in some of which he also had some songwriting credits).

The band also planned to rehearse old songs for three concerts to be played at the Fremont Thearte in San Luis Obispo, California, in early March 1996. The concerts also were recorded and filmed. But the plans for the studio recordings changed, because they were combined with the live recordings from San Luis Obispo to be released in two double CD albums: "Keys to Ascension" and "Keys to Ascension 2", which were released in late 1996 and late 1997, respectively, with also the release of a DVD titled "Keys to Ascension" . In both albums and the DVD the band released all the songs they played at the concerts (with the best versions of the songs being chosen to be released). In the "Keys to Ascension" album they included the "Be The One" and "That Is, That Is" studio recordings, and in the "Keys to Ascension 2" they included the rest of the studio recordings ("Foot Prints", "Mind Drive", "Bring Me To The Power", "Sign Language" and "Children Of Light"). But it seems that the band started having some problems with the management by mid 1997, with a tour being planned, and with Wakeman not very happy with the way the new studio recordings were treated, being released more as "bonus studio tracks" to the live recordings. Also, the new tour dates were planned without consulting him, and this caused some problems between him and the band and the management, with him finally leaving the band again. So, the band canceled the proposed tour dates, and Billy Sherwood mixed the rest of the studio recordings to be released in the "Keys of Ascension 2" album in late 1997. Also the band changed management and record label and found themselves without a keyboard player and with the new management and record label wanting another new studio album from them in a very short time. So, Sherwood (who have been working with Squire writing some songs for a planned duet album) was finally asked to join the band as a full time member, and this led to the recording of the "Open Your Eyes" album (but that is another history!).

I don't know who had the idea to release the 1995-1996 studio recordings together in an album. But this finally happened in 2001, with this "Keystudio" album. I have to say that because I previously have bought both "Keys to Ascension" albums I never bought this "Keystudio" album. But the only difference that exist in these studio recordings is the inclusion of a previously cut keyboards introduction to "Children of Light", of an almost one minute in lenght, being composed and played by Wakeman. This keyboards introduction sounds well, almost in a "spectacular" way and maybe sounding a bit similar to Vangelis's music. So, with this keyboard introduction the title of the song was changed for the "Keystudio" album from "Children of Light" to "Children of the Light". This song also has other minor changes in editing, but it is almost the same song.

I think that it was a good idea to finally release all these studio recordings together in one CD, as it was originally planned. All the songs are very good, very Progressive, with the band sounding very well. For me the best songs are "Be The One", "Mind Drive", "Sign Language" and "Children of the Light". "That Is, That Is" sounds to me like being influenced a bit by New Age music and it also sounds a bit fragmented.

It seems that this album is now out of print.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 470

"Keystudio" is a compilation of Yes and was released in 2001. However, "Keystudio" can be considered, somehow, a real original studio album of Yes because it was made up with the studio tracks taken from two Yes' live albums "Keys To Ascension" and "Keys To Ascension 2". Both live albums, besides the respective live tracks that any live album must have, in addition to them, they have both some new studio tracks. So, we are talking about 48 minutes of new studio material taken from the recording sessions in Los Angeles, in 1996. That is particularly more evident on "Keys To Ascension 2". On that album the second CD has only studio tracks. At the time, the group was very disappointed that the new studio material wasn't released as a separated studio album, which would have been entitled "Know".

Prior to this album's release, it was reported that it would have a track called "The Second Time Around". This would have been a new version of "Sign Language" that would incorporate Jon Anderson's vocals. However, that didn't happen. So, that track came not to be included on the final release of "Keystudio".

"Keystudio" has seven tracks. The first track "Foot Prints" written by Anderson, Howe, Squire and White is a good opener to the album and is beautifully performed by all band's members. This is a song with a very strong and nice melody, although it's probably a little bit repetitive. However, this track reminds us how was the band in the 70's with their youth, which we were used to love so much. The second track "Be The One" written by Anderson, Howe and Squire, is divided into three parts: "Be The One", "Humankind" and "Skate". This is another strong track with excellent melody and a superb band's work. Anderson's voice sounds beautiful and strong as ever and Squire, Wakeman and How are simply amazing reminding us the good old days of the band. This is, in my humble opinion, one of the best three tracks on the album. The third track "Mind Drive" written by Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, Squire and White represents the first of the two epic tracks on the album. This is a true amazing track which gives to us some of the best and brilliant symphonic rock ever made by Yes. Despite be a much more mellow work than their greatest epic tracks in the 70's, we may say that it's practically at the same quality level of the tracks of those times. This is also one of the three best tracks on the album, and it's also my favourite too. The fourth track "Bring Me To The Power" written by Anderson and Howe is another very good and nice track. It's a very dynamic and melodic song full of several different musical moments, beautiful lyrics and excellent instrumental sections. This is a song with some similitudes in tempo and style with "Be The One", but despite be very nice and enjoyable to hear, it isn't as good as that song is. The fifth track "Sign Language" written by Howe is the shortest song on the album and seems to be a kind of a reminiscence of Howe's tracks. It's a very simple beautiful and enjoyable song to hear and serves perfectly well as a kind of a prelude to their next epic "That, That Is". The sixth track "That, That Is" written by Anderson, Howe, Squire and White, is divided into seven parts: "Togetherness", "Crossfire", "The Giving Things", "That Is", "All In All", "How Did Heaven Begin?" and "Agree To Agree". This is the second great epic on the album and represents for me the third best musical moment on the album. It's another powerful track with many musical changes throughout the song. Probably and because of that is, in my opinion, less cohesive and brilliant than "Mind Drive" is, and so I prefer that track. The seventh and last track "Children Of The Light" written by Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, Squire and Vangelis, is divided into three parts: "Lightning", "Children" and "Lifeline". This is a nice and beautiful track with nice vocal work and where Wakeman and Howe play an extended and extremely beautiful instrumental part that sounds fresh and new as if had been composed in the good old 70's. Curiously, this is the song that seems to be made to close that album, and it did it perfectly well.

Conclusion: In the first place, I must confess that was criminal not having release these tracks before, separately on a single studio album, for so many years. In reality, the general quality of the tracks are unquestionable and so, is very hard to understand why this great music never received the proper promotion that it deserves. We, the Yes' fans and the progressive rock music fans in general, deserved that without any kind of doubt. In the second place, I also must confess that "Keystudio" became, for me, as a great and beautiful musical surprise. In my humble opinion, I sincerely think that "Keystudio" is the best Yes' studio album since their tenth studio album "Drama" and is also their best album since "Going For The One", if we only considered their classic line up with Rick Wakeman. With this studio album, Yes shown and proved that they were alive and we could continue counting with them in our beloved progressive rock world. Fortunately with this album, Yes woke up, and like Camel and unfortunately unlike Genesis, they returned to their progressive roots and showed and proved why they're considered one of the best and great masters in the prog world.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars Why did they do it?! What on Earth were they thinking? What was the record company or the YES management thinking? This is the "Keys To Ascension" album that should have been released. Why did they split it into two different parts and then release it with some live content which, incidental ... (read more)

Report this review (#2966416) | Posted by [email protected] | Friday, November 3, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Following the Talk tour, both Rabin and Kaye left Yes to pursue other projects. Sans guitar and keyboards, the three remaining members invited Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman to rejoin Yes and resurrect one of the band's classic lineups. This lineup recorded two lengthy new studio tracks, "Be the One" a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2903108) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Friday, March 31, 2023 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I came to this album with high expectations, only to be brutally desapontado.A exception of "Foot Prints " and "Mind Drive"(and perhaps "Sign language "), all the rest of the album is a disposable-garbage,so to speak. Do not believe me? Even my father, who is a fan of Yes, and I introduced the ba ... (read more)

Report this review (#399148) | Posted by voliveira | Saturday, February 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The main question here is why Yes did not relased this new studio material as a complete studio album in 1996 or 1997? All this songs we have seen on live albums Keys to ascension and Keys to ascension 2 with the live ones. Now we have this as a compilation and on the other hand, this is a studi ... (read more)

Report this review (#178502) | Posted by Resurrected | Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Keystudio is a mere compilation made up from the studio tracks off the 2 sets of KTA albums. I must admit that this is better putting them on a seperate album such as Keystudio, and in reality they made a big mistake in putting them on KTA in the first place. Because there certainly is nothing h ... (read more)

Report this review (#173828) | Posted by intruder369 | Friday, June 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Yes shocked the world by releasing an album that was very reminiscent of the classic sound. Even though the music was recorded in the 90s, released in 2001, it definitely had that 70s aura to it. But despite all that, I feel that there is something missing in the music on this album. Unfortun ... (read more)

Report this review (#150427) | Posted by Lofcaudio | Monday, November 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A return to form? "Keystudio" is a compilation of the studio songs recorded in 96 and 97 for the two "Keys To Ascension" live albums. The most durable line-up of Yes (Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman, White) played on the "Keys To Ascension" tour, and recorded these songs. The producer was Billy ... (read more)

Report this review (#101544) | Posted by RaúlGuate | Monday, December 4, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Would I give five stars in comparison to Yes GOING FOR THE ONE? Not quite. GFTO is still one of the ten albums to take to a lonley island: Beatles, Mozart, Brahms, Prince and Bill Brufords first UK album would be the rest. But KEYSTUDIO is remarkable! This is 20 years from GFTO and this really i ... (read more)

Report this review (#93746) | Posted by | Sunday, October 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Well, I don't have this album, but I have both Keys albums and I think it makes more sense to review the studio and live stuff seperately anyway. So, what of this music. I tend to agree with the previous review to a certain extent, that much of this is style over substance. But I also think th ... (read more)

Report this review (#67070) | Posted by | Friday, January 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars After reading the other reviews, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm the only Yes fan that does not like these songs. I feel this album is an example of style over substance. It has some of that 70's Yes style, but the songwriting is not nearly on par with their earlier work. To me it sounds l ... (read more)

Report this review (#66864) | Posted by | Thursday, January 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Bummer that Rick Wakeman left after the dissapointing album "Union" from 1991, which was way overproduced and had too many extra players on it.. In 1995, Rick rejoined Yes as so did Steve Howe to do a new live tour. That tour brought 2 live-sets. The group also composed new studio-material a ... (read more)

Report this review (#59022) | Posted by Robin | Saturday, December 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Folks, this is the long lost classic Yes album. Recorded in 1996 by the classic line-up of Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman and White, Yes triumphantly returned to its peak form of the early 70s: rich and complex song structures, extreme musicianship and soaring harmonies. With its Beatle ... (read more)

Report this review (#14044) | Posted by | Sunday, May 1, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Recorded at The Office Studios, California, between 1995 and 1996, the Yes album 'Keystudio' was issued in 2001 as a compilation of bonus tracks already released inside the 1997 double-CD Live 'Keys To Ascension' (with a slight touch-up on the initial bars of the track 'Children Of The Light') ... (read more)

Report this review (#14043) | Posted by | Thursday, March 31, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I picked up this album recently and it is simply one of the best works since Close to the Edge. The tracks are mind bogglingly complex but masterfully flowing, lengthy and beautiful. My favorite is "Mind Drive", which brings to mind a structure reminescent of Close to the edge. There are area ... (read more)

Report this review (#14040) | Posted by | Wednesday, March 2, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hi everybody, In my opinion this is the best YES album since GOING FOR THE ONE in the same level of DRAMA but more lyrycal. Specially MIND DRIVE, BE THE ONE & THAT,THAT IS (what an intro, eh?). So here I go with the main question: Why they do not make this kind of music again ? Why they g ... (read more)

Report this review (#14035) | Posted by | Sunday, January 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A big surprise, this one! Not one of their very best but best in ages. I didn't think they had it in them. Contains some beautiful and imaginative music. Jon Anderson proves he still can sing although he has lost some of his range and flexibility. However, what's left is a lot. Howe shines thr ... (read more)

Report this review (#14032) | Posted by Stjarnblom | Sunday, October 3, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After losing track of yes music (avid seventies fan) due to mergers with the buggles, 90125, etc, I had seen them in concert in 2004, 20 years from my last yes show. They performed Mind Drive wich was an instant classic to me, This is a late 90's -2000 album that belongs in the 70's line-up. E ... (read more)

Report this review (#14031) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 14, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A truely brilliant YES album.All tracks are from the Keys double album but magically take on a new life when placed to-gether in this album.I almost overlooked them when thy were in KEYS.The album is a follow on from GFTO and shouid not be missed by all 70's YESFANS.Listen to "Mind Drive" it's ... (read more)

Report this review (#14030) | Posted by | Thursday, June 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It seems that yesterday and today have been the day of reviewing this album... Though I did not listen thoroughly enough, I can say that this is Yes' comeback album indeed... (Despite the fact that there are many songs in "Talk" I like, too) I agree with the rest of the reviewers, why didn't t ... (read more)

Report this review (#14016) | Posted by Bilek | Tuesday, May 11, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An outstanding collection of songs... if only they had listened to Wakeman and released this material as their "comeback" album back in '96-'97, instead of letting it "dribble" out as "bonus" material attached to two superfluous live albums...oh well... ... (read more)

Report this review (#14018) | Posted by Rutgers Joe | Tuesday, April 20, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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