Thursday, January 01, 2009
CLOSE TO THE EDGE
This was the second Yes album to feature the Anderson, Squire, Wakeman, Howe and Bruford lineup and it is their masterpiece.
Three song titles are presented, two of which feature four part suites.
The 18 minute title track is so good that it only feels like 15 minutes. Allegedly, the lyrics were inspired by Herman Hesse's novel "Siddhartha". A burbling stream builds to an intense rush of guitar/bass flourishes with drumming that straddles time signatures. This high wire act continues through each part that downshifts back to the pastoral soundscape to close.
"And You and I" is the audio equivalent of a solar eclipse. Rick Wakeman's heart attacks were the product of extreme commitment to his work. OK, it was getting loaded, but the guy is a genius.
"Siberian Khatru" sees every band member contribute memorable work, creating their own category in a way that seems effortless (though hours went into every part) Watch the virtuosity as it flies through the air.
Gliding high above these amazing arrangements is the voice of Jon Anderson. What else can you say?
Light years ahead of their time, epic is too easy a label for this high point of the prog period.