REVIEW: Eclecticism in Yes’ Close the Edge

The sem break was an opportunity for me to download albums and expand my playlist. After only a few hours of torrent-ing, I got Yes’ The Yes Album and Close to the Edge. 

I had already listened to The Yes Album a lot of times, but I downloaded it anyway (by the way the songs I really enjoyed from the album are “Starship Trooper” and “Perpetual Change”; the others are too weird for my liking). Also, I already have the song “Close to the Edge” since high school, but the reasons I downloaded the album are the two other albums, “Siberian Khatru” and “And You And I”.

“And You and I” is a softer song, and it has a little catchy melody. The texture provided by Rick Wakeman’s keyboards is rich and thick, much like Genesis’ “Watcher of the Skies” and its dense mellotron ambiance. The song is sweet.

I really liked “Siberian Khatru” and its very eclectic sound. It was an odd mixture of jazz, a little bit of blues, choral music and of course some raw rock and roll. The song, together of course with “Close to the Edge”, is the perfect example of Steve Howe’s innovative guitar playing. At a time when The Beatles, Cream, Grateful Dead and the like are flooding the radio stations with bluesy riffs and formulaic rock and roll, Steve Howe is already creating solos beyond the blues scale and even the usual major/minor standards. Bill Bruford is showing off his soft, sweet hands in this album, deviating from the larger circle of rock-solid, thumping rock and roll drummers. Chris Squire displays his trebly bass lines, having stable and fitting bass tones but also playing like he is doing a solo. Of course, Jon Anderson’s soaring voice and choral arrangements gives the album its iconic ethereal feeling, buttressing his penchant for esoteric, spiritual poetry.

Among the early Yes albums (The Yes Album, Fragile, Close to the Edge, Tales from the Topographic Ocean), Close to the Edge stands out as the best record, maximizing the enormous talents of these four people.

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