Wednesday, November 15, 2006


In the view of many people, there is nothing less musically acceptable than Yes's 1973 four-side near 80-minute epic album, Tales From Topographic Oceans. I couldn't agree less. What gets called 'progressive rock' has committed more than a few atrocities, but this isn't one of them. It's coherent, evocative, complex and brimming with ideas. So it was with delight that I discovered, while surfing on Amazon, that at least one thoughtful reviewer agrees. Dr D. B. Sillars' oeuvre is worth visiting anyway, and here he is on TfTO.

Critics have called this album difficult and stated that there was an overstretching of musical ideas. This is not the case. I think the album evolves naturally over each of its tracks. It is complex, thematically and musically, but I think the whole thing holds together... It has stood the test of time very well. It is the album by [Yes] that I re-visit the most, finding new nuances from each listen. This remaster has done the album the justice it deserves. The sound is full and clear, with all the detail finally brought out of the mix. The studio run-throughs are interesting takes on how the pieces have evolved. The digipak packaging is sumptuous. Rhino has done a remarkable job with this and the other releases in the Yes re-issue programme. Take the opportunity and listen to this bold album from Yes’s classic period. It really deserves to be re-evaluated and given the recognition it so widely [merits].

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