Sunday, October 28, 2012

Yes – Close to the Edge

   In the history of progressive rock Yes belongs to the group of most remarkable bands. In early 1970’s they achieved success which was connected with characteristic features of Yes music, complicated formal structures basing on harmonic and rhythmic contrast and complex arrangements. And this is the moment of some best albums of the group. Formed in 1968, in the current of fading psychedelic rock, band soon has won the recognition of critics and the audience as intellectual, creative and hard-shell artistic project. Yes was always classified as one of progressive groups, in fact in its early years it was the term related with few most experimenting bands. This is why for a huge number of listeners it was the band defining the style of progressive rock, and then symphonic rock and art rock. Musicians forming the band had this characteristic attitude of artists modest in their attitude to developing of their possibilities but uncompromising in aspirations. And their contribution in the development of these trends is indisputable until today.
   Yes was always playing like everything what make sense in creative music was an intellectual challenge, their compositions were meticulously constructed by the assumption. Especially after 1971, when lineup of the group has significantly changed. The three musicians playing in the band from the beginning, singer Jon Anderson, singer and bassist Chris Squire and drummer Bill Bruford were joined by guitarist Steve Howe and keyboardist Rick Wakeman. This quintet became legendary, recording in 1971 Fragile and one year later Close to the Edge which turned to be the best Yes album ever and one of best realizations of the genre.

Yes – Close to the Edge (1972)

   This Yes’ lineup made something unusual in the history of rock music. The discipline of musical construction and sound expressing all kinds of emotions, rhythmic manipulations and ambient soundscapes, heavy rock riffs, jamming keyboards and guitars, soft and heavy bass lines with high range vocals and poetic lyrics. A poetic content of Close to the Edge has some features revealing the visionary layer of Yes’ creations. It is basing on Hindu mysticism and Hermann Hesse’s book Siddhartha – filling A-Side four-part eponymous suite shows the moments of awakening Hesse’s character “close to the edge” of the bank of the river. The four episodes are also consecutive moments of awakening the consciousness and the spiritual self.
   During the Close to the Edge sessions in second quarter of 1972, the band was in perfect shape. Whole five was heterogeneous. Yes was like pentagonal rock Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Brufford, Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman, every one of them has his own point of view and artistic ambitions. This can be heard but what is interesting, the so much clear differences between five personalities did not interfered with the integrity of their music. It’s also interesting feature how Yes’ intellectually advanced constructions comprise folk references in smooth ballade type vocal lines and in guitar riffs. Many Yes’ aficionados are declaring their love to this record. For many others this is one of legends of 1970’s progressive rock current. Undoubtedly, it was one of the most important albums of the genre and one of the biggest 1972 events.

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