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Matt Wilson
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Re: Yes

Postby Matt Wilson » 06 Aug 2021, 01:25

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Tormato
As I've previously said in earlier installments, most of the major progressive rock groups were floundering by the late '70s, and Yes was no exception. I don't hate Tormato by any means, in fact, it's not that bad - certainly no Love Beach - probably only a hair's difference in quality between this and Genesis' And Then There Were Three. But Yes would never be great again (neither would Genesis, but that's another discussion) and that's a bit upsetting. Thing is - they would be better than Tormato again with the very next couple of albums. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We're at 1978 now and this LP must have come as quite a shock to die-hard fans that their heroes weren't Olympians after all, but rather musicians struggling to compete in a rapidly changing rock environment with punk suddenly the latest and greatest rage in the UK. Long solos, classical references, sci-fi themed lyrics with excessive verbiage and the need for virtuosic displays of musical dexterity were no longer valued like they were only a few years prior.

Not that you'd know that by listening to this album though, for the boys continued like they always had. There are no songs with excessive lengths, and Jon keeps his gobley gook scribblings to a minimum, but that's all the concessions you get from Yes on this record. They sound more or less like they had for years by then, and had the songs been up to par, I think Tormato could've sold by the truckload and been another Going for the One. Twas not in the cards unfortunately, and this album is their first stumble since Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman joined the band in 1971. Having typed that however, it's not all bad by any means, merely average. It's still the classic '70s lineup, and I rather enjoy it. so let's take a look:

Jon Anderson – vocals, 10-string Alvarez guitar (1, 5 and 8)
Steve Howe – Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar, Martin 000-45, Fender Broadcaster, Gibson ES-175, Gibson acoustic guitar, mandolin, Spanish guitar, vocals
Chris Squire – harmonised Rickenbacker bass, Gibson Thunderbird bass, bass pedals, piano (2), vocals
Rick Wakeman – Birotron, Hammond organ, Polymoog synthesizer, piano, harpsichord, RMI Electra Piano
Alan White – drums, military snare drum (1), glockenspiel, crotales, cymbals, bell tree, drum synthesizer (5), gongs, vibraphone, vocals (4)

1. "Future Times"/"Rejoice" (Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman, Alan White) 6:46
Well, would you look at the songwriting credits on this one? Everybody's on board and Rick's keys come pummeling out of the starting gate like Helios drawing his chariot across the sky. Sounds good to me - and to be honest, I'd rather listen to this than any post-90125 Yes album. Of course, I've not heard even half of them, so there's that. I'm blasting it right now, neighbors be damned (a frequent mantra of mine), and it sounds good. Squire plays the bass with a Mu-Tron pedal effect, whatever that is. Had this number been on Going for the One, people would be praising it.

2. "Don't Kill the Whale" (Jon Anderson, Chris Squire) 3:55
This one takes a lot of flak for some reason. I guess environmental themes were seen as beneath Anderson's lofty pretensions or something, I don't know. It's never bothered me, and I might even consider it a highlight.

Wiki: "Don't Kill the Whale" originated from a bass line and a passage on an acoustic guitar that Squire had devised which he presented to Anderson, who proceeded to write lyrical ideas off of it using a poem that he had written on the subject as a basis. The acoustic line was worked into the song's chorus. The keyboard solo involved Wakeman adapting a sound that he had configured on his Polymoog which produced "weird sounds" that resembled a whale."

Also: "The album features the band playing new instruments that were not used on previous Yes albums. By the time of recording, Wakeman had changed his keyboard rig to incorporate the Polymoog, a polyphonic analog synthesiser which he said was used mainly for "soloing and filling", and the Birotron, a tape relay keyboard which he had co-funded during its development and manufacturing four years earlier. Wakeman reduced the number of keyboards he typically used so the tracks could relate to each other, thus creating an album that "flowed a bit more". In one incident, the band laid a prank on Wakeman while he was on a break by replacing the Birotron cartridges with a tape of Seals and Crofts. Howe said: "When he pressed the keys he went, 'What the hell is this?'" and "got quite cross". Looking back on the album a year after its release, Wakeman admitted he got it "60 percent right and 40 percent wrong", and wished he played things differently. One of Howe's criticisms of Tormato was that the Polymoog and Birotron did not complement his guitar sound and noted they often "cancel each other out". Squire felt as if Wakeman and Howe tried to play more notes than the other in a single bar, which was caused after Anderson would put down basic chords on an acoustic guitar and then take it out of the mix, leaving gaps in the music. Howe picked out "Madrigal", "Release, Release", and "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" as the tracks he liked best.

3. "Madrigal" (Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman) 2:21
Sounds like it could be on a Wakeman solo album, only it has Anderson's vocals, which are quite nice by the way, and Steve on guitar of course. Wikipedia: "Madrigal" features Wakeman playing a Thomas Goff harpsichord. Anderson had suggested to Wakeman that they write a madrigal, a form of English evening song."

4. "Release, Release" (Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Alan White) 5:40
I like this one too - in fact, I have no issue with side one of this album. Jon is in top form on most of these songs. He was singing as well as he ever had.

Wiki: "Release, Release" was developed by Anderson and White, and features automatic double tracking applied onto White's drum tracks to achieve a bigger sound. Its original title was "The Anti-Campaign", referring to the political and social changes at the time before it was changed in favour of the lyric "Release, release" that is sung multiple times at the end. The instrumental section includes a crowd cheering with the guitar and drum solo, which Wakeman reasoned was added because it "sounded a bit dry" on its own. He claimed the crowd was taken from an English football match. Atlantic Records president Ahmet Ertegun visited Yes in the studio and heard "Release, Release", which he liked and suggested the whole album sound like it. The song was difficult for Anderson to sing on stage as the many high notes in the song strained his voice, and it was dropped early into the tour."

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5. "Arriving UFO" (Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman) 6:02
The second side of the LP isn't quite up to the same standards as the first though. Take this number for instance, the first fumble of the record. I mean, they're trying and all, but chutzpah doesn't make for a memorable tune. I'm scared to read the lyrics too, because of that title. I can only imagine what horrors Anderson is bestowing on the printed page. People complain about the sound of the LP as well, but I don't hear it on the CD. Still, I feel the need to present that point of view so...

Wikipedia: "Arriving UFO" is based on a tune that Anderson had developed, inspired to write a science-fiction song having seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) twice. Wakeman wrote the instrumental section. In 2013, engineer and producer Brian Kehew, who has worked on the remastering of other Yes albums, explained that the album sounds "thin, flat and terrible". He said that Offord usually incorporated Dolby A, a type of Dolby noise-reduction system, in his production work. However, upon examination of the original tapes he could not locate any sign that Dolby A was used. But when he applied Dolby A to the tapes, "[...] everything – except from the overdubs – sounded amazing". Kehew then realised that the engineers who replaced Offord during the album's production may not have known that the Dolby reduction had been used."

6. "Circus of Heaven" (Jon Anderson) 4:28
Another one which doesn't stick with me. I mean it's fine and all - but something is lost here, a certain sense of greatness which had been present on every Yes LP since The Yes Album is not on display by this time in their career.

Wiki: "Circus of Heaven" tells the story of a travelling fantasy circus and its visit to a Midwestern town, featuring unicorns, centaurs, elves, and fairies. Its direction came from Anderson's pursuit of writing songs aimed at children, and gained inspiration from a book by Ray Bradbury ten years before which he subsequently told to his son Damion, who speaks at the end of the song. Squire thought the track was an interesting one musically as it features him playing a reggae-style bass riff."

Damn, that doesn't even sound good on paper, does it?

7. "Onward" (Chris Squire) 4:00
Well, if Jon could fall on his face with his sole writing credited song, surely Chris can take the opportunity to do the same here, eh? The third extremely average song in a row did not bode well for our heroes. Perhaps my least fave tune on the record. Chris did not feel the same however. Wiki: "Onward" is solely credited to Squire, who had produced a demo version of the song on vocals and piano and presented it to the band. It features orchestral arrangements by his friend Andrew Pryce Jackman, who had worked with Squire as members of The Syn and on Squire's solo album Fish Out of Water (1975). Squire later considered "Onward" as one of the best songs he ever wrote. "Onward" was performed live in 1996 and features an acoustic guitar introduction from Howe entitled "Unity". This was released on their live/studio album Keys to Ascension (1996).

8. "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" (Jon Anderson, Chris Squire) 7:45
To my ears, the best thing on side two, and a not-bad way to end the proceedings. They're all playing nicely for the first two-and-a-half minutes or so. Squire's bass, Alan's tubs, Steve playing snake-like rhythms over Rick's synths - classic Yes, in other words. When Jon comes in I almost don't mind the "celestial seasons" and "the passing light of Easing" parts, because it's Jon Anderson, you know? LOL. A little glimpse of the Yes that used to be, even if it's not a top notch song.

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One of a Kind - Bill Buford
If I gave you the impression that prog was dying on the vine in 1978, it hardly got better in '79. If anything, there were even less truly great progressive rock albums that year than ever before. Indeed, the genre would be on life support for almost the entire duration of the '80s before things improved in the '90s. I mean, what was there anyway? Pink Floyd's The Wall, Saga's Images of Twilight, Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes by Eloy, Zalmoxe by Sfinx, and precious few others. Solo albums by band members in the prog community had been a thing for years though, as evidenced by all the reviews I've written for this very thread. Fripp did Exposure, and there was The Steve Howe Album, etc. So if you've never heard this Bill Bruford record - I highly recommend it.

Fresh from UK, Bill had taken Allan Holdsworth with him to his band, Bruford. There had already been a solo album, Feel Good to Me, the previous year, but this jazz fusion LP took the group to a whole new level. It's too bad radio wouldn't play this because the instrumental tunes are great, and the playing extraordinary.

Allan Holdsworth – electric guitar
Dave Stewart – keyboards, synthesizers, electronics
Jeff Berlin – bass guitar
Bill Bruford – drums & percussions, voice of the Mock Turtle ("Fainting in Coils")
with

Eddie Jobson – violin ("Forever Until Sunday")
Anthea Norman Taylor - voice of Alice ("Fainting in Coils")
Sam Alder – narrator ("Fainting in Coils")
John Clark – electric guitar ("Manacles")


1. "Hell's Bells" (Dave Stewart, Alan Gowen) 3:32
An almost UK-like synth riff begins the album in a commercial manner probably designed for radio-consumption which was never gonna happen. Crisp drumming underlines Stewarts synths before Allan starts up with some cool-sounding guitar parts. I tells ya - Holdsworth enlivens everything he plays on. At least every LP I own which contains his contributions anyway. Wiki says "Stewart's "Hell's Bells" utilizes a fragment penned by his former National Health colleague Alan Gowen (the 3-chord pattern underlying the guitar solo)."

2. "One of a Kind, Pt. 1" (Bill Bruford) 2:20
Love this one. A two-part fusion extravaganza where all contribute and everybody shines. Nice bass by Berlin.

3. "One of a Kind, Pt. 2" (Bill Bruford, Dave Stewart) 4:00
The last cut segued right into this one as the bass, keyboard and guitar soloing continues. A nice groove, very different from what Soft Machine sounded like.

4. "Travels with Myself – And Someone Else" (Bill Bruford) 6:10
Another great one. Do light jazz stations play stuff like this? Pleasant, well-sequenced music which can function either as background or something to be scrutinized. Your choice. Bill seems more very comfortable in this setting. Should I check out more Jeff Berlin? He's amazing. I know he played with Holdsworth after this.

5. "Fainting in Coils" (Bill Bruford) 6:33
People are speaking at the beginning of this track. After that it's another great piece of fusion much in keeping with the previous one. An excellent first side! It's almost like music you'd enjoy hearing at a ritzy club while drinking. Nothing much to do with rock, progressive, or otherwise.

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6. "Five G" (Jeff Berlin, Bill Bruford, Dave Stewart) 4:41
Berlin ripping it up is the first thing you hear, then the others step in to reinforce the riff. A powerhouse performance and perhaps my favorite piece on the CD. Allan with his distinct tone adding texture while Bill holds down the bottom. There's actually a 5.1 mix of this album in the Seems Like a Lifetime Ago box.

7. "The Abingdon Chasp" (Allan Holdsworth) 4:50
Allan's song begins with bass, drums and keys. Everything but guitar, until about the one-minute mark that is. Surprisingly, it's not a six-string workout, though there are solos of course. Holdsworth should have written more for Bill during this era.

8. "Forever Until Sunday" (Bill Bruford) 5:46
The pace slows down considerably for this ballad which goes on a bit long by my estimation but is still tastefully done. Eddie Jobson actually on violin here. By about the 3:30 mark, it's no longer a ballad.

Wikipedia: "Forever Until Sunday" and "The Sahara of Snow" had originally been performed at 1978 concerts by Bruford and Holdsworth’s previous band U.K.. They were intended for a studio album, but were never properly recorded by U.K. as Bruford kept the pieces for himself when he and Holdsworth exited the band."

9. "The Sahara of Snow, Pt. 1" (Bill Bruford) 5:18
The last piece (in two parts) also begins at a glacial pace before picking up after a minute or so. It would've been cool to hear UK do this. Alan soloing but never overplaying.

10 "The Sahara of Snow, Pt. 2" (Bill Bruford, Eddie Jobson) 3:23
I'll leave you guys with a Bill interview from that time:

https://www.thetapesarchive.com/bill-bruford/

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robertff
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Re: Yes

Postby robertff » 06 Aug 2021, 06:12

Got both Tormato and Bruford, neither get played regularly, if at all. Guess it says it all really, doesn’t it?



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Re: Yes

Postby C » 06 Aug 2021, 12:21

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A very good album!

Anything with Holdsworth on is going to be robust!






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LMG wrote:Everyone I have ever met was at Baker's Airforce show where it was recorded. My boss, various ex-girlfriends, my postman was reminiscing about it the other day. My Mum went, my Dad and both sets of grandparents. I got stuck at home with a babysitter!

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Re: Yes

Postby slightbreeze » 06 Aug 2021, 12:37

You only have to look at the cover of "Tormato" and know it's not going to be very good. It isn't.
Last edited by slightbreeze on 06 Aug 2021, 20:11, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Yes

Postby trans-chigley express » 06 Aug 2021, 15:07

I largely agree with the review of Tormato except I like Onward a lot more.

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Neil Jung
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Re: Yes

Postby Neil Jung » 06 Aug 2021, 17:16

I played that Bruford album yesterday. Well, side one anyway. It’s pretty good if you like that sort of thing. I saw them on a double bill with Brand X at The Venue in Victoria, London. The latter (post Collins) were tediously awful, iirc Bruford were fine.
Tormato. The sleeve is awful, the sound is thin. The songs aren’t up to much. I never play it.
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Re: Yes

Postby Charlie O. » 06 Aug 2021, 18:05

trans-chigley express wrote:I largely agree with the review of Tormato except I like Onward a lot more.

It's one of my favorites.

After initial skepticism I came to love "Arriving UFO" too. It's an amazing sounding thing, as is "Circus Of Heaven".

I take Howe's point about the sonics of Wakeman's new keyboards not meshing with his guitar, but... Wakeman's dubious taste in synth sounds had always been an issue. If it's more of an issue here, that's probably only because he isn't playing as much piano/organ/mellotron as he had on previous albums.

For me, the primary stumbling block here is Anderson's lyrics, and his singing of them. "Circus Of Heaven" and "Madrigal" are the worst offenders - both impressive pieces of music, both dragged down by JA's verbal awkwardness.

I agree that the cover is very un-Yes like (even more so than Going For The One's cover had been). I can't help but wonder if that didn't pre-color fans' perceptions of the music.
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Re: Yes

Postby Tom Waits For No One » 06 Aug 2021, 18:28

Yes opened their shows in 2015/16 with a tribute to Chris Squire, placing his Rickenbacker on a stand as they showed a photo montage of Chris.
Saw this in Liverpool, introduced by our own Jon Kirkham, which was nice.





Not Liverpool but the same thing from the America.
Give a shit or be a shit.

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Neil Jung
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Re: Yes

Postby Neil Jung » 06 Aug 2021, 18:39

Just playing Tormato. As said above, much of the problem is Wakeman’s horrid keyboard sounds. But I still think the material isn’t up to scratch. Release Release is so bad I was moved to get out of my chair and take it off.
Drama next eh?
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Re: Yes

Postby C » 08 Aug 2021, 16:53

Neil Jung wrote:Tormato. The sleeve is awful, the sound is thin. The songs aren’t up to much. I never play it.


I bought it when it came out and gave it away a couple of days later.

I wasn't impressed

In fact because of that disappointment I didn't buy the excellent Drama and 90125, that followed, for quite a few years later****



****
Not quite correct: Thinking about it - I bought 90125 after I got a free ticket to see them with my brother and they were excellent so I bought the album [5 year later] and then I bought Drama a decade or so after that!]

Drama was the last Yes album I bought




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LMG wrote:Everyone I have ever met was at Baker's Airforce show where it was recorded. My boss, various ex-girlfriends, my postman was reminiscing about it the other day. My Mum went, my Dad and both sets of grandparents. I got stuck at home with a babysitter!

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Re: Yes

Postby Matt Wilson » 08 Aug 2021, 19:38

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The Steve Howe Album
Like Bruford, Howe had already released a solo album prior to the one I'm reviewing here, and while the music was fine, I didn't care for his singing. So we'll look at 1979's The Steve Howe Album today. I quite like it! Steve wouldn't release another good one for some time (probably The Grand Scheme of Things in '93). He plays all the different types of music he likes here: rock, country, prog, orchestral - both instrumentally and with vocals. If fusion isn't your thing and you don't feel you'd like the Bruford record, check out this one then. Yep, that's even a Roger Dean cover you're looking at. And check out these musician credits. He's got Patrick Moraz, plus both Bill Bruford and Alan White on drums.

Steve Howe – guitars (acoustic, electric, bass, Spanish, Danelectro sitar, pedal steel), mandolin, six-string banjo, Moog synthesizer, string ensemble, vocals (3)
Claire Hamill – vocals (5)
Ronnie Leahy – Korg & ARP synthesizers, Hammond organ (1, 5)
Patrick Moraz – piano (3)
Alan White – drums (1, 5)
Bill Bruford – drums (3)
Clive Bunker – percussion (2)
Graham Preskett – violin (7)
59 piece classical orchestra arranged and conducted by Andrew Jackman (9)
String ensemble (10)

All songs written by Steve Howe except where noted.

1. "Pennants" – 4:35
A good, strong riff opens the album and you can definitely tell it's Steve. He's playing some of those "Close to the Edge" type sounds. An instrumental LP with one exception. This song sounds like it could've received airplay, and is one of the better numbers.

2. "Cactus Boogie" – 2:00
Another good 'un, and a fan fave. Howe shows his country or even bluegrass leanings. You'd think you were at a hoedown.

3. "All's a Chord" – 4:55
Very pretty acoustic opening with Steve overdubbing himself on all manner of stringed instruments (look at the chart below - he definitely wants you to know what he's playing on every track). Well-played background music.

4. "Diary of a Man Who Disappeared" – 2:35
Another cool cut. Each of these numbers has a different vibe or feel to them. This one might go under the 'slightly country' category, but there's more going on here than that.

5. "Look Over Your Shoulder" – 5:00
This is the one with Claire Hamill singing and sounds like a more conventional song than most of the other cuts on the record. Not one of my favorites, but once the vocals cease and the band picks it up, it's another great musical feast for the ears. The whole album is strong.

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6. "Meadow Rag" – 2:40
Possibly the most famous cut (among Steve fans) on the record. An acoustic song not unlike "The Clap." I could listen to Howe play like this for hours.

7. "The Continental" (Con Conrad, Herb Magidson) – 2:50
Starts off acoustically, with a violin, before another country motif begins. I wonder why he rarely brings in his love of country music into Yes' recordings?

8. "Surface Tension" – 3:25
Another acoustic opening for a nice ballad. This sounds like some of the guitar playing Steve would do on a Yes record.

9. "Double Rondo" (music by Steve Howe; orchestrated by Andrew Jackman) – 8:12
The longest track here is often fairly ambitious. There's orchestration with Steve playing in front of. The effect is quite nice actually, and he's playing a few of his sounds associated with Yes so you don't forget whose album you're listening to. It goes on a bit long, but I don't mind really.

10. "Concerto In D (Second Movement)" (Vivaldi; arranged by Steve Howe) – 4:50
The exact same feel follows onto the last cut with Steve playing out in front of the strings of the orchestra in this Vivaldi piece. It's like "Double Rondo" part two. Howe obviously liked this vibe but by now I'm wishing there were more riffs taken at a faster tempo.

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Drama - Yes
Much er, 'drama' had occurred in the Yes camp since Tormato. Anderson and Wakeman were out, and Trevor Horne and Geoffe Downes from The Buggles were in. Apparently, the songs of Rick and Jon weren't seen as up to par in rehearsals, causing friction between the two and the rest of the band. Wakeman had left before, but what's a Yes album without Jon Anderson? Well, not bad, frankly, and had Jon sang these songs, I think Drama would be a fan favorite. With longer song lengths, it's arguably more prog than Tormato, and they're good tunes too. THE overlooked album in the Yes canon.

Geoff Downes – keyboards, vocoder
Trevor Horn – lead vocals, fretless bass on "Run Through the Light"
Steve Howe – guitar, mandolin on "Run Through the Light", backing vocals
Chris Squire – bass, backing vocals, piano on "Run Through the Light"
Alan White – drums, percussion, backing vocals

All songs by Geoff Downes, Trevor Horn, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White.

1. "Machine Messiah" 10:18
One of the stronger numbers here, and certainly the longest. Almost metal-like chords begin the track before we recognize Steve's tone and the synths kick in. There's definitely a Yes-like sound with even a Jon-like vocal effort from Trevor. It's funny, Jon Anderson seems to hover like a ghost over Yes recordings which feature someone else singing - or even Chris' Fish Out of Water sessions. Speaking of Squire, I can hear him singing on this track too. Anyway, underrated in the band's canon. I don't know if this tune became a popular in-concert number or not, but I kinda doubt it since this version of the group broke up the next year. Cool dynamics too as the tempo slows down at around the six-minute mark.

Wiki: "According to Horn, "Machine Messiah" was written in one day. Music reporter and critic Chris Welch described Howe's opening guitar riff as "unexpectedly heavy metal". White called the song his "baby", putting together much of its structure and rhythm. Squire found some of its passages difficult to play on his bass and thought it was more suited for keyboards, but was encouraged by White to master his parts. Downes rates the track highly, citing its various sections and mood changes. When he was composing his keyboard parts for the song, Downes included an arpeggiated segment from the fifth movement of Symphony for Organ No. 5 by Charles-Marie Widor, a piece that he was familiar with from his youth. Cover artist Roger Dean said "Machine Messiah" is one of his favorite Yes tracks, while Downes has said it is the central track on the album, epitomizing the coming together of his and Horn's style with Howe, Squire and White."

2. "Man In A White Car" 1:18
This little piece has an orchestral feel with the synths and Trevor sings it well. Wikipedia: "White Car" was recorded in one afternoon. Downes only played a Fairlight CMI synthesiser on the recording, to test its sampling capabilities: "I tried to simulate an orchestra using these samples, but it was very early days of digital sampling. The bandwidth was very narrow, but that's what gave it all that characteristic 'crunch factor'. We then added the vocoder and Trevor's vocal to the mix". Horn's lyrics were about seeing pop figure Gary Numan driving his Stingray, which was given to him by his record company."

3. "Does It Really Happen?" 6:27
I like this one too but it's not on the same level as "Machine Messiah." The synthesizer sound is different than Rick's or Patrick's and takes a little getting used to. But this was the early eighties, pre-MTV, and synth sounds would dominate the decade, especially in music coming from the UK. Chris' bass is right up front in the mix like you want it to be.

Wiki: "Does It Really Happen?" originated from the 1979 Paris sessions, with White coming up with its drum pattern. A version featuring Anderson singing a different set of lyrics was recorded and later released as "Everybody's Song". It was then shelved until it was developed further when Horn and Downes joined, making amendments to the arrangement. Horn and Squire wrote new lyrics."

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4. "Into the Lens" 8:31
Another strong opener for side two, with Chris' bass being the first thing you hear before the riffs begin. How come the previous edition of the band couldn't come up with material like this for the Tormato sessions? I'll tell you why - it was originally a Horn/Downes tune.

Wikipedia: "Into the Lens" was originally completed by Horn and Downes before they joined the group, but Squire took a liking to it and wished to re-arrange it as a Yes track, which he completed with Downes. Squire later said that the track suffered a little due to the lack of time to complete the album. It features Downes using a vocoder, further highlighting the band's new sound. A version recorded by Horn and Downes only was later released on the second Buggles album, Adventures in Modern Recording (1981), with the title "I Am a Camera".

5. "Run Through the Light" 4:41
I can REALLY hear Jon singing this in my mind when I listen to this track. Chris comes in on vocals for the chorus. There isn't a mediocre song on the album. They may not be 'great' like Yes was from '71 - '77, but had this version of the band continued, it's possible that they may have had a great LP in them.

Wiki: "Run Through the Light" features Howe playing a Les Paul guitar, "in the background being very melancholy", with Squire playing a piano and Horn playing bass, something which Horn did not particularly wish to do, but Squire convinced him to perform. "I didn't quite know what to play on it ... one day we spent twelve hours playing and working the final bass part". A different version of the song was recorded with Anderson."

6. "Tempus Fugit" 5:12
The last piece on the LP is another strong one. The band seems alive here, no mucking about. I wonder what Jon and Rick thought about this album? Probably hated it... LOL. The vocals aren't as good as Anderson's of course, but the music is stronger than that of Tormato to these ears. Wiki: "Tempus Fugit" was another song sketched out by the Squire, Howe and White trio in late 1979. Its title is a Latin expression that translates as "time flies". According to Howe, its name was derived from Squire's habit of arriving late to places."

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Last edited by Matt Wilson on 08 Aug 2021, 19:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Yes

Postby C » 08 Aug 2021, 19:50

Matt Wilson wrote:
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Drama - Yes
Much er, 'drama' had occurred in the Yes camp since Tormato. Anderson and Wakeman were out, and Trevor Horne and Geoffe Downes from The Buggles were in. Apparently, the songs of Rick and Jon weren't seen as up to par in rehearsals, causing friction between the two and the rest of the band. Wakeman had left before, but what's a Yes album without Jon Anderson? Well, not bad, frankly, and had Jon sang these songs, I think Drama would be a fan favorite. With longer song lengths, it's arguably more prog than Tormato, and they're good tunes too. THE overlooked album in the Yes canon.

Geoff Downes – keyboards, vocoder
Trevor Horn – lead vocals, fretless bass on "Run Through the Light"
Steve Howe – guitar, mandolin on "Run Through the Light", backing vocals
Chris Squire – bass, backing vocals, piano on "Run Through the Light"
Alan White – drums, percussion, backing vocals

All songs by Geoff Downes, Trevor Horn, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White.

1. "Machine Messiah" 10:18
One of the stronger numbers here, and certainly the longest. Almost metal-like chords begin the track before we recognize Steve's tone and the synths kick in. There's definitely a Yes-like sound with even a Jon-like vocal effort from Trevor. It's funny, Jon Anderson seems to hover like a ghost over Yes recordings which feature someone else singing - or even Chris' Fish Out of Water sessions. Speaking of Squire, I can hear him singing on this track too. Anyway, underrated in the band's canon. I don't know if this tune became a popular in-concert number or not, but I kinda doubt it since this version of the group broke up the next year. Cool dynamics too as the tempo slows down at around the six-minute mark.

Wiki: "According to Horn, "Machine Messiah" was written in one day. Music reporter and critic Chris Welch described Howe's opening guitar riff as "unexpectedly heavy metal". White called the song his "baby", putting together much of its structure and rhythm. Squire found some of its passages difficult to play on his bass and thought it was more suited for keyboards, but was encouraged by White to master his parts. Downes rates the track highly, citing its various sections and mood changes. When he was composing his keyboard parts for the song, Downes included an arpeggiated segment from the fifth movement of Symphony for Organ No. 5 by Charles-Marie Widor, a piece that he was familiar with from his youth. Cover artist Roger Dean said "Machine Messiah" is one of his favorite Yes tracks, while Downes has said it is the central track on the album, epitomizing the coming together of his and Horn's style with Howe, Squire and White."

2. "Man In A White Car" 1:18
This little piece has an orchestral feel with the synths and Trevor sings it well. Wikipedia: "White Car" was recorded in one afternoon. Downes only played a Fairlight CMI synthesiser on the recording, to test its sampling capabilities: "I tried to simulate an orchestra using these samples, but it was very early days of digital sampling. The bandwidth was very narrow, but that's what gave it all that characteristic 'crunch factor'. We then added the vocoder and Trevor's vocal to the mix". Horn's lyrics were about seeing pop figure Gary Numan driving his Stingray, which was given to him by his record company."

3. "Does It Really Happen?" 6:27
I like this one too but it's not on the same level as "Machine Messiah." The synthesizer sound is different than Rick's or Patrick's and takes a little getting used to. But this was the early eighties, pre-MTV, and synth sounds would dominate the decade, especially in music coming from the UK. Chris' bass is right up front in the mix like you want it to be.

Wiki: "Does It Really Happen?" originated from the 1979 Paris sessions, with White coming up with its drum pattern. A version featuring Anderson singing a different set of lyrics was recorded and later released as "Everybody's Song". It was then shelved until it was developed further when Horn and Downes joined, making amendments to the arrangement. Horn and Squire wrote new lyrics."

Image

4. "Into the Lens" 8:31
Another strong opener for side two, with Chris' bass being the first thing you hear before the riffs begin. How come the previous edition of the band couldn't come up with material like this for the Tormato sessions? I'll tell you why - it was originally a Horn/Downes tune.

Wikipedia: "Into the Lens" was originally completed by Horn and Downes before they joined the group, but Squire took a liking to it and wished to re-arrange it as a Yes track, which he completed with Downes. Squire later said that the track suffered a little due to the lack of time to complete the album. It features Downes using a vocoder, further highlighting the band's new sound. A version recorded by Horn and Downes only was later released on the second Buggles album, Adventures in Modern Recording (1981), with the title "I Am a Camera".

5. "Run Through the Light" 4:41
I can REALLY hear Jon singing this in my mind when I listen to this track. Chris comes in on vocals for the chorus. There isn't a mediocre song on the album. They may not be 'great' like Yes was from '71 - '77, but had this band continued, it's possible that they may have had a great LP in them.

Wiki: "Run Through the Light" features Howe playing a Les Paul guitar, "in the background being very melancholy", with Squire playing a piano and Horn playing bass, something which Horn did not particularly wish to do, but Squire convinced him to perform. "I didn't quite know what to play on it ... one day we spent twelve hours playing and working the final bass part". A different version of the song was recorded with Anderson."

6. "Tempus Fugit" 5:12
The last piece on the LP is another strong one. The band seems alive here, no mucking about. I wonder what Jon and Rick thought about this album? Probably hated it... LOL. The vocals aren't as good as Anderson's of course, but the music is stronger than that of Tormato to these ears. Wiki: "Tempus Fugit" was another song sketched out by the Squire, Howe and White trio in late 1979. Its title is a Latin expression that translates as "time flies". According to Howe, its name was derived from Squire's habit of arriving late to places."

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I don't know the Howe album.

Drama - a good return to form

Another good write up Matt

Good lad




.
LMG wrote:Everyone I have ever met was at Baker's Airforce show where it was recorded. My boss, various ex-girlfriends, my postman was reminiscing about it the other day. My Mum went, my Dad and both sets of grandparents. I got stuck at home with a babysitter!

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Matt Wilson
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Re: Yes

Postby Matt Wilson » 08 Aug 2021, 19:54

C wrote:I don't know the Howe album.


I wanted to review one progressive rock album that you hadn't heard, just ONE.

My work here is done.


wipes away a tear...

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mudshark
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Re: Yes

Postby mudshark » 08 Aug 2021, 19:58

What a way to surrender...
There's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over

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C
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Re: Yes

Postby C » 08 Aug 2021, 20:39

Matt Wilson wrote:
C wrote:I don't know the Howe album.


I wanted to review one progressive rock album that you hadn't heard, just ONE.

My work here is done.


wipes away a tear...


:D

Well done lad




.
LMG wrote:Everyone I have ever met was at Baker's Airforce show where it was recorded. My boss, various ex-girlfriends, my postman was reminiscing about it the other day. My Mum went, my Dad and both sets of grandparents. I got stuck at home with a babysitter!

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C
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Re: Yes

Postby C » 08 Aug 2021, 20:40

mudshark wrote:What a way to surrender...


:lol:

I read the poor reviews at the time and didn't bother



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LMG wrote:Everyone I have ever met was at Baker's Airforce show where it was recorded. My boss, various ex-girlfriends, my postman was reminiscing about it the other day. My Mum went, my Dad and both sets of grandparents. I got stuck at home with a babysitter!

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Neil Jung
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Re: Yes

Postby Neil Jung » 08 Aug 2021, 20:44

Matt Wilson wrote:
C wrote:I don't know the Howe album.


I wanted to review one progressive rock album that you hadn't heard, just ONE.

My work here is done.

wipes away a tear...


Well done Matt! You could of course have chosen any progressive rock recorded in the last 30 years to achieve that.

I don’t know the Steve Howe album either, but I’m not a huge fan of his so it’s hardly surprising. I saw him in a solo concert once. He played a few bits of Topographic Oceans and sang his “harmony” vocals. The audience looked at one another with a WTF expression.

Drama seems to have grown in stature over the years. I saw that tour. Horn was very nervous and despite discouraging shouts of “where’s Jon” I thought he did ok. I don’t think it’s a great record but it is much better than Tormato; at least I don’t have to take it off after a few tracks.

I hope you’re going to carry on through the Yes discography, at least with the studio albums. I’ll let you off listening to the myriad of recent live albums! Although you should do Yesshows.
[indistinct chatter]

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Matt Wilson
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Re: Yes

Postby Matt Wilson » 08 Aug 2021, 20:57

Neil Jung wrote:I hope you’re going to carry on through the Yes discography, at least with the studio albums. I’ll let you off listening to the myriad of recent live albums! Although you should do Yesshows.


I've said I'll go through 90125 and that's it. I'm already getting bored frankly. Besides, I don't own even half of the post 1983 Yes albums and am not going to buy them just for this thread. But like I mentioned on the ELP thread a month ago, by all means feel free to review any Yes or Yes-related album here if you'd like to keep it going. I'm probably going to start a Genesis 1969 - 1982 thread next, and I've got Caravan and Van Der Graaf Generator in mind when those boxes come out later on this year.

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C
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Re: Yes

Postby C » 08 Aug 2021, 23:14

I would be interested in your (re)views of Camel

But already looking for the three bands you've mentioned

Keep up the good work




.
LMG wrote:Everyone I have ever met was at Baker's Airforce show where it was recorded. My boss, various ex-girlfriends, my postman was reminiscing about it the other day. My Mum went, my Dad and both sets of grandparents. I got stuck at home with a babysitter!

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Matt Wilson
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Re: Yes

Postby Matt Wilson » 08 Aug 2021, 23:30

C wrote:I would be interested in your (re)views of Camel

But already looking for the three bands you've mentioned

Keep up the good work




.


Love Camel, but I only have the first four. I should at least get I Can See Your House from Here. Would you recommend everything up through Nude?