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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover

CLOSE TO THE EDGE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 3969 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

pacidy
5 stars It just doesn't get any better.

This is the first great masterwork of Yes, and still their best, IMO, though I am a huge fan of Topographic and Relayer, plus the epic studio works of Keys to Ascension (That, That Is and Mind Drive). This is the album that best combines accessibility with compositional genius and instrumental mastery. The title track is an 18 minute epic that anyone with the least bit of appreciation for prog can get into. The atmospheric intro leads into a charging power trio-driven section that will be familiar to anyone who heard The Yes Album and somehow was living under a cave when Fragile was released, except wait a minute, the keyboards just got way more intense. This part finally settles down into a song with verses and choruses and all. Terra firma. But now Steve's guitar introduces a new section, soon joined by a counterpoint from Wakeman. This could have been developed further, but surprise! The music downshifts and comes to a landing in a dreamy, atmospheric soundscape, the beginning of one of the most miraculous musical segments in all of prog. When voices enter on the scene, they are those of Steve and Chris in a haunting harmony, with Jon finally coming in with the "I get up, I get down," line. Jon finally does take the lead, but is counterpointed by more harmony singing. All of this mellows the listener, preparing them to be blown away by the unexpected, a church organ passage from Rick. Even on my cheapo plastic stereo I had as a kid, the sound of that organ was among the highlights of my early musical life. After another few "I get up, I get downs," the organ comes back even louder and fuller, this time joined eventually by the guitar - and then, bang! bang! bang! bang! Back into the theme of the earlier music, with more dissonance, leading to a wailing Wakeman solo, one of his best. Finally, we wrap it up with magnificent singing, as the protagonist ascends to the spiritual plane s/he's been preparing to reach the whole song.

What could possibly follow such awesomeness? Well, how about a classical guitar intro leading to a simply beautiful song, almost a ballad, without any flashy sections, but with grand, ecstatic, sweeping climaxes, finally ending calmly (putting the lie to the title of the closing section, "Apocalypse") on an Anderson vocal line and an unresolved chord. Siberian Khatru closes out the album in hard-rocking fashion. This song would become a concert favorite and one of the few (along with Starship Trooper and All Good People) that would be used as an improvisational vehicle, as Steve would use the ending as an opportunity to solo over the charging rhythm and simple chords laid down by the band.

If you're a newbie to Yes, but you've listened to Classic Rock radio, you've probably heard songs from The Yes Album and Fragile. I recommend going out and buying this one before delving into the more esoteric material of Tales from Topographic Oceans or the avant jazz-rock of Relayer.

pacidy | 5/5 |

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