Trevor Horn’s Glorious Re-Emergence in Yes: FLY FROM HERE: RETURN TRIP

Yes fly from here return trip
Trevor Horn brings, as always, love and excellence to this rerelease.

Review of Yes, FLY FROM HERE: RETURN TRIP (Pledgemusic, 2018). Tracks: Fly From Here, Parts 0-V; The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be; Life on a Film Set; Hour of Need; Solitaire; Don’t Take No For an Answer; and Into the Storm.

Standout tracks: Madman at the Screen; Into the Storm.

Sailor, sailor beware.  There are storm clouds.  You must take care.

When I first saw the notice that Yes would be re-releasing its 2011 album, FLY FROM HERE, with a remaster and remix by Trevor Horn and with all main vocals provided by  the very same Trevor Horn, I was surprised and a bit skeptical.  Fake news?  Well, there seems to be a lot of that going around these days in the western world.

And, it turned out. . . it was real news.  After I realized this thing was real, I immediately jumped onto Pledgemusic and, well, pledged.

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Rick’s Reissue Roundup: Attack of the Spring Box Sets!

Shed a tear for the hardcore prog collector — actually, don’t.  This week has been absolutely crammed with articulate announcements looking to part fans from their hard-earned cash or pull them deeper into debt.  And no, I’m not talking about the upcoming Derek Smalls solo album.  Check out what’s coming our way as winter (hopefully) gives way to the spring of 2018:

Continue reading “Rick’s Reissue Roundup: Attack of the Spring Box Sets!”

Cygnus X1 on Geddy Lee and YES tonight

Amazing moment in rock history.  From Cygnus X1:

Ever since it was announced that the progressive rock band YES was to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, rumors abound regarding a possible involvement with the members of Rush, who are all self-proclaimed YES fans.

In January, the news many fans were waiting for arrived – both Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson would induct YES into the Hall. However as of that writing, there was no indication as to whether or not Geddy and/or Alex would actually perform during the evening’s festivities. Fast-forward a few weeks, and a huge story coming out of Billboard was published which all but confirmed that Geddy Lee would, in fact, be performing with YES. Less than a few hours after the story broke, Billboard posted a retraction indicating that Geddy Lee would NOT be performing.

To read the full article at CYGNUS, go here: http://news.cygnus-x1.net/2017/04/geddy-lee-alex-lifeson-set-to-induct.html

geddy-roundabout
Photo taken from Cygnus X1.

Thanks to John at Cygnus and Brian Sullivan!

A Fish Out of Water That Swims On

chris-squire-fish-out-of-water

I have been meaning to write in praise of Chris Squire’s solo album Fish Out of Water for some time now. In fact, I wanted to publish a review after his sudden passing last June, but I feared I would not do his album justice (or something to that effect). I suppose now would be as good a time as any to call attention to this somewhat obscure gem of an album. As I write this, I am listening to “Silently Falling”, a hauntingly beautiful, eleven minute masterpiece featuring dramatic and complex keyboards, a driving bass guitar, and the melodic vocals of Mr. Squire, whose voice lies somewhere between Jon Anderson’s and Peter Gabriel’s. The album also features the talents of Yes alums Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz, King Crimson‘s Mel Collins, and a small orchestra conducted by Squire’s friend Andrew Jackman.

If you are not already familiar with this album, I suggest you give it a listen. Here are brief notes on each song:

“Hold Out Your Hand” – The album opener is driven by Moraz’s organ and Squire’s melodic Rickenbacker bass. It’s a relatively fast-paced tune, but it transitions smoothly to the softer…

“You by My Side” –  A well-orchestrated piece that features a beautiful flute solo. The next song,

“Silently Falling” – I have already discussed, but I’ll mention the name again in case you forgot it! Squire then switches gears to the jazzier…

“Lucky Seven” – A tune which features the talented Mel Collins on alto sax. Squire shifts gears one more time before the grand finale…

“Safe (Canon Song)” – A majestic fifteen minute piece that deserves a spot among some of prog’s better epics.

Fish Out of Water is without question the finest solo album by a Yes member, and I would go so far to say it is one of the best prog albums of the early 1970s. Unlike the solo albums of other Yes members (Anderson and Howe, in particular), Fish Out of Water has a distinctive sound, and it has aged well. If you do not yet believe me, watch the promo video below:

 

 

 

Bassworks: My Top 10 Chris Squire Bass Performances

Bass legend Chris Squire may be gone, but he is most definitely not forgotten. During the time we were lucky enough to have him in this life, Squire produced some of the most innovative and interesting bass work of any genre of music. Not content to simply keep time along with the drums, Squire put the bass guitar square in the center of the melodic discourse of Yes music, with a unique picked sound that was thick yet trebly.

Compiling a list like this is no easy task when you are dealing with the level of talent that Squire possessed. While there are a few in the list that I knew would be on here, paring it down to just ten was a difficult task. Of course, any list like this is going to be subjective and your mileage may vary. These, however, are my 10 favorite Squire performances.

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Sympathy for The Syn

I totally love all the tracks on the cool new album from The Syn (some more than others), all of them, that is, except for the title track: “Trustworks.”

Well, I guess I have good instincts. As it turns out, apparently not much “trust” has been in the “works” among The Syn’s band members. Go read about their recent history over at The Progressive Aspect, which is quite comprehensive in the historical review that it offers preceding its album review. I guess I rightly sensed “baloney” ever since I first rolled at my eyes at the song.

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Relayer: A Brief Retrospective

relayer

A visually stunning album cover. Profound and thought-provoking lyrics. Epic instrumentation and vocals. I could be describing almost any progressive rock album of note, but I am specifically referring to the underrated Yes album Relayer in this case. I say underrated because this album, featuring only three songs, all of which are worthy of the designation “progressive,” ended up wedged in between the controversial Tales from Topographic Oceans and the (relatively) lackluster Yes albums of the late 1970s/early 1980s.

First a brief comment on the sleeve design. Roger Dean is an integral part of Yes’ image, and his design for Relayer only bolsters the importance of his role. Inspired by images of war and the Knights Templar, Dean draws the viewer in to a world of fantastical images and drama, as the knights on horseback arrive to do battle with the twin snakes. Before one even listens to the album, he can already grasp its focus and themes: war and peace, victory and hope. Dean can capture in an image what Anderson, Squire, and Howe can capture in music.templar

The three songs are not only well-written, but they are also well-performed. This may seem like an understatement in regards to Yes, but this cannot be said about every song they released. The epic opener Gates of Delirium, inspired by Tolstoy’s even longer epic War and Peace, and featuring superb work on keys and synths from Patrick Moraz on his only Yes album, was best described by Jon Anderson: it is a “war song,” but not one that seeks to explain or denounce war, but rather a song that explores war’s aspects: there is a “prelude, a charge, a victory tune, and peace at the end, with hope for the future.” Sound Chaser, a frenetically paced tune featuring a true guitar solo from Steve Howe, solid drumming courtesy of Alan White, and a sizzling performance on bass guitar from the late, great Chris Squire, allows Yes to explore their jazzier side. The final tune, To Be Over, moves at a more relaxed pace, anchored by Howe’s electric sitar. It is a beautifully straightforward song, and it provides the perfect final touch on a visually and acoustically stunning album.

In sum, Relayer may not be the most renowned album in Yes’ extensive catalogue, but in this reviewer’s humble opinion, it is one of their finest works overall, and one that deserves more attention and respect.