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Tales From Topographic Oceans
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Audio, Cassette, Original recording remastered, October 4, 1994
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"Tales" is a deeply philosophical album that is not for the meditative faint of heart. While much music is created to be toe-tapping and easy to sing to, "Tales" is in that genre usually called progressive rock, in a sub-genre that requires intense analysis to understand. The result is an album that is inaccessible and incomprehensible to a casual listener. In order to understand this music you must read the lyrics and listen, and listen, and then listen some more. Even then you might fail to gain a glimmer of Yes' intent.
"Tales from Topographic Oceans" would have to qualify as one of the most if not the most deeply complicated rock music ever created. Again, if you are a casual listener the complexity of the music can be frustrating or boring. However, if you consider that classical music is often complex, and to be understood requires extended focused listening, it should be of little surprise that Yes took that complexity for its own in the development of this music, creating a symphony in four movements.
The first movement is titled "The Revealing Science of God: Dance of the Dawn". The lyrics have no meaning, and they also have meaning. Confusing? Oh yeah.Read more ›
Personally, I love it. Always have. I've owned this on vinyl and now 2 CD masters. This is the FIRST version that I've heard that actually sounds good. Its miraculous what Rhino have done with this. You can actually hear parts on here that were completely lost in the muddiness of previous masters.
I've always thought this was strong musically, but some will disagree. If you've already decided you hate this album, you might consider giving it a second shot with this master.
The ONLY complaint other than it taking 30 years to have this work properly mastered is that the artwork, while good for a CD remaster - is, well, its the size of a CD obviously. This cover is one of the strongest that Roger Dean did for Yes and it was meant to go on an album obviously - and BIG. I remember this hippy chick I knew bringing this over to the house with about 20 other records back in the 70's. This cover and Anderson's Olias album were two of the wildest things I think I'd ever seen!
Time and time again I've tried to empathize with those who dislike this album, thinking that perhaps their criticisms have some merit. Still, I can't get over the fact that this is truly excellent work. I think the music is simply sublime, many of the most wonderful passages that Yes ever recorded. Not as cohesive as the epics on "Close to the Edge" (still my favorite Yes album), but certainly more dynamic, it takes countless listens to fully appreciate. Even 25 years after its release, I'm still finding new elements to this richly absorbing work.
It's all anchored by that awesome rhythm section of Alan White's drums and Chris Squire's mammoth bass guitar, while Wakeman's lush synthesizers add ambiance and depth, and Steve Howe's guitar artistry is sophisticated and engaging. Jon Anderson's trippy lyrics and soulful, radiant singing are topnotch. Although the lyrics are mostly confusing, I believe their meanings are meant to be vague. They rely on surreal and romantic imagery to generate feeling in the listener in musical context. It doesn't really matter because the lyrics attain an emotional connection regardless of what they are actually about.Read more ›
1. There was no Internet.
2. There was no GameBoy, Playstation or other video game.
3. There were just three TV stations (for us in the UK), and they usually closed down before midnight.
4. There was no video-recording medium available at an affordable price.
As a teenager at the time, I remember sitting around a lot doing not much!
The one artistic medium that the consumer could really control was sound i.e. music, with radio, LPs and the compact cassette working together to enable the listener to enjoy the material whenever he or she wanted. People spent proportionately much more of their income on this one medium than they do now. (Indeed concert tickets at the time typically cost rather less than an LP.) So many artists put a lot of effort to get their recorded output as perfect as possible. Pink Floyd, for example, spent years getting 'The Dark Side of the Moon', also released in 1973, precisely right.
Other artists, such as Genesis and Yes, decided for one album each that more effort meant more length. Genesis produced 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway', while Yes created the controversial 'Tales from Topographic Oceans'.
I had been entranced by Yes, ever since buying a cassette version of 'Close to the Edge' the previous year, purely on the basis of a few colour photos! I had pre-ordered the new double LP from a mail order firm that believed it was called 'Tales from Tobergraphic Oceans'.
I have to admit that even in those days, you needed to be a pretty committed fan to defend the album.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
great sound on a great piece of art. Yes is never "main stream", but this is like four wheeling for the ears!Published 5 days ago by T. Weaver
Probably, the most interesting (musically), album, they ever did. Some things (Relayer, too) are the most beautiful, ever done by this great band. Just, learn it!Published 6 months ago by mahler
Not much music here, mostly meandering, noodling noise that sounds like a 6 year old could have done it. Avoid!Published 6 months ago by MJH
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|Yes Albums: Where to find Live version of South Side of the Sky||
There's one on Live at Montreux 2003. There are also performances of the song on the Yesspeak Songs from Tsongas, and The New Director's Cut DVDs, as well as the montreux 03 DVD of course
you can probably find most of 'em on youtube. here's that montreux one:... Read More
May 27, 2012 by David Frost | See all 3 posts