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Close To The Edge (Expanded & Remastered)
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This album is digitally remastered and expanded with rare bonus material. Produced with Yes' hands-on participation, these historic releases now house redesigned booklets, restored LP art, archival photos, and all-new liner notes. This album features more than 20 additional minutes of music, including the single edit of "Total Mass Retain", as well as alternate takes of "And You and I" and "Siberian Khatru" ("Siberia")
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My biggest problem with Yes's albums in the early seventies is that (as I've said many times before) much of Wakeman's keyboard work seems to border on distortion-the church organ segment on CTTE actually WAS distorted....and that musically, beautiful mellotron break in And You And I...again, dirt.
The remix has "smoothed" those issues out considerably. Another positive is the improvement of the cacophonous intro; while this never sounded too bad, it's much cleaner sounding here to the point where each individual instrumental part is much easier to discern (there's quite a bit of channel re-placement in this remix). This is even MORE evident in the closing portion of the album where the opening theme returns. On the original mix, I've always heard this as an awful mess. Wilson's done a very good cleanup job here while still retaining the "bite" of the original album. I think one of his best 'tricks" is the way he spreads out the sound where, originally, there was clutter.
The drums, while still having that signature Bruford "snap' to them, have a more spread out texture here. My only complaint (if I had to have one) is that some of Chris Squire's very low end "stomp" bass notes and runs have been pushed back a bit in the aural landscape. Maybe this was to create a better overall mix with relation to the other "adjustments" but I did always like the upfrontness of his sharp , grinding bass tone/attack.
Overall, though, I'm quite happy with it...and there is a LOT on here (in speaking of the bluray). You could spend two whole nights of music listening with this thing (and when you're done you'll want to go back and re-listen).
Early Yes was not for everyone. I hardly knew many other kids as into the music as I was back then. Verging on adolescence, a magical time with this mystical music as a soundtrack for the few in our quirky little club. Our Yes, our time, in what has become a far away memory as if from some whole other world so much different from this one. I feel a kinship with all of you who have come here to express your fellow love and fond nostalgia for these sounds from our youth. There is no better version than this one to, for just a few moments, coax our mind to get lost again in that old world from that old time. Our time.
Audio Quality 5
Top international reviews
And You And I drops from strummy folk to a Beatlesy bridge, a reggae beat to an apocalyptic electronic climax. Close To The Edge, the track itself, is not so much a musical melange of surging psychedelia, funk, Byrds-influenced harmonies and a church organ, as the sound of falling through the universe. At this point it's worth remembering that this album was actually a massive hit pretty well everywhere, a sobering thought in these musically conservative times. Siberian Khatru is the most 'normal' rock track here, but every harpsichord, Eastern stringed instrument and vocal harmony elevates it to greater and greater heights, until the cascading voices collide on a 'river flowing right on over my head' and you are left in no doubt about exactly how that feels.
The album was released during that sweet spot just before production started sounding messy and ambition either ran out or ran riot, but whatever you think about Prog, this album will always sound uniquely like that point between the end of the known and the beginning of the unknown: Close To The Edge.
Whenever I listened to my vinyl copy of this,it used to send shivers down my back. I have an earlier release of Close to the Edge ,which stated remastered. This version is streets ahead of that one. A big shout out to the engineers for this release. To have the bonus tracks is really nice. All in all I would say this one to have. It is inevitable that because Yes have such an extensive catalogue of music, there will be some duds out there. This is not the case with this CD.
The title track is a fine example of jazz-rock fusion, symphonic in structure (i.e. 4 `movements' finally returning to the main theme) with a collection of fine melodies, tight and often funky playing through time-switches & key-changes, compositionally outstanding & perfect in execution. It's a masterpiece, the apotheosis of the `prog' genre.
The best way to characterize Jon Anderson's enigmatic lyrics, such an essential part of that distinctive `Yes sound', is as a kind of expressionist art painting bright colours on a big canvas, describing shapes you can never quite define. The lyrics of most pop/rock/jazz music are buy contrast more literal-realist, less imaginative.
A real `feel-good' factor pervades the music of CTTE. It's upbeat, and passages often contain that tinge of humour (musical, not lyrical) sometimes found in the work of accomplished artists entering a more mature period of greater confidence in what they can do. There is no weak link in this chain: all five musicians weave a kind of magic together, each essential to the whole.
The 2003 re-master is exquisite, the original 16-track analogue recordings sharp with an unexpectedly `warm' sound. You get plenty of extra material, all of it good: the single version of `America' (much shorter than the full-on 10-minute version); a single of the `Total Mass Retain' movement from CTTE; a nice alternate `And You and I' & a studio-runthru' of `Siberia', less polished than the album version. Roger Dean's tasteful, simple green-dominant cover-art is nicely reproduced too; the perfect artwork for the music.
If you have heard any of Yes' music - particularly from the band's very productive first 10 years - and never heard CTTE, then give it a listen. With `Dark Side of the Moon' it's probably the finest example of the best of the `prog' genre and like the best of Pink Floyd, it hasn't aged a day in 40 years.
Many reviewers will articulate the merits of both the album and re-mix far better than I. For me I just wanted to say that this is not just for completists, but is a must buy for any fan of the album - this is without doubt (surely) the definitive version.
The re-mix is sympathetic and improves the original rather than detracting from it and I'm already looking forward to the next of Yes' back catalogue given the treatment by the 5.1 remix guru.
5 stars for the music
5 stars for the re-mix and 5.1 Blu-Ray version
5.1 audio is a format which hasn't taken off the way it should but hopefullly releases of this quality will go someway to reinvigorating the medium and we'll finally get more old and new material in this format. So if you've got access to a good 5.1 system then Go Over The Edge and treat yourself to a copy you won't regret it.
I've had Fragile for a while but only recently got into it and when I couldn't bring myself to take it out of my car stereo I thought I should look into other Yes works. Close to the Edge was the first I bought and my God, I'm so pleased I did.
There hasn't been a band in my life for some time who have given me the excitement I felt as a teenager when I was discovering all the bands who got me into playing guitar and made me decide to study music. But Yes are that band. I can't stop listening to them and this album has really inspired me in a way that no other music has for some time (other than music I already knew about).
The whole album is flawless. The quality of the playing, composition, and sound is on a level most bands can only dream about and is some of the most inspirational music I have ever heard. Despite being only 3 tracks, with each being much longer than standard song length, the album is incredibly varied and never boring.
The best comparison I could give to anyone who has not heard the album would be with Pink Floyd's recording of Wish You Were Here (not for the sound of the music, but for the scale of the achievement). Both bands had just made a very successful album, and decided to follow it up by making something completely different, an entirely different concept of what an album could be like.
Where Fragile and Dark Side were full of shorter tracks and more commercial hooks, Close to the Edge and Wish You Were Here really explored what the musicians were made of both individually and collectively whilst pushing the band's trademark sound to the limit and beyond.
The 3 songs here are all equally incredible and each deserve praise so I won't go into the best parts of each, but it is the overwhelming feeling of satisfaction you get at the end of it that makes it feel so special.
If you're into bands like Dream Theater, Mastodon (Crack the Skye), Porcupine Tree, and Mars Volta, then listen to this. This is where it all began and decent as those bands are, they can only attempt to imitate this truly great album.
Look, I'm not going to tell you about the music, I'm sure you all know about that. What I will say is that Steven Wilson's 5.1 job on this is sublime. It's like listening to several layers of Onion at once, fair brought tears of happy joy to my eyes.
If you have a surround system get this. If you don't buy one and then buy this.
However, I've just discovered, despite ordering the Blu-Ray and cover sticker / disc are labelled 'Blu-Ray', that the disc is only a DVD.
Discovered this by accident when I put the 'Blu-Ray' in a DVD player and it read it.
The Yes Album remaster Blu-Ray won't read so...
Full marks to Amazon as they have agreed to replace despite me having had this over 6 months.