defend the indefensible: TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS, by YES

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because i am listening to it right now, and i am finding it quite defensible. to put it another way -- it doesn't sound THAT much different, or more indulgent, than other yes albums i've heard. sure, it's got SOME wank (read -- RICK WAKEMAN), but it's yes and that's to be expected. it also has some really lovely passages and inspired melodies (hence geir's love for the thing). as usual, i ignore jon anderson's lyrics, except for the way that they sound.

but i also know that some have loved to slag TFTO. so there MUST be something undefensible about the thing, at least to some. so what "indefensible" things are there about this? I MUST KNOW!!!

Eisbär (llamasfur), Saturday, 25 December 2004 15:00 (fourteen years ago) link

p.s.: MERRY XMAS ILM. this thread is my xmas present to y'all!

Eisbär (llamasfur), Saturday, 25 December 2004 15:01 (fourteen years ago) link

why does ilm get all yessed out on xmas?

stockholm cindy (Jody Beth Rosen), Saturday, 25 December 2004 15:07 (fourteen years ago) link

i went REALLY yessed out on this shit ... i also got the bonus disks, with the studio run-throughs. if i'm gonna go prog, i'm gonna go all out!

favorite so far: "ritual (nous sommes du soleil)," esp. for its opening.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Saturday, 25 December 2004 19:50 (fourteen years ago) link

Steve Howe's Robert Fripp imitations are quite mindbending, from what I recall. Awesome cover art!

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Saturday, 25 December 2004 20:13 (fourteen years ago) link

I like it rather a lot, though it could do w/some trimming, I suppose. There are lots of great bits, but the whole thing doesn't really join together well, plus they keep building it up, and then dropping it down too soon, which is kind of frustrating. I don't think it's remotely indefensible, anyway. I did once have this plan to import the whole lot into a wav editor, ad see how much smaller it would get if I cut all the slack bits out.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Saturday, 25 December 2004 21:29 (fourteen years ago) link

60 minutes.

Joe (Joe), Saturday, 25 December 2004 22:01 (fourteen years ago) link

Second best Yes album (only beaten by "Close To The Edge"), and one of the 50 best albums ever released by any act.

Geir Hongro, Saturday, 25 December 2004 22:03 (fourteen years ago) link

dude.. the studio runthroughs on the new bonus disc is AWESOME!#@$!#@@!#@!$#@%$

chaki in charge (chaki), Saturday, 25 December 2004 22:09 (fourteen years ago) link

I bought my copy (along with Fragile, Close To The Edge, Yessongs and Relayer) literally a few weeks before the latest wave of remasters came out, so wounded pride prevents me from buying the newest edition. No bonus tracks for me. Fortunately, the sound on the 2000(?) editions is excellent.

(I do have the latest reissues of The Yes Album and Going For The One.)

My morning commute is 70 minutes if I take the early train, 80 minutes if I take the late train. So sometimes I'll take the late train just so I can listen to TFTO in its entirety on my iPod.

pdf (Phil Freeman), Saturday, 25 December 2004 22:38 (fourteen years ago) link

Pashmina, there's a bit on one of Howe's solo albums where he condenses all of his best stuff on _TFTO_ into about seven minutes. It's played solo acoustic, so you're not really getting the full-band experience, but I thought the basic idea was pretty solid :-)

And 'Gates of Delirium' is better than anything on _TFTO_ anyway.

Jeff Wright (JeffW1858), Sunday, 26 December 2004 02:37 (fourteen years ago) link

And 'Gates of Delirium' is better than anything on _TFTO_ anyway.


And I do appreciate TfTO very much, especially the acoustic bit on "the Ancient" and the 'relayer' section on "the Remembering".

JP Almeida (JP Almeida), Sunday, 26 December 2004 13:56 (fourteen years ago) link

say what you will about the music; the real challenge would be to defend the liner notes.

shookout (shookout), Sunday, 26 December 2004 14:07 (fourteen years ago) link

The liner notes are awesome (with the 'atmospheric photography', etc.). But they're not as good as the liner notes for Olias of Sunhillow.

Joe (Joe), Sunday, 26 December 2004 14:57 (fourteen years ago) link

The worst part of Tales From Topographic Oceans is having to flip it or change the LP after each song.

It's also not as good as Close To The Edge or Fragile or The Yes Album. In fact, I probably listen to it least of all the Yes I own. But I still wouldn't trade it for an ole' brown mare.

Ian John50n (orion), Sunday, 26 December 2004 21:18 (fourteen years ago) link

Ignoring entirely the question of the quality of the lyrics themselves, the colours & size of the typeface used to reproduce 'em in the gatefold of my old double LP resulted in one of the most literally unreadable sets of liner notes ever, surpassed only by Jimi Hendrix's Rainbow Bridge and Merzbow's Age Of 369/Chant 2. Maybe mine was defective, who knows?

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Monday, 27 December 2004 19:38 (fourteen years ago) link

I like Yes but I can ONLY listen to this album when I'm stoned out of my gourd, otherwise it just bores me.

kyle (akmonday), Monday, 27 December 2004 19:40 (fourteen years ago) link

On a flight from Houston, TX to Newark, NJ last night, i listened to the entirety of Fragile by Yes (followed by the entirety of the first Tubes album).....and a mighty sonic time was had by your humble narrarator.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Monday, 27 December 2004 19:54 (fourteen years ago) link

didn't we do this recently? i mean a TFTO thread? it's great of course.

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Monday, 27 December 2004 20:43 (fourteen years ago) link

a good friend of mine once said that anyone who liked the cocteau twins and then professed to dislike tales from topographic oceans was either lying or a hypocrite. having now heard tfto and its studio run-throughs in their entirety, i'm still finding it hard to hear this alleged yes-cocteau twins link. maybe the cocteaus at their most meandering, but even then what linkage there may be seems really strained.

i'm also pleasantly surprised that there are no bashers yet. surely there MUST be some here?!?

Eisbär (llamasfur), Thursday, 30 December 2004 07:01 (fourteen years ago) link

probably anyone inclined to bash it would not have bothered to listen to it!

i have only ever heard one cocteau twins song!

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Thursday, 30 December 2004 14:17 (fourteen years ago) link

I like Yes but this album just isn't that good. The second song on the first disc stands up to the other music in the Yes-Album-to- Relayer run, but none of the other three movements or songs or whatever they are is worthy of The Yes Album, Fragile, Close to the Edge, or Relayer. They're harbingers of the fall off from the classic years beginning in Going for the One and then reaching its nadir in Tormato.

martin hilliard, Thursday, 30 December 2004 16:41 (fourteen years ago) link

Should I buy "Close to the Edge" to start with?

Ganbare Goemon (ex machina), Thursday, 30 December 2004 16:48 (fourteen years ago) link

Close to the Edge might be too much at first. You may want to ease into it all with The Yes Album or Fragile. But if you're feeling bold, go straight to the source.

martin hilliard, Thursday, 30 December 2004 16:58 (fourteen years ago) link

re the original question:

when I was a big Yes fan in Jr High, TFTO was the only one of their albums I couldn't get through. Now it's the only one I still occasionally listen to (probably because I haven't played it to death like the others). But after reading this thread, I listened to it again to try to remember what I used to find so difficult about it. I think it was because compared to something like The Gates of Delirium, TFTO doesn't progress though movements in a way that seems logical. On the contrary, it meanders around seemingly changing direction at random. In that way it's a much better match for my current tastes. The other difference I noticed is that The Gates of Delirium gives you occasional doses of fist pumping payoff (er, well as close as it gets considering who we're talking about here) and there's almost none of that on TFTO. That was probably a lot of the problem. Too cerebral and not emo enough. Or something.

On the other side of the coin, I can't stand Close to the Edge anymore. A lot of sections on that album just seem to overstay their welcome.

cheshy f cät, Thursday, 30 December 2004 17:53 (fourteen years ago) link

What a doozy of a great album. And when they do stuff off this thing LIVE .... my Lord.

Jay Vee (Manon_70), Thursday, 30 December 2004 19:54 (fourteen years ago) link

i like this better than most of Relayer. Yes just isn't good trying to do "jazz!" except during their Bruford period cuz he makes it sound authentic for some reason. "To be Over" is a great track to end mixtapes with though.

chaki in charge (chaki), Thursday, 30 December 2004 20:16 (fourteen years ago) link

one year passes...
I haven't listened to this for a while, I thought I'd bring it in and sling it on. For some reason, it's really hitting the spot. It's so...uplifting! It just goes up and up and up and up. So rich & warm-sounding. It's great. I keep spacing out, listening to it.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Thursday, 27 April 2006 08:23 (thirteen years ago) link

I keep spacing out, listening to it.

Ha ha, that reminds me of a friend of mine who was listening to a vinyl copy of this and it got going into this repetitive sort of riff in a funny time signature and he was like, "Wow, that's quite cool". And it kept going on and on and on. Then he fell asleep and when he woke up it was still going and he was like, "I knew this was record was long but Jesus!" Then he realised the record had been stuck for 45 minutes.

Kids Will Eat Them Till the Cows Come Home (Dada), Thursday, 27 April 2006 08:33 (thirteen years ago) link

It is great. I was just listening to it the other night - hadn't sounded so good in ages. I still don't like the way it threatens a big fuckoff ending and then closes with a whimper, and I'd even say that the only fully thought-out track on it is "The Remembering" but I find myself playing this album an awful lot, for a double.

Lotta Continua (Damian), Thursday, 27 April 2006 09:15 (thirteen years ago) link

Ha, as it happens, I've had to pause it a coupla times b/c the phone has rung, and both times it's got stuck in a loop for about 10s before resuming normal play, one of the times the loop was totally, totally hypnotic.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Thursday, 27 April 2006 09:30 (thirteen years ago) link

if you've got the gatefold record, you can use it to help roll a joint.

far out.

jinx hijinks (sanskrit), Thursday, 27 April 2006 11:41 (thirteen years ago) link

I bought this album
in junior high and my friends
thought I was KRAZEE

I used to crank it
while I lifted weights, which meant
it all cancelled out

Haikunym (Haikunym), Thursday, 27 April 2006 14:38 (thirteen years ago) link

So, defenders, just out of curiosity, which of the four sides is best?

someone let this mitya out! (mitya), Sunday, 30 April 2006 15:41 (thirteen years ago) link

I like side 2 best. Every other side has its peaks and troughs. Side 3 contains one of the most annoying guitar sounds I can call to mind, but on the plus side there are some lovely passages and one particular riff that invariably tricks me because I can't quite figure out when the drums and bass are going to kick back in again. Side 4 is at times as good as Yes get, and as silly.

Lotta Continua (Damian), Sunday, 30 April 2006 18:14 (thirteen years ago) link

side 3 is the one to skip everything else keep

city of gyros (chaki), Sunday, 30 April 2006 18:16 (thirteen years ago) link

I d/l-ed side one yesterday and listened through it. Not the shite its reputed to be, but it didn't grab me at first pass. A lot of familiar sounds (Howe's... um, that thing he does that sounds like playing a melody line at I-V intervals; Squire's proto-Hooky bass lines) but I usually like songs and not just music.

Ironically enough, considering Pashima's

It's so...uplifting! It just goes up and up and up and up. So rich & warm-sounding.

it segued into "Going for the One" and I thought, "Now THIS is uplifting." Something about the high synth sounds in the background, literally pulling you up throughout the song.

someone let this mitya out! (mitya), Monday, 1 May 2006 06:14 (thirteen years ago) link

its a grower not a shower

city of gyros (chaki), Monday, 1 May 2006 08:26 (thirteen years ago) link

Ha ha, and Anna was laughing at me yesterday for dancing around her office with her colleague's Yes triple live album, singing all the good bits in a ridiculous falsetto. But you understand my love.

I should actually get some of this again, since I only ever listened to my dad's albums.

Wear High Heels, Get A Record Deal (kate), Monday, 1 May 2006 11:42 (thirteen years ago) link

Side 2 reaches the highest highs (the climax at the end) and the drabbiest drabs (mostly in the first minutes of the song).

Side 1 and 4 are the most consistent.

Joe (Joe), Monday, 1 May 2006 22:18 (thirteen years ago) link

nine months pass...
I just watched my DVD of YES doing "Ritual" at their '95 Madison Square Garden concert and Steve Howe is a motherf***er. No. Really. Whew.

OK, Good night.

Jay Vee's Return (Manon_69), Saturday, 10 February 2007 11:40 (twelve years ago) link

Oh, wait, that was 2005.

Jay Vee's Return (Manon_69), Saturday, 10 February 2007 11:43 (twelve years ago) link

god i love this album so much

chaki (chaki), Saturday, 10 February 2007 12:32 (twelve years ago) link

two years pass...

i am listening to this motherfucking album all the way through for the first time EVER right now

taddletail (country matters), Monday, 13 April 2009 14:54 (ten years ago) link

side 2 is where it's at. feel safe now!

kamerad, Monday, 13 April 2009 15:18 (ten years ago) link


this is gonna take a few listens to sink in

yes threads (country matters), Monday, 13 April 2009 22:24 (ten years ago) link

like, i enjoyed it pretty much throughout, but uh

yes threads (country matters), Monday, 13 April 2009 22:25 (ten years ago) link

it's 7 hours long?

fucken cumlord (omar little), Monday, 13 April 2009 22:28 (ten years ago) link


yes threads (country matters), Monday, 13 April 2009 22:29 (ten years ago) link


fucken cumlord (omar little), Monday, 13 April 2009 22:30 (ten years ago) link

I think Squire getting kinda buried in the mix is a bigger problem. And do people really not remember "South Side of the Sky"? That's always been a favorite of mine..

frogbs, Thursday, 18 July 2013 13:20 (six years ago) link

yeah what? south side is catchy as

Autumn Almanac, Thursday, 18 July 2013 13:22 (six years ago) link

I thought it had more of a reputation as the epic that didn't get played live, it's the only big track from the TYA/Fragile/CTTE era that isn't on Yessongs, it's not on Yesshows or either of the Keys to Ascension releases either. I dunno why they shunned that one but all the fans seem to love it.

frogbs, Thursday, 18 July 2013 13:26 (six years ago) link

move forward, was my friend's only cry

and yeah bruford on tales instead of larks' tongues would have been interesting. white's found his groove by relayer though

reggie (qualmsley), Thursday, 18 July 2013 13:34 (six years ago) link

I thought it had more of a reputation as the epic that didn't get played live, it's the only big track from the TYA/Fragile/CTTE era that isn't on Yessongs, it's not on Yesshows or either of the Keys to Ascension releases either. I dunno why they shunned that one but all the fans seem to love it.

But they did; they did an entire tour in 1974 where they played the whole thing. There's a bootleg of it floating around, called Topographic.

誤訳侮辱, Thursday, 18 July 2013 13:45 (six years ago) link

I really wish that "To Be Over" was better

I want everybody to know that in an effort to be a better person i restrained myself from clicking FP here

god i really need to not read people with mixed opinions about Yes

the SI unit of ignorance (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 18 July 2013 14:06 (six years ago) link

I really like "South Side Of The Sky", I heard that they were playing it more in the last tours with Anderson. "Awaken" is the one that really doesnt do much for me but a lot of people seem to love it.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 18 July 2013 14:34 (six years ago) link

"Anyone else think Tormato is seriously underrated"

I HATED this album when I first heard it. Hated it so much I threw it away and didn't listen to it again for years. And then when I did I thought it really wasn't that bad; the worst thing about it is the cover and Jon Anderson's kid talking about clowns. It's a terrible sounding record though (so is Going for the One).

akm, Thursday, 18 July 2013 14:41 (six years ago) link

never been able to get into "awaken" either or most of going for the one. tormato is still lost on me. but then comes drama and holy shit, god bless the buggles

a nice defense of tales if you are at all into michael chabon ~

I actually write, frequently, while listening to Yes records: Close to the Edge, Relayer, and Tales from Topographic Oceans. The dynamics are pretty steady, the bass and drums are propulsive, and the lyrics make no sense (to me, at least) and thus do not intrude on my own word-flow. They are just pretty sounds. I listen to vinyl records, unless I'm working on a plane.

reggie (qualmsley), Thursday, 18 July 2013 14:49 (six years ago) link

It's a terrible sounding record though (so is Going for the One).

tormato was my reference record when i went through headphone hell a few years ago, mainly because the bass is mixed in fairly solidly right the way through

Autumn Almanac, Thursday, 18 July 2013 15:25 (six years ago) link

GftO sounds awesome in my car

frogbs, Thursday, 18 July 2013 15:28 (six years ago) link

MOVE YOURSELF! *orchestral hit*

I wanna live like C'MOWN! people (Turrican), Thursday, 18 July 2013 15:29 (six years ago) link

three weeks pass...

I actually knocked up an edited version of this album, decide for yourself whether or not it's an improvement :

Addison Doug (Matt #2), Friday, 9 August 2013 13:54 (six years ago) link


Addison Doug (Matt #2), Friday, 9 August 2013 13:57 (six years ago) link

Addison Doug (Matt #2), Friday, 9 August 2013 13:57 (six years ago) link

Addison Doug (Matt #2), Friday, 9 August 2013 13:58 (six years ago) link

Addison Doug (Matt #2), Friday, 9 August 2013 13:59 (six years ago) link

That's very well done. I love those ambient parts in the second track.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 10 August 2013 15:33 (six years ago) link

one month passes...

I think it was an interesting time for the band, that period. There was a lot of FM radio who would play long-form pieces of music without any advertising. We felt we were on the cutting edge of rock music —- progressive rock —- totally different from the norm. And the FM radio in America —- especially university radio —- was very excited to play “Close to the Edge,” “And You and I,” “Starship Trooper,” and longer pieces. So we felt, well, the door seems to be open. Let’s make some music. And of course, when people get together to make music, you don’t really time it and say, “We should just make four-minute pieces of music.” Or five-minute pieces of music. We were just interested in expanding the music that we dreamed of. It wasn’t like, “Let’s sit down and write twenty-minute pieces of music.” We just started writing. We were actually on tour in Japan and Australia, and we started composing ideas, and before you know it, you’re dreaming of new progressions and ideas that are just different. Like having everyone in the band drumming at once. Or having everybody singing and playing different instruments. Challenging yourself, really.

reggie (qualmsley), Sunday, 15 September 2013 00:52 (six years ago) link

That's a great article!

Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 15 September 2013 05:43 (six years ago) link

yeah, that's great. i like this album a whole lot. a lot of people are still stuck in some version of the punk vs. prog false dilemma, even if they don't know it.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Sunday, 15 September 2013 23:15 (six years ago) link

That article talks about a prog cruise Jon is participating in, to which a friend replied in an email:

Let me get this straight...

Are you telling me that I have the opportunity to experience the best and worst of prog while enjoying the close-quarters company of some of the most socially awkward old people in all of fandom, and top it all off with the rapid spread of virulent rocket diarrhea?

SIGN ME THE FUCK UP. which point another friend pointed out that Jon and Yes have dueling cruises, prompting him to say:

I just realized that the Yes cruise will have Eddie Jobson, Patrick Moraz, and whoever the current Yes keyboard player is (assuming it's not one of them) all in the same boat, and if it sinks, the keyboard world will be devastated. That's after they get intentionally rammed by the Punk Cruise featuring The Ramones (Legacy), Jello Biafra, and two guys from Stiff Little Fingers.


Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 16 September 2013 00:48 (six years ago) link

eight months pass...

I still listen to that Matt#2 edit of this album, it's deepened my appreciation of the album

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 1 June 2014 16:13 (five years ago) link

Is that to be found elsewhere on this thread? I remember wanting to hear it.

lauded at conferences of deluded psychopaths (Sparkle Motion), Monday, 2 June 2014 17:58 (five years ago) link

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 2 June 2014 18:34 (five years ago) link

cool, thanks

lauded at conferences of deluded psychopaths (Sparkle Motion), Monday, 2 June 2014 18:52 (five years ago) link

three years pass...

pass amongst your memories told returning ways

reggie (qualmsley), Friday, 13 April 2018 00:24 (one year ago) link

Revive! Am listening to this as I lie in bed getting over virulent diarrhea I contracted on an intercontinental flight. And I must say: this record hits the spot. I think its poor rep has more to do with the four songs/four sides thing than anything else. It’s no more overwrought or indulgent than anything else in their 70s catalogue — and the lyrics are as equally abstract (“And rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace,” anyone?).

Even when I first discovered this record, I was really taken by the “We walk around the story/Out in the city running free” melody in “The Remembering.” But the melodies are quite strong throughout — “Nou Sommes Du Soileil” is up there w “I get up/I get down” “I feel lost in the city!” and “Soon” for great lyrical Jon moments. The rhapsodic “Relayer…”(!!) section in “The Remembering" is catchy as well. Only “The Ancient” is a bit anemic in the melody department, but even there there’s a great folk section with Howe and the textures are pretty attractive.

To that point, the textures and rhythms throughout are pretty amazing — the disco section in the first half of “The Revealing Science of God” is aces and should have been sampled by now. Wakeman, in particular, sounds great on most of this — his Mellotron is towering and his Minimoog bits have the least pomp of most of his recordings. And Howe, Squire and White sound great on “The Ancient” — almost certainly influenced by Crimson’s “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part I."

Their best record? No. But much further up there than I remembered ...

Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 23 April 2018 17:50 (one year ago) link

weird, this record actually gave me diarrhea

frogbs, Monday, 23 April 2018 17:52 (one year ago) link

it has a cool album cover

don't make me wait (with Shaggy) (voodoo chili), Monday, 23 April 2018 17:55 (one year ago) link

"the remembering" is up there with "close to the edge" and "gates of delirium". tales as a double album is too much but the best of the other three sides/movements could be spliced into another singular epic jam to rank with YES highest on fire. sometimes i wonder if that's what's at the root of the lingering beef between anderson and howe

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 23 April 2018 18:16 (one year ago) link

This record is at the root of the lingering beef?

Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 23 April 2018 18:22 (one year ago) link

i have no idea. imagination is a beefitul thing

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 23 April 2018 18:25 (one year ago) link

I listen to this one straight through all the time and love it. The Steven Wilson remix is the version for me. Honestly, I only listen to his Yes remixes of the albums he's done as my go-to versions these days. They're tremendous.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Monday, 23 April 2018 18:32 (one year ago) link

regular tales front to back is beyond my drug budget. a short-ish jam to break up the four 20-minute long songs would've been tight. pass within and soothe this endless night

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 23 April 2018 18:39 (one year ago) link

this is my favorite yes album

kurt schwitterz, Monday, 23 April 2018 19:59 (one year ago) link

I listen to this one straight through all the time and love it. The Steven Wilson remix is the version for me. Honestly, I only listen to his Yes remixes of the albums he's done as my go-to versions these days. They're tremendous.

My pocketbook says your comments are not welcome.

Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 23 April 2018 21:55 (one year ago) link

I like the 2003 mix of this (with the two minutes or so of tweedling at the beginning, before the vocals come in). I don't like the Steven Wilson remix.

grawlix (unperson), Monday, 23 April 2018 23:51 (one year ago) link

That two minutes is CRUCIAL!

kurt schwitterz, Tuesday, 24 April 2018 00:22 (one year ago) link

(not joking)

kurt schwitterz, Tuesday, 24 April 2018 00:22 (one year ago) link

I agree 100%.

grawlix (unperson), Tuesday, 24 April 2018 00:45 (one year ago) link

NTI I found 320s of his stereo remixes on the t0rr3nts. No way in hell can I afford a Blu-Ray Yes discography!

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Tuesday, 24 April 2018 01:03 (one year ago) link

alternate truth / alternate view / surely surely

reggie (qualmsley), Tuesday, 1 May 2018 18:23 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

this album rules and everyone who hates it sucks

american bradass (BradNelson), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 12:32 (four months ago) link

This straddles the line between 'posts very much in character' and 'posts very much out of character'.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 13:06 (four months ago) link

the wiki page for this is incredibly entertaining

When the band settled into Morgan Studios, Lane and Anderson proceeded to decorate the studio like a farmyard. Squire believed Lane did so as a joke on Anderson as he wished to record in the country. Anderson brought in flowers, pots of greenery, and cut out cows and sheep to make the studio resemble a garden as a typical studio did not "push the envelope about what you're trying to create musically".Wakeman recalled the addition of white picket fences and his keyboards and amplifiers placed on stacks of hay. At the time of recording, heavy metal group Black Sabbath were recording Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973) in the adjacent studio. Singer Ozzy Osbourne recalled the Yes studio also had a model cow with electronic udders fitted and a small barn to give the room an "earthy" feel. "About halfway through the album", said Offord, "The cows were covered in graffiti and all the plants had died. That just kind of sums up that whole album". At one point during the recording stage, Anderson wished for a "bathroom sound" effect on his vocals and asked the band's lighting engineer, Michael Tait, to build him a plywood box with tiles stuck onto it. After Tait explained to Anderson that the idea would not work, Tait "built it anyway". Sound engineer Nigel Luby recalled that tiles would fall off the box during recording takes.

Wakeman felt increasingly disenchanted by the album during the recording stage, and spent much of his time drinking and playing darts in the studio bar. He also spent time with Black Sabbath, playing the Minimoog synthesiser on their track "Sabbra Cadabra". Wakeman would not accept money for his contribution, so the band paid him in beer.

In one incident during the last few days of mixing, Anderson left the studio one morning with Offord carrying the tapes. Offord placed them on-top of his car in order to find his car keys, and proceeded to drive away, forgetting about the tapes. They stopped the car to find the tapes had slid off and fallen on the road, causing Anderson to rush back and stop an oncoming bus to save them.

frogbs, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 13:32 (four months ago) link

Nous Sommes De Lager

calstars, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 14:11 (four months ago) link

Was this album ever really critically panned? The only real slagging I can think of off the top of my head was a one-star review from... cdnow? sonicnet? one of those allmusic guide precursors whose archives are completely lost to the ages. Other than that I don’t really remember it being received any worse critically than, say, Drama or Tormato.

Mr. Snrub, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 17:46 (four months ago) link

The Rolling Stone Album Guide of '92 gave it one star, IIRC, and it appears in the Guterman/O'Donnell Worst Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time book (those guys particularly have it out for prog, saying of Genesis that they were better than most prog bands "i.e., they were boring only 90% of the time").

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 21:11 (four months ago) link

yeah it was definitely the punching bag du jour of people who don't even like prog in the first place. I think it's fairly well liked these days though it's still seen as being totally ridiculous and the moment where Yes stopped being the Best Band in the World. the criticism for Tormato feels a bit different - nobody was really expecting a great record out of a prog band in 1978. in fact its Going For the One that was the outlier in that regard.

frogbs, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 21:21 (four months ago) link

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