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Tales from Topographic Oceans (Deluxe Version)

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Album Review

This is still the least accessible album that Yes ever recorded and not the place to start listening to them, but Tales From Topographic Oceans also has considerable virtues (including many sublimely beautiful passages) that are brought out here as never before. This is actually the fourth distinct CD version of this album — the first was issued in the late '80s, a poor sounding version in a wide, double jewel box package; in 1996 came an upgrade in a narrow double jewel case that was an improvement, but even then it lagged behind the best audio quality of the time. In 2001 came a mini-LP-packaged edition from Japan that sonically ran circles around all prior versions; and now the Elektra-Rhino's slipcased, expanded version, which is different from all prior editions. The high resolution digital sound brings out nuances in both the electric and acoustic sections of the material that sound new. Internal detail in Rick Wakeman's keyboard parts, Steve Howe's guitar playing, and even in the layered vocal harmonies were all things that had always escaped notice but obviously mattered to the makers, as they were there. The producers have also retained an extension to the opening of "The Revealing Science of God" that was originally made for its inclusion on the In a Word box. The producers have moved the first three tracks of the four-track album onto disc one, leaving space on disc two for a pair of studio outtakes, early run-throughs of "Dance of the Dawn" (which became "The Revealing Science of God"), and "Giants Under the Sun" (which became "The Ancient") — these present a looser, more relaxed side of Yes as they try to devise the final versions of each track, with Jon Anderson in particular finding his way around phrases that would later be broadened and more deeply layered. There are also several musical phrases and sections that were modified or dropped as the final versions of these pieces evolved. The annotation is extremely thorough, complete with a good performing history of the album.

Biography

Formed: 1968 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Far and away the longest lasting and the most successful of the '70s progressive rock groups, Yes proved to be one of the lingering success stories from that musical genre. The band, founded in 1968, overcame a generational shift in its audience and the departure of its most visible members at key points in its history to reach the end of the century as the definitive progressive rock band. Their audience remained huge because they had always attracted younger...
Full bio
Tales from Topographic Oceans (Deluxe Version), Yes
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