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Tales from Topographic Oceans (Deluxe Version)


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One of the ‘70s progressive rock band's most popular albums and also one of its most critically divided, Tales from Topographic Oceans represents everything that listeners either love or hate about the band's music. The songs are long and meandering, each taking up an LP side, featuring extended instrumental passages, complex harmonic arrangements, and lyrical concerns that require thought and contemplation. The band's serious intent juxtaposed against the celebratory mayhem of their arena-sized shows represented an unusual combination of rock ‘n' roll conventions. This re-master includes "The Revealing Science of God / Dance of the Dawn" with the restored introduction, as well as two additional studio run-throughs of "Dance of the Dawn" and "Giants Under the Sun." The outtakes are an interesting insight into this incredibly tight instrumental unit; the performances are looser, with the individual pieces more easily discerned. However, long-time fans will certainly be most excited by the increased fidelity of the new mixes that illustrate Steve Howe's guitar mastery, Chris Squire's melodic bass-guitar attack and keyboardist Rick Wakeman's flourishes and extra textures. No one else sounds like Yes.

Customer Reviews

"Nous Sommes Du Soleil...

...We Love When We Play" And I love when they play. Tales From Topographic Oceans is Yes' most controversial album. Some hate it and say it is pompous and lacks focus. Others love it and say that on this album Yes achieved the pinnacle of their career. Yes, inspired by singer and songwriter Jon Anderson, always looked over the horizon. Never constrained by modern trends, they poineered what is known as Progressive Rock, a genre that blends rock with other styles such as classical and jazz. This masterpiece can be thought of as one piece of music divided into four sections. It is a concept album inspired by Jon's stumbling upon Hindu writings. The lyrics however are typical Yes and are very transparent, more likely chosen for the sound more than the meaning, though I am certain there is some meaning to them. On to the music... Movement 1: This opens with Jon almost chanting through the "Dawn of Light" section. It starts quietly and builds in power, sending the listener through themes that will be developed in the other movements. The vocals are beautiful and the instrumentation is majestic. This is a very strong movement. Movement 2: This one is more laid back and is highlighted by Wakeman's keyboards. The theme calls the listener to remember the beautiful days past in his life ("In the days of summers so long, we danced as Evenings sang their song...") Though keyboards are mainly in the background, guitar is also used in the middle section. Movement 3: The almost tribal feel to this movement evokes ancient civilizations. Percusion is highlited here. Though there are no weak movements, this is probably my least favorite. However, the final "Leaves of Green" section is arguably the best music this album offers. Movement 4: The fourth and final movement is an epic love song. It starts very up tempo and transforms into a very dreamy "Nous Sommes Du Soleil" section which I believe means "We are of the sun." This gives way to a guitar solo which leads to very frantic druming. The final section of the movement is the calm after the storm and the lyrics are full of dreams of returning "home". This movement has the best form and is undoutably my favorite. Thanks for reading this long reveiw. I hope that you can realize the greatness that this album is. If you don't have it, you NEED to buy it.

The Best Yes Album

When Yes released Tales From Topographic Oceans, their double album magnum opus, it was immediately declared by the majority of critics as the nadir of progressive rock. But these are the same critics who hailed Close to the Edge and Relayer as masterworks, which is silly, because if the critics loved the title track, why wouldn't they love an album with four Close to the Edge's back-to-back? This album is the greatest thing that Yes ever made, with four vinyl sides of pure magic. Every moment shines with shimmering magic, truly creating a musical ocean that immediately captures you and never stops. Even after listening to it so much you have memorized passages, it still holds moments that leave you breathless. Yes got so much crap for this record (even their keyboardist, Rick Wakeman hated it), but anyone who only tried this once and gave up needs to take another look, or they are truly missing out on an amazing work of art.

Yes Music for Yes Fans

You really have to like the band, to appreciate this album's hidden gems. Although, it does not hold consistentley though the four musical passages. An ambitous project spearheaded by Jon Anderson, to try to relay the message of the four shastric principals of an idea he got from reading a book about a guru.Trying to write music inspired by something, so complex, not all Yes members were on board for this. Too much for Rick Wakeman, who at this time had a growing solo career of his own away from Yes.He was always trying to ground Jon, but alas the disatisfaction of going ahead with "Topographic"grew heavy on other Yes members as well, with not all members being on the same page, except for Jon Anderson and Steve Howe, causing Rick Wakeman's first departure. I would not advise any Radiohead fans to listen to this as their first listen to Yes. It is way far away from anything Radiohead has done, and it be unfair to compare them, as it is with any band.Side One, Two and Four is where the best music lies, and Rick Wakeman does have some excellent contributions on this especially with side One and Two. I find this album satisfying to me as a Yes fan, because I get it. But for others I think it would be hard to listen to without listening to "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge" first.


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...
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Tales from Topographic Oceans (Deluxe Version), Yes
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