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Yes - "Fragile, 1972 (re-release)"
Rhino 2003

Oh, brilliant. We've got band's first four CD re-releases, and I'll start with my favorite. One of those so called precursor groups in history of rock music started a real progressive fire on planet Earth. In times when word progressive was "ugly duck" in rock'n roll or as keyboardist Rick Wakeman in one of his interview draws an interesting explanation: pornography of rock'n roll. Many expected that new album will be done in the same vein as "The Yes Album" (1971). Many even wanted that. But with "Fragile" Yes made further progress in self- evolution, never looking back. I mean, with their arrival the world was never the same again. This music came for sure from some distant galaxy.

Okay, what's all about that "Martian thing" (Yesmusic)? If many claim that "The Yes Album" was more compact and even heavier, Yes didn't care about that. They followed their own instincts and "Fragile" was a real provocative album, because it felt out to be so different successor. What? Squire invented new, outstanding, "supersonic" bass sound. It provides incredible shredding beat drive! Distorted bass flux in center spot is nicely surrounded with Howe's acoustic flageolets. It amazingly charges the climax in song. Then unique Jon's high falsetto vocals supported with vocal multilayer gives the song a new dimension. And we got a creation of The Roundabout. Fluid and twisty but yet with a lot stuff to explore and search in, a right piece for album to invade the U.S. charts. Fresh sounded, but still wanna make you boogie. With "Fragile" Yes became world famous rock group.

Squire's new technique of bass playing, Howe's unique "nutty" guitar style (enjoy his chicken sounded motive in the opening theme of P. Simon's cover America), maestro Wakeman's arrival to take over the keys, recognizable Anderson's vocals and Bruford's free drumming style formed all together a real virtuoso team. Special chemistry was born. This chemistry spitted out more freedom and creative energy than ever before. Band breathed as one (Long Distance Runaround for example). Music so diverse, spontaneous and sophisticated gives an impression of being really fragile. Gentle Mood For A Day with Howe's soulful work (you can even hear him breathing while playing tunes) is so convincible that it forces me to think that this guy forgot about his ego for a while here. Guitar wants to break free from Steve's physical body. Maybe that's why Chris calls him Yoda. Howe's acoustical adventure is put between two (opposite) bursting ego pieces. Between every bass guitar player's bible, a Chris Squire's bass solo symphony called The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus), and Heart Of The Sunrise, another dreaming experience of the band, full of unpredictable turnovers, spiced up with new, for A. D. '72 yet unheard, very sophisticated and sensitive bridge conclusions. Yes never over force the riff or certain main motive. Everything is controlled and done very precise by just letting a heart to be media for ideas to flow freely through it. Cliffhanger's South Side Of The Sky is by it's darker misty ambient very close to Heart Of The Sunrise. It's easy to slip away in dreamland while listening to "Fragile".

This is amazing. What they are up to, you'll never know. Grandfathers of progressive "thing" created with their originality a new chapter in music and offered new, yet unexplored possibilities in evolution of the rock.

Author:   Aleš

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