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Conspiracy - "The Unknown"
Inside Out 2003

Second studio output of Yes bass player Chris Squire and guitarist Billy Sherwood (ex-Yes, World Trade) gets more shape and sounds even grittier in comparison with its 2000's predecessor.

Opening track Conspiracy where right from the start legendary bassist pulls his trigger will simply blow your heads off. If most people use to say how Chris's bass freely thunders inside Yes music on unique and unrepeatable way, this time his sound is really magnified and over reaches Rickenbecker's classical volume control inside Yes musical production. It provides a basic from where all "conspiracy" stuff gets the shape of things. Drums are also hot as hell in terms of its production. Together with bass, they provide a real kick off for intense rhythm section through first note to the last beat of a record.

Chris and Billy are mostly joined into tasty vocal duets. Feel the magic of the powerful bass drive line in gutsy New World. Chris just cuts the concrete like a crazy maniac here. Confess could become a huge hit if we were in eighties. Added vocal layers in refrain contribute in building the special atmosphere. Song contains interesting lyrics. As I understand them, the main message is that no matter how down are you, or no matter to the fact that our civilization somehow reaches it's end, cosmic powers (sun, stars, air, Earth with all earthquakes, heavy storming rain, and all natural beauties that we (blinded by our fears) usually call them "the bringers of natural disasters") ... will always be here to help us to survive, by teaching us and guiding us. This song is a real dedication to those cosmic powers. Songs are very diverse. We have climbing Chris in The Wheel, jumping Chris in New World or an elephant walking Chris (that could easily wake the sleeping giant) in The Unknown. A pure genius speaks freely through every bass tune he chases!

Extravaganza placed at the end is called The Unknown. It is certainly worth of special attention. Billy spiced up things with all sorts of special effects that derive out of his guitar and other magic toys he uses. Song deals with multiplied sound layers, with Chris adding some extra guitar notes (taken from "E" and "A" string) to bring even more strength into whole shivering stereo bass sound. In The Unknown Chris got some special free space to play also bass pedal. This song includes some deviations towards oriental music experiences (my first thought for example is: Mahavishnu Orchestra meets Yes). Full of surprises it starts with lovely acoustic guitar theme that is followed by a few dashes of mellotron. Billy's guitar constantly explores and searches for more room inside notes and bars. Whole song captures many different moods and represents an atmospheric peak of a record. It is strong spiritual composition. It flashes the eternal light and can be really compared at that point with immorality of Yes heritage.

I Could appears only on limited edition as a bonus track. It sounds a bit heavier. Background riffing is diminished (pushed back a bit) and balanced with keyboards that provide once again orchestral feel. Song consists out of heavy blazing multiplied tunes which provide a huge massive sound wall. Your eyes will not be pooped out when you'll hear this song, but the way how it is assembled, it could be easily released as a hit single. Easy structured yet heavy rocking piece, that'll make you wanna twist.

I must not overlook ½ A World Away. Refrain and closure session of Chris's bass guitar goes somehow in The Gates Of Delirium (part of that song) "all troops are marching" rhythm fashion. Whole song is tastefully ornamented with heavy punching drum progressive loops. Chris's vocal in opening verses slightly reminds on "Mr. Floyd" D. Gilmour's singing style. By the way, for those who might find out this interesting, Dave's zodiac is fish, the same as Chris's and Billy's.

Generally, this album is assembled from many little sound details. So every time when you'll decide to roll it, you'll be able to find something new. Production is phenomenal, crisp and clear. Feel the magic of Chris irreplaceable uniqueness and Billy's amazing songwriting talents. This partnership simply works! Nevertheless that cover artwork looks obscured, record on the other hand captures strong light that radiates through its music. You'll be enlightened through every tune you'll take on this journey. Don't fear the unknown. Enough empirical analyzing, please! I'll let myself go and join aboard to share some light and be a part of it.

Author:   Aleš

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