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Yes - "Close To The Edge, 1972 (re-release)"
Rhino Records 2003

1972! What a year for Yes! They released two studio albums in this year! "Fragile" served as an orientation for dream team Anderson/Squire/Wakeman/Howe/Bruford about Yes momentary musical landing. "Fragile" also presented a point where they could ask themselves: "What else are we capable of?" "Close To The Edge" offers direct insight into refreshed "Fragile" being upgraded. Yes began to write long epics. 18minutes title song is first among them. It consists from four movements.

Band opens the title track with special introduction. First gentle birdie song and river's waving invade the ears. With spontaneous addition of huge palette of effects sound upgrades and unpredictably turns into shivering jazz jamming, yet rocking drive. It was Bruford's idea. This intro serves as some kind of band's tuning up, that delivers more and more intensity each and every circle until it reaches final "crescendo" eruption. First movement The Solid Time Of Change certainly arrives. Sweet melody follows, electric sitar joins, rhythm line strikes with free feel and Jon opens his first verse. We are out! We broke through, now we are floating on the wings of endless enigma. If everybody see the horizon, Yes music can reach spheres far beyond. Higher than the sky. Have you already find yourselves sailing with Peruvian Con-Tiki the waves of ocean's wisdom breaking silence. We are out! Almost reaching purpose of our beings, still turning in circles round and around. It's by the corner. It is right there, but we don't see it! What? Insight! I will find my own home, my sacred ground, where I will leave all my fears behind and start to love the unknown with all my love. Cause I love to be loved. Love above all.

We are here, fully occupied with time and logic? Reality or dream? Does it matter? We blindly follow our logic. Our movement is movement where time stands still. The Solid Time Of Change. Time seems solid, cause no one can change it. And what is time after all? Illusions or touch-fell surroundings? What's the difference. Can we accept both? But we can change through time, if someone would explain to me what time really is. Each and everyone of us. But material and blindness of logic led us into Total Mass Retain (title's song second movement). Strong vibrations of fear and hate are spreading by entire human's race mind drive. Mind drive of re-living the past. Keep on circling. No will to make some change happen. I Get Up, I Get Down (third movement), how many more times? The single truth is written right in front of your eyes. Are you ready and willing to accept it? Now Seasons Of Man (fourth movement). In beginning, it's verses reveals how we are turning our backs away from cosmic wisdom of Sun, Earth, Moon, stars and entire space. We neglect it by complete focusing on algebraic methods of our rational materialistic sublunary functioning. And we got again close to the edge. But not far enough, just close again. Everybody struggles to gain supreme control above all. Wrong! You have to repeat another circle.

And at the end in Seasons Of Man, certain human being finally touches the universal truth. He wants to reveal his clear vision to the masses, but he's already aware nothing would happen, nothing would change. He even finds out, there is no need for him to reveal his experience (verse: "....I shook my head and whisper..."). Now he climbs high on the hill from where he looks down into the iron valley, where masses keep on living the past. He found his way. He found love above all, he found acceptance, inner peace. Now he's free. No more "get ups" and "get downs". His soul and spirit are ready to take off. He paid his last dues, so physical body is no longer needed. He is prepared for a new intergalactic cosmic journey. Circle is full, mission completed, nothing left to do. Spirit and soul are fulfilled with peace, freedom and love that conquered hate and fear. And seasons won't no longer pass him by!

And You And I is celebration song, full of positive shining vibes, with Jon's vocals again in centre role. Tender colour pastels softly float one into another and undetectable switch to listener. Pure spontaneous approach. Strong up-lifting and medieval moment of a record. Find your own wizard!

End here comes Siberian Khatru. The third and final song. Some Hendrix's Hey Joe flavour in it's opening theme, isn't it Steve? Want some intergalactic steel pedals and baroque harpsichord spices? Want some rhythm line crazy jams? Do not think, just let yourself go! Predictability? Yes do not know about this word. There are no coincidences. Only chances of perpetual change towards higher musical horizons! What chemistry! Living in a present tense. Not asking much, but playing. Not figuring much, but freely creating. There are no frames, no boundaries for Yes. Just pure creative light, radiating from everywhere! Are you able to resist the power of this light?

My first idea was: "No way, I won't review any Yes album!" Never. You can read millions of Yes reviews, that speak about different musical orientations of band's certain era, defining all special sounds, comparing songs, comparing band with other bands, analysing the structure of songs,...This strong spiritual face and belief of Yes is the main reason why this review differs and neglects my usual analytical chasing and packaging bands into musical genres. It is a special review, and all next to follow from Yes, will be written in the same vein. To analyse Yes music piece by piece, would be a sort of degradation for band. And for myself, too. Because in this case, I wouldn't be true to myself about the way I feel and understand their music. Their music do not know about word shape. It is timeless. "Yes world" offers insights, that can help you walking your own middle road where spirit, body and soul find perfect equilibrium in joining ethereal and material vibrations. A sort of self revelation!

Author:   Aleš

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