Saturday, March 12, 2011

Prog-ress Report, Part II: Yes - Close To The Edge

Another week of Prog has come and gone, and well, I am really quite glad that I can put this week’s album down for a spell.  

Just to reiterate the theme of this series, which to date has no name, every week I will listen to an album suggested by friends or readers of this blog, day in and day out, during my commute to work and back home.  The first month or so though, I am dedicating to the genre of Progressive rock, also known more commonly as Prog.

Suggested by my wife’s college roommate, significant other of the individual who suggested the previous week’s album, and all around food goddess, Sarah, I have spent last week listening to Close To the Edge by the formidable talents of Yes.  

When you tell someone that you can start an album as you leave your house and get to work before the first  ends you would be giving the impression of a quick commute. However, much like the opening track of the last album I reviewed for this series, if that song is the title track of Close to the edge, you have a 20 minute or so commute, which is not so great (well, actually in Atlanta it is something to boast about, but that is another article). While sharing the length and the honor of occupying the side of an LP by itself, Close to the Edge differ in similarity to its Rush counterpart, Cygnus X-1 Book II, in that while the listener can recognize the different parts of the song, it does not  feel like three or four songs just kind of crammed  under one track. There is an obvious progression and transition that bind instead of separate the elements of the song.  Also, still comparing it to the Rush counterpart as mentioned above, with the exception of a discord fest in the introduction, Yes seems more focused on creating a digestible, more pop sensible, work. This is opposed to showing off musical complexity and virtuosity (which they do exhibit) for its own sake.

As well as being better at crafting music that is easier to digest, the lyrics on the initial listening, while exhibiting all the better aspects of bad poetry, do not go as so far to make me laugh, like that of Trees by Rush, or are so apparent to make me object to listening to the music in principal, as inspired the entire Doors catalog.
On the initial listening I found myself enjoying the funk/rock phrasing, and the semi folk harmonizing that somewhat reminded me of a synthesizer heavy Crosby, Stills, and Nash (And I and You was the worst/best with this).  

Honestly, after the first listen I was really enjoying the album. I had a few critiques about how some of the more extended synthesizer parts reminded me of the background music to 8 bit video games, but I truly enjoyed looking forward to the second and third days of listening to the album.

Now, that being said, I had many moments where I wish I could get the little lyrical hooks peppered in the album. It would invade my thoughts when at work, and I found myself phrasing the things I said to music from the three tracks that make up the original album. As I write this, I am looking forward to not having to “get up” and “get down” to this album for a while. I will though come back to this album. 

The only question now is, where to go next?

Pope Crisco


David Duff said...

I am very much into Prog as well. My favorite band is Porcupine Tree, fronted by Steven Wlson, who has been remixing the King Crimson catalog in 5.1 surround. Have you heard of them or listened to them? If not, I suggest your next move be to explore their catalog. Try Fear Of A Blank Planet or Deadwing or In Absentia. You won't be disappointed. Let me know your thoughts.

Pope Crisco said...

I will give these guys a spin. this week through I have been prompted to listen to ELP, Tarkus, thanks for the suggestions and the other comments!

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