82683-2 Tales From Topographic Oceans
Produced by Yes and Eddie Offord
Released on January 9, 1974
UK CHART POSITION #1 . . . US CHART POSITION #6 . . . GOLD RECORD (2/8/74)
Find it at GEMM
82683-2 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

S ometimes a good idea is just that. And many a muse’s gift bestowed in a late-night reverie loses its lustre in the lucidity of morning. But Steve Howe and Jon Anderson, architects of the inscrutable four-movement Tales from Topographic Oceans, dragged their bandmates through the musical wilderness in search of their holy grail all the same. The four parts, each a little over twenty minutes in length, apparently relate to the four parts of the shastrick scriptures (Anderson further obfuscates the album’s intent with predictably vague interpretations of the individual movements). The lyrics, credited to Howe and Anderson, are more spiritually inclined than past efforts, but otherwise stick to the successful idiom of word-painting rather than literal description. The music, credited to the band, is the real problem. There are isolated moments of majesty that recall the high points of Close to the Edge and Fragile, but they’re separated by often-chaotic interludes that feature little of the dazzling musical interplay that fans had come to expect. “Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil)” is the most effective of the four movements in that it sounds like an actual “band” effort. “The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)” and “The Remembering (High the Memory)” feature some inspired passages, but these are generally the result of Howe and Anderson working in unison while the rest of the band lumbers along. Chris Squire’s bass is rarely its old acrobatic self, the Fish-like segment in the second half of “The Remembering” notwithstanding. Rick Wakeman is clearly bewildered by what to do with these arrangements, dabbing at the canvas unsuccessfully throughout. Alan White’s tribal percussion succeeds in a few cameos, including an impressive section in “Ritual,” but the fact remains that Bill Bruford would have better balanced the bandmates’ tendencies to go off in their own directions. The album’s low point occurs with “The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun),” a noisy avant-garde experiment that ill befits the band. While fans, who would follow their once and future kings anywhere, gave Yes the benefit of the doubt, critics of the progressive rock movement found plenty of ammunition on these two records. As for Rick Wakeman, he left to follow his own white whale on his Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

82683-2 back picture sleeve
82683-2 back picture sleeve

TRACK LISTING

    record one
  1. THE REVEALING SCIENCE OF GOD (DANCE OF THE DAWN)    20:27
  2. THE REMEMBERING (HIGH THE MEMORY)    20:38

    record two
  3. "THE ANCIENT" (GIANTS UNDER THE SUN)    18:34
  4. RITUAL (NOUS SOMMES DU SOLEIL)    21:35

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  5. DANCE OF THE DAWN (STUDIO RUN-THROUGH)
  6. GIANTS UNDER THE SUN (STUDIO RUN-THROUGH)

    Words by Jon Anderson/Steve Howe; Music by Yes

CREDITS

JON ANDERSON -- vocals
STEVE HOWE -- guitars & vocals
CHRIS SQUIRE -- bass & vocals
RICK WAKEMAN -- keyboard
ALAN WHITE -- drums
Guy Bidmead -- tapes
Brian Lane -- co-ordination
Roger Dean -- cover design, illustration and logos
Mansell Litho -- plates

return to YES discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK December? 1973 Atlantic 2LP/8T K/K8 80001 gatefold cover
US/AUS'L January 9, 1974 Atlantic 2LP SD2-908 gatefold cover
GER 1973 Atlantic 2LP ATL 80001 gatefold cover
JPN 1973 Atlantic 2LP P-5508/9A gatefold cover
MEX   Atlantic 2LP L2WA-5041 gatefold cover
US September 1989 Atlantic CD 908  
US 1994 Atlantic 2CD 82683 digital remaster, lyric sleeve
JPN   Atlantic 2CD AMCY-4032/3 digital remaster
JPN   Atlantic 2CD AMCY-6296/7 HDCD remaster
RUS   CD Maximum CD CDM0600-45  
US 2003 Rhino 2CDX 73791 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN   Rhino 2CDX WPCR-11685 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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