Posts Tagged yes
Progressive rockers Yes’ 1974 release Relayer was one of the first albums that opened my ears to what was possible in music. Pretty difficult to overstate the importance of that – especially to an impressionable teenager.
This was in the mid-70s. I didn’t know anything about Yes and hadn’t heard a single note. I was fascinated by Roger Dean’s amazing cover and bought Relayer partly for that, and partly out of curiosity to learn what these guys were about. Of course, seeing only three song titles on the back cover really piqued my curiosity.
I was blown away at once, listened to Relayer many, many times, and naturally dove into the rest of the classic Yes catalog. On my commute this morning, I heard Relayer for the first time in at least 25 years, and was almost in tears of joy. I had never forgotten it; it was just one of those things that drift out of your life somehow…
Some of those things we come back to, and find that their attraction has been lost. Relayer has lost nothing for me over time; it’s still incredible.
Gates of Delirium is one of the handful of absolute Yes masterpieces. Epic in scope, prodigious in moods, brilliantly executed, with passages of intense power and sublime beauty. It has always blown me away. This is what music is supposed to do. I began to know it then, and that conviction has only grown over the years.
Sound Chaser has the strongest fusion elements and bears the largest stamp of Patrick Moraz’ input – though the band was already well down the fusion path, as composition and arrangement for Relayer was well underway before he came on board. The three-way interplay (not to say flat-out battle) between Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Moraz just explodes all through this track, and Howe’s solo section is a gem.
To Be Over closes on a more mellow note, slowing to a pastoral and dreamy – but somehow still well-grounded – vibe. It fully embodies the opening line “We go sailing down the calming stream.” Beautifully done.
This was Patrick Moraz’ only album with Yes. Rick Wakeman is surely Yes’ Keyboardist of Destiny, but it’s tantalizing to try to imagine where Yes would have gone if they’d stuck with Moraz for a few more albums. The possibilities were surely unlimited. The next album with Wakeman, 1977’s Going for the One, was definitely another masterpiece, but Moraz’ departure closed off a path of exciting possibilities.
Yes’ best work remains a huge influence on what I do, and I expect that to be heard in my work going forward. Thanks, guys!
Over the Horizon
It’s become a fairly amusing year-end ritual: I undertake – in all sincerity – a recap of the year just ended, along with plans for the New Year. Case in point: my 2012 review. The amusement stems from my well-earned awareness that “best-laid plans” are always subject to change, without notice or reason.
So, at the midpoint of the year, how have my plans for 2013 changed, and what do I <chuckle> anticipate for the balance (or possible absence thereof)?
I had thought to play a few live shows this year, but fewer than the six undertaken in 2012, which consumed most of my studio time. That has changed to maybe one – if art painters Royce Deans & Tali Farchi bring their Colorboration Project back to Chicago. Otherwise, it’s going to be a studio year. The priority is finishing several albums in progress.
I had hoped to come out of hibernation in the spring and play a concert of new pieces worked up from last September’s shows, but they’re still in progress, so that’s on hold. There are enough pieces in progress from last year’s shows for two albums, possibly more. I hope to get working on those next year.
Here’s an updated photo of The Keep as it stands today (the Guitar Corner is unchanged). The percussion section, having acquired some homemade trinkets, has outgrown the one shelf on my keyboard stand, hence the – ahem – Custom Hanging Multi-Pocket Repository. I should have kept the 3-level stand that I had… and that MIDI cable, running from the keyboard controller to the interface, hanging in the air behind the chair – I definitely must get a longer one.
What’s next for The Keep? A significant computer upgrade, a second Roland Loop Station, and a mixer. Someday.
I’m also on the lookout for a designer and builder, as I would like to have a custom multi-guitar stand made, along with an intern to help me with marketing and promotion. Anyone who’s interested, please contact me [music at eyescastdown dot com].
I probably have it worse than most people: the tendency to be dreaming up (and getting caught up in) more and more new projects while current ones languish, awaiting completion. Oh well, it seems one must keep many fires burning… The allure of future directions can be pretty distracting. The challenge is to balance looking ahead with staying in the present – and just getting stuff done.
So which future possibilities are calling me?
I’ve been nurturing a wish to write in other modes, especially for choir and for orchestra, as well as in Just Intonation, and these are all being subsumed into my ambient ethos. Hence the new “ambient orchestra concerto” project, which is still primarily an ambient conception, but with more orchestral textures. This is already anticipated to be a CD-length piece, but it could easily expand beyond that, especially if there are many participants. There are two other “crossover” projects, also at the “great idea” stage, with the details… mostly pending.
So, all these developments have my radar up for subjects or ideas that could inspire a Seriously Large Project (i.e., a set of 3 or more CDs). Recently revisiting two of the greatest in my collection (vidnaObmana’s brutally visceral Dante Trilogy and Steve Roach’s sublimely deep Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces) has strongly fueled that.
So where does one begin? What are some possible inspiration points?
These, of course, are legion, coming from different aspects of nature, and the various arts and sciences. There is already a literature-inspired project in the queue (if I’m lucky, work on that will begin next year), which I don’t expect to outgrow the one CD that’s contemplated for it.
I could make jokes about tinkering with stuff like the Fibonacci Sequence, the Golden Ratio, Moebius loops, etc., but that would probably be in bad taste.
Part of the attraction – and part of the problem – is that the Vedas are beyond vast – covering every branch of science and knowledge. So one needs to find a touchstone that’s circumscribed enough to get a handle on…
… and I think I have one! So let it brew – for a few years. While I try to get some stuff done…