Yeah I was surprised that so many critics panned _Tales From  
Topographic Oceans_ but at the same time there's probably not much an  
audience for a double-album where the fours sides are four songs on  
Rig Veda and the tantras. Pretty friggin' obscure. But it's still one  
of my all time favorite Yes albums. Despite the length of the songs  
it's still a great casual listen and still inspiring. Sublime lyrics.  
Yes rehearsed near where I grew up and I got to watch them in  
rehearsals from  _Going for the One_ up till Anderson, Bruford,  
Wakeman and Howe. It was a great experience. Great band back then.

I see you also mention King Crimson. If you haven't listened to any  
of the new Crim, from _Discipline_ and onwards, the new Crim is  
definitely worth a listen. Adrian Belew of Frank Zappa and Talking  
Heads fame is on lead vocal and guitar. This new version of Crim is  
inspired by the rhythmic counterpoint of Indonesian Gamelan  
orchestras where entire villages would sometime jam on these hammered  
instruments essentially tuned to one big open chord. I recommend  
_Discipline_, _Beat_ and _The Construcktion of Light_ as a starting  
point of the new KC. It's wild. If you like I can post some video I  
have. Also Adrian Belew's first band, The Bears _Rise and Shine_ is a  
classic as well as _The Acoustic Adrian Belew_. You'd probably also  
like the _California Guitar Trio_. Ever hear Beethoven's Fifth on  

Thanks for recommending Sufjan Stevens, his name keeps coming up so I  
got Illinoise today. It's great, thanks!


On Jul 13, 2006, at 11:43 PM, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

> I just watched the DVD "Inside Yes  1968-1973" a critical review of  
> the
> band's early career. For TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS fans, it's  
> pretty sad. It
> ends with TALES, and the comments are pretty negative. The only  
> unqualified
> positive statement comes from Chris Stilmant (a sound engineer) who  
> said it was
> "THE album of YES; I just love it. It was long songs, double album,  
> the artwork
> was beautiful, the music was beautiful, and it was what I was  
> expecting music
> to was a masterpiece." The worst statements come from  
> Jerry Ewing
> of Classic Rock Magazine, who describes TALES as "a crap album,"  
> "tuneless
> dirge" and asks of the lyrics "what on earth are they talking  
> about?"  Other
> commentators talk of it meandering and being hard to pick out the  
> melodic and
> rhythmic highlights. Well, of course this is all nonsense to me. I  
> started
> studying TALES (and I do think it requires some extended attention)  
> in 1975, and I
> liked it right away. The lyrics did not impress me until 1976 when  
> I suddenly
> became interested in all things mystical and spiritual, and then  
> the lyrics, the
> liner notes, the book that inspired it, and the artwork all became  
> of intense
> interest. The music did not seem too extreme at all. Sides one and  
> two were
> VERY mellow and melodic (for a rock band), with little of the  
> boogie feel of
> rock and none of the crunch of typical guitar riffs. However, I was  
> already a
> big fan of Renaissance, so mellow folkie stuff like The Remembering  
> (it
> obviously had other influences like ambient electronics) was  
> totally up my alley. Side
> three was the most experimental arrangement of YES' career, but  
> since I was
> fan of other manic, weird instrumentals like ELP's arrangement of  
> "Toccata,"
> King Crimson's "Lark's Tongues In Aspic Part One" or Todd  
> Rundgren's "A Treatise
> on Cosmic Fire," "The Ancient" did not seem too extreme to me at  
> all. Heck,
> around this time I was even listening to the free jazz duets of  
> singer Ursula
> Dudziak and pianist Adam Mankowitz, and that didn't seem too  
> extreme either.
> Side four of TALES,"Ritual," seems like the only logical climax (no  
> pun intended
> on it's tantric implications) to the effort.
>     I would say that progressive rock taught me to love a wide  
> range of
> music. YES in particular gave me a taste for classical, jazz,  
> country, electronic,
> and folk music. In many cases, it wasn't until years or decades  
> later that I
> really delved into these genres, but I credit YES with giving me my  
> first taste
> in many cases.
>       As for today, I still enjoy a good, challenging piece of  
> music. Right
> at the end of last year I heard Sufjan Stevens ILLINOIS album  
> (2005), and I
> studied it for months. Just yesterday I played his new album THE  
> Outtakes and extras from the Illinois Album, and all I can say is  
> that if these are
> "extras" then we are dealing with a major songwriter here. His  
> music has been
> labeled "chamber folk" which I think is a good description because  
> though
> rooted in acoustic songwriting, he embellishes to his heart's  
> desire. He also
> likes minimalism, prog (you can even here a tad of Genesis-like  
> synths on a
> couple of tracks) and classical. I'm also listening to some great  
> early 60s Blue
> Note jazz albums, especially Lee Morgan's CORNBREAD.
>     Philosophically, I'm still interested in those 1960s questions  
> about
> "hate and death and war" (as the Moody Blues phrased it in their  
> lyrics). I'm
> currently watching a couple of amazing documentaries that just came  
> out on DVD:
> WHY WE FIGHT  about the military industrial complex that President  
> Eisenhower
> warned us about, and LEFT OF THE DIAL, about America's first  
> liberal talk radio
> network, Air America Radio.  I'm also ooking forward to rewatching  
> ROOM about the bombing (probably deliberate on Bush's part) of al- 
> Jazeera's
> offices.
>    To me, TALES was just a part of this flow of thought: trying to  
> save the
> world while living on another one. -===-=-=-=-= om-=-=--= Nick
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