Thursday, November 21, 2013

Yes - Close to the Edge CD/DVD (Atlantic 1972, Panegyric 2013)

For a band thas is closing in on their 45th anniversary, there has been a significant amount of Yes product moving through the bins. Earlier this year was the High Vibration boxed set, a very pricey SACD remastering of their recordings from 1969-1987 and later this year (just in time for the holidays) will come the comparatively inexpensive (!) Studio Albums 1969-1987 in “regular” CD format. Considering the breadth and depth of these particular doorstops, this package might be just what the doctor ordered. Steven Wilson, the go-to man on progressive rock releases lends his particular re-mixing/mastering mojo to Yes’s most complete statement as a band and one that would continue to loom large in their live performances even this year as they toured casinos and other venues playing a note perfect versions of this album and a few others. Close to the Edge is an interesting album for both the band and for progressive rock as a whole. Recorded long before the era of digital manipulation the music was recorded to tape and then carefully spliced into its finished form. The herculean effort was worth it, drummer Bill Bruford even decamped for King Crimson as the album was released, believing that the it was their ultimate statement and could not be bettered. Consisting of only three lengthy tracks, the music packs quite a punch on the (LP) side long title track, moving through a suite of sub passages of dynamic beauty and powerful rocking. “And You And I” was the second suite of the album, also dealing with cosmic themes before giving way to the rollicking “Siberian Khatru” as the finale. The group also issued a single cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” which works surprisingly well with excellent vocal harmonies. So, this set is broken down into two discs, first the stereo remaster of the original album while the DVD contains a plethora of material including 96kHz/24bit mixes, surround sound 5.1 mixes, the new stereo mix, the original stereo mix, singles and studio outtakes. And if that isn’t overwhelming enough for you, there is also a blu-ray dvd version that includes *even more* including a “needle drop” of the original LP. There is a nicely done booklet with an essay, photos and discography. If you are into prog rock, it is definitely worth the investment. Close to the Edge - amazon.com

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