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Win oceans of mind-blowing live Yes at their peak in 1972, courtesy of Rhino
05.27.2015
03:02 pm
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In late 1972 Yes was on fire. Close to the Edge, arguably their greatest album, had come out in September, and their previous two efforts were the groundbreaking Fragile and The Yes Album. If ever there was a moment you wanted to see that band live, it was right then.

Fortunately, Yes supported Close to the Edge with ambitious live shows, as audiences around the world packed arenas to see the legendary group perform their unbeatable harmonies. This was the tour captured on Yes’ first live album, Yessongs, a triple LP that came out in 1973 and sold over a million copies (Roger Dean’s trippy and iconic artwork in particular blew many minds).
 

Credit: Roger Dean
 
If you just can’t get enough vintage Yes at their artistic pinnacle, then you’re going to love Progeny: Highlights from Seventy-Two and Progeny: Seven Shows from Seventy-Two, two new releases from Rhino featuring recently discovered recordings of seven complete concerts from the weeks leading up to the shows heard on Yessongs. The latest audio technology was used to restore the reel-to-reel recordings and bring out incredible sonic detail, creating an open, immediate sound that drops listeners right into the front row.

Progeny: Seven Shows from Seventy-Two is fourteen whopping discs that contain every note from all seven shows recorded between October 31 and November 20 of 1972, in locales like Canada, Tennessee, and North Carolina. This comprehensive set comes in a cigarette-style flip top box with stunning new artwork by Roger Dean. Recorded three months into the tour, these powerful performances attest to how quickly the new lineup gelled musically as they navigate hits like “Roundabout” as well as complex pieces like “And You and I.” Even though the setlist didn’t vary much from night to night, the individual performances are strikingly different.
 

 
This was Yes’ first tour with drummer Alan White, who’s been with the band ever since. He replaced Bill Bruford, who recorded Close To The Edge before leaving to join King Crimson. White only had three days to learn the band’s live show before his first night on stage with Jon Anderson (vocals), Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass) and Rick Wakeman (keyboards). 

If seven full concerts is too much music for you, fear not! There’s also Progeny: Highlights from Seventy-Two, a more modest set that features highlights from the same seven shows. With seven outstanding concerts to choose from, rest assured that you will hear top-notch renditions of Yes classics like “I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Heart Of The Sunrise.”

Below, a live “Close to the Edge” from 1972:
 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.27.2015
03:02 pm
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‘Frontiers of Progressive Rock’: Five incredible jams with ELP, King Crimson, Yes, and others


 
Lordy lord, do I love footage from the old Beat Club program from Germany in the early 1970s. (The show later turned into Musikladen). Last week we brought you some smokin’ hard rock jams including MC5, Alice Cooper, and the New York Dolls that originally appeared on Beat Club. This week we move onto prog—and the results are nearly as sublime.

This compilation is known as Frontiers of Progressive Rock (and was originally released on a Laserdisc), features five excellent prog bands in their prime, just fucking shit up. Yes, Soft Machine, the Nice, King Crimson, and the biggest seller of them all, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer are each represented with an early gem, and all of them just go to town. My favorite moment comes when Keith Emerson, dressed in glittery blue and green, hurls himself over his second organ and then rocks it back and forth from behind before playing a few notes from the “wrong” side.
 

 
I also really love how much of a premium Beat Club placed on ridiculous video effects. The ELP number has oscilloscope readings projected onto the back wall, whereas the entire Soft Machine number is enring’d in an orange halo on the screen. Meanwhile, during the Yes song a kaleidoscope effect is used wherein the center of the image is “reflected” around itself—you have to see it to get it. For some reason the Yes track incorporates a large revolving head suspended over an old-fashioned chair of some sort…. anyway, I love the intensity with which the bands play their songs, I love the varied instrumentation (violin, saxophone, etc.), and I love the acid-freakout visuals. If you’ve got nothing else going on, I recommend turning this on and finding a pharmaceutical or two to help you enjoy the day.
 

 

Track listing:
Emerson, Lake & Palmer: “Knife Edge”
King Crimson: “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic”
The Nice: “Hang On To a Dream”
Soft Machine: “Composition Based On 3 Tunes” (Medley of “Out-Bloody-Rageous,” “Eamonn Andrews,” and “All White”)
Yes: “Yours Is No Disgrace”

 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.31.2014
11:54 am
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‘Prog Is A 4 Letter Word’: Exclusive Flaming Lips prog rock playlist
08.14.2014
01:54 pm
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Enjoy this exclusive mix compiled for Dangerous Minds readers by Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips.

Prog Is a 4 Letter Word

“South Side of the Sky” - Yes
“Siberian Khatru” - Yes
“Knife Edge” - ELP
“Watcher of the Skies” - Genesis
“Archangel Thunderbird” (proto prog-punk) - Amon Düül II
“Darkness” - Van der Graaf Generator
“Yours Is No Disgrace” - Yes
“Cygnus X-1 book 1” - Rush
“The Inner Mounting Flame” - Mahavishnu Orchestra
“Thick As A Brick” - Jethro Tull

The pair’s Flaming Lips sideproject, recorded as Electric Würms with Nashville-based psych-rock band Linear Downfall, is called Musik, Die Schwer Zu Twerk. The EP is comes out on CD, vinyl and iTunes via Warner Bros. Records on August 19th. Later today we’ll premiere the Miles Davis-influenced track “Transform” from the new release.
 

 

Posted by Electric Würms
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08.14.2014
01:54 pm
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Say Yes to the astonishing guitar solo from ‘Starship Trooper’
08.13.2014
07:31 am
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If you’re “of a certain age”—say early-50s on up—then progrock was most likely part of the musical background of your existence. You might not have exactly requested it specifically—was there anyone who could have anticipated, say, Jethro Tull?—but inescapably songs like “Aqualung,” Emerson Lake and Palmer’s “Lucky Man” and “Roundabout” by Yes were part of the soundtrack to your young life, even if it was just through osmosis. These days you can avoid the mainstream, back then it’s all there was and prog was the big thing for a while…

However, if you’re around my age (I’m 48) progrock groups were seen as the enemy. Budding young rock snob that I was, I can recall picking up Uriah Heep, ELP, Robin Trower and Nektar albums at garage sales when I was in the 5th grade and being fairly perplexed that people actually liked this kind of stuff, or that I myself might be expected to like such crappy music to “fit in” or something. It was confusing when I first started buying records—an album by The Who, The Stones or The Kinks from the 60s would be great, whereas one from 1976 would be just… fucking terrible. In any case, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols came out two days after my 11th birthday and that confusion ended. Instantly. If you were all “punk rock,” then you had no time for progrock bands. You hated them. They were all totally unredeemably shit. (All of them, except for maybe King Crimson. Robert Fripp, now he was cool.)

Things being the way they are, eventually the record industry, or at least a few heroic indie labels, began to sell the again MOJO-reading public on the notion of opening their ears up to music they’d have shunned in the past. Admittedly, it’s only been in recent years that I’ve personally been willing to consider the prog rock genre seriously, and not be reflexively close-minded about it. I’ve simply exhausted most other sections at the record store, and I’ve got an insatiable appetite for finding new music, so why not prog? Much of what I’ve been picking up on are the surround sound editions that Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson has been working on, revamping classic prog albums for 5.1 audio. If Wilson is involved in it, I definitely want to hear it and as a result I’m discovering some great “new” music, like, you know… Jethro Tull.

Good times!
 

 
So yeah... um… Yes? “Roundabout” aside, I never liked Yes and never really had the time for them. I didn’t hate them, but they wore capes and seemed very “Middle Earth” to me which had pretty much no appeal to me whatsoever when I could listen to Kraftwerk, David Bowie, The Residents or Public Image Ltd. (Ironically PiL’s Keith Levene was a roadie for Yes in 1974). It was earlier this year when my wife admitted that she was a “closet” Yes fan that I decided to bring Wilson’s Close to the Edge 5.1 surround mix home from the record store for both of us to listen to (I’m always accused of monopolizing the stereo, so this was a sop to that criticism.) I quickly got pretty obsessed with that album—ultimately annoying her with it in the process, I’ sure—but the thing that that just knocked down any resistance to the glory that is Yes, for me, was hearing Steven Wilson’s surround treatment of “Würm,” the third movement of The Yes Album‘s “Starship Trooper.”

Sublime. Glorious. It’s a soaring electric guitar symphony. Playing it loud—I mean really loud—it gets to the point where you feel like you’re standing on the tarmac as a jet takes off. It’s a crazy good. Even if you hate progrock in general, or Yes in particular, you can make an exception for this amazing song. Once you do, you’ll get why Yes was such a huge act in the 70s and beyond. It—they—suddenly clicked for me. Now I love them, or at least I love some of their albums.
 

 
But here’s the thing, “Würm” and its memorable, hypnotic riff and blistering guitar solo, was actually taken from a song called “Nether Street” that had been recorded by Howe’s post Tomorrow and pre Yes band, Bodast, in 1968 or 69. It came to naught for them although Howe was loyal enough to the group to stick with them in the face of recruitment attempts from both Jethro Tull and Keith Emerson’s band The Nice before packing it in. Howe revived “Nether Street” for “Starship Trooper” in 1971, but it wasn’t until 1981 that the original recording saw the light of day.

Steve Howe told Music Radar:

The song wasn’t rehearsed; it was constructed in the studio from various pieces. I had the Wurm part from another band I used to be in called Bodast. It was in a song called “The Ghost Of Nether Street.” We’d recorded an album, but the label closed down, and so the record never came out.

I always loved the section as a whole piece of music, so I decided to carry it over to Yes. I like the way it goes from G to E-flat to C, but different things happen on the roots. Although it repeats endlessly, it sometimes has the fifth below roots on the chords. It sounds like a lot going on, and of course, it’s flanged.

The build-up of it is very impressive. It splits into two guitar tracks, one side taking a solo. Somehow, we did a bunch of takes, and so we’d pick the best of each. They were all done as complete takes. I remember thinking that I was sort of jamming with myself.

The “Disillusion” section came from another old song: “For Everyone” was a Yes number written by bassist Chris Squire that was played in concert back in the Peter Banks days but never recorded.
 

 
Our guest editors Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd pay tribute to the mighty “Würm” with the name of their new Electric Würms project. The Würm is also a river in Bavaria which gave its name to the Würm glaciation ice age when Scandinavia and much of Britain were under ice. Wurm (sans the umlaut) is an Olde English word for “dragon.”

Here’s “Starship Trooper” as heard on The Yes Album. If you’re one of those people—like I was—resistant to progrock, turn this sucker up good and loud and let it wash all the fuck over you. It’s over nine minutes long, but the build-up is crucial.
 

 
Here’s the original Bodast recording of “Nether Street.” Almost as amazing as “Würm” itself for—ahem—damned obvious reasons!
 

 
A fan-made video of “Starship Trooper” as it was heard on the live Yessongs album (In the concert film only the final part of the song is used, so the earlier shots are from other numbers. It works.)
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.13.2014
07:31 am
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The Record Books: If best-selling albums had been books instead…

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Blood on the Tracks’ - Robert A. Zimmerman

Fast-paced 1958 thriller: a jilted train driver hi-jacks his New York subway train to exact revenge upon his love rival, only to threaten the life of his ex-lover. The last 30 pages are missing. Don’t know if she survives.

 
Christophe Gowans is a Graphic Designer and Art Director, who once designed for the music industry (with Peter Saville Associates, Assorted Images, amongst others) and has since produced some stunning work for Blitz, Esquire, Modern Painters, Stella and The Sunday Telegraph.

Christophe is also the talent of a series of fun, collectible and original art works that re-imagine classic albums as book covers.

These fabulous Record Books are on display at his site and are also available to buy at The Rockpot.
 
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Abbey Road’ - The Beatles

Classic paperback. The story of two catholic sisters growing up in a swiftly changing post-war Britain. Guess what? It doesn’t end well.

 
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The Dark Side of the Moon’ - Pink Floyd

Alternative scientific textbook from the 60s. Californian professor Floyd achieved enormous success with this study of the moon’s influence on the menstrual cycle. Indeed, he was able to found his own college, specialising in the study of women’s fertility. The college no longer exists. It was shut down in 1972, having been razed to the ground by a mob of angry husbands.

 
More of Christophe’s ‘Record Books’, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.20.2013
07:05 pm
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I love the Relayer LP by Yes
07.15.2010
12:36 am
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A little late night listening inspired by Marc’s post. I felt the need to present one of the best recorded pieces by Yes, the much-maligned yet utterly wonderful UK prog band: The nine and a half minute epic (what else?) Sound Chaser from 1974’s Relayer LP. The by turns angular, noisy (check all the subtle micro-synth bits scurrying across the stereo field) and lovely classically structured song reflects a band emboldened by their huge fame to stretch out and attempt something decidedly outside of pop music. Also our man of the day, Steve Howe is a total demon here. Wild and unpredictable, with a nasty, almost Link Wray-esque tone. This is not your bog standard hippy-prog rock. Once again, please excuse/ignore the goofy visuals in the fan vid below.

Posted by Brad Laner
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07.15.2010
12:36 am
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