Yes . The classic. Unmistakable. A band that has truly made music history and is one of the main driving force of British, progressive rock music. What you can do to say what was said not long ago in the last four decades?
Well, there are a number of years gone by since the brilliant, glamorous days when this band was at the front spotlight. 16 years passed by since Yes played the concerts in March 1996 in the Fremont Theatre in San Luis Obispo, California. It was a reunion with members of the former glory days: Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman and Alan White . And yet a new production of the company Proper Records pays homage to this performance - "Keys To Ascension" in four CDs and 1 DVD climbs up again the summit of Yes existence and invokes once again the magic at least digitally .
Not only digital. Even the cover gives the wonderful feeling of recollection: Roger Dean - the British artist for his part an icon of surreal cover designs (such as Osibisa, Uriah Heep), and since earliest Yes -days entrustet with the art-work - is here again with his work represented; the cover design was in the hands of his son Martyn: ceremonially let us unfold the packaging and have a look on the five discs. Certainly, "Keys To Ascension" is not a new title, in 1996 there was an incomplete double-CD under that name. Now everything is complete, including on disc 4, the studio material of the years 1995/1996. A rich package.
It starts with "Siberian Khatru" from the 1972 released album "Close to the Edge" (by me as fold LP in the German edition 1973 purchased just after the release). Crystal-clear sound pretty transparent, mixed well, a little middle-and height-emphasizes what is appropriate to the character of the music. So, no deep rumble pop/rock sound, although the bass is very present and to hear his complicated runs. The old Yes atmosphere is immediately awakened, by the live character even more excited and fresher than in the studio productions. The entire, concertante power is presented in long, complex compositions. Jon Anderson's bell-clear voice floats as ever over the wide British fields of sound and imagination. With "America" follows a Paul Simon cover which was published in 2003, however, as a bonus in the next edition of the CD "Fragile". The first CD closes with the famous and wonderfully melodic track "Awaken".
We are back. Back in the 70s. It is immediately apparent that without exception all songs on this compilation are from the seventies, so to say from the heyday. The - even commercially successful productions from the 80s (such as "Owner Of A Lonely Heart") were skipped completely, as if Yes took not only a personal reunion, but rather a very deliberate return to the old , concert content - and this at a time that was more and more faster and called for easy consumable songs with a radio compatible length. In a new era, in which the dreamy, psychedelic, spiritual rock symphonies of Yes appeal as relics of another epoch.
Another deliberate choice in this new release of "Keys To Ascension": The 70 highlights of the live performance are facing the "brand new" studio tracks from the years 1995/1996. Already on the second CD, two studio tracks go together with the live recordings. "Be The One" and "That, That Is" were already packed to the 1996 incomplete edition. The other studio tracks included here - on CD Disc 4 combined - had found their way to public on the 1997 "Keys To Ascension II" album. A break in style or an obvious change for the 70s material is not really to mention. As far as mood and composition, seems Yes to feel in the studio in the mid 90s in the cosmos of the early years; probably, enriched by a few crumbs 80s pop-drive. Once again quasi progressive... in the early 70's unusual new sounds became in the 90s unusually old ones. Also in terms of length ("That, That Is" - 19:14 min.). Nevertheless, the quality stays, but the vision has lost the perspective. No new horizon. For fans of Yes but also the 1995/1996er songs are a fancy treat.
This and the present completeness makes this new edition absolutely exciting for Yes fans and for all progressives in the nation. In our time - 2010 - it seems in any case increasingly come to a return. What ten years ago was regarded as hopelessly antiquated, is now addressed - in a phase of lack of innovation - as a driving force. New progressive bands walk in the footsteps of musical ancestors and pioneers, including Yes . And recently declared as nostalgic, suddenly is called modern and sounds timeless. Opulent symphonic rock and tonally varied fantasies slowly trickle back into the music scene. This historical material has its current meaning in our "modern" time.
And then there's another candy: the DVD. 147 hot minutes of the concert, not only for the ear, but also to the eye are burned to the slice. The picture quality is at the level of the 90's and, of course, can not compete with today's technology. Still nice to see the musicians live, even if the complete concert is probably rather for the hardcore fan. A document of the era, where for the first time after 18 years, the Yes original line up are back together and making music. Furthermore, a documentary on the DVD to "Keys of Ascension" in the form of comments by band members and their manager. And - as a bonus concert Yes live in Philadelphia in 1979 in its former glory. Here there are interesting comparisons between the two performances.
An all-inclusive package for the Yes -lovers or for those who want it to be!
CD Disc 1
1. Siberian Khatru (Close To The Edge, 1972)
2. The Revealing Science Of God (Tales from Topographic Oceans, 1974)
3. America (Fragile, 1971)
4. Onward (Tormato, 1978)
5. Awaken (Going For The One, 1977)
CD Disc 2
6. Roundabout (Fragile)
7. Starship Trooper (The Yes Album, 1971)
Studio Tracks 1996 8. Be The One
9. That, That Is
CD Disc 3
10. I´ve Seen All Good People (The Yes Album, 1971)
11. Going For The One (Going For The One, 1977)
12. Time And A Word (Time And A Word, 1970)
13. Close To The Edge (Close To The Edge, 1972)
14. Turn Of The Century (Going For The One, 1977)
15. And You And I (Close To The Edge, 1972)
CD Disc 4
Studio Tracks 1995/1996 16. Mind Drive
17. Foot Prints
18. Bring To The Power
19. Children Of Light
20. Sign Language
1. Siberian Khatru
2. Close To The Edge
3. I´ve Seen All God People
4. Time And A Word
5. And You And I
6. The Revealing Science Of God
7. Going For The One
8. Turn Of The Century
13. Starship Trooper