Red Buddha (71)
Henze/Takemitsu/Maxwell Davies(72, re-released on CD in 1990)
Contemporary Works (72)
Floating Music (72)
Stomu Yamashta's Red Buddha Theatre: The Soundtrack from "The Man from the East" (73, Live)
Freedom Is Frightening (73)
Takemitsu Ishi (73)
One by One (74, Soundtrack)
Go Live From Paris (76, recorded June 12, 1976)
Go Too (77)
Tempest (82, Soundtrack)
Sea and Sky (83)
Solar Dream, Vol. 2: Fantasy of Sanukit (90)
Solar Dream, Vol. 1: The Eternal Present (93)
|Stomu Yamashta has had a varied career, beginning with his electronic excursions such as Red Buddha, recording with the supergroup Go, and, most recently, a few releases that are very much in the "space music" category. Sea and Sky, released in 1983, falls into this new category, and is a blend of very ethereal synth music and grandiose, symphonic passages, akin, perhaps, to the sound of artists such as Deuter, Kitaro, and the like, but with sections that sound almost orchestral, comparable to Constance Demby, etc. Stomu Yamashta put together Go in the mid-seventies, and recorded the Go, and the well-received Go Live From Paris. Go Too was their third and final release. For those unfamiliar with the band, it included Al DiMeola, Klaus Schulze, and Michael Shrieve, among others, the result of which was an effective mixture of rock, electronics, fusion and soul! Of the three, this is probably their weakest work, influenced as it was by the disco and soul movement. However, the underlying instrumentation gives evidence of a strong guitar/rhythm section, with Mr. Schulze announcing his presence with an occasional, well-placed "whoosh." Seriously, if you are at all curious to check out this star line-up, this might be worth your while. And, if you do enjoy the jazz/soul-inflected fusion genre, you could do much worse than this.|
|Freedom is Frightening is also by Stomu Yamashta's East Wind. Freedom is Frightening and One by One are quite nice. Both have some nice violin parts.|
|I have Go Live which features many "name brand" players. In fact, Stomu Yamashta is one of the least recognized names. Other players include Al Di Meola on guitar, Klaus Schulze on synthesizers, Michael Shrieve on drums and Steve Winwood on vocals and piano. As you might imagine, the music is quite varied in style, incorporating elements of space, fusion and Traffic. This amalgam of vastly different styles works surprisingly well most of the time though there are occasional moments of lackluster performance. Al Di Meola's trademark licks are there as is Klaus Schulze deft touch with the synthesizer. Of course, when Winwood sings, the Traffic comparisons are more than valid but even the song structures are similar to the extended works of Traffic. Overall, it's a fairly decent but not outstanding album. I enjoy particularly for Schulze but the music is varied enough that different people will like it for different reasons. Certainly, a blending of musical ideas like Yamashta's is not heard very often in progressive rock.|
|Sea & Sky is an album-length suite that hovers somewhere between the relaxed melodicism of new age and a more avant-garde electronic music. The music develops slowly from insistent, almost minimalist synth sequences and lapping sound effects to grand symphonic swells with synthesizers and orchestra layered for maximum effect. There is also a bit of subdued fusion flavour at a place and tasteful use of percussion colourings. While Yamashta's use of dynamics seems to follow a classical music format in range and development (building gradually into a final crescendo, then letting the music wind down), the first twenty minutes of the album meander a bit too much to my taste, as he seems to be playing with silences rather than sounds at times. The nearest convenient comparison would be a calmer version of Vangelis' Heaven and Hell , with emphasis on the "heavenly" sections, and perhaps Kitaro during his least accessible moments. Though this is far too sedate and delicate for those looking for incredible displays of virtuosity in rock context, patient fans of electronic progressive should give this a go. -- Kai Karmanheimo|
[See Di Meola, Al |
Schulze, Klaus |
Click here for an
austere web site evidently maintained by a fan
Hiro Yanagida (71)
Hiro Yanagida was the keyboardist for two early Japanese psych bands such, Foodbrain and Love Live Life + One. His eponymous solo album from 1971 is typical of the early Japanese psych bands though sometimes showing a bit of progressive influence (such as hints of the Nice/Emerson between jams). Driving, energetic blues based hard rock/psych jams with Yanagida's swirling Hammond trading licks with Kimio Mizutani's blistering guitar leads. Of particular note is the eight minute "The Murder in the Midnight" with Yanagida turning in some fine Hammond work. Flute and sax make appearances on a few cuts. One or two songs, such as "My Dear Mary" (which feature's Speed, Glue and Shinki's Joey Smith on vocals) are in the pop vein, much of this album is raw blues/psych but it comes off as a mixed bag. The blues/psych tunes are great stuff if you're into that sort of thing. -- Mike Taylor
[See Foodbrain | Love Live Life + One]
A Complex Nature (04)
Yang - (not in photo order) Frédéric L'Epée (guitars), Laurent James (guitars), Nico
Gomez (bass), Volodia Brice (drums)
Yang is the masculine principle of the interlocking Chinese Yin/Yang symbol. It is also the name for the latest band led by French guitarist and composer Frederic L'Epée ( Shylock, Philharmonie). Their first album A Complex Nature was released in 2004 on the Cuneiform label, which had been the label for Philharmonie before them. This line-up of the band disbanded before ever playing a concert, but L'Epée put together a new line-up who revised these pieces to suit their own styles (they became more rock and less jazzy) and went on to record the self-produced and independently distributed Machines, released in 2009. L'Epée told me via e-mail, "even if the CD is 'dying', we still want to make albums!" I'm glad he does ... this isn't the sort of release that will hit the charts on iTunes. Nor is the density and subtlety of this sound well-suited to MP3 compression. But it may just make the "best of 2009" charts on a few prog web sites and publications, and the GEPR may be one of them.
I had only heard one song from A Complex Nature, the stellar "Les Deux Mondes" ("The Two Worlds"), sent by a prog reviewer colleague who occasionally sends me a track with the intent of, "You've got to have an entry for these guys!". Clocking in at 8:14, the first comparison that instantly comes to mind is King Crimson. Reading up on both Yang and Philharmonie on other sites, I find over and over again comments along the lines of "Frederic L'Epée is France's answer to Robert Fripp", and I can easily see why people would say that. There are hints of Crimson from the Larks Tongues/Starless/Red era throughout this piece, though Yang comes across as less angry and more intellectual. That may be a plus or a minus depending on your mood, but I find this to be a completely brilliant piece, easily as good as anything ever done by Crimson. There are also three complete cuts from A Complex Nature on the band's web site: Souterrain, Manchild and Orgueil which I've only just now heard. They are all fantastic (which doubtless the band hopes will inspire you to order the whole album!).
Machines is their new release. As L'Epée has commented, this album rocks a bit harder than A Complex Nature. It still features drummer Volodia Brice (Lord of Mushrooms and the last Philharmonie album) from the original line-up with new guitarist Laurent James and bassist Nico Gomez. Musically, this is perhaps even more controlled and intellectual then the cuts I've heard from A Complex Nature, with some bits of Discipline-era King Crimson in there too, in addition to the Larks Tongues distorted angst. So, I'd say this album sounds like Fripp on anti-anxiety medications. Not as angry, anxious or paranoid as those early Fripp albums, but more controlled and ... dare I say it? ... laid-back. But still plenty of musical tension to keep the pieces interesting.
In summary, both A Complex Nature and Machines should please anyone who likes music along the lines of King Crimson, and these albums even surpass them in some ways. For example, I like this much more than any of the last few King Crimson releases. Nice stuff. -- Fred Trafton
|Links||[See Lord of Mushrooms | Philharmonie | Shylock]|
A Meditation Mass (72)
A Meditation Mass is a re-issue of the German classic from The Laser's Edge, with a reproduction of the original die-cut cover, this release pretty much sums up the psychedelia-drenched style exemplified by German bands of the early seventies (krautrock). The music is a long, spacy, almost improvisational piece in four parts, consisting of guitars, keyboards and flute, with passages that vary from tranquil to aggressive. Influences from Popol Vuh and some others of that ilk are perceptible, but, overall, this is a unique blend of a variety of influences, in one flowing continuum of music.
The title of A Meditation Mass sums up the atmosphere these guys create. Yatha Sidhra create a very mesmerizing, dreamy and hypnotic space music, using moog, guitar, a variety of percussion instruments and flutes. The music consists of four parts that flow together. The original LP, of course, had to break for the side but the reissue combined together all four tracks for 40 minutes of continuous cosmic ebb and flow. The first part (nearly 18 minutes long) begins with ephemeral flute and percussion against a dreamy guitar backdrop. Soon, the moog begins a sinuous dance with the other instruments. The band is in no hurry (and neither are you), taking their time, slowly picking up the pace and intensity. After a time, ethereal voices join in and the flute begins to hint at some of the energy to come. Finally, the vibes, then electric piano signal the pending arrival of the brief second part. The pace picks up a notch for a flute/electric piano duet before the arrival of the 12 minute third part. As the music nears its climax the guitar fights with the flute before coming to the fore, developing into a bluesy, spacy guitar jam necessary for all good German space music. Finally, the main theme returns and we are gently carried back to earth. Yatha Sidhra's brand of cosmic music is not as "wigged out" as Amon Düül II improvisations circa Yeti, or even Ash Ra Tempel's excellent first release, which might make it more accessible for those of you just beginning to explore this type of music. Highly recommended to all would-be cosmonauts! -- Mike Taylor
Alienation (86, EP Collection-Japanese title), Starship (88), others
This Japanese band plays a very grating industrial type rock, I can't think of anything to compare it to right off, very harsh and tortured, like their 12 minute version of "Scarborough Fair" that's barely recognizable. They are original, though! There are three CDs I know of: The oldest is Alienation, then theres a CD collection of EP's that has a Japanese flag on the cover. A newer disc, titled Starship is far less harsh than the early stuff, and shows the band still in top form. Lotsa Japanese vocals.
Ktzat Acheret/Nonames (75, w/ Shlomo Gronich & Shem Tov Levy)
The First Time (79)
Tuned Tone (79, w/Shem Tov Levy & Yitzhak Klepter)
Now Is The Time (85)
Dreaming In Spanish (88)
Lines - Instrumental Pieces (91, w/Mathi Caspi & Yoni Rechter)
Part Of Me (93)
Little Details (97)
White Days - The compilation (99)
Shlomo Ydov was a major contributor to the Golden era of Israeli Prog;
during 1974-1979 he was a member of Prog supergroup Ktzat Acheret,
contributed to albums by Yoni Rechter, Mathi Caspi, Arik Einstein and
others and released his first excellent solo album.
He was born in Argentina and came to Israel by 1964; as a child he was influenced by classical and folk music, when he grew up he discovered Rock music and the electric guitar.
During his army service he met and befriended Shlomo Gronich, and when Ktzat Acheret was formed by 1974, he was invited to join. Together with Gronich and Shem Tov Levy he was responsible for one of the best Israeli prog albums ever. He wrote two songs for this album and co-wrote another two. Comparing to Gronich's And Levy's compositions his are the most serene and less adventurous tracks, but still are excellent samples of folksy prog, with strong echoes of Genesis. He possesses a very pleasant voice and is a brilliant guitarist. His solos in this album range from classical to metal, symphonic to avant-garde, Spanish to Arabic and so on.
After this band broke Ydov concentrated on session work and appeared on albums by Arik Einstein, Mathi Caspi, Yoni Rechter and others. By 1978-79 he recorded and released his first solo album entitled The First Time, this was yet another gem of Israeli prog and contained high-class symphonic very melodic prog in the vein of Camel, Genesis and to some extent Gentle Giant. This is also comparable to the best of Latin Prog albums due to its romanticism and warmth. Excellent symphonic album. Highly recommended.
After this album Ydov's music has grown more and more commercial and is not of interest to prog fans. -- Gil Keltch
[See Gronich, Shlomo |
See also Gil Keltch's History of Israeli Prog article in Gibraltar Webzine #2
Solid Pleasure (80)
Claro Que Si (81)
You Gotta Say Yes To Another Excess (83)
Yello 1980-1985 -- The New Mix In One Go (86, Compilation)
One Second (87)
The 12" Collection (88, Compilation, Box set of 6 LP's on yellow vinyl)
The CD Single Collection (89, Compilation, 5 CD Box set)
Essential Yello (92, Compilation)
Essential Christmas - The Singles Collection (95, Compilation)
Pocket Universe (97)
Motion Picture (99)
The Eye (03)
Note: A number of "remix albums" are not included in this listing
Yello - Dieter Meier and Boris Blank
Yello is a Swiss electronic duo comprised of Dieter Meier and Boris Blank. I'm most familiar with them from their two albums on the Ralph Records label, Solid Pleasure and Claro Que Si, though I also have You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess. All three of these albums are excellent ... oddball rhythms and inventive use of samples and studio trickery make these albums listenable and, in a wierd way, dancable too. Later albums are said to have gone more towards the "dancable" end of the spectrum.
Yello is one of the icons of the "House" music style, and the've been "remixed" by many of the famous people who do such things, which I personally don't care much about. They're also into doing videos, and even scored the movie Nuns on the Run. Personally, I'm more interested in their earlier, progressive music starting point, which I really like a lot. -- Fred Trafton
Click here for the official Yello web site.
Time and a Word (70)
The Yes Album (71)
Close to the Edge (72)
Tales from Topographic Oceans (74)
Going for the One (77)
Classic Yes (81)
Big Generator (87)
Yesyears (91, box set)
Highlights: The Very Best of Yes (93)
The Keys to Ascension (96)
Keys to Ascension 2 (97)
Open Your Eyes (97)
Something's Coming/Beyond and Before (98, Live from 1969-70)
The Ladder (99)
The Best of Yes (00, Compilation)
Live from the House of Blues (00, 2CD, Live from 1999)
Keystudio (01, Compilation of studio material from the two Keys to Ascension releases)
Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection (04, Compilation, 3CD)
Fly from Here (Scheduled Release July 12, 2011)
Yes in 1969 - Peter Banks (guitar), Bill Bruford (drums), Jon Anderson (vocals),
Chris Squire (bass) and Tony Kaye (keyboards)
Yes formed in 1968 with Jon Anderson (vocals), Chris Squire (bass, vocals), Peter Banks (guitar, vocals), Tony Kaye (keyboards), and Bill Bruford (drums). Anderson and Squire had met while both were in other bands and got an idea to play music with "vocal harmony backed by strong instrumentation." Yes were soon formed and in 1969 released their self-titled debut. Featuring strong original work and covers of songs by The Byrds and The Beatles, the album was a musical and critical success. This was followed in 1970 by Time and a Word, which made use of orchestral backing. This was objectionable to Banks, who was replaced on guitar by Steve Howe for the breakthrough The Yes Album (1971). This album finally solidified the classic Yes sound. Tensions between Kaye and Howe led to Kaye's departure and the arrival of Rick Wakeman (of the Strawbs) as Kaye's keyboard replacement. Wakeman's flashy stage presence became a symbol of the showiness (or show-offiness) of progressive rock in the '70s. Nevertheless, two classic albums came out of this lineup: Fragile (1971) and Close to the Edge (1972). These albums featured beautiful harmonies and strong, occasionally heavy playing. These are arguably the band's best albums. Some consider Close to the Edge to be a masterpiece of progressive rock, and others consider it to be a prime example of the disasters of the genre. Either way, this album probably made the strongest impact of any of the band's early albums. Also, Fragile contained the popular hit song "Roundabout."
The band embarked on a major tour after Close to the Edge, but major change came soon as Bill Bruford left in late 1972 to join a newly reformed King Crimson. He was replaced by Alan White, whose loose and free drum style was a major contrast to the almost too-tight drumming of Bruford. White at first could not adapt to the styles of the tracks recorded with Bruford, but he eventually came into his own. The three-LP live Yessongs was released in 1973 and was a popular success. This was followed by the controversial double-LP Tales from Topographic Oceans, which was released in the first week of 1974. There were only four pieces on this album, one on each side, and the album marked a change from the carefully rehearsed style of Close to the Edge to a more open, experimental sound. Wakeman was put off by this whole experience and left to pursue a solo career. His replacement was the Swiss keyboardist Patrick Moraz [Mainhorse, Refugee], who stayed with the band long enough to record Relayer in 1974 and to tour in 1976 after the band took a year's hiatus [Moraz went on to join The Moody Blues - Ed.]. During this time, a compilation of work from the first two albums, plus a 10-minute cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "America" was released, 1975's Yesterdays. Perhaps the most curious thing about this album was Roger Dean's cover art. The front included a nude green woman (based on the original English cover of Time and a Word). The back showed two blue naked children, one of whom is urinating.
As mentioned, once the band reunited, it embarked on a major tour in 1976 before going on to produce its next album, Going for the One, in Switzerland. Interestingly, Moraz left the band before the album was begun. Rick Wakeman was hired to play on the album as a session musician, but was soon back in the band. This album showed Yes moving in new directions, affected by New Wave, but still with its own unique style. Going for the One was followed by Tormato (1978), which was critically and popularly unsuccessful. The band seemed to be pulling apart, and efforts to produce another album were unsuccessful, although demos from these sessions have recently appeared on bootleg CDs. It was at this time that Anderson and Wakeman left the band. Howe, Squire, and White continued on their own, and were soon joined by The Buggles (Geoff Downes, keyboards, and Trevor Horn, vocals), who were famous for their "Video Killed the Radio Star" (which happened to also be the first video played when MTV made its debut in August 1981). This new lineup recorded Drama (1980), which was rejected by the critics as garbage and by many fans as not being a true Yes album. The band then broke up, with Downes and Howe forming Asia, Horn going into producing, and Squire and White working together. In 1981 the compilation Classic Yes was released, featuring mostly work from the 1971-1972 period.
Squire and White then met Trevor Rabin, a South African guitarist. The three began working together on new material. Shortly thereafter, Tony Kaye came back into the picture, and later, Jon Anderson as well. In 1983 this quintet released 90125, the most popular Yes album ever, which featured the #1 hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart." A tour album and video followed: 9012Live (1985). The process of making the next album was difficult, and Big Generator wasn't released until 1987. It should be noted that this '80s period of the group is not universally appreciated by die-hard prog fans. In 1988, Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe joined forces to record and release Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. As the nineties began, ABWH were working on a new album, as were the remaining four Yes members. In 1991 all were (ostensibly) gloriously reunited for Union and a major eight-man tour. Of course, this lineup disintegrated quickly.
In 1994 a new Yes album was released, Talk. The lineup for this session returned to the configuration of 90125 (Anderson, White, Squire, Rabin, and Kaye). Most of the songs were co-written by Anderson and Rabin, with some writing assistance by Roger Hodgson, formerly of Supertramp. This album is notable mainly in that it was produced by Rabin and recorded and mixed entirely on a Macintosh computer. The release was not well-promoted, however, and the album fell into obscurity almost more rapidly than Union (despite arguably superior music).
Shortly after Talk disappeared from most people's memories, rumors, which eventually turned out to be true, began to circulate that Rabin was out (along with Kaye) and that Howe and Wakeman had rejoined the band. In March 1996 this vision of "classic Yes" reborn came to fruition with three nights of sold out concerts near Jon's home in San Luis Obispo, California. The group played rousing versions of many classic tunes, recording the concerts for the October double-disc release, Keys to Ascension. The album featured a Roger Dean cover, several exciting live versions of Yes classics, and two new pieces in an updated version of the "classic Yes" style. While the Yes of the '70s may never be reborn, this album's two new tracks, with running times of 9 and 19 minutes and multi-segmented forms, brought new hope.
The album also featured a live version of the Simon and Garfunkel tune "America" first heard in a studio version in 1972 on an Atlantic sampler and on Yes's own 1975 release Yesterdays. An edit of this live version was released as a single, and the band made a few unique media appearances in the last few months of 1996, including the Howard Stern Show, Fox After Breakfast, and a special concert at a Tower Records in Hollywood. Plans for the future included more studio time in November 1996 to lay down a few new tracks for Keys to Ascension 2 (an album that is planned to follow a similar format to the first), which is due for Spring 1997 release. -- Scott Anderson
Continuing on in time from the above article, Keys to Ascension 2 was indeed released in 1997. It contained more cuts from the same concert as the first KtA, plus several more new studio cuts. To be honest, it felt like the original KtA used the best live cuts from that concert, and these aren't as interesting. The new studio works I also don't find terribly interesting. Nice Roger Dean cover art, though.
By the time of the next release, Open Your Eyes, Rick Wakeman had once again grown tired of being in the band and left (this time forever, he claimed) to follow his own muses. To beef up the sound, guitarist Billy Sherwood was brought in as a "formal" member of Yes, though he had been working with them since the Union album behind the scenes. This was also the first Yes album to feature Igor Khoroshev on keyboards, though he only plays on three of the album's 12 cuts. I haven't heard this album, and I'm not particularly dying to either.
In 1998, they released some live material featuring the original Yes lineup recorded during 1969 and 1970. This album was called Something's Coming, and I can't comment on this one either as I haven't heard it. But (I'm about to commit a heresy here) the original Yes lineup with Tony Kaye and Peter Banks was never my favorite anyway.
The Ladder was arguably the most progressive album Yes had put out in years, though Chris Squire adamantly denies he had any intention of taking Yes back to a more progressive sound. I have heard this release, and it's actually pretty good. This is the first (and perhaps the last) studio release to feature Igor Khoroshev on keyboards as a full member of the band. The sound on this album is a bit like Fragile, but more modern to be sure. This recording was mostly done as a band playing together rather than as individual overdubs done one by one. This, says Squire, is what some are hearing as being "more progressive". I say come off it, Chris, this album just has more interesting and intricate compositions than the albums since Union have had ... that's what I'm hearing as more progressive.
This was followed by two compilations and a live album. The first compilation entitled The Best of Yes features the most famous of Yes' songs, but certainly not "The Best" from a progressive rock fan's point of view. Next was Live from the House of Blues, a 2-CD album of music recorded from a 1999 concert in Las Vegas. Finally, another compilation was released, Keystudio, which features all of the new studio material recorded for the Keys to Ascension CD's. Wake me when it's over.
2001 saw the release of another studio album, Magnification. For this one Igor Khoroshev is out ("moved on to other projects and may be associated with Yes in the future") and the band is down to the "core four": Anderson, Squire, White and Howe. I recently picked this one up for twelve bucks in a recycled CD shop. I must say, it's excellent! I'll go further and say it's the best album Yes has put out since Relayer. Well, since Union at least. There is no keyboard player (though there are a few simple synth lines sprinkled around here and there, probably played by Squire or Anderson), but there is an orchestra that more than makes up for this. The lyrics are vintage Jon Anderson, sounding somehow spiritual without ever quite coming to any particular point. There are a couple of less proggy tunes on Magnification (For radio airplay? By what sort of radio station? I can't imagine!), but mostly I would say this is an excellent progressive album. Certainly not up there with Close To The Edge, Tales From Topographic Oceans or Relayer, but let's face it, those days are gone forever. Magnification is recommendable in its own right.
Since then, Rick Wakeman has once again rejoined the band (I'm shocked) and they have done a couple of tours with this Close to the Edge line-up. There is much speculation about if and when a new album will be released, and by what Yes line-up. But nothing is certain at the moment as Alan White works with is own band, White (which has recently added Drama and Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes to their line-up), Chris Squire works with Syn and Rick Wakeman continues to do his own thing as well. Any sort of Yes album at this point will happen because some of the members want to work together again. Which could happen at any moment ... or never. -- Fred Trafton
I already own Magnification. Got the Japanese import with the extra live track ("Long Distance Runaround"). It is quite good considering the orchestra makes up for the keyboards. In my opinion a good effort. The only bad track I found was "Don't Go". Very unyeslike. But the rest are good particularly "Dreamtime", "Spirit of Survival", and "In the Presence Of". A must and the orchestra fills very well. -- Peter Rivera
Yes in 2011 - Alan White (drums), Steve Howe (guitar), Trevor Horn (producer), Chris Squire (bass), Geoff Downes (keyboards) and Benoît David (vocals)
After the above-mentioned touring (the 35th Anniversary tour, including the fourth return of Rick Wakeman) they once again went on hiatus. Jon Anderson publicly wondered if Yes had any future, partially because of the disappointing sales of Magnification, and partially because of health concerns on his own part.
In the following years, there were many partial Yes reunions of several ex-members working together on their own projects. These are too numerous to mention here in an entry about Yes. But by 2008, Yes began planning a 40th anniversary tour to be titled "Close to the Edge and Back". This tour was to have featured Rick Wakeman's son Oliver Wakeman on keys. The rumors were that they had been working together on four new "lengthy, multi-movement compositions" for the tour. However, Jon Anderson was admitted to the hospital in May 2008 suffering from a severe asthma attack. Anderson was advised to stop working for at least six months, and so this tour was canceled in June.
By November, Yes had assembled a new touring band without Jon Anderson. The tour was re-titled as "In The Present", and the band wasn't clear on the question of whether this was Yes or a new band. In some places it was billed as "Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Alan White of Yes", featuring these three along with Oliver Wakeman and singer Benoît David of Mystery and Yes tribute band Close to the Edge. Anderson, for his part, stated on his web site that he felt "disappointed" and "disrespected" (words that were later removed), despite Squire's statement that the tour had Anderson's "blessing". However, this tour, too was cut short due to a medical problem ... this time it was a problem with Squire's leg, which required emergency surgery and a month of recuperation time. In February 2009, the remaining shows, mostly in the western US, were canceled.
In the summer of 2009, the "In the Present" line-up continued their tour, this time unambiguously calling themselves Yes. By October, Squire officially confirmed in a radio interview that Oliver Wakeman and Benoît David were now officially members of the band. He also mentioned that this line-up was working on a new album. Howe later confirmed that Anderson would not be involved in this recording for the first time since Drama. The new album, called Fly From Here is scheduled for a July 12, 2011 release.
The last bit of news is very recent as of this writing ... Oliver Wakeman is out of the band and former keyboardist Geoff Downes is back in. It has been observed that, with Trevor Horn producing, co-writing, and performing some backing vocals, Yes is now back to the Drama line-up, with the addition of Benoît David. The photo at the top of this section is the new line-up. However, I'm not entirely sure whether it's Downes or Oliver Wakeman or some mixture playing keyboards on the new album. We'll find out soon. -- Fred Trafton
[See Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe |
Anderson, Jon |
Banks, Peter |
Bruford, Bill |
Harmony in Diversity |
Jon and Vangelis |
King Crimson |
Moody Blues, The |
Squire, Chris |
Strawbs, The |
Wakeman, Oliver |
Click here for "Notes from the Edge", the Yes web site
Holdfénykert (06, Original release; 08, Musea reissue)
With a band name like Yesterdays, you might guess that this band likes Yes,
and you'd be right! On their first whole album, Holdfénykert (Moonlit Garden), there's even a direct
quote of one of the Close to the Edge themes played on flute just to drive home the point, plus a "Mood for
a Day" type acoustic guitar solo which sounds enough like Steve Howe that the influence is obvious. But overall,
Yesterdays doesn't really sound all that much like Yes. Yesterdays' music
is more acoustic, with lots of flute, acoustic guitar, piano and occasional hand drums, though there is also some very
tasteful Mellotron and synthesizer plus electric guitar, bass and kit drums
(there's even a Wakemanesque synth solo on Track 7, "Just Stay"). This is a big band,
nine members in all, with three of them female. There are lots of smooth, pretty female vocals, mostly sung in Hungarian,
though there are two songs in English.
A very good band, but expect Yes stylings only at their most pastoral and mellow, none of the bombastic Yes music. OK, not quite ... Track 9, "Seven", gets pretty bombastic in a Yes sort of way, including Anderson-like vocal harmonies. But for the most part, from an intensity point of view, they're more like Camel, but with female vocals. They also remind me of Quidam sometimes, if that helps. If it doesn't, just think mellow, beautiful prog with female vocals and you're in the right ballpark. A wonderful release, well worth a listen or three and maybe more. -- Fred Trafton
I saw that the prog band Yesterdays is listed like coming from Hungary [in the previous release ... it's fixed now -Ed.]. In fact the band are from Romania and live in the city called Cluj (in the heart of Transylvania region). They are composed by Hungarian ethnics and are Romanian citizens. -- Virgil Stoenescu
Click here for Yesterdays' web site
Click here to order Holdfénykert from Musea Records
Demonstration (99, self released CDR)
Live at the Sockmonkey (00, Live, self released CDR)
Things to Come (00, re-released on vinyl 2001)
Demonstration II (02, self released CDR)
Volume Obliteration Transcendence (04)
Live DVD (04, Live, self released DVDR)
Yeti (Things to Come line-up) - Jon Teague (drums), Eric Harris (guitar),
Doug Ferguson (keyboards) and Tommy Atkins (bass)
As far as recorded material from Yeti, I've only heard the two cuts they [used to] have posted on MP3.com, but these don't begin to give you any idea of the power of Yeti live. These guys have one of the most heavy, oppressive sounds in the prog arena today, the only band I can even remotely compare them to being Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, though Yeti is more punky and less arty. Yeti was among the bands playing at Cattle Prog in 2002, and this was my first real exposure to them in spite of the fact that they live and gig in my general neighborhood (the Dallas/Ft. Worth area). They also played at ProgDay 2001.
With the 1922 black-and-white silent film Häxan as a backdrop, depicting scenes of torture and interrogation of witches during the dark ages, Yeti poured forth some of the darkest, most tortured prog I've ever heard. I might say they've invented "progressive punk" here, but the sound is both more surreal and more nasty than any punk I've ever heard before. With synth sounds alternating between eardrum shredding and gargling with vomit, drumming ranging from slow/evolving to complex/polyrhythmic to pure thrash, bass lines that thunder, drone or interlock the drums like gears, and guitar wailing as if it's in agony, their set was a pretty good interpretetation of having your liver slowly ripped from your body with meat hooks. Actually, this made the somewhat dated Häxan scenes much more chilling than they would be with the jazz score that comes with the DVD (the folks who re-released Häxan on DVD should really get Yeti to do a score for them).
Doug Ferguson, who was Yeti's keyboardist for the Things to Come album, passed away on February 23, 2002 (Ferguson also played keyboards in Ohm). Yeti has been forced to re-invent themselves as a three-piece, splitting keyboard duties between Teague and Harris. I must say I can't think of another time I've seen a drummer playing drums with one hand and keyboards with the other, but Teague seemed to pull this off effortlessly.
Yeti calls their style "Doom in Opposition", which is a pretty fair description. I've also heard them called "neo-Zeuhl", which is also not a bad description, given the heavy bass and drum backbone of their stuff. If you want to hear something that will require therapy for the next year to get over, Yeti will fill the bill nicely. From now on, I'll be more reluctant to use the word "dark" when describing anyone else's music. This may be the darkest music I've ever heard. An audience member at Cattle Prog was overheard to say, "These guys make Ozzy Osbourne sound like Hanson". Not recommended for the faint of heart! -- Fred Trafton
Sacred Baboon (76)
Yezda Urfa 1975 - Mark Tippins, Rick Rodenbaugh, Marc Miller, Brad Christoff and
Mostly Gentle Giant and Yes influences, as I recall. They were pretty decent instrumentally, but the lyrics are bombastic garbage, and the vocalist, while sporting a very impressive, Jon Anderson-ish range, has an annoying tendency to sing out of tune. Had they been well produced, they might've made some good records. As it is, I'd say they were only fair. (Less than amazing singers have killed quite a few bands, eh?) I preferred Babylon.
|Musically, the closest parallel is with Gentle Giant, in terms of the harmonies, and complex time-signatures and structures of the compositions, with additional bite. Judging by the "stream of consciousness" lyrics, it seems as if Yezda Urfa use vocals as an additional instrument. For example, "kickback with a plastic brickbat one fine day went to heal undue redress brown or black mess no charge for porcelain meal" (!) Someone (made anonymous for the purposes of this survey) remarked that this was like "Gentle Giant on overdrive," and that aptly sums it up.|
|Yezda Urfa is evidence of the excellent progressive music produced in the United States in the seventies, and also evidence of the neglect of the genre by major labels once the disco and punk waves hit. Boris was independently released and distributed by the band, and the followup album sat in the vaults for well over a decade until rescued by Syn-Phonic in '89. Their sound is a brilliant and intelligent blend of high energy complex rock with lots of changes, witty lyrics, great vocal harmonies, and sense of purpose. Justifiable comparisons might be made with Yes (although Yezda Urfa has a less lofty approach) or Gentle Giant (but Yezda Urfa puts the Gentle Giant style into overdrive), even some of Frank Zappa's more accessible moments. In general, their playing is much harder than these other bands, they don't let up for a minute. Baboon was recently re-released on CD, and boris is scheduled.|
|My original description of Yezda Urfa, after hearing their track on the Past, Present, Future compilation was, "Yes develops a sense of humor, drops acid, and tries to sound like Gentle Giant." Naturally, I was looking forward to hearing an entire album by the band. Sacred Baboon was recently re-issued by Syn-Phonic, and is pretty much what I expected: an elaborate, chaotic, whimsical tour de force of the mid-seventies sympho style. Their compositions match the complexity level of 72-73 Gentle Giant, and use that band's knack for two and three part vocal harmony. However, the sound of the individual instruments reminds me of Yes, especially the lead vocals and rhythm section. With song titles like "Give 'em Some Rawhide Chewies," "Flow Guides Aren't My Bag," and "(My Doc Told Me I Had) Doggie Head," Yezda Urfa shows that they don't necessarily take themselves too seriously. The lyrics are stream of conciousness nonsense rattled off at high speed. Maybe they actually mean something, but only the band-members would know. Reading the liner notes can be impressive, confusing and hysterical all at the same time. If you like music that changes styles and time sigs often and checking out Yezda Urfa should be on your list of things to do. While not as powerful as Syn-Phonic's earlier release of Mirthrandir's For You the Old Women, Sacred Baboon ranks number two of all the CDs put out by this up and coming label. The only disappointment I can muster is that this release doesn't contain the chaos and utter complexity of the Yezda Urfa track on Past, Present, Future.|
|Combine equal parts Gentle Giant and Yes. Add major portions of humor. That sums up Sacred Baboon by Yezda Urfa. A great album, full of inventive instrumentation and interplay played by five guys who don't take it too seriously. Song titles like "(My Doc Told Me I Had) Doggie Head" and "Give 'em Some Rawhide Chewies" indicated the humorous slant evident throughout the music. But there's nothing humorous about the music. These guys can play with the best of the classic progressive bands including fantastic Gentle Giant-like interplay with instruments and vocals. The lead singer is reminiscent of Jon Anderson and there is a general Yes-like quality to many of the songs. Mixing the styles of these two well-known bands provides a fresh musical outlook on these musical paradigms. One of the best bands from mid-'70s USA and well worth a listen.|
|The music a band or record producer chooses as the opening track on an album sometimes baffles me. Given the choice, I would select the strongest piece to hook the listener in to listening to the whole album. It shouldn't be the weakest example, otherwise you run the risk of the listener punching the eject button without hearing the rest of the disk. Such is the case with Yezda Urfa's reissued second album Sacred Baboon. If you only heard the opening song "Give 'em Some Rawhide Chewies," you would dismiss them as just another Styx or Kansas clone not worthy of further attention. HOW WRONG YOU WOULD BE! My advice is to buy this CD, program your player to always skip track one, and then sit back and enjoy some great progressive music combining elements of Gentle Giant, Gryphon, and King Crimson with a unique US perspective. Yezda Urfa was an obscure US progressive band hailing from Illinois in the mid 70s. They played a wide variety of instruments: Brad Christoff (drums, percussion, metalophone, glockenspiel, and cough), Rick Rodenbaugh (lead vocals, air guitar, and cough), Mark Tippins (guitars, backing vocals, and cough), Marc Miller (bass, marimba, cello, vibraphone, backing vocals, and cough), and Phil Kimbrough (keyboards, recorders, flute, accordion, mandolin, backing vocals, and cough). Their interwoven poly-rhythmic vocals and melodies created a musical Persian carpet. Caught in this musical warp and woof are beautiful interludes like the acoustic guitar - cello duet on 3, almost 4, 6, Yea. Their fantasy lyrics, off-the-wall titles (e.g., "Cancer of the Band," and "To-Ta in the Moya"), and inventive instrumentation makes Sacred Baboon a must-buy CD.|
|Links||Click here for the Yezda Urfa web site|
Pao (78), Neo-n (79)
Seminal Japanese prog/psych.
Timecode (82), Electric Day (??), Wonders From The Genetic Factory (8?)
Electronic music. -- Mike Ohman
You and I (95)
|In concert, they cover Yes (surprised?), Enya, Frank Zappa and traditional Hungarian folk songs. The [first] album shows clear influences of Yes, classical music, modern poetry and ancient metaphysics. Some songs not Prog.|
Click here for the You And I
Volume 2 (69)
Quiet Days In Clichy (69)
|Instrumental experimental music. -- Mike Ohman|
|Young Flowers is from Denmark (not from Belgium [as previously reported in the GEPR -Ed.]) and surely their music is not instrumental. One of the track from Blomsterpistolen titled "25 Ore" is comparable (almost the same) as Canned Heat. On Volume 2 one track is recorded from free jam with Burnin' Red Ivanhoe (I've got both CDs). -- Ryszard Ryzlak|
|Links||[See Burnin' Red Ivanhoe]|
Life Underground ... The Demos (99)
Scientific Breakthrough (99)
Political Agenda (99)
N.C.V. (No Commercial Value)(99)
Dot.Com Explosion (00, as Chris Richardson)
Ethereal Energy (01, remixed version of N.C.V.)
A Young Persons Guide ... (02, Compilation)
John Young has served as keyboardist and backup or lead vocalist for a number of bands, both progressive and not. His progressive and related credits include a stint with Asia, with John Wetton's solo band and also Quango with Wetton and Carl Palmer. Most recently, he is the second keyboardist in the new Greenslade line-up, having performed on Large Afternoon and touring with them (you can hear him on the new Greenslade Live 2001 CD in either of its two forms). He also plays with the Scorpions and Bonnie Tyler, and creates his own solo stuff. In other words, he's one busy guy.
This entry is to talk about two of his solo efforts, Life Underground ... the Demos and N.C.V. (No Commercial Value). These both seem to be self-released CDR's of music composed and performed by John in his home studio.
Even John calls Life Underground "Soft semi progressive songs that can trigger an emotional response!", so it shouldn't come as a surprise if I say I don't think this is a particularly progressive release. It does contain some fine music, though of "demo quality" (meaning it's all overdubbed keyboards and drum machines, with John singing). These could be demos for songs by Toto or Steely Dan; in other words, "Adult Pop" in styling. Other musicians currently playing in this genre would be Sting, Peter Gabriel and Dave Stewart in their later years. There are songs here that remind me of all of these guys, particularly with vocals that remind me of Sting or Gabriel. Nice music if you like this kind of stuff. I do (in small doses).
N.C.V. (No Commercial Value) is quite different, though I would still call it "Adult Pop" in general. Young thanks Moraz, Vangelis and Sakamoto (Ryuichi, I assume) for inspiration on this album. I don't know Sakamoto, and I really don't hear much Moraz in this CD, though I haven't heard his most recent stuff. However, the sound on this album does sound remarkably like Vangelis in that sweeping, epic spacey-orchestra sort of way. Some of these tracks might be played in the midst of Blade Runner and you wouldn't notice that they had switched composers. Since I like this style, I enjoyed this album, but once again this isn't particularly challenging if that's what you want. "Relaxing" is more like the word for this album. Which, according to Young, is what he was trying for. He succeeded.
So two thumbs-up ... if you're the right audience here. Univers Zero or Thinking Plague fans will probably be put to sleep. Oh, yeah, one more thing ... if you liked '70's Greenslade, Young was a perfect choice to replace that other John (Lawson) as second keyboardist/vocalist for the reunion. Actually, I like Young's vocal style better than Lawson's. -- Fred Trafton
[See Asia |
Click here for John Young's web site
Song of the Siren (96)
Marked for Madness (01)
Original Entry 5/26/05:
I have heard Marked for Madness and Leonardo. Michelle Young's style is from the Kate Bush school of female vocals, with lots of breathy yodeling from low to high registers and other stylings that sound Bushy. The music is neither terribly complex nor heavy, but is quite accessable. As you might guess, this album is also very vocal-centric. Her backing band is the Clive Nolan circle, including Nolan on keyboards, Peter Gee (Pendragon) on bass and features guitar by both Stan Whitaker (Happy The Man) and Karl Groom (Shadowland). The recording quality on Marked for Madness is excellent, thanks to Clive Nolan's production skills and Karl Groom's mixing. This type of music isn't the first thing that crosses my mind when I try to define "progressive", but it is as progressive as Kate Bush, and occasionally wanders even further out into experimental territory. Marked for Madness is a good album for those times when prog-metal or RIO seems like too much work, but you're not feeling quite mainstream enough for Tori Amos or Alanis Morrisette. Just don't expect anything too startling. -- Fred Trafton
[See Arena |
Nolan, Clive |
Glass Hammer |
Happy The Man |
Strangers on a Train |
Walsh, Steve ]
Click here for Michelle Young's web site
Live Sciences (80)
Labirinto d'acqua (06)
Uova Fatali (08, as Yugen plays Leddi)
No real "band photo" for this changeable line-up, so here's a photo of the Iridule album cover instead
Yugen isn't really a band as such. It's more of a "project" name, by which I mean the founders Francesco Zago (formerly of The Night Watch, which is not the same band as The Watch in spite of the fact that the GEPR and most other sources convolve the two) and Marcello Marinone use a different line-up of musicians on each of their albums. If you think that Zago's involvement means this will sound like Genesis just because The Night Watch did, you will be in for a surprise. Because Yugen is RIO and sounds not even a little bit like Genesis.
I haven't heard Yugen's first two albums, but I have heard their third and latest, Iridule. It's really hard to talk with your jaw scraping the ground, so it's a good thing I can type my opinion instead. WOW!. Is this an incredible album! I think that Thinking Plague has just been unseated as my favorite modern RIO band. Well, maybe not ... pretty much the entire band plays on this album, including Dave Kerman (Drums), Mike Johnson (Guitars), Elaine Di Falco (Voices) and Dave Wiley (Electric Bass). Also, Guy Segers (ex-Univers Zero) lends a hand, along with several other incredible musicians. You really couldn't ask for a more star-studded line-up for this sort of music.
The Altrock write-up that characterizes Iridule as a mixture of Henry Cow, King Crimson and Frank Zappa is actually dead-on, and I was really going to use those same reference bands even before I read their blurb. "Difficult" music, to be sure, yet also infused with enough accessible elements that I was able to grab ahold and hang on for the ride on the first listen. I only seem to have time to review the best albums these days, so don't be surprised if I say one more time, "One of the top albums for 2010". But the first in the RIO category. -- Fred Trafton
|Links||[See Ciccada | Thinking Plague | Univers Zero | The Watch]|