Tales from Topographic Oceans – Yes

In the teenage world of haversack art, the kid who gets his dad to do it is King.
Haversack art was a big thing at our school, mainly the metal kids and punks. I had the lettering from the Stranglers Meninblack album on my sack (sorry, I couldn’t resist), one kid had the Polish Solidarity symbol on his haversack (what was that kid on). Most of the metal kids had very good painted flaps (sorry again), one of the best was a kid who had this Yes sleeve on his sack flap (sorry, that was the last one) it was brilliantly detailed and even from quite close up looked like the actual cover. Years later I found out his art teacher father did it for him.
This album was a real challenge as I think I only liked it for about a week back in 1986. But it actually sounds good, sonically it is fantastic and I imagine the remastered CD would sound good, I listened to it on my ipod. If you accept the milieu in which it was conceived and what they were trying to do (bring the compositional grandeur of classical music to bear on rock music) then as an experiment in rock music it is an interesting record, could have been a bit shorter though.
Side one, of the vinyl (The Revealing Science of God), stands out and sounds almost conventional. but my favourite is side 4, Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil). As this album is quite long, I had to listen to some of it while doing other things, washing up, tidying the garden and watching cartoons with my daughter. Adventure Time (strange American animation for kids) worked well as background images for the album, especially Ritual.
And so it came to pass that this album, more than any other album released in the 1970s, gave birth to Punk. I imagine Malcolm McLaren gave the Sex Pistols this album and said, ‘You see this, just do the opposite of it’.
Three word review; Hymns for hippies

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4 thoughts on “Tales from Topographic Oceans – Yes

  1. The most cruelly satirised band in all of prog. Amazing musicians and clever music. Disgustingly intelligent. The Hadron Collider of rock.

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