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YEStalk Discussion Forums • View topic - Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Tales... would it have been better as a single album?



Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby tardistraveler » Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:57 pm

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Kalingzeye » Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:33 pm

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby ksdb » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:50 am

I saw this topic discussed elsewhere so I decided to try editing the double album down to the conventional album length of 40 minutes of the time period in which it was recorded. Tried to make the edits transparent, but some of these were tough and will sound a little jarring in some parts. Here's a link to the download (ignore the spammy stuff at the site, the password will get you to a download page where you have to wait 45 seconds to download). In the spirit of editing the music, I edited (or renamed) the song titles and then created two 'bonus' tracks that are what a record company might release as a single (think 'Thick As a Brick' by Jethro Tull) by creating an 'excerpt'.

Yes - Truncated Tales of Topo Oceans


1 - Reader's Digest of God - 9:23
2 - 'memberin' - 10:09
3 - Ancient - 8:33
4 - The Rit - 11:08
5 - Bonus Track - We Love When We Play (from Ritual) - 3:01
6 - Bonus Track - A Million Voices Singing (from The Ancient) - 2:25
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby tardistraveler » Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:46 pm

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby ksdb » Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:12 pm

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby sound_chaser » Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:16 am

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby NumberNine » Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:19 pm

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Terry Shea » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:43 pm

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Terry Shea » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:58 pm

My personal myspace page:

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Greenglade's Frog » Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:25 pm

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby beelzeboob » Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:25 pm

I read some interviews with Eddie Offord, Yes' producer, who said that
Topographic Oceans "broke his spirit." The huge success of CTTE emboldened Anderson and Howe; as Offord recalled, "no one could tell them what to do." Wakeman grew restless, and apparently Squire came very close to quitting the band. Alan White was new, so he went along for the ride. Incredibly, when the lads hit a snag during the recording process, Howe and Anderson would convene in a room while the others stood around and waited for directions. Not a good way to record their follow-up to CTTE.
Still, I think Topographic Oceans is very good. Cutting it would be foolish; it stands up well on its own. Judging from some live, later versions of Ritual that I've heard (as recently as 2004), there is a lot of room to maneuver, musically speaking. The sheer scope of the thing is really something; as a musician, I'm inspired by Anderson's audacious vision, and his drive to get it done. I'm going to put the re-mastered version on a DVD (as an audio DVD), so all the tracks are in one place, in order.
Its a bit pointless to wonder if the recording would have been better as a single album. Anderson's original vision was four interlocking pieces, and that's what we have in the four-sided album. I don't doubt that that's how he initially figured it--each song on one side of an LP, given the technology of the day. The recording sounds fine to me (Phone booth? Try listening to the song Going for the One--what happened to the drums there?). Topographic Oceans is one of their great efforts from their most creative period (the middle period, perhaps?), which started with Fragile and ended with Relayer.
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby thehallway » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:34 pm

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby the greenman » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:05 pm

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby TaterMouse » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:27 pm

"So back it up to a biscuit there Eric!!"
~N2Yes
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Chris2210 » Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:41 pm

Having listened to this album again recently it's reconfirmed as one of my favourites, if not the absolute favourite Yes album. For me this kicked off their 'golden phase' which includes this album and the two which followed.

I think in places it does have a slightly underrehearsed feel and can sound a little rough. But the material is all there. It preconfigures the wildness and experiments with dissonance which characterise Relayer [particularly The Ancient] and there are also passages in The Remembering that remind me very much of the structure and dynamic progressions in Awaken. If the latter two of this trilogy of albums are more polished, there's at least as much adventurousness in Tales as its successors.

I also think those often derided contemplative passages, both in terms of dynamic counterpoint and melodic invention are generally much more successful than the longueur in Awaken, which personally although it makes sense from a structural point of view, is not very interesting until Howe comes in toward the end. I can't think of any similar passage in Tales where I'm actually wishing they would 'just get on with it'. I'd not cut a bar. I could wish they would work on polishing and rerecording the whole thing, but that ain't gonna happen either, alas.
I used to be agnostic. These days I'm not so sure.
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby fragilesi » Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:22 pm

I've often wondered this but sides 1-3 I absolutely love and wouldn't change a minute of them.

The Ancient I have always admired but I don't actually like a lot of it.

But this album I wouldn't change. It was a defining moment to me in musical history.
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby thehallway » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:32 pm

I used snippets of this album in a recent school project. The looks on my classmates faces... [:f2] [:f3] [:f1]
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby guilddigger » Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:43 am

"heaven is all around translated to sound" - michael hedges
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby tardistraveler » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:20 pm

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby yesguitarman » Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:25 pm

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby Conall » Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:47 am

Fun to read everyone's thoughts. I fondly remember listening to this album over and over again at age 14 or 15 (1975), lying on a bed in a dark room, attempting to have an "out of body" experience. That never happened (ridiculous), but it was a perfect place to really dig into this great, adventurous album! I do love it, but I also believe that the masters could have perhaps tightened it up a bit. How so? I have no idea. I write for a living and I am familiar with the "get the ideas on the page" phase, which is followed by the refining phase. It does feel like they could have spent some more time refining--as they obviously did on Relayer.

I saw them perform RSOG five or so years ago, and I was so excited and loved every second. But I was amazed to see lots of people get up and leave during the piece--to get a beer or whatever. Seems that you either love it or hate it.

I believe Jon was interested in Stravinsky. Ever heard "Rite of Spring"? Now there's an adventurous piece of music. I'm guessing that Jon and Steve were somehow inspired along those lines on certain parts. What the heck? What a creative time that was!
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby thehallway » Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:21 pm

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby thehallway » Sat Nov 14, 2009 7:05 pm

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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby topographic_drama1980 » Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:09 pm

It is definitely very powerful to me. I've been listening to this album very frequently lately. For me, this is the culmination of the best of everyone's talents, all in this one album and I can't help but stare at the cover while listening to it. The same happens when I listen to 'The Gates Of Delirium,' I just have to look at the Relayer cover.

This album and Close To The Edge, both of them, one word: PERFECT!
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby tardistraveler » Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:51 pm

Yep, Tales and CTTE are MY two faves . . . ;)
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby thehallway » Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:17 pm

Don't forget Relayer!

Those three albums are like the holy trinity to me :D
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

Postby tardistraveler » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:52 pm

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