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

Chris2210 wrote:Sorry, I'm going to do the Bruckner comparison again. It's a decent analogy because in comparison with most Yes music it is heavily concerned with contemplation of the Divine. The symphonies are also very lengthy works. But the key thing here is that he was constantly advised by 'well wishers' to revise them, generally to make them leaner, more concise and less meandering.

It leaves musicologists with the problem that there are at least two versions for most of the symphonies (principally the Haas and Nowak editions). So did Bruckner bow to pressure from those who urged him to make cuts? Most of his revisions were longer than the originals. There are very long, meandering, ruminative passages, but the crescendos are all the more shattering for that.

I suppose you could cut the first seven or eight minutes of the Bolero (after all it's only the same theme repeated over and over) or with the 1812 overture just cut to the chase and have the orchestral (and literal) fireworks with the cannon from the end.

They'd be different (and lesser) pieces of music. And so would Tales.


Excellent comment! And I couldn't agree more!

Don't change a single note of Tales. It is what it is, and to alter it is to diminish it.
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

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

I've always kinda thought of it as a single album, anyway... :p
I know there's different tracks, but it's pretty much a single, distinct entity.
I'm glad they didn't divi it up any further, though~
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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
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=S7U89R8Z

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

ksdb wrote: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
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=S7U89R8Z

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



Reader's Digest of God! LOL :jestera:

OMG - I'm still laughing here!

This is hysterical!

And thanks for doing this - I think it shows what would have happened back in the day if they had NOT released a double album . . . you just couldn't cram very much on a side of vinyl. Todd Rundgren pushed the limit with his "Initiation" album, which had almost 30 minutes per side, with a disclaimer that the grooves were VERY close together, and it would be really easy to damage the record!
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

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

tardistraveler wrote:Reader's Digest of God! LOL :jestera:

OMG - I'm still laughing here!

This is hysterical!

And thanks for doing this - I think it shows what would have happened back in the day if they had NOT released a double album . . . you just couldn't cram very much on a side of vinyl. Todd Rundgren pushed the limit with his "Initiation" album, which had almost 30 minutes per side, with a disclaimer that the grooves were VERY close together, and it would be really easy to damage the record!


Thanks for the note. Vinyl is definitely limited by its physical characteristics for sound reproduction. Some of the better sounding vinyl recordings are 12" 45 rpm EPs. You don't see many of those, but they definitely maximized the potential sound quality.

Was curious if you've listened to this edited version of TFTO yet?? Some parts flow better than others and am curious to see how well it works for someone else beside me.

Also, with a CD allowing 80 minutes of recording time, one could put more of the original TFTO on one CD, but without this much editing. Everyone has different thoughts about what they might cut to make it fit, so I welcome any comments. I might try that as an alternate project sometime.
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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

Too often, this album is an uninspired mess, with the band seemingly not knowing where to go next. I think Jon’s vocal on The Remembering is just awful and sounds more like a guide vocal than a finished take. Saying that, there is still greatness about this album and that’s mainly to be found in the original album sides 1 & 4. The Ancient has some very interesting, out-there ideas going on, but the song tacked on at the end, is just there to make up time and spoils everything that went before. I’m afraid the playing sounds stodgy at times: under-rehearsed, almost. I think Ritual is probably the only one of the four songs that stands comparison with Close To The Edge and Gates Of Delirium. I would like to get the Rhino remaster, but there is a saying that you can’t polish a turd. The album, as a whole, does not live up the wonderful promise of its magnificent cover. In answer to the question, it would have been better as a double album, if they could have done it properly: having a farmyard scene and a toilet built in the studio were pretty dumb ideas in my opinion and could only have detracted from the creative process. 6/10 from me
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

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

although rick claimed haven't enough work to do on tales, when i listen to topographic oceans i have a feeling that this belongs to his strongest keyboard works. the mellotron passages and the ever present tunes in the backround of "revealing" are not just keyboard carpets. it just fits and is part of the composion. When he gets straigth along with the band - as in the beginning of the song - are just magic moments. the piano passages are great. The guitar-work and the base-work all over this song is fabulous. Steve is everywhere- around above and behind. not a single tune is wasted to me.

the remembering is just great. the strongest keys i have ever heard in a yessong at the end of the song. it begins so silent and in the end its just like a sunset and a sunrise at the same time. this song needs the time it takes.

well ritual is a classic. the percussion section i do not like. these are a some tunes they could have left out. But it works out great live! the closing section - excpecialy steves guitar work - belongs to the finest yes-moments i know.

the other song offers great guitar work of steve with a strange vocal line. i do not see it as a "minute-maker". its just guitar work. the accoustic section is great!

i love the album and its worth every single tune!

I do not agree with sound chaser. close to the edge is quite straight. thats true. but songs as the revealing science offer a deapht in instrumental work close to the edge just can't. i like the section of close to the edge just before the organ. excepecialy the backround guitar sounds. they are very trippy.
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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

Ash wrote:Hi all,
Amy, I completely agree about the Revealing intro, it's gorgeous.

I believe the band discussed performing an edited version of it in 1998, but Steve was adamant it was all of it or none of it. Good for him! I like the tingly bells they used at the beginning to count in so they all started at the same time.....

I've listened to Tales a bit over the holiday, and a couple of things occured to me:
If Rick was so unhappy with the progress of the album and felt some of it was padded and repetitive, why didn't he, as a member of the group, do something about rectifying that, as he saw it?
If he was so unhappy, and distracted by other things and couldn't be bothered, then are not the failings of the album, as he sees them (but I don't!), partly his responsibility?
Or perhaps his creative imput overall has been over-stated on occasion? I'm of the opinion that his role and his contribution on Tales is pretty lacklustre anyway, and could perfectly well have been fulfilled by any other competent keyboardist.

And here's the real controversial bit: 'Leaves of Green' doesn't fit! It doesn't belong on the album. It's a separate song that has little or not connection thematically or musically with any of the music which either precedes of follows it. Without it, The Ancient would have been the in-yer-face-out-there-avant-garde-tour-de-force it should be; with it, it's a cop-out!

Don't mistake me, I think it's a lovely song, very Blakean lyrically with some of Steve's finest guitar work, it just doesn't chime well with all the rest for me.

Other than that, Tales is an absolute gem, the like of which we will never hear again.

A happy and peaceful New Year to you all.

Ash


Wow. I couldn't disagree more. Leaves of Green makes a very nice counterpoint to the rest of the song, much like the slow middle section of Roundabout and the slow section at the end of Homeworld.

As for Rick, I think his hands were pretty well tied at the time. He was very busy with his own solo career, and his record label, A&M Records, wouldn't allow him to do any writing for Yes, or at least take any real credit for his contributions. Yes already had their established songwriters when Rick joined the band so basically, I think he was told to just fill in the keyboard parts for songs that were pretty much complete otherwise. It's not that Rick isn't a good writer, but his style of writing is quite different from Yes, so I don't think he had the time nor the desire to write much original material for Yes, and I don't believe he had his record company's blessing nor necessarily the blessing of the rest of the band to do so.
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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

sound_chaser wrote:Too often, this album is an uninspired mess, with the band seemingly not knowing where to go next. I think Jon’s vocal on The Remembering is just awful and sounds more like a guide vocal than a finished take. Saying that, there is still greatness about this album and that’s mainly to be found in the original album sides 1 & 4. The Ancient has some very interesting, out-there ideas going on, but the song tacked on at the end, is just there to make up time and spoils everything that went before. I’m afraid the playing sounds stodgy at times: under-rehearsed, almost. I think Ritual is probably the only one of the four songs that stands comparison with Close To The Edge and Gates Of Delirium. I would like to get the Rhino remaster, but there is a saying that you can’t polish a turd. The album, as a whole, does not live up the wonderful promise of its magnificent cover. In answer to the question, it would have been better as a double album, if they could have done it properly: having a farmyard scene and a toilet built in the studio were pretty dumb ideas in my opinion and could only have detracted from the creative process. 6/10 from me


Again I have to disagree completely (almost). Leaves of Green is not simply "tacked on" but fits in beautifully and makes a great contrast to the rest of the song.

I don't think the playing sounds "stodgy" at all. In fact I think the musicianship is fantastic throughout the album.

I will agree that the vocal line at the beginning of The Remembering isn't the greatest, but I don't think it's awful, I just think the first several minutes of that song are pretty boring but it's not like Jon is singing badly. It kicks in nicely toward the end.

I would hardly call Tales a turd, and if you haven't heard the remaster you probably shouldn't be judging it. The sound clarity on the remaster is absolutely fantastic, well worth the price of purchasing another copy.
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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

Only a Buddhist reincarnated could understand this album, Tantrically, Iguess and with patience.
It ain't for the Top 40 crowd or those addicted to hooks.
Hey, it is for intellectuals, and when I first heard it at 15 or so, I guess I already was growin' into my past life as a monk....
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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

I must agree with Eddie Offord, though his view is bound to be slightly biased. If any parts of the album were to be considered filler, I would say it would have to be The Remembering, mainly because it's the only one that is boring in places. However, the acoustic parts are very enjoyable. If I had to order these songs from best to worst I would say Ritual/Ancient/RSOG/Remembering.

The drum section in ritual would make a nice single!
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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

thehallway wrote:I must agree with Eddie Offord, though his view is bound to be slightly biased. If any parts of the album were to be considered filler, I would say it would have to be The Remembering, mainly because it's the only one that is boring in places. However, the acoustic parts are very enjoyable. If I had to order these songs from best to worst I would say Ritual/Ancient/RSOG/Remembering.

The drum section in ritual would make a nice single!


man-oh-man... here we go again... !! you have to be in a totally different place to review this album.. you have to kind of think of it as a 'classical' piece rather than any kind of run-of-the-mill 'rock' album. & I for one admire it's audaciousness for that & applaud the band for trying this format.

that the audience at the time didnt necessarily 'get it', doesnt make it any the less great. It took me time to fully appreciate the intracies of this album - it's deep! Yes, it does have 'noodly' phrases, but the noodling helps to expand & set the mood for the central themes, imho.

It's an album for meditating to, for lying in the bath & just letting go, to.. The Remembering is one of the finer pieces, IMHO, with some beautiful work by Howe on it (see debate elsewhere on this theme!)

If you dont get it now, then just put it away for a while & one day you will be ready for it & it for you & you'll say 'oh i see what those old gits *were on about!' :D :D :D

*I mean Me & other fans - not the band! let's be clear!!
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

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

I'm sorry I have nothing magical to contribute here. For some reason I'm just blank. What I would like to say is that I have enjoyed reading this thread to the max. It's really been interesting and fun!
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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.
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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

No.
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

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

The Remembering gets maligned a lot, but I LOVE the lush keyboard passages in it, and the lyrics are pensive and beautiful, IMO.

It does what it seeks to - takes the listener back in time to ponder all that has come before, and who we are today because of it.

I suppose Tales isn't for everyone, but I'm SO glad it exists - I loved it at first listen, and there are times when I just have to let it take me where it wants to, and marvel . . .
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

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

Don't cut a note, Tales is some of YES' and Howe's best work. The Ancient and The Remembering are awesome pieces of work. Try to play them yourself and you'll appreciate the muscianship. And, there's not a godly way a single note of Revealing Science of God could be cut. That piece is right up there with CTTE, Gates of Delirium and Awaken!
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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

The Rite of Spring is the pinnacle of Stravinsky's almost "progressive-classical" career. Yet just like Tales, some people hated it (to the extent that people would start riots in the auditorium...). You can clearly see the influences on Jon's compositional style when you hear it.
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Re: Tales... would it have been better as a single album?

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

Conall wrote: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'm also slightly ashamed to admit that currently at that age, I too spend some nights listening to those 20 minute suites, waiting for some sort of 'Enlightenment'. :o Still, it proves how powerful the music is to us.
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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

thehallway wrote:I'm also slightly ashamed to admit that currently at that age, I too spend some nights listening to those 20 minute suites, waiting for some sort of 'Enlightenment'. :o Still, it proves how powerful the music is to us.



Heck, I STILL listen . . . and drift along with it . . .

I don't know that you get "enlightened" . . . but in retrospect, after listening to this stuff for almost 40 years now, I can't help but feel that it has enriched my current state of consciousness, and I've grown from it's presence in my life . . .

So . . . keep it up, and enjoy! :)
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