ABWH vs Magnification

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TaterMouse
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ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112502Post TaterMouse
Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:08 pm

It's the Yes version of celebrity deathmatch. No not really. But several of us got off track on the “That, That Is” conversation, so do your comparison here.

ABWH vs. Magnification.

Open minded friendly debate is what we’re looking for. Let’s play nice. Justify your answers. It might not be a bad idea to keep in mind that Magnification was released in 2001 and ABWH in 1989. I’m sure what was going on at the time in the industry impacted the music. (i.e. Bill Bruford’s love for Simmons pads and subsequent abandonment of them.)
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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112510Post the greenman
Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:07 pm

Good area for debate, & you're right to remind us of the time difference between the two. Maybe it should be ABWH vs Talk, which were more contemporary. But let's not get into a Yeswest debate. Personally I feel all eras of Yes have their good points & appeal to me at different times.

Personally I feel ABWH has more highpoints that Magnification.

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112513Post sound_chaser
Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:24 am

As a complete album, Magnification is the hands down winner for me. But ABWH has some brilliant individual songs (even if they are blighted by some dated drum & synth sounds.) and in Order of The Universe, one of the all time great Yes songs. Mind you, ABWH does have the truly awful Teakboit, which I find un-listenable and which I always skip when I play the album. I'll have a listen to both tomorrow...with one notable exception!

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112514Post Chris2210
Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:13 am

sound_chaser wrote:As a complete album, Magnification is the hands down winner for me. But ABWH has some brilliant individual songs (even if they are blighted by some dated drum & synth sounds.)
That generally echoes my own feelings.
Mind you, ABWH does have the truly awful Teakboit, which I find un-listenable and which I always skip when I play the album. I'll have a listen to both tomorrow...with one notable exception!
I don't actually mind Teakbois - I infinitely prefer it to Lightning Strikes, which is in a similar sort of vein.

I too will have to spin ABWH again soon - it's ages since I've given it a good outing.
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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112515Post Relayer
Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:44 am

ABWH-The timeline thing does come into play I guess ,but for me , this was a breath of fresh air, where as I've never been a fan of Magnification, with the exceptio of In The Presence Of.

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112519Post yesireebob
Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:17 am

Definitely Magnification for me, it's solid throughout while AWBH has the regrettable Teakbois. I skip it too. (On the other hand, I love Lightning Strikes. Go figure.) The only thing that could have improved Magnification would have been Rick's involvement. Nothing against Tom Brislin, but there is no one like Rick on a keyboard. Further, orchestral arrangement is Rick's thing and he could have really added something to that as well. But AWBH has some unforgettable songs, like Order of the Universe and Brother of Mine. I love Bruford, drum pads and all. I, too, need to dust off AWHB for another spin or two. Maybe I'll listen to it on the way to the office tomorrow...

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112525Post Roan's Lady
Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:36 am

Magnification was a tremendous disappointment for me. Somewhere I read that Yes was attempting to reach back and use a "70s formula" with this album, but you certainly can never go back again. There was nothing progressive and adventurous going on here, with its mostly-insipid, saccharine lyrics and predictable, uninspired melodies. "Soft as a Dove" ranks among the most cringe-inducing compositions I've heard from Yes, and I can't for the life of me see the appeal of the fan-adored "Give Love Each Day." In as much regard as I hold Jon, his lyrical influence on this album should really have been dialed back. "In the Presence Of" is the best thing about this album; its saving grace, and imo, the best thing Yes had done since any material on Drama.

ABWH is mostly a proficient piece of musical work, and on par with much of the musical sensibilities of the late '80s, while certainly doing a fine job of distinguishing itself from the mainstream. Bruford's percussion of choice did not detract for me at all. Some lovely melodic passages and solidly-executed playing. I listen to this now and again and still find it as enjoyable as ever.
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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112538Post TaterMouse
Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:30 pm

I am positively eating this up. Thank you so much for responding! Great stuff.

As for my own two cents, remember that I went through jr high and high school in the 80s. I had all the albums, but I couldn't remember the last time these four were together. I was only eight years when Tormato came out and at eight, I wasn't exactly into prog rock. :) So there I was, at 18 finally hearing new music from these guys. It was a dramatic moment for me when ABWH came out. By and large I do indeed find myself skipping Teakbois. I actually like the way he incorporated it into his solo on the live album, but the song's a little... I dunno. I'm not thrilled with it. Oddly, I LOVE lightning strikes. I think it shows a little more talent because it's in 7/8. Order of the Universe is awesome. Brother of mine is awesome. I actual LOVE LOVE LOVE Quartet, although I could never figure out why they put the cut down version of I'm Alive on there when they should have really put the full (single) version.

Magnification is an oddball for me. I'm kind of 50/50 on it. There are moments that are amazing. In the Presence Of is wonderful. I actually really enjoyed Don't Go and Give Love Each Day. Three are other moments that are great, and then there are some... less interesting moments for me.

I think the comparison of the two is interesting and intellectually challenging because is some ways, it's an apples to oranges thing. But it's great to hear everyone's comments and opinions. Interesting. Thank you!
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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112539Post sound_chaser
Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:03 pm

yesireebob wrote: (re:Teakbois) On the other hand, I love Lightning Strikes. Go figure.
Lightning Strikes was a really good song: that's the difference.

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112540Post the greenman
Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:23 pm

TaterMouse wrote: As for my own two cents, remember that I went through jr high and high school in the 80s. I had all the albums, but I couldn't remember the last time these four were together. I was only eight years when Tormato came out and at eight, I wasn't exactly into prog rock. :)
Tormato - hmm, dont get me started on THAT one.. I have tried to like it, honest injun...
TaterMouse wrote: So there I was, at 18 finally hearing new music from these guys. It was a dramatic moment for me when ABWH came out. By and large I do indeed find myself skipping Teakbois.
I'm in the same boat. I just cant dig that track. I should like its syncopation etc, but it just feels out of place to me..
TaterMouse wrote: I actually like the way he incorporated it into his solo on the live album, but the song's a little... I dunno. I'm not thrilled with it. Oddly, I LOVE lightning strikes. I think it shows a little more talent because it's in 7/8.
LS does have more power, I think.. but it's in the same kind of boat as TB.. well for me..

TaterMouse wrote: Order of the Universe is awesome.
Abso-bloomin-lutely! An excellent track that would have been a Yes anthem in other worlds. I guess Take the Water is in the same vein.

TaterMouse wrote: Brother of mine is awesome.
Downes wrote a lot of it, it does have an Asiapop feel to it given a bit of Yes style treatment..
TaterMouse wrote: Magnification is an oddball for me. I'm kind of 50/50 on it. There are moments that are amazing. In the Presence Of is wonderful. I actually really enjoyed Don't Go and Give Love Each Day. Three are other moments that are great, and then there are some... less interesting moments for me.
I agree... It could have been epic. I was so excited when it came out, the build up had been great. I guess I was expecting Relayer with an orchestra & against that yardstick, it didnt deliver.

It just misses something.. Rick's involvement maybe? What would have happened if he'd orchestrated it & had involvement in its development?

Great thread, Taters - much to chew on!

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112541Post TaterMouse
Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:54 pm

Oh my God! Have you heard the long version of Take the Water to the Mountain? I mean the demo one with the repeated chorus and guitar solo and junk. OH MY GOD!
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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112543Post the greenman
Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:02 pm

er no, dont htink I have heard that one.. where can you find it?

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112547Post tardistraveler
Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:49 pm

Hard call for me on this one, but I'd probably go with Magnification.

To me, the weakest track on Mag is Soft as a Dove, which would be a pretty tune on a Jon solo album, but doesn't reek of Yes for me. I really enjoy all the others, and Mag was a daily listen for me when it was released, for quite a long time.

ABWH has Brother of Mine, which I love . . . :luv1:

I find the orchestra interesting on Mag, and wonder what it would have been like with Rick at the keys instead of the orchestra, but I don't see that as a failing, just an interesting experiment.

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112554Post IWas Sam
Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:16 pm

I was incredibly disappointed in Magnification when it came out. I found it light, both musically and particularly, lyrically. I have tried it at regular intervals since putting it away years ago, and it remains inaccessible to me. This Yes was not the Yes that I grew to love in the mid-70s. This was a bunch of sappy old men with orchestration.

ABWH, while not tremendous, is head and shoulders above Magnification. Bruford's drum sounds are like a kid banging on trash can lids, but there are great moments and exciting musical passages. There seems to be more thought put into the lyrics as well.

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112564Post thesage
Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:00 am

I recall being thrilled with a return to more traditional Yes directions with ABWH's effort after the 90125 and BG albums. I for one quite like Teakbois and its psuedo-carrabbean influences. Order of the Universe starts very well although the basic rock sections over the lyrics were a trifle predictable. Lets Pretend echoed tracks like leaves of green. Brother of Mine was sort of an 80s Roundabout with changing themes and instrumentation. Magnification was a disappointment for me. As with other posts I agree that tracks like soft as a dove wasn't a great effort lyrically or musically. In the Presence of didn't really grab me either- the title track and Can You Imagine are really the only tracks that I bothered to put on my ipod as I enjoy both. As I posted sometime back- Magnification is somewhat bland IMHO and lacks real punch and fire, particularly compared to ABWH- perhaps deciding to work with an orchestra meant that Yes felt they needed to be a bit more subdued or achieve a pastoral feel. Whatever the reason it didn't work for me. As previously posted Renaissance's albums are a much better fit between art-rock and orchestra-

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112579Post happytheman
Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:08 pm

thesage wrote:I recall being thrilled with a return to more traditional Yes directions with ABWH's effort after the 90125 and BG albums.
I guess you had to have been there for the whole ride to follow this line of thinking. I was and I do. ABWH was a "refreshing" purchase for me. I first heard part of Brother of Mine on the radio and found myself buying the album the next time I got into a record store. Then when the tour was announced I brought a couple of my friends with me to see them. To this day I still feel the ABWH video "An Evening" is the single best concert "Yes" has ever recorded to film. Brilliant from start to finish. (OK the part where they use the "drumstick cam" was comical).
Whereas Magnification.....well it was OK but there were too many clowns, toffee apples, and candy floss...too many Clowns.....
Seriously Jon needed to release another solo album prior to this release and get all of his "sweet" lyrics out of the way. In the Presence (take out the lyric about "if we were flowers we would worship the sun!) is tops, Dreamtime had tremendous potential (where's Steve's guitar?? he could have laid down some tasty licks on this one if given a chance. Instead the orchestra overpowers the climax). The title cut and Spirit of Survival again could have been "notched" up a bit and rocked a bit more had Steve been left to his own device. Sorry but Jon ruined this album for me. Could Wakeman have "balanced" it out had he been there?
ABWH rocks! Mag....didn't reach it's potential in my book.

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112583Post the greenman
Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:58 pm

happytheman wrote:I guess you had to have been there for the whole ride to follow this line of thinking. I was and I do. ABWH was a "refreshing" purchase for me.

That's an excellent point - to see the album in its historic context, part of the linear continuum of Yesmusic.. After the 'power & the pomp' of YesWest (& I like all that, dont get me wrong - Yes, but a different Yes, that's ok with me!) here was a more 'organic' kind of album, more in the spirit of earlier Yes & featuring some of the original musicians.

Not all the tracks were spot on, but enough were to make it worthwhile..

Whereas, as you say Happy, Mag promised so much.. the idea we were getting back to the 'magnum opus' and going to feature orchestral arrangements, but many of the tunes are a bit lame to be frank & the orchestral arrangements didnt really add much to me.

& I agree some of the words were as soft as a brush! (or as daft as). I know Jon was bitterly disappointed by reaction to the album & it was released at a difficult time. I kind of hoped people might take it as an anthem of hope in difficult times, that some of the classical channels might pick it up as a 'crossover' work but I guess in the end it just wasnt strong enough...

& even now, going back to it after an interval I just cant 'get into it'. The live version on the 2003 tour, with RIck on keys providing the orchestral parts (which he had to wear his glasses to read) were much better, IMHO & showed what could have been..

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112601Post thesage
Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:23 am

I agree with you Happytheman- the ABWH concert is by far the best concert video- they might be called ABWH- but they were Yes in my eyes. Also just in case people misunderstood- I did like the RAbin era stuff- I still thnk that Big Generator is the best of the 3 albums- its bizzare but know a lot of people on this forum don't think very much of it

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112603Post yesireebob
Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:23 am

I think Rick would have improved Mag, not by replacing the orchestra with his keyboards, but by arranging the orchestration AND by playing keys himself. I think the orchestration was excellent as is, but Rick as an insider with a classic Yes sensibility would have made it better still. I agree there were parts, notably in Dreamtime, that Steve could have really shone and should really have been in the forefront. Rick would have better balanced the whole thing.

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112612Post sound_chaser
Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:34 am

yesireebob wrote:I think Rick would have improved Mag, not by replacing the orchestra with his keyboards, but by arranging the orchestration AND by playing keys himself. I think the orchestration was excellent as is, but Rick as an insider with a classic Yes sensibility would have made it better still. I agree there were parts, notably in Dreamtime, that Steve could have really shone and should really have been in the forefront. Rick would have better balanced the whole thing.
I’ve often wondered myself why Steve didn’t let rip during the middle instrumental section of Dreamtime. I came to the conclusion that the band just thought less was more at this point, as there was a real tension being built by the orchestra.

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112613Post sound_chaser
Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:37 am

happytheman wrote:I guess you had to have been there for the whole ride to follow this line of thinking. I was and I do. ABWH was a "refreshing" purchase for me.
The funny thing is, I still think of ABWH as the relative newbie and then I realised yesterday that it's actually twenty years old this year!

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112617Post TaterMouse
Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:51 pm

sound_chaser wrote:The funny thing is, I still think of ABWH as the relative newbie and then I realised yesterday that it's actually twenty years old this year!
Oh God. That means it's been twenty years since high school for me...

Oof!
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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112624Post the greenman
Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:45 pm

yesireebob wrote:I think Rick would have improved Mag, not by replacing the orchestra with his keyboards, but by arranging the orchestration AND by playing keys himself. I think the orchestration was excellent as is, but Rick as an insider with a classic Yes sensibility would have made it better still.
exactly what I think.. Larry Groupe did a fine job (tho maybe I expect more, it ended up with the orch. providing a soundscape behind the band, but not really contributing as an additional voice. Maybe that's how it would have been with Rick. He might have pulled more out of the music, because of, as you say, his 'yes sensibility'.

Might have.. In fairness to this debate, I'll go play it again & come back..

I did put in on in the car when it came out & was randomly driving about with it on. I just happened to be passing Stonehenge when the 'standing on sacred ground' bit kicked in.. that was a special moment.. So it's not all bad!

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112625Post Mr. Stout
Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:42 pm

ABWH, hands down. I was just a kid at the time of this release and only a Yes fan for just a year and a half at that time. The lineup was very impressive on paper and the album did not disappoint. It was adventurous music, the way how Yes of the `70`s was, but with updated instrumentation. It`s too bad ABWH morphed with Yes west for the Union lineup, but perpetual change is the name of the game for this band.
On the other hand, I could do without Magnification. The songs weren`t particularly exciting or memorable , even compared to their prior release, 'The ladder', which I thought was a return to form .To my mind, it was sketches done with an orchestra. That approach was so 1970,it didn`t really work for them back then, why did they think it would work in 2001?
Perhaps its just that I feel Yes is a band that doesn`t need an orchestra. the band is an orchestra by itself. It detracts rather than adds. I also felt the way about the `77 concert tour bootlegs I have of ELP. That band was an orchestra in of itself, and the orchestra took away from that band. When overhanging costs and logistics forced the band to shelve the orchestra, they went back to a power trio and they sounded much better.
Obviously,ABWH for me. Yes was very good in the `80`s with Rabin, but they didn`t have the sense of exploration that ABWH brought back to Yes music.

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112628Post yesireebob
Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:15 pm

the greenman wrote: I just happened to be passing Stonehenge when the 'standing on sacred ground' bit kicked in.. that was a special moment.. So it's not all bad!
Sacred ground indeed! Stone Henge gives me chills.

Funny you should mention that, because a couple of years ago I was driving back to Phoenix from northern Utah, and took the longest route through the Navajo reservation, from Kanab to Flagstaff, to enjoy the scenery. It's very remote and isolated, and reminds me very much of the Roger Dean red rock motif used in the 2004 tour. It has a very otherwordly, sacred vibe to it, and I was listening to Mag full blast. That sacred ground part really got me, too...

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112654Post tardistraveler
Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:25 pm

TaterMouse wrote:Oh God. That means it's been twenty years since high school for me...

Oof!

Try forty . . . :rolleyes:

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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112658Post tribute1969
Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:13 pm

ABW&H
Where else can you find Steve Howe in tribal makeup!?

and Jon's use of lighting where HE is sitting in center
of the BIG "Y"??
Proves he IS the center of YES...lol

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcQ4ZiWRdTQ
WAR IS OVER! IF YOU WANT IT!
John and Yoko Ono Lennon-1969
WE HAVEN'T HAD THAT SPIRIT HERE SINCE 1969...
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Re: ABWH vs Magnification

Post: # 112667Post fragilesi
Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:43 pm

Oh my, I think of these albums as two of the Yes orphans; they both kind of came out of nowhere with nothing qute like them as immediate precedents.

ABWH was always going to be controversial as its background implied and when it came out I have to say I had really mixed feelings. There are moments of sheer classic Yes sentiment on there highlighted by best by Quartet but the influences of more contemporary issues and attempts to use other influences than jazz fusion / classical reared their (ugly?) heads in Teakbois. Brother of Mine somehow came in the middle and I think is a genuine standout for Jon in particular. So, a mixed album, I liked all of it and I loved some of the moments in it.

Then all that time later . . . after the all-time low of Open Your Eyes and the genuine return to form and Roger Dean of The Ladder came another landmark album. Magnification was set to break the mould from its rather excellent and fitting cover to the use of an orchestra Yes were aiming higher and it showed. Although I think that ABWH had its highs here was an album of almost constant high quality and unlike some I still believe that Give Love Each Day is simply stunning Anderson. It's possibly the first Yes album where they put sublime simplicity constantly ahead of the technicalities of the music and let the power of the orchestra shine through. It's the one album outside of the "main sequence" that I would put up against those albums.

So, on vynil I would go for Magnification but the subsequent tours I would hold as a tie. Both were in the awesome bracket for me!

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