Yes- Close To The Edge
Album: Close to the Edge
Artist: Yes
1972 Atlantic [LP]; 2003 Elektra/Rhino (Warner Strategic Marketing) [2003 Rhino remaster]
LP: #7244; CD: 82666-2 [first Atlantic remaster]; 8122-73790-2 [2003 Rhino remaster]

Band members:
Jon Anderson: vocals
Bill Bruford: drums, percussion, keys (4)
Steve Howe: guitars, vocals
Chris Squire: bass, vocals
Rick Wakeman: keyboards

Produced by Yes and Eddie Offord
Tapes: Mike Dunne
Coordinator: Brian Lane
Photographs: Martin Adelman, Roger Dean
Cover: Roger Dean

2003 expanded & remastered edition:
Reissue supervision: Steve Woolard, David McLees
Sound produced by Bill Inglot
Remastering: Dan Hersch, Bill Inglot
Art direction & design: Greg Allen with Brian Lasley
Liner notes by Mike Tiano

1. Close to the Edge [Anderson/Howe] (18:50)
    i. The Solid Time of Change
    ii. Total Mass Retain
    iii. I Get Up I Get Down
    iv. Seasons of a Man
2. And You and I [mus: Anderson, themes by Bruford/Howe/Squire; lyr: Anderson] (10:09)
    i. Cord of Life [Anderson/Bruford/Howe/Squire]
    ii. Eclipse [Anderson/Bruford/Howe]
    iii. The Preacher The Teacher [Anderson/Bruford/Howe/Squire]
    iv. Apocalypse [Anderson/Bruford/Howe/Squire]
3. Siberian Khatru [Anderson, themes by Anderson/Howe/Wakeman] (8:57)

Bonus tracks [2003 expanded & remastered edition]
4. America (Single Version) [Paul Simon] (4:12)
5. Total Mass Retain (Single Version) [Anderson/Howe] (3:21)
6. And You and I (Alternate Version) [Anderson, themes by Bruford/Howe/Squire; lyr: Anderson] (10:18)
    i. Cord of Life [Anderson/Bruford/Howe/Squire]
    ii. Eclipse [Anderson/Bruford/Howe]
    iii. The Preacher The Teacher [Anderson/Bruford/Howe/Squire]
    iv. Apocalypse [Anderson/Bruford/Howe/Squire]
7. Siberia (Studio Run-Through of "Siberian Khatru") [Anderson; themes by Anderson/Howe/Wakeman] (9:20)

Notes: (*****) Probably Yes's greatest album and a defining work.

After the success of The Yes Album and particularly Fragile, Yes quickly recorded their next album, determined to push themselves. Instead of having the material largely worked out beforehand, the band moved to partially putting together their long works in the studio, as with the side-long title track, the band's most ambitious work to date. Close to the Edge also sees the whole band composing together. The slightly odd credits, with reference to "themes by", seems in part to have been a way of recognising Wakeman's contributions despite his contractual status meaning he was not allowed to compose for the band (which is why his solo on Fragile had ended up as an arrangement of a classical piece rather than the initially planned, original composition). Although not credited as a co-writer, Bruford also contributed to "Siberian Khatru", being responsible for the repeating guitar riff that Howe plays through much of the track (first heard at 0:25). Likewise, the main ascending theme for the introduction to "Close to the Edge" was by Howe, Bruford and Squire from an initial idea by Bruford. The core of "The Solid Time of Change" arose from songs that Anderson and Howe had written separately: Anderson's became the verses and Howe's (called "The Longest Day of the Year"), the chorus. Howe's original lyrics were about living by the Thames, but as Howe says in the 2003 liner notes, "Jon would take these things out of the personal, autobiographical sense and put it in a worldly sense." (Compare also ABWH.) Anderson's more worldly lyrics are inspired by the short novel "Siddhartha" by Nobel laureate Hermann Hesse. "Siddhartha", written in German in 1922, is a reflection on Buddhism and the search for enlightenment. (Hesse also wrote "The Glass Bead Game", another inspiration for Anderson.)

The lyrics for "And You and I" are more obscure. Yes expert Steven Sullivan has theorised a possible link to Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" series of science fiction novels, suggested by lines such as "As a foundation left to create the spiral aim". The opening of "The Preacher The Teacher"—"Sad preacher nailed upon the colour door of time"—may be a reference to Martin Luther. The final song's title, "Siberian Khatru", often leads people to ask what a khatru is. Although Anderson has sometimes pretended otherwise, it is simply a made-up word.

The 2003 Rhino releases adds several bonus tracks. "America" was a live standard for the band before Wakeman joined. It was recorded between Fragile and Close to the Edge for an Atlantic compilation entitled The New Age Of Atlantic. Wakeman did not want to record it and, consequently, Bruford ended up playing some of the keys on the recording. The full version was then released on the Yesterdays compilation, but this is the much shorter single version released on 17 Jul 1972. (5) is the b-side to (4) and is close to being a straight edit of (1). (6) and (7) are previously unreleased alternate versions of tracks originally released on the album. Neither is radically different, but both contain some interesting variations.

Although released pretty soon after Fragile, Close to the Edge was a slow album to make in terms of studio time. Photographer Martin (or Martyn) Adelman described in a 2003 interview how "There's a Bruford cymbal crash on that album that took two nights to record." That pace took its toll on Bruford, who was tempted away to join King Crimson. He offered to do the tour in support of the album, but the band rejected the idea and he left, having to pay the band in the process! The others had already come to know a friend of Eddie Offord's, a certain Alan White, during the recording of the album—White even sat in on some of the rehearsal sessions. White joined shortly before accompanying the band on tour, a tour documented on Yessongs.

The cover is minimalist, but one of Dean's best-loved. It features the first appearance of the classic Yes logo. The inside sleeve depicts the world of the Fragile cover at a further stage of fragmentation. Photos of the band members are partly by Martin Adelman, who some years before (and some years subsequently) was the drummer in The Syn with Chris Squire, this being one of his first photography assignments. (HP, 14 Jan 2005)

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