Album Review: “Close to the Edge” By Yes
Close To The Edge album cover - leokb7 / Youtube
Yes saw its creative zenith with the release of 1972’s Close To The Edge. This masterpiece of a progressive rock album had the band stretch its limits – and probably did too much that it didn’t end up well for their lineup, with Bill Bruford departing from the band after its recording. This was because of the material not being written as they went into the studio to record the album, which led them to improvise the arrangements that it got so complex the band could not pick up from where they ended for every previous session. The album is only comprised of three tracks, but these are extended jams that are cut into sections.
The first track on the album is “Close To The Edge”, which was composed by Steve Howe and Jon Anderson. It opens up with nature sounds that quickly meld into a tension-filled composition with Howe’s psychedelic guitar playing, which is accentuated by Bill Bruford’s drums and Chris Squire’s pronounced bass progression. It then goes into a more melodic arrangement, which gives way to a hymn-influenced section before reprising into a modified main theme.
“And You and I” opens the second side with a bright and glassy acoustic guitar with a strong chugging progression going along it. The song is broken down into sections of folk, experimental, to grittier rock, and is neatly knitted together to resolve to the main folk arrangement. “Siberian Khatru” ends the whole album with a more commercial, straightforward rock style, funk accents on the bass guiding the lead guitars as it concludes the track and the record.
Close To The Edge is undeniably progressive rock at its finest, Yes just gearing its machinery to provide a consummate musical experience to awaiting fans.