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Tales from Topographic Oceans
Tales from Topographic Oceans
Genres: Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (2) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (2) - Disc #2

TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS YES Disc 1 1 The Revealing Science of God - Dance of the Dawn 20:23 2 The Remembering - High the Memory 20:35 Disc 2 1 The Ancient - Giants Under the Sun 18:37 2 Ritual - Nous Sommes d...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Yes
Title: Tales from Topographic Oceans
Members Wishing: 7
Total Copies: 0
Label: Atlantic
Release Date: 10/4/1994
Album Type: Original recording remastered, Import
Genres: Pop, Rock
Styles: Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 075678268328


Product Description
TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS YES Disc 1 1 The Revealing Science of God - Dance of the Dawn 20:23 2 The Remembering - High the Memory 20:35 Disc 2 1 The Ancient - Giants Under the Sun 18:37 2 Ritual - Nous Sommes du Soleil 21:33

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CD Reviews

Time to travel, baby
B. E Jackson | Pennsylvania | 02/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Boy, this album feels like that special moment when you finally reach the top of a mountain. Everything you ever wanted in an overblown progressive rock album can be found here, and more. See that? I used the word "overblown" and meant it in a good way! This band was excellent in the early to mid 70's, and I don't consider the exaggerated musical ideas a bad thing, in this case.

One thing I think is extremely special about this album is how the entire thing does a wonderful job putting pictures in your head. It succeeds BIG time doing that. For me, those pictures are of exploring the universe. I was always fascinated with the planets in our solar system, and watching the moon in the sky and all the stars twinkling out there, ever since I was a child. Also, I enjoyed thinking about what it would be like if human life was able to exist on places other than Earth.

I used to love going home from school and begging my mom to take me to the library, in the hope that they added more books about the universe. Boy that MUST have been years ago. I began to hate school when 7th grade rolled around. But all the mysteries of the things that might be out there in the universe really are fascinating, and good music can help make the images and thoughts in my head more rewarding.

As a child, I also used to love thinking about what it would be like to discover things that other humans haven't discovered yet. Just the thought of being on another planet and looking under rocks and finding life, or looking at craters and jumping around in them, or the idea of having an entire planet to myself! These are some of the thoughts that kept my mind occupied as a child. And you know, I'm not ashamed to say I still think about these things today, though not as often, since as an adult you have other, more realistic things to think about. Don't worry, I don't do drugs or drink any kind of beer or alcohol- I just like music that allows me to think.

I don't know if I'd call myself a Yes fan but I'm certainly a fan of this album, and I can say with complete certainty that I've never heard anything like this before. This album has been waiting for me since I was 8 years old and I just didn't know it, and now at the age of 25, I'm finally hearing it (well, I downloaded it two years ago and heard it then, but I wasn't fascinated with it like I am now). Hearing the album on compact disc is the correct way to listen to it.

I also should state that I don't consider the music on this album, or the music on ANY album, to hold the answer to life's greatest mysteries. I don't know what happens when I die, so my enthusiasm for this album is based on the music and the images it puts in my head (and childhood memories). I don't consider Yes musical Gods, or whatever. Just a talented band with their very own sound. I don't think anyone can dispute that.

What you have on Tales from Topographic Oceans is a grand total of four songs. Probably thinking it must be a short album, huh? Nope. Each of the four songs is nearly 20 minutes in length, and each song is filled with some of the most fascinating far-out space rock psychedelic WEIRDNESS ever put on tape. It's important to note that what may appear as noise at first, will turn into many many rewarding musical ideas over time. Remember this, if you happen to have trouble getting into it.

I think these guys do a slightly better job of the "picturing yourself traveling through outer space" thing than Pink Floyd. Then again, Floyd is more about drifting gently through space and admiring the beauty of the planets below, whereas the music of Yes can be known as "observing and studying the planet landscapes".

I really don't know which of the four songs I like the most. By the way, doesn't it suck how this album is 81 minutes long? That means it's a double album. If it was only a couple minutes shorter it would have fit on a single CD. They probably could have shortened a couple minutes somewhere and I wouldn't even have noticed (but I bet hardcore Yes fans would have picked up on that and would have immediately came here to mention it, hehe). I guess it's not a big deal. I'm just a picky guy when it comes to these things.

The always-interesting music on this double, delightful album does a fine job helping me think about something I'd like to do when the weather warms up. That is, go to my bathroom closet, grab a towel, run to the field right next to my house, lay the towel down and lay on it, and watch the stars above while listening to this album on headphones. I have to wear glasses now, so I better bring those, too. I agree it's a silly thought, but as a human being I can have my fantasies no matter how silly they may be. It would be even sillier to walk out there tonight in the freezing cold and try this experiment. No music is worth freezing your ass off!

Well, I can't continue talking about nonsense throughout my review- I have to mention the main course- the music. Is it good? Yes, it's better than good, it's Tony the Tiger great. I have to worn you, though. If you have no experience with progressive rock music or any kind of complex music, you may be in for a very difficult listen. This is Yes taking a genre of rock as far as it can go, and some people have a problem with the complexity. It's important that you understand "anything can happen at any time" when you listen to this album. It's not simple verse, chorus, verse, chorus, it's more like sitting back and watching a town carnival take place and taking notice of all the activity. If you buy this album and don't like it, it would probably be a good idea to keep it anyway. You never know when it might finally click.

I also recommend you buy it even if you AREN'T a Yes fan, because these guys are doing something special here. Really, the only part of the album that rubs me the wrong way is right at the beginning of "The Revealing Science of God" when Jon Anderson seems to carelessly ramble what seems to be one note smashing your head for a couple minutes, but then he stops and the music changes into something much better and more noticeably, into something VERY unusual. The album is loaded with pretty and distinct guitar playing and I like how many times the guitar twirls around, making it feel like you're doing somersaults in outer space (let me remind you, I don't do drugs!) When Jon Anderson returns on vocals after that rough beginning, he does a pretty darn good job, and he continues to do a good job for the rest of the album. So please don't write the album off if you can't get into the first couple minutes of track one. One moment on the album I want to mention that really pleases me is a part a few minutes into "The Ancient". The music temporarily switches into something weird, and it sounds like pretty ballerina music with sound effects of washing machines doing jumping jacks in the background. In case you needed any more proof I'm a weird guy. ha!

Pretty much the story of this album is "expect the unexpected". Frequent musical changes, happening nonstop, challenging your mind for pretty much the entire 81 minutes. I hate when people say you have to be a nerd to appreciate this band, or whatever. No. I'm not a nerd, and I'm not a smart man by any stretch of the imagination- I just like music that challenges me and helps me think about things, and as a progressive rock album you can't get more of a challenge than this (if we ignore Van Der Graaf Generator that is!) But one thing is for sure- you don't have to smoke pot to get into this album. You may need to have a vivid imagination, but that's all you need. Or, if you hate the sound of the electric guitar you might hate it, but let's not be silly!

I know some people can't get into Yes (like EVERYONE in my family) and I have to wonder if maybe the music is just too complex or too strange for them. Sure, Jon Anderson's voice is an acquired taste, but this band is simply too bizarre for many people. But I think Tales offers something different. The music on this album flows beautifully, whereas on other Yes albums the band sometimes wanks and rambles. I can only think of a couple moments where that happens on here, and they are over before you know it.

Buy Tales from Topographic Oceans and find out what it's like to hear something truly fascinating.
Nothing Quite Like It
Zachary A. Hanson | Tallahassee, FL United States | 07/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I would say that this is the least of Yes's absolute masterpieces (_The Yes Album_, _Close to the Edge_, _Relayer_, _90125_, and maybe _Fragile_), but that wouldn't quite catch what this piece is all about. This unfolds almost glacially like a Sibelius symphony with a few schizoid stretches thrown in for good measure. This is Yes's most ambitious album and if you take it for what it is, the truest thing you might be able to say is that it is their most mind-expanding album. It's extreme length led Rick Wakeman to disavow it as a misguided project, but he was always the one with the most questionable judgment in the "classic line-up." If you have a few hours to sit back and let your mind drift, there might not be any better album in the history of rock. The only rivals in genres related to what Yes is doing here have names like Stravinsky and Bartok, not ELP or King Crimson, neither of whom were able to make a work of quite this breadth, scope, and intriguing execution.

The whole suite starts out meditatively with the whispering tones of "The Revealing Science of God/ Dance of the Dawn." Again, no rock album I can think of builds this slowly short of some of the stuff coming out in post-rock lately (and it's arguable if that's rock). This isn't the kind of album I'd play on the way to work--you wouldn't even get past the build-up. And that's another thing that makes this album such a treat. If you are able to clear your agenda to be able to digest all of this, well, I would certainly call it an enriching experience. One that only comes at special times for most of us in this hustling, bustling world.

Things pick up a little with "The Remembering/ High the Memory." The band starts to "rock" around the ten-minute mark of this with a trademark Steve Howe workout to help the band soar. The stops aren't completely loosed until "The Ancient/ Giants Under the Sun" with a kitchen-sink jam that has Alan White hitting sheet metal (!!!), among many other thrilling turns this song takes after the unforgettable gong and bells intro. Actually, this song has Alan White's best drumming short of "Hold On" on _90125_, amongst a storied career. Eddie Offord was pretty much at his producing best here encouraging risky moves like these, his touch setting Yes apart as well as he had on previous classics.

The whole thing goes back to shimmering evocations on "Ritual/ Nous Sommes de Soleil" and ends the entire suite with our minds contemplating hearts of sunrises and other such transcendent signifieds that Yes is unparalleled in interrogating musically. They only had a few releases that measured up to this one afterwards, so this is pretty much Yes at its peak.

Another review elsewhere says that this isn't for every Yes fan, but I have to disagree. It's not for every MUSIC fan, as thick as the world is with AC/DC and Britney Spears devotees. But as far as a Yes fan goes, you really haven't heard Yes until you sit with this one and let it work its magic on you. Actually, I think this one may very well be the "gauntlet" of Yesdom and progdom. While it may not be jam-packed with extreme scintillation from second-one to second-last like _Close to the Edge_, this is the kind of composition that builds up to the chills. When they come, the musical moments are absolutely unparalleled and they transport you in ways like none other that you have ever felt. Just say Yes!"
It'll grow on you, I swear!
finulanu | Here, there, and everywhere | 02/12/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The infamous album that killed progressive rock. Okay, it wasn't the sole catalyst - other progressive releases from the '73-'74 period, such as A Passion Play, Brain Salad Surgery and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway also contributed to the genre's downfall. But I think this one took more heat than any of those three, because it's a four song double album, and you know what that means. That's right, four sidelong pieces. But from a 2008 perspective, it's held up quite well. I'll grant it's not an easy one to get into. It's not as action-packed as the similarly ambitious Close to the Edge, arguably their high point, there are very few hooks, and the lyrics mean nothing. But the mood this thing sets is pretty hard to beat. Something you must remember about Yes is that they are (or at minimum were at this point) absolute masters of mood. Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe create beautiful textures. It's a very carefully produced album, a soundscape of sorts. There are large portions on this album that are kind of uneventful the first time you hear them, but now that I've dug deeper into it I can greatly appreciate the gorgeous keyboard passages found on "The Remembering: High the Memory". The tempo changes are cool, too. Even better than any of that, though, is the surprising guitar solo after a very spacey part. But getting back to the keyboards, Rick Wakeman is pretty much all over the entire first disc of this, actually, since he also plays heavily on "The Revealing Sciences of God: Dance of the Dawn", which is pretty similar to "The Remembering", which automatically means it rules as well. Which is good, because I'm a Rick Wakeman fan, and he, his cape, and his 65 different keyboards are all at their creative peaks here. As I said before, Steve Howe plays some sweet guitars all over the place too. So if the first album/CD/LP/two songs/ whatever was the "Rick Wakeman half", the last album/CD/LP/two songs/whatever is the "Steve Howe half". I love that funky riffing he does at the start of "The Ancient: Giants Under the Sun" so much that I don't even notice there's four minutes of it. The jumpy, erm... first vocal section is good too, but the rest of the song can never match up to that first part, which I think is my favorite part of the album, though I also like Wakeman' symphonic keyboard solo. And pretty much every other guitar solo during the song, especially the acoustic one. That is brilliant! To make things better, Chris Squire plays some great bass on that one. Here's a complaint I have, about this one, though: Chris gets buried. Jon, Steve, Rick, and Alan White dominate, and sadly Chris, a fantastic bassist (as you can hear on the previous three studio records) is buried in the mix. So "The Ancients" is my favorite song on the whole record, because there isn't a single wasted minute in it (unlike the other three, which probably could've used a bit of cleaning up - and by "a bit", I mean "a couple minutes"). Howe also plays a brilliant lead on "Ritual: Nous Sommes Du Soleil", which has this chant that qualifies as the only truly catchy moment on the record. Yay catchiness! It is a bit annoying how there's a quote from Close to the Edge on it, though. I mean, if you're gonna rip off one of your own most famous songs, I assure you other people will laugh at you for being a self rip-off guy. Yes, I know, that was a fearsome display of vocabulary. So as "Ritual" winds on, they whip out a sitar, and it sounds really cool. Then as the song (which is way too long, I'll add) progresses, there's a drum solo tacked on for no good reason at all. Seriously, it doesn't make an ounce of sense. But it's good. I guess. That doesn't keep the song from being about five minutes longer than necessary, though. And then they get to that "avant-garde" [...], and it just turns annoying. Nobody wants to hear that! Thankfully, it ends, and it's back to more Rick Wakeman goodness, with a beautiful piano. After that, the lyrics finally kick in. Now here's another problem I have with this album: I have no interest in the lyrics whatsoever. It's based on some Far East text - Autobiography of a Yogi, I believe - and Jon takes up way too much space babbling about it. I mean, his voice sounds nice, but it would've been better if he either sang nonsense syllables, thought up a set of lyrics people could actually relate to, or just didn't sing at all. That, coupled with the fact that I could've done without ten minutes of this whole thing, keeps it from getting a higher score. But it's a good album. And I love the cover art! Probably my favorite YesCover. Or Yesshows, or possibly Relayer."