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The Ultimate Yes/35th Anniversary Collection
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"Para celebrar el 35 aniversario de su formación, así como el retorno de su teclista original Rick Wakeman, se edita este doble CD bajo el título de ""Ultimate Yes"" y que incluye 21 de sus canciones más memorables, como ""Siberian Khatru"", ""Owner Of A Lonely Heart"", ""Yours Is No Disgrace"" o ""Roundabout"". Nacida a finales de los sesenta, Yes es el máximo exponente de lo que se llamaría ""rock sinfónico"", debido a los cuidados arreglos y a la larga duración de sus temas. Reverenciados a lo largo de los años por sus numerosos seguidores, Yes ofrecen de forma esporádica giras por los distintos continentes, como la que el pasado mes de Julio de 2.003 les acercó a tres ciudades españolas en las que colgaron el cartel de ""no hay entradas""."
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mélodies que seul YES c'est faire, joué admirablement bien,un joli défilé dans la grande discographie de YES, tout cela est magnifique !!!
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Let's look at the facts. Since 1991, Yes has released 4 complete albums of new material (5 if you count Keystudio). In that same time, they have released 6 box sets or compilations which re-hash already released material. And with each new compilation comes a little sampling of new material that forces us to buy the entire catalog of songs that we have already purchased. To make matters worse, Rhino has, over the last year, re-released 11 Yes albums, each with another sampling of new material. So we are forced, yet again, to re-buy all of the same albums we already own. And then, just when we thought we had enough, they give us 2 box sets in as many years and include, once again, samplings of new material. Now, they could have just as easily taken ALL of the new material and put out a disc of completely unreleased material. But then they wouldn't get as much of our money that way, now would they? Of course, it's not all Rhino's fault because this seems to be an old Yes trick (see the 2 live Keys To Ascension albums that had new bonus material thrown on the end or the 3 Magnification releases that each had a different bonus disc of previously unreleased live material).
So, aside from feeling completely cheated and ripped off, what is this latest 3-disc compilation really like? Well, the first disc consists of the classic era songs - great of course, but definitely nothing new. The second disc contains the later era songs - right up through Maginification. Now, I love the fact that I have one disc that contains more recent material because I happen to love the 80's and 90's versions of this band. However, the choice of tracks is questionable at best. I don't mean that they chose the wrong songs, but, rather, the wrong versions. For example, they included edited versions of It Can Happen, Big Generator, The Calling, and Homeworld. But, unfortunately, they are terrible edits - cutting where they shouldn't cut and fading out in all the wrong places. And after being treated to butchered versions of these great songs, the disc closes with the full version of Maginfication which, in my opinion, is one of their weaker songs.
But the greatest dissapointment, contrary to what other reviewers have said, is Disc 3. This disc includes acoustic versions of Roundabout and South Side Of The sky as well as some other acoustic pieces that were clearly just thrown on to get us to buy "new material". The pieces, in my opinion, show very little creativity and come off as more of an impromptu jam session than as well-thought out pieces of music that the fans of this band have come to expect - and might I add, deserve. And to add insult to injury, the disc is only about 20 minutes long. So it hardly qualifies as a "3-Disc" set. Once again - the fans are cheated.
So, in conclusion, I do not mind the occassional marketing trick to get people to buy new albums. But, enough is enough. Again, just do the math: Yes has released 27 albums since Union in 1991, and, including KeyStudio only 5 of them have been new. C'mon guys. We're getting fed up. And we deserve better.
So, if anyone associated with Yes cares to listen, let me just say that I will always be a Yes fan, but I am done being a Yes customer.
Other than the third disc of previously unreleased versions--mostly acoustic, there are only four tracks from the first two discs not found on IN A WORD. Obviously the third disc was meant to entice the die-hard fan, but it strikes me as nothing short of extortion by the record company and I'm not buying. If you're a casual fan and don't own either of their previous box sets, I'd say go for it. ULTIMATE YES probably includes everything you really need. For the serious fan, it depends on how deep your pockets are.
I applaud Yes for putting some lesser-known material on here. Their 2001 Magnification album, which sold like a lead balloon, was still hailed as wonderful by those who did buy it (including myself), and putting the title track on here might help to boost its profile. And just when I'm beginning to wonder if Yes will ever acknowledge the existence of their 1980 masterpiece Drama- which singer Jon Anderson did not perform on- they put "Tempus Fugit" on this collection. Great move. That song had the potential to be *huge* when it came out, and it is a real gem in the Yes catalogue.
And I must add, the sound quality on all of these songs is amazing.
There are a few edited tracks on the album. "Soon," the finale of "The Gates Of Delirium," is edited to include a minute and a half more of the song that the previous single edit version. It's an improvement, but "Soon" doesn't really work out of the context of the song from which it comes. I think Yes would've done better to include something else from Relayer, like an unedited "Sound Chaser." Oh well. The single edit of "The Calling-" which I've never heard before- doesn't sound right with its reworked intro. I loved the vocal harmonies in the beginning of the song, and this version does away with them. The radio edit of "Homeworld (The Ladder)," I have to admit, is sloppy. I'm not opposed to the idea of the song being edited down to 4:40 from it's full length 9+ minutes, but it's just so poorly edited that even if you've never heard the song before, you can tell exactly where the cuts were made. On the plus side, my favorite Trevor Rabin-era Yes tune, "It Can Happen," is flawlessly edited. The remix of "Big Generator" is good as well, although I would have just preferred a remastered version of the original.
And then there's the matter of the bonus disc. Any die-hard Yes fans who are not planning on buying this collection might want to reconsider- it's worth the price of this collection for this disc alone. Leading off is a jazzy acoustic interpretation of "Roundabout" which will have you clapping your hands along with the band. It's great. Keyboardist- or should I say pianist- Rick Wakeman is front and center on the acoustic version of "South Side Of The Sky." It's drastically different that the studio version, but excellent nonetheless. "Show Me" is a gentle and emotional ballad, which is reminiscent of "Let's Pretend" from the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album, only- well, better. Concluding the disc are two solo spots, including Steve Howe's reworked acoustic guitar showcase "Australia." The other is Chris Squire's take on "New World Symphony," a bass solo which puts you in the mind of his "Amazing Grace."
All in all, this is a wonderful collection. Anyone remotely interested in Yes should pick it up, as well as longtime fans who will be amazed by the material on the bonus disc.
For the uninitiated, this is an overall decent representation of Yes' music from the 70's to now, with at least one track representing every album except a few(the debut, Tales and Keys). As you can hear, the band has gone through many member changes and many styles and phases yet retaining a distictive sound of their own. For those not familiar with Yes, they pretty much have the following aspects: a couple high-voiced vocalists, clean cutting bass guitar loud in the mix, classical-tinged piano and synthesizer licks, somewhat country-ish guitar playing, long epic tracks done in sections often stretching up to 20+ minutes, positive yet undecipherable lyrics that deal with the spiritual/metaphysical etc, spacey album covers, revolving door of coming and going band members, all of which leaving lasting marks. That's pretty much Yes in a nutshell, and here are some fine songs to boot. A decent set to start off with, and good for those not willing to shell out for the 5 disc box set. Consider this the 2 disc version.
As for the third disc, there are 5 new tracks here, the first with Rick Wakeman since 'Keys to Ascension' from 1996, which give this set a strange sense of almost being a Fragile part 2 or a 'mini-Fragile'. Indeed, the content is very much like that classic 1971 Yes album in that it is comprised of solo pieces and band compositions. There is an solos for Anderson(Show Me), Squire(New World Symphony), Howe(Australia) and Wakeman(South Side Variations), plus acoustic versions of two tracks from the original Fragile(Roundabout & South Side Of The Sky). All that's missing is a new epic track(Heart Of The Sunrise-ish) and an Alan White solo. I suppose since Alan wasn't on the original Fragile that he doesn't get a solo. But anyway, I like the idea of a Fragile 2. This is almost that. The new tracks:
ROUNDABOUT: amazing what has been done to this road-weary classic rock song by stripping it down to a basic acoustic rock 'n' boogie number which kinda bops and jives in a jazzy, looser way. Of course Rick Wakeman has replaced the synth and organ with pub piano and Steve Howe brings out his country stylings. See, Yes can be fun and isn't all about tight, po-faced sophistication and muso wanking. The arrangement is different towards the end.
SHOW ME: a solo Anderson tune raided from his backlog of unreleased solo material which Yes has been performing as a new Yes song during their recent tours. It's kinda a short, sad-ish song, similar to maybe ABWH's quieter tunes or one of his solo albums like 'Earthmotherearth'. Again, acoustic with some madolin and piano.
SOUTH SIDE OF THE SKY: a different arrangement, shorter and features Rick Wakeman's solo spot- some beautiful classical-style piano variations on the themes of the song.
AUSTRALIA: Steve's obligatory acoustic solo this time is an instrumental acoustic rendition of a track from his first solo album from 1975. Why this track? Good to hear it though. I do think the band should go back and take some of the best of their solo songs and do them up Yes style as new recorded Yes songs, a stop-gap album. A lot of good solo stuff that would have made great Yes songs. Here's your chance to hear one.
NEW WORLD SYMPHONY: finally a new Squire solo! Worth the price of the album alone just for that novelty. Based on Dvorak's 9th symphony, it's short and has that trademark clean Rickenbacker bass sound. And it's all bass, nothing else.
they needed to add a few more tracks and an Alan White solo for a real Fragile 2. And this is the first new material with Rick Wakeman since 1996, and the first studio stuff since 2001. It makes one anticipate a next Yes album with Rick back on board.
So for the curious or the casual fan, a good collection/selection. For the Yes fan, more fun with Yes, the longest running proggy band.