Yes, “The Revealing Science of God / Dance of the Dawn” (1973): YESterdays

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The pop music axiom is that if something works, then run it into the ground. Many bands feel both external and internal pressure to repeat the formula which they used before to achieve success. Yes seemed immune to the axiom as 1973’s Tales From Topographic Oceans arrived.

One member of the band, drummer Bill Bruford, was especially focused on his muse and the music. His convictions led to his resignation from the group after the recording of Close to the Edge. Bruford has often stated that he was the only member – up until that time – to voluntarily leave the band, and that he just wasn’t moved by Yes’ then-current music-making process. Alan White quickly joined the band for the Close to the Edge tour, and by the time of the recording of Tales From Topographic Oceans was contributing significantly to the music, forging what would be seen as the classic Yes lineup.

“The Revealing Science of God: Dance of the Dawn,” first of just four tracks on the double album, is as complex a piece of rock and roll as you can find. Like the album before it, Tales From Topographic Oceans retained compositions which were intended to represent movements. Unlike the previous album, Tales compositions were written and arranged as complete entities, as opposed to being separate arrangements which were later edited together. “The Revealing Science of God: Dance Of The Dawn” is based on Hindu scriptures and incorporates a lengthy chant like opening by Jon Anderson and extended and potent soloing from Steve Howe.

Alan White’s presence is unmistakable, providing Yes with a more solid rock back beat and foundation for stellar Moog work for Rick Wakeman. Musically and lyrically, the-20 minute “Revealing Science of God: Dance of the Dawn” is miles away from the band that gave us “Owners Of a Lonely Heart” or even “Wondrous Stories.” However, the diversity and depth of the Yes catalogue is one of the many reasons why they are the world’s greatest progressive rock band.

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
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  • brian t

    TfTO is an amazing album, but it needs to be approached with caution. If you sit down and try to listen to all four pieces in one sitting, you’re going to get fatigued and hate it. Which is, of course, what music reviewers at the time did. Spread it over two days at least, maybe more. You wouldn’t listen to four classical sonatas in one sitting, or watch four episodes of Game Of Thrones in one go. (Wait … what?)

    • Preston Frazier

      Damn, this is good advice. I still have not warmed up to this album, but I’ll be listening to it a lot over the next two months. Thanks for your comments.

      • Film@11

        Or just put it on endless loop, for hours at a time. Really.

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