Tales

Journey of the Dunadan, Perelandra, Live & Revived

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Tales

Post by Razors edge » Wed Aug 17, 2005 2:55 pm

I have been listening to Yes--"Tales from Topograghic Oceans." I have the Rhino/Electra remaster. I always felt this album was a courageous effort by Yes. Obviously ambitious in it's musical scope,there was nothing like it in 73-74. I also feel it is one of the definitive Prog recordings of the 1970's, maybe of all time. My questions are: If this album was never made how do you think Prog music would have been affected and how do you feel it's influence has been understood in future Prog albums? Basically any opinions would be welcome. Please respond GH fans. Thanks.
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Post by Bozo » Wed Aug 17, 2005 3:39 pm

I don´t think this album had a big effect on prog music. Prog started much earlier first symphonich prog was probably Moody Blues and the first real prog album was probably Zappa´s Freak Out back in 1965. This are the mayor parts of prog. Allso Pink Floyd made history with there early albums. If Pink Floyd haden´t put so much time and effort in The Dark Side Of The Moon there wouldn´t be any prog today I think because this was one of the first progalbums wich was bought buy a big audience allso Oldfields Tubular Bells is a milestone in prog history. Yes just took the music and showed how far you can go with it. I love Tales Of A Topographic Ocean but I just can´t think of it as a milestone in Prog history.
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Post by Bnielsen » Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:19 pm

how can you not consider the influences of cantebury rock, such as the Strawbs, and Caravan?
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Post by FredProgGH » Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:32 pm

What timing- I listened to Tales all the way through on a road trip last Friday and I'm solidly in the camp that ranks it among their very best work. In fact, from a writing standpoint, maybe THE best, Relayer and Awaken notwithstanding. As long suites all four sides are more mature than Close To The Edge or Gates Of Delirium. And seeing how much Revealing Science and Ritual were performed on the last 5 or 6 tours I think the album is pretty vindicated.
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Post by theHermit » Thu Aug 18, 2005 1:46 pm

Strawbs as Canterbury influence? This I don't hear. Folk, folk-prog, symphonic prog later on.

Tales has some lovely moments, but I think from an idea standpoint CTTE is superior. My ears don't find the filler I sometimes hear in pieces like the Remembering, though I do like the song on the whole.

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A Theory

Post by Razors edge » Thu Aug 18, 2005 2:15 pm

Having just had a serious session with the herb of Mother Nature, my brain is abounding with musical theories. (albeit based on opinion, with some medicinal assistance) I am an active musical listener,meaning I sit with headphones and after repeated listens with no distractions, I then give my assesment. In 1969, Miles Davis recorded as percieved by some a landmark recording "Bitches Brew." I've read many biographies and reviews of Miles and he is regarded as an arrogant and rude human being with innovative musical talent. With "Bitches Brew" I believe Mile's did not want to get left behind and it is an overrated album by ant standard. 1970-73 brought us Mahavishnu Orchestra with "Inner Mounting Flame" and "Birds of Fire." These recordings set the musical world on it's collective ass. For those who have heard them, they are mindmelting and supreme musicianship abounds. Santana did'nt get left behind when in 73 he recorded "Caravanserai"which simply put is one of the most amazing albums I've heard. I could go on and on but, with this type of music no-holds-barred, improvisation lit a fire under contemporary musicians at that time which IMO includes Yes. There answer was the recording of "Tales". In which, Jon Anderson based this project on 4 Schastic scriptures covering various aspects of religion and life. John Mclaughlin's "Inner Mounting Flame is based on the teachings of Sri Chimnoy and his concept of Aspiration. Are you seeing a possible connection here,both, musically and conceptually. I don't know, just a theory. Would anyone care to elaborate? BTW, in listening to music you either Like or you don't period. Nothing complicated.
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Post by SuperTed » Thu Aug 18, 2005 2:23 pm

I'd place Tales below GFTO but above CTTE. I love to hear musician's going for it and not afraid of opinion (remind you of anyone :wink:). I have to admit I've never heard filler when listening to Tales although it did take a hell of a time for me to "get" the album.

However, in a way, I think that Prog may have been attacked less if Tales hadn't existed. For everything that makes it great to me seems to be the very things that infuriate the musical "intellegensia" (and I use that term very loosely!). Of course, punk kicked prog square in the knackers but Tales was used as ammo by the trend-following music press in the UK (Melody Maker, NME etc.) as a large rod with which to beat Yes and other bands perceived to be of their ilk, as it were.

It's hard to say what it's influences are/were but the immediate thing to note is that no-one tried to copy it :D Personally, I'm glad that it's been rehabilitated within Yes themselves. I've seen both RSoG and Ritual live and they've been fantastic and, as with all classic albums, Tales engenders polarised opinions and it'll only really be appreciated outside of fans such as ourselves after a period of years (evidently longer than the 30 years it's been around anyhow :lol:).

I think TIS shows a similar sort of depth of vision and willingness to go for it on the part of GH that Tales did for Yes and TIS was similarly deserving of a lot of listening before "getting" it. Suffice to say both are firm faves now! 8)
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Post by yyzmoose » Thu Aug 18, 2005 2:26 pm

Happy to hear great things said about "Tales...". I've never understood why this is so maligned by prog fans, including a lot of Yes fans. Ritual to me was always Yes at their best. I felt so lucky to witness them playing this on the Masterworks tour a few years ago. Amazing night since they also played "Gates" and "CTTE". Did it influence prog a lot? Maybe symphonic bands from the past 10 years from the underground scene, but I would doubt it affected the 70's scene much at all. Canterbury? None of those bands sold much at all, they had cult followings at best. That would limit their influence quite a bit.
And now for something completly different...

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Post by theHermit » Thu Aug 18, 2005 4:55 pm

As much as I like parts of the Remembering, I find this track to be in need of some editing or a fresh idea here or there.

And now for something completely different:

I love the music of Miles Davis and can't state strongly enough how much I disagree with the notion that Bitches Brew is overrated. Of course, to a degree, this is all subjective, but I find Bitches Brew to be one of the most innovative jazz records ever released. It might not be to everyone's cuppa tea, but man, Miles contributes a milestone in the history of jazz with Bitches. The strength of that record and Jack Johnson that followed, and to a degree Kili and Silent Way that preceeded it, is a reason why I find so much fusion by the likes of Mahavishnu, Return to Forever, and Weather Report ultimately disappointing. All of these guys played with Miles, but none of their own bands could touch the originality of the Bitches Brew compositions. YMMV.

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Post by yyzmoose » Thu Aug 18, 2005 6:36 pm

Can't say I'm that familiar with the fusion work of Miles Davis, and what I've heard did not thrill me. But Mahavishnu and Return To Forever really do it for me. The intensity level on albums like "Birds of Fire" and "Hymm to the 7th Galaxy" is unbelievable. Without Miles, those groups would have never existed, so I have to give the guy credit. He basically invented fusion, but McLaughlin and Corea are to me, the guys who really made that scene.
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Tales

Post by Geophysicist » Thu Aug 18, 2005 6:45 pm

What a blast from the past! Its really fascinating to hear all of the opinions on Tales so many years after the fact. FWIW, I enjoyed the album immensely from the first listen, and I was mystified at the extremely negative response from the 'idiotensia.'

I'd put it in context with a mirror image of SuperTed; below CTTE and above GFTO. But I have to admit, I am partial to CTTE because it was the album that really sucked me into the prog black hole (think: the picture in the liner notes of Chronometree where 'Tom' is staring bug-eyed at the CTTE album cover--but I never heard any aliens...). For me, choosing amongst the three albums is rather like choosing between three perfectly prepared black angus steaks.

Caravanserai is an absolutely fantastic album. I need to get the CD of it. But I refuse to get into the Miles Davis debate. That one always ends in violence.

This really is quite a cultured forum...
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Post by SuperTed » Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:19 pm

OK, I don't actually own any Mahavishnu Orchestra :shock:

I've got Weather Report, Jaco (solo), Return to Forever, Pat Metheny even but nothing with John McLaughlin so, some recommendations please!

Thenk Yew :D
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Post by Sam Gamgee » Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:52 pm

And now, a word representing the musically unintelligent masses:

I think Tales is my least favorite Yes album that I have heard. I just don't get it. It's so weird. Maybe I need to listen to it a whole bunch of more times first. :? But I don't really want to.
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Post by FredProgGH » Thu Aug 18, 2005 9:18 pm

See, The Remembering is my favorite side of Tales and I wouldn't remove a single note of it. My personal take on it of course! And listening to it last week I realize how much I'm into The Ancient now, whereas years ago I would usualy skip that side.

BTW, My "perfect" version of Tales substitutes the live version of Ritual from YesShows for the studio take. :D

Inner Mounting Flame was one of my early formative albums- I like it better than Birds of Fire but both are great. Bitches brew is fine; Herbie Hancock did some great stuff on it but I'm not a big fan of trumpet in that context. When it comes to Miles I'd rather hear Kind Of Blue or Sketches Of Spain or something.
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John Mclaughlin and Miles Davis

Post by Razors edge » Thu Aug 18, 2005 9:41 pm

Hermit, I would recommend Inner MountingFlame, Birds of Fire, Between Nothingness and Eternity; all by Mahavishnu Orchestra. "Extrapolation" by Mclaughlin also is a superb album. I surely never meant to slag Miles Davis, for as a young kid that was all I ever heard played in my house by me Dad( Maybe some Sinatra, but that's another story) Miles is truly one of the greatest musicians of all time, and listening to most of his catalogue, "Bitches Brew"IMO doesn't hold up to the most essential and accessible "Kind of Blue"or "In a Silent Way." I suggest "Dark Magus"or "Agharta" above and beyond "Bitches Brew." On BB Miles kept tight rein on Mclaughlin, and then on IMF John exploded. So, yeah Miles was definitely a pioneer. During that time, I just felt the climate of music being improv,jazz-rock and strong instrumentation with religious concepts connected with, primarily Jon Anderson and Steve Howe. Hence, the creation TFTO. Just a theory and subjective opinion.
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