Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Gates of Delirium - YES 'Relayer' 2003 Remaster on Rhino

As reported earlier, I kicked down on some new music a few weeks back, clearing out items that have been on the wish list for a while. Prominently featured on the back list was the remasters of the EPIC 'Relayer' and 'Close to the Edge' albums by YES. The second was a first time purchase for me. The first has been in my collection for a while on the original vinyl pressing, not exactly in 'new mint' condition. Beyond some surface noise and some scratches, the original release has a metallic quality, and a very bright sound. Though the compositions are intoxicating in their epic complexity, (the first side is entirely consumed by the monstrous suite, 'The Gates of Delirium', supposedly written after Jon Anderson had read Leo Tolstoy's masterpiece, 'War and Peace'), the sound has continually made the listening experience a challenging one. It was with GREAT EXCITEMENT that I laid the disc onto the tray last evening to see how the remastered sound had come out. The result is exactly what I had hoped for - a slight rounding of the top end that doesn't diminish the harmonic interplay of the instruments, while easing the harsh nature of the original allowing for a truly great listening experience, especially at high volumes. This is HUGE music, and is meant to be listened to LOUD!! Rock!Included in the release is the Roger Dean art from the original, like this obviously epic vision of some mystical palace where the inspiration for such ethereal and transcendent music came from. In fact, I think the guys from YES spent a lot of time astrally travelling through world's created in Roger Dean's mind, and their albums are the echoes of the sounds heard in those spaces. Or maybe that's just me when I listen to these albums. Either way, Dean's art is E-P-I-C on another level entirely. How epic you ask? Click on the thumbnails below, and bask in the glory of his visions!

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