My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Close to the Edge was recorded in London during 1972 and released in September of that year. The album was named by drummer Bill Bruford who wanted to describe the state of the of the band at the time of recording. He had done the same by naming the previous album Fragile. The album contains only three songs. The title track fills the entire first side and is eighteen plus minutes long. The next two tracks fill side two.
What I think: I really didn’t want to listen to this album, Fragile was such an awful experience for me and I wasn’t expecting much difference with this album. And as happens often with this blog, I couldn’t have been more wrong. This is an absolutely beautiful piece of work. I would really describe it as a balance of both The Yes Album and Fragile. The ambitious proggy-ness is still there, but the vocal harmonies and delicate instrumentation are still able to shine.
The title track, “Close to the Edge” is a wonderful piece in it’s eighteen minutes and the only thing I would change is the “Big” church organ part at about 16 minutes in. It just seems to through the balance off for me. The highlight here for me, is “And You and I”. At ten minutes in length, it is the perfect balance of acoustic and electric, bloopy keyboards and wonderful organ. I have a feeling the lyrics aren’t describing a wonderful world, but the way Jon Anderson sings them is certainly beautiful. The last track “Siberian Khatru” is the shortest at about nine minutes and is sort of average compared to the first two. It’s really sort of a jam, but it too is balanced and doesn’t put to much focus on one part of the group.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I’ve seldom been more surprised by an album in this book. I want to shout it from a balcony, “Yes, Yes, Yes, this is wonderful”.
Rating (Out of 5): 4.5
Close to the Edge Amazon Review (Out of 5): 4.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (198/260)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 76%