Yes – Relayer (1974) – Lp
Yes are an English rock band formed in London in 1968 by singer Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire. The band has undergone numerous formations throughout its history; nineteen musicians have been full time members.
Label: Atlantic Records
Catalog# ATL 50096
Relayer is the seventh studio album from the English progressive rock band Yes, released on 28 November 1974 in the United Kingdom and 5 December 1974 in the United States by Atlantic Records. Following the departure of keyboardist Rick Wakeman, the group recruited Swiss player Patrick Moraz as his replacement in August 1974 and recorded the album in bassist Chris Squire‘s home in Virginia Water, Surrey. Similar to their 1972 album Close to the Edge, the album includes a side-long track, “The Gates of Delirium“, and two on the second side, “Sound Chaser” and “To Be Over”. The album saw Yes venture into elements of jazz fusion.
“The Gates of Delirium” is a 22-minute track that Anderson described as “a war song, a battle scene, but it’s not to explain war or denounce it, really … There’s a prelude, a charge, a victory tune, and peace at the end, with hope for the future.” Moraz recalled discussing War and Peace and Leo Tolstoy with Anderson as they both read the book, after which Moraz showed Anderson a French science fiction comic book with “Delirius” in the title. Moraz said, “he related to it immediately so I think that perhaps as a title ‘The Gates of Delirium’ came from that”. Anderson and White stopped by a scrap yard and bought metal car parts which were used as percussion during the song’s battle section. During the battle section, White formed a tower of the parts and pushed it over to make a crashing sound. The track concludes with a gentle melody and a lyrical prayer for peace which later became known as “Soon”.
“Sound Chaser” displays Yes’ experiment with jazz fusion and funk influences. During Moraz’s audition session with the band, he was asked to play an introduction to the song which ended up on the album. He has called his Moog synthesizer solo at the end of the track a highlight moment but felt the keyboards on the rest of the album buried in the final mix.
“To Be Over” originated in an afternoon that Anderson spent at Howe’s house in London. As the two discussed what music to prepare for the album, Anderson told Howe his fondness of a melody Howe had written and had sung to Anderson before, of which he also had the initial lyric: “We’ll go sailing down the stream tomorrow, floating down the universal stream, to be over”. Howe gained inspiration for the track from a boat ride on The Serpentine lake in Hyde Park in London. From the beginning, he thought the song was “really special” and Anderson agreed to develop it further, describing the track as “strong in content, but mellow in overall attitude … It’s about how you should look after yourself when things go wrong.” When the song’s lyrics were being finalised, Howe suggested to have the line “She won’t know what it means to me” follow “We go sailing down the calming streams”, but Anderson changed it to “To be over, we will see”, a change that Howe thought was “creatively disguised” to make a broader lyrical statement. Moraz felt constricted to perform an improvised keyboard solo for the song, so he wrote down a counterpoint solo “exactly like a classical fugue” to blend his keyboards with the guitar and bass.
1. The Gates of Delirium (21:50)
1. Sound Chaser (9:26)
2. To Be Over (9:06)