Approaching the tomb of the forbidden subject – Tormato! 352

Tormato!
Tormato!

Produced by Jeffrey Crecelius, Wayne Hall, Preston Frazier and Bill Govier

Tormato, undeniably the greatest Yes album 😉 celebrated 40 years recently. So this week, Mark and I listen again to the much-maligned record to try and find out what everyone else seems to hate. We also dedicate our 2 pence to the 1978 ‘classic’.

  • Was the production really that bad?
  • Are there any aspects people who don’t listen are missing out on?
  • Are there any decent songs?

Listen to the episode then let us know what you think!

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Mark’s Tormato Friday Music Vinyl photos:

 

DBA (Downes Braide Association)
Perform Debut live show at Trading Boundaries on 28th Sept &
Announce release of Remixed version of Suburban Ghosts
DBA – Skyscraper Souls
Geoff Downes and Chris Braide
Geoff Downes and Chris Braide

26th September 2018: DBA (Downes Braide Association) perform their first ever live show at Trading Boundaries on Friday 28th September, with a special showcase for their latest album Skyscraper Souls. The evening is sponsored by Prog Magazine.

 

DBA is the musical collaboration between the legendary Geoff Downes and Chris Braide who joined forces as the result of their close friendship and passion for music. Bass player Andy Hodge, who worked on the Skyscraper Souls album will be joining DBA on the night. Other guests at Trading Boundaries will include David Longdon (Big Big Train) and David Colquhoun (Francis Dunnery, Go West). Barney Ashton Bullock (poet, songwriter; Andy Bell; Marc Almond) will be doing the narrative on the night.
DBA also announce the release of a remixed version of their critically acclaimed 2015 album Suburban Ghosts 2018 on 30th November. The album features new musicians and is remixed by Chris Braide and mastered by Mike Pietrini. Joining original band members Chris Braide (vocals, programming, piano, bass guitar, electric guitar, keyboards) and Geoff Downes – (programming, piano and keyboards) on the remix are: Patrick Howley – electric guitar, Dave Gregory – slide guitar, Lee Pomeroy – bass guitar, Andy Hodge – bass guitar and on Drums – Ash Soan.
Wherever musical history is made, Geoff Downes is there. From the first video ever shown on MTV, The Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio Star, Geoff continues to gain acclaim and break musical ground. He is a founding member of Asia whose album of the same name was the biggest selling in the world in 1982. Together with vocalist/bassist, the late John Wetton, they propelled the band’s global success. With the legendary YES, Geoff joined for the critically acclaimed album ‘Drama’ in 1980 and then re-joined for ‘Fly From Here’ in 2011. He continues to tour with both YES and Asia.
Christopher Braide is a multi-instrumentalist, Ivor Novello award-winning songwriter and producer who is based in Los Angeles. He is known for his outstanding work with Sia, Lana Del Rey, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Marc Almond, David Guetta and many more. GQ magazine named him one of the most successful and influential men in the music industry under 40, and he continues to work with A-listers on both sides of the Atlantic.
DBA is a labour of love for both Downes and Braide and together they form a unique combination. They have produced three critically acclaimed albums with ‘Skyscraper Souls’ being their most ambitious yet, it features the talents not only of the principals but also guest stars Marc Almond, Kate Pierson (B-52s), Andy Partridge (XTC), Ash Soan (The Voice) and David Longdon (Big Big Train).
Chris Braide states: “Working with Geoff on the Skyscraper Souls album and its two predecessors has reacquainted me with the kind of music I love. Epic and euphoric. To be able to make music like this with my dear friend is a real pleasure and reminds me why I got into music in the first place. I’m looking forward to opening up the songs in a live setting.” Geoff Downes goes on to say: “It’s been both a revelation and inspiration for me, working with Chris on our DBA project together, and long may it continue. He is extremely gifted, both as a writer and producer, and I am very proud of our collaboration. We immediately hit it off when we first met some 8 years ago, and since then, have gently nurtured our way through 3 studio albums. Now, taking this onto the live stage is going to be a real thrill for both of us. Our motto has always been: DBA = Joy and Fun!”
Roger Dean created the cover artwork for ‘Skyscraper Souls’ and the original painting will be on display on the night.
Sponsored by Prog magazine, this rare live show is going to be a very special evening of music from DBA and their special guests, in the candlelit, atmospheric surroundings of Trading Boundaries’ venue which was voted the number 2 venue on Prog Magazine’s 2017 poll, after the Royal Albert Hall.
DBA at Trading Boundaries
Friday 28 September 2018
Tickets: £55 with dining, £25 standing
Box office: 01825 790200
www.tradingboundariesmusic.com
Trading Boundaries, Sheffield Green, Nr Fletching, East Sussex TN22 3RB.
15 mins from Haywards Heath, Lewes and Uckfield.
ABOUT TRADING BOUNDARIES
Situated in a Grade II* Georgian manor house, with beautiful surroundings, in the heart of the Sussex countryside, Trading Boundaries is a shop, café, music venue and gallery. It specialises in importing Asian furniture, artefacts and textiles. The boutique, candlelit venue hosts artists such as Steve Hackett, Rick Wakeman, Focus and The Brand New Heavies, with the gallery offering a permanent display of Roger Dean’s work. For further information: 01825 790200 or visit: tradingboundaries.com
Skyscraper Souls – Out now
iTunes digital: http://geni.us/DBA3dig
Twitter: @TheRealDBAMusic
Contact:
Trading Boundaries:
Further information or additional images,
jenny@tradingboundaries.com – Tel: 01825 791874

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Theme music

The music I use is the last movement of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. This has been used as introduction music at many Yes concerts. My theme music is not take from a live concert – I put it together from the following two creative commons sources: thanvannispen and archive.org

35 thoughts on “Approaching the tomb of the forbidden subject – Tormato! 352”

  1. That was another interesting listen as it made me go straight back and play the whole album from start to finish for the first time in a while.

    Unsurprisingly Tormato is the main sequence album I play the least often but saying that Onward is a piece of music that has really stood the test of time. One of the strangest curatorial decisions the band ever made (and lets face it there have been more than a few over the years) was to not include it in the Yes Years box. I loved hearing Continuity Yes play it at the Royal Albert Hall a few years back and I would love love love them to get Alison Balsom to come out to play that solo next time they hit the RAH or Birmingham. Please someone make that happen. Thanks.

    All that said I would be disappointed if they ever considered tackling the whole album as part of a future European tour. That would be pretty brutal.

    The other strange thing about Tormato is that despite coming off such a lack lustre album the 1978 UK tour was musically one of the greatest shows I have seen by any band any where before or since. I say strange but the fact that they limited Tormato’s presence in the set list to four songs kind of says it all. Especially as the last three studio albums had been taken on the road and performed in their entirety. The album’s role in those great gigs is really quite inconsequential.

    By the time they got to America those four selections had been whittled down to three with Don’t Kill The Whale making way. Maybe Onward with its subtle chamber music construction, string pad and horn solo was too delicate and complex a thing to do justice to with 1978/9 PA systems. Or maybe they couldn’t trust rowdy 70s drunk and drugged arena crowds to sit through it without cat calls, drunken shouts for “rock n roll” or, and I think this was more a UK thing, would-be humorous cries of “Wally!”.

    ARW meanwhile could maybe find quite a few things on this album worth tacking as jolly, 80s style rock numbers are definitely what suit them best.

    For context I am really not buying the live ARW version of Awaken, it takes one of the most spiritual tunes in rock and turns into what sounds to me like a slab of soundtrack music where even the subtle bits are designed to be loud and in surround. I actually quite liked it on the night but the recording just has me feeling that they’ve ripped the tension and release out of it.

    It is a piece that on record I would confidently stand next to some of the most moving sections of symphonic music but this version brings bombast where there should be majesty. In the sections that are meant to be played forte with the energy coming from the physical and emotional commitment of the players it just sounds to me like everyone has hit the “this one goes up to 11” button. It’s just loud where there should be a building dynamic tidal wave. It’s not bad at all just lacking grace. Which is all ears of the beholder stuff, obviously, and I am well aware that puts me in a minority.

    That said I really like the space rock version that Anderson sings on from Reykjavik in 2013. If you wonder what a merger between the Floyd and Yes in ’77 would have sounded like then this is it. Well worth checking out.

    Anyway, to cut a long story short, hopefully ARW leave Onward alone as what I do not need is to hear it done new age-ified and Living Tree style.

    1. A memory lapse on my part, the previous *four* studio albums had been played in their entirety when toured for the first time. CTTE, TFTO, Relayer, GFTO. Not three as I have it above.

      1. Thanks very much Ian. I would really love a real French Horn for Onward, as I’ve said previously.

        I would definitely go to a complete Tormato concert, but that’s not really a surprise!

  2. Funny thing about this album I seen this show in the round probably the best seats I’ve ever had for a Yes show (at the time) 2nd row plus there walk way was right next to my seat which was amazing.
    I know that my brother and all our friends that were into Yes at the time this album was played over and over with several copies being purchased due to over playing.
    This album brings the best and worst out of every Yes fan that’s for sure, however I personally loved this album I guess I’m just a bit odd.
    Very sad that I was never able to see silent wings of freedom live absolutely loved that tune.
    Onward was a nice surprise on this album very very cool. Now they used it for a tribute to Mr. Squire balled my eyes out when I seen that.
    I still enjoy this album it’s the beginning of the end of the classic Yes line up and really took all members in a different direction ,which at the time was sad however the end results for the band and the members were really important to where Yes went and where they are going today
    Thank you Kevin very much enjoying it everyday!
    Great show gentleman as always.
    All the best
    Paul Tomei

  3. Kevin, there is only one word to describe this week’s intro: “Brilliant!”

    I remember being quite excited when I learned (thanks to a certain large poster on display at my favorite record store) that there was a new Yes album coming in ’78, after the amazing release (release) and tour for GFTO. I think I made a point of getting this the day it was released (released.) And now some of you may take issue with me…

    THERE IS NOT ONE THING WRONG WITH THIS ALBUM (musically – production is another thing… later)

    For me, every Yes album is a singularity. Not one of them is quite like any other. There was a certain uniformity and evolution to the sound of the band up through TFTO, but that went out the window with Relayer. Roger Dean’s covers also provided continuity for appearances sake, but was absent for what is considered by most the pinnacle of their musical growth – GFTO.

    Tormato is exactly like all the others in it’s individuality, if you will. It stands out like a healthy thumb in a group of other healthy thumbs. (except for “that one” I can’t stomach)

    The songs are all very original and different from what came before, while simultaneously retaining an obvious identity as music only Yes could create. Interesting melodies and arrangements, Jon’s lyrics in the transition zone from celestial gobbledegook to marginally grammatically correct English, and how about that variety of styles! – Pure prog-rock, a protest song, a couple of ballads, art-rock, space-rock and some straight ahead balls-to-the-wall Rock-N-Roll! What other band can cram so much into a forty minute package?

    If I have any complaint about the music, it’s that I always thought Rick’s keyboards sounded a bit thin and ‘plinky’ here – not a lot of meat to them, mostly gristle. A little too much harpsichord influence, perhaps.

    What drives this album is Chris and Alan’s rhythm section work. They are doing some incredible stuff here, and everyone else has to keep up. Rick and Steve may not have been working too well together this time out, but Alan and Chris are handcuffed to each other here, completely locked in, especially on ‘Release, Release’ (I love the sort of “counter rhythm” backing at the outset and repeated at the end) and, of course on ‘Silent Wings…’ Tormato shows off the World’s Greatest Rhythm Section at it’s best.

    And the cover art: YEAH, so what? It’s original and striking and immediately recognizable and obviously memorable. I have a feeling Kevin agrees with me…

    OK – the production. It’s nowhere near as deep and expansive as it could be. Had it been recorded digitally I’d think it had been compressed and sonically neutralized at some point. I found this interesting note in the Wickypedia:

    “In 2013, engineer and producer Brian Kehew, who has worked on the remastering of other Yes albums, explained that that the album sounds “thin, flat and terrible”. He said that Offord usually incorporated Dolby A, a type of Dolby noise-reduction system, in his production work. However, UPON EXAMINATION OF THE ORIGINAL TAPES…” (caps mine) “…he could not locate any sign that Dolby A was used. But when he applied Dolby A to the tapes, “[…] everything – except from the overdubs – sounded amazing”. Kehew then realised that the engineers who replaced Offord during the album’s production may not have known that the Dolby reduction had not been used.[15]”

    …ummm, so this Kehew guy had access to the original tapes in 2013!?!? Steven Wilson needs to get in touch with this guy!

    I think it’s worth repeating again that I recall reading an interview with Rick some years back wherein he said something to the effect that “Tormato could have been every bit as good as Going For The One if we had just been allowed to finish it.” His story is that they were going to add a great deal more overdubbing to the music, but the Label (in Evil Scare Quotes) took what they had, released it and pretty much ordered them out on tour, trying to capitalize on the success of GFTO. I wonder what THAT might have sounded like!

    Getting into random thoughts now… Kevin – for your continuing ‘tuned percussion education,’ that’s Alan playing a vibraphone with the tremolo all the way off and sustain all the way on in the background of ‘Onward,’ not Rick doing some keyboardy thing.

    At some point I had this album on commercial cassette tape (I know not why!) and the positions of ‘Release, Release’ and ‘Silent Wings’ were swapped, no doubt to equalize the length of each side, thus using the minimum amount of tape necessary. In it’s released format, side one is about 19 minutes, whereas side two is nearly 23. Try re-ordering the play sequence and see what it sounds like with ‘Release, Release’ as the album closer.

    Mark, you mentioned the 1991 CD remaster on CD – I’m pretty sure this was a bit of hurried almost coverup work by Atlantic/ATCO (or whoever) as, by 1991 the entire Yes catalog was available on CD… except for Tormato! It wasn’t even included in the ‘Union’ tour book on the back-catalog page. I’d heard that this was the result of some ‘bean counter’ accounting screwup involving slow or poor sales, which is weird for an album that was their fastest selling “look at me, I’m platinum!” album ever.

    I never did get the chance to see any of this live, as they just did not come to Las Vegas at all on any of their 1978 and ’79 tours.

    Finally, on Magna Carta Records’ 2006 “Tales From Yesterday” album (which has some egregious crap on it but is mostly alright), there’s a reworking of ‘Don’t Kill The Whale’ by a (now defunct, due to both members having died!) Techno/Prog/Metal outfit called Magellan, which I actually prefer over the original. It’s simultaneously wholly new and faithful to it’s roots, very keyboardy and metal guitar ballsy at the same time (yes, Jeremy, I know that’s slightly redundant!). Anyway, here’s a link to it on YouTube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JrojYDu9h4&frags=pl%2Cwn

    Thanks for this, guys, this has been an especially enjoyable time this week!

    And, especially fitting for this week…

    Onward.

    1. P.S. – Nice collage photo at the top, Kevin. Very cool.

      “…CD remaster on CD.” I proof-read this twice and missed that! You just can’t find good help any more!
      (Jeremy is going to kill me…)

    2. Thanks Joseph – wow there’s a huge amount in that comment! Owing to my Tormato obsession I wish I could find one of those huge advertising posters…oh hold on… 😉

      I agree about Alan and Chris – what a team here! I do hope you are right about those master tapes, that could be wonderful and thank you for the continued correction and elucidation on those pesky tuned percussion aspects!

  4. Great episode – thanks. It feels like you’re entering quite a skittish phase, which is fun.
    It’s been such a full year for Yes fans, that you’d forgotten that they played “Onward” this year on the UK tour in Spring. I had to check, though.
    I was surprised that you considered a couple of tracks on “Tormato” unworthy of resurrection. I love the whole thing. It was the first Yes LP I bought, and as a very young listener I found it very accessible, more so than the low-fi cassette recordings of “Close to the Edge” and “Going For The One” I had at about the same time. Tormato is full of hooks. It seems, rather than being part of an ongoing evolution, to explode in diverse directions instead, so perhaps it’s unlikely that many people will like all of it. I do!
    As I was listening to 352, it suddenly dawned on me that Kevin’s Other Band is Queen. And I think that explains his love of “Tormato”. The sudden shifts in tone, the way the music twitches and sparks one moment and turns syrupy the next, the flirtation with disco, and the grandiose lyrical conceits – I could be describing either “Tormato” or much of Queen’s work.
    I don’t think “Tormato” needs remixing or, heaven forbid, repackaging. Putting a Roger Dean cover on this would be as insensitive and inappropriate as putting one on “90125”. If I was forced at gunpoint to replace this Hipgnosis cover, it would be with a mosaic or tapestry like Pink Floyd’s “A Nice Pair”, with a 3 X 3 separate image for each for the eight tracks, each in a different style, to reflect the album’s schizophrenic collection of personalities.
    That would leave a spare square. You could depict “Abilene” in there, although here I reach my limit of “Tormato” appreciation. This B-side sounds shockingly limp to me compared to anything on the album. Is there anyone out there who loves to?

    1. Sorry – I meant to finish on “loves it”.

      Also, I’ve just realised something that’s been nagging at the back of my mind for years. “Abilene” sounds like “Baleen”, which is the technical term for whalebone. I always wondered why the title of of “Don’t Kill The Whale”‘s B-side seemed to suggest the A-side and now I’ve realised.

    2. Yay Dave! A fellow Tormato fanatic! However, I’m not a fan of Abilene (in any of its various spellings), I’m afraid.

      I suppose you are correct about Queen – Tormato could be seen as Queen on speed…

  5. Great episode guys (again!) and, inevitably, loads of great comments.

    First, a couple of observations. Did I hear you correctly, Kevin? I played it a couple of times to check. You commented that you didn’t think “Onward” had been played live since Olicer Wakeman was in the line-up. Yet I’m sure they played it live at Brighton on the 50 years tour. What’s more they played it at the RAH gig that you attended and I think I remember you commenting that Geoff’s French Horn sample was as good as you’ve ever heard (though I couldn’t find the episode in a none too thorough search).

    Second, like Dave Owen, Queen sprang to my mind, but for different reasons. You stated (again) that Tormato was your introduction to prog rock, but, assuming you were already into Queen, whilst not widely recognised as a prog band (probably due to all the stadium rockers they conquered the world with) much of their earlier material was very much prog rock. (One might argue that some members of queen lacked the virtuosity associated with prog – Mercury himself often belittled his technical ability on the piano – but no-one’s ever questioned Pink Floyd’s “prog” credentials – and they certainly aren’t renowned for displays of virtuosity.) Long before Bohemian Rhasody (surely a prog track) the first and expecially the second album had plenty of prog. I’d suggest “March of the Black Queen” was my own intrduction to prog.

    But this episode was about Tormato. This was my second Yes album. Sold to me for 50p by a mate who didn’t geet on with it. I’d recently bought TYA after discovering this was the source of a track I’d heard and really loved, but didn’t know what it was. The track was Your is no Disgrace. I was sold on every track on the album. After years of Zeppelin, and Rush by way of Slade and Queen, this music was the new, slightly more cerebral, but still emotional music I sought.

    Tormato very nearly killed my interest in Yes! Fortunately I heard CTTE and Relayer soon after and my love was secured.

    So what’s wrong with Tormato for me? Hands up – I don’t like UFO or Circus for the same reasons everyone else states (though I accept there are plenty of good moments within). But mostly it’s the sound. There are a lot of tracks full of tension, but with no release. Kevin often talks about “Order our of Chaos” being one of Yes’s trademarks. It simply doesn’t happen here. Lots of dissonance without resolution – not necessarily a bad thing, but not what even now I expect from Yes. I wonder whether this was a deliberate reatuion to Punk, which of course had anything but resolution.

    Sonically everything fights. For me it works (even if i’d prefer resolution) in Future Times/Rejoice (the opening of Rejoice after Future Times is a great moment) and my favourite track on the album Release Release (Status Quo meets prog?). Onward speaks for itself (a great song, though hardly prog) and I’ve always had a major soft spot for Madrigal (though it needs Rick on harpsichord – I didn’t really like the acoustic guitar version on the last tour)

    And, for me, Chris “pushing the boudaries of bass guitar sounds” is one of the things that ruins this album. I don’t understand the praise. It feels like effects for the sake of effects. (If you buy a new multi-fx unt these days it comes pre programmed with 20% usable patches, 30% useful starting polts for your own patches and the remaining 50% patches which are designed to show of the extremes of what the board can do. Often great fun, but should bever be used in a musical context. This is what I always feel Chris is doing here. It means the bass is all over the mix, interfering in frequencies that should be left for the guitar, keys and percussion. Is this part of the bad production.

    The opening riff for OTSWOF is brilliant and it even works with the very over the top harmoniser, but the moment Steve’s ridiculously over echoed guitar lines come in, hi-hat, guitar and bass harmonics all fight to be heard. A mess.

    As for lyrics – some good observations in the podcast. John Anderson’s lyrics work best either when they are unintelligible but sound deep (most of the “main sequence”) or unbelievably simple – be they simple story telling as in “Olias” or “Song of Seven” or even the title track from “Time and a Word”. If he’s used his unintelligible lyrics for “Arriving UFO” and “Circus of Heaven” I’m sure they would draw far less criticism.

    I find a similar “problem” with Mind Drive – using simple stoytelling lyrics to address serious social issues seems out of place for Mr Anderson (Funnily enough the other great prog Anderson – Ian, whilst also great at hard to fathom lyrics, is actually very adept at using simple language to describe social issues)

    But I still love the album for Rejoice/Future Times, Madrigal, Onward and Release Release – the headbanger which is bound to put your neck out due to its shifting beat emphases.

    1. Thanks Tim. I actually wasn’t at the RAH concert but you are absolutely right that I had completely forgotten about that more recent performance of Onward – which, as you say, I was quite impressed with.

      I’m not sure quite how far my Queen listening had got before I heard Tormato. Perhaps I had only heard Greatest Hits and The Works so I was yet to discover the early prog on Queen II etc.

      I understand your points about Chris bass sound but I still love it. As I’ve said many times, this music is so deeply rooted in my mind that I just can’t hear a lot of the issues other do. Anyway, I agree wholeheartedly with you about Rejoice/Future Times, Madrigal, Onward and Release Release!

      1. Too much red wine (again) for me. I meant the London Palladium gig (according to Forgotten Yesterdays, they didn’t play it at the Birmingham gig you attended on that tour – not that I’m stalking you or anything). I must try harder!

  6. While I know you’re being cheeky by calling it a ‘forbidden subject’, I’m sure most fandoms love to discuss even the perceived flops of whatever they’re fans of – surely Yes fans are like this with ‘Tormato’. Your love of ‘Tomato’ is one of the little things that I love about the YMP. It’s far more endearing than some fan discussions where someone takes repeated negative potshots at something they hate (especially if other people really like it), so I love the positivity every time you mention it.
    When I first discovered YMP, it was your repeated praise for ‘Tomato’ that led me to finally fill in the missing gaps in my Yes albums collection, reigniting my enthusiasm for Yes. I owe you my thanks for that, so please continue enthusing over whatever you like, even if other listeners don’t share it.

    As to what I think of ‘Tomato’……….. well, I can see why it’s not usually considered top rank Yes. There’s no sense of cohesion to it, it comes across as 8 random tracks; there’s no consistency of sound or style from track to track, and there’s little flow from one song to another.
    Everyone’s recorded strangely, and no one sounds quite like themselves – Squire and Wakeman use really strange tones on their instruments, and Anderson sounds unusually shrill and unpleasant. This is kind of when those super-produced studio-sounding albums were becoming the norm for the more ambitious end of rock (I’m thinking of ELO, Alan Parsons, Pink Floyd, etc) – somehow instead of sounding pristine, it sounds really claustrophobic to me.
    And while a certain twee-ness seems like the kind of thing Yes would pull off, “Circus of Heaven” isn’t “For the Benefit of Mr. Kite”.
    Mainly though, it sounds like Yes casting around for a new direction, and not finding it. Nothing sounds assured. If you pointed to this and said this represents the state of prog rock in 1978, I’d be forgiven for thinking the genre was running out of gas and would agree with the public that it’s time to look elsewhere for inspiration in rock music. It seems Yes agreed because this line-up splintered right after.
    Having said all that, I still enjoy listening to it, even if it’s not my ‘go to’ album. It’s still part of the ‘classic era’ of Yes, even if ‘Tormato’ didn’t wind up become a classic album itself. I still enjoyed you discussing how much you love it, balanced by MAK’s more reserved praise. Thanks again for another fun episode.

    Now I await your passionate defense of “Open Your Eyes”.

    1. Thanks Charles. I’m very glad you find my love of Tormato appealing – if not necessarily the album! I do recognise your comments about its deficiencies but, you’ll be glad to hear, I have no intention of demoting it from the top of my list!

  7. Oh, and the cover……… 🙂

    When I first got interested in Yes, I read about the cover well before I finally saw it. Even before I heard or saw it, the title ‘Tormato’ just seemed like a joke I wasn’t getting, from a band that wasn’t known for its sense of humor; it just didn’t land, even if the tomatoes on the cover did. And even if the flaws of ‘Tormato’ are exaggerated, releasing an album that sounds a bit like a veteran band short on inspiration…….. then putting it out with a picture of tomatos thrown at it……….. it’s making the album seem ‘pre-reviewed’. If even Rick Wakeman can’t resist making the obvious joke, I can’t blame listeners or reviewers. The band really should’ve stuck with the title of ‘Yes Tor’ (a much better joke) or given it a grander title….. and left off the vegetables. That might not have improved the music, but I think it would’ve made it less trivial.

    I actually like Hipgnosis’s work (I have the coffee table book of their complete works), and think of the two-album period after the solo-albums break and the line-up shuffle of Drama as “the Hipgnosis era” of Yes. But I think the joke (such as it is) of the album cover/title was better suited to some of Hipgnosis’s other clients, like UFO or 10cc who did this sort of thing a lot.

    1. Thanks again, Charles. I also like other Hipgnosis covers and, of course, I have a soft spot for the Tormato one. I agree, though, that they should have gone for ‘Yes Tor’ – even the inner sleeve would have been better as the front cover – that could have worked!

  8. This is why I love the YMP so many different things can be found here on any given week!
    Awesome as always and to all the devoted Yes fans across the world that is what makes Yes so Great!

  9. I also loved the intro – especially the fact you made no reference to it (at least I don’t think you did, it’s nearly a week since I listened) but I do wish to make a complaint about YMP related to this.

    Prior to the recent weeks’s discussion about crowd noise, I, like others who have commented, have successfully managed subconsciously to filter it out. I’d never noticed anything untoward on Topographic Drama which I rated quite highly as a live album. Since YMP raised the issue of crowd noise, I listened again and it’s very prevalent.

    Unfortunately once heard, it cannot be unheard, so YMP has destroyed the listening pleasure I once gained from that album.

    1. Oh dear – I’m really, really sorry about that, Tim.

      That’s obviously the opposite of what I’m trying to do withe the YMP. I suppose it’s a bit like (although worse than) hearing a spoiler for a set list or film/TV show.

      I always try to make sure we are being fair to ARW and Yes and that includes pointing out deficiencies as well as heaping praise where it’s due but I can see where my spotting of the crowd noise and subsequent little jokes have backfired for you which must be really annoying.

      Sorry again.

      1. Kevin, my post was firmly tongue in cheek, as I hope yours was. Although it IS true that once heard, you can’t unhear it!
        Whether we like it or not, we need everything identified and discussed: the good, the bad and the ugly.
        Perhaps a theme for an episode: the little “bits” that don’t form part of the song, such as the count-in for Going for the One (once noticed, never forgotten). I’m not sure there are that many for Yes, but I’d love to be proved wrong.

  10. Speaking of crowd noise……….. does anyone else listen to Alan White’s drum solo with crowd noise and get reminded of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk”?? 🙂

    1. NICE! I believe I remember reading that it was actually crowd noise lifted from a soccer (sorry, Kevin – “football”) match.

  11. I try to like Tormato, honestly. Given Kevin’s love of it, I want to give it every chance, and each time he gives it a boost, I go back and listen to it again, hoping that I’ll hear what he hears, but the result is always the same. I come away with my disappointment re-confirmed.

    For me the worst aspect is the lyrics. I know that John’s lyrics generally don’t bear close scrutiny, and normally I don’t scrutinise them. They are just part of the sound. But on this album, for some reason they seem to stick out, and what sticks out is excruciating. The two obvious ones are “Arriving UFO” and “Circus of Heaven”, but some of the lyrics of “Madrigal” are pretty woeful as well, and I find “Don’t Kill the Whale” corny and obvious beyond endurance. It was corny and obvious when it first came out (I vividly remember my first hearing of it), and it has only gotten worse over time.

    If it wasn’t for the lyrics, I think I could probably put up with most of the other issues: the strangely hollow mix, the grating instrument sounds, the corny sound effects, the cover. But not the fake crowd noise in “Release, Release”. I could never put up with that.

    Thank goodness for “Onward”. It is quite magic. Notably John didn’t write the lyrics! Other than that, I quite enjoy the first and last tracks, but not the rest. I wouldn’t say I hate most of it. (Actually I do hate “Don’t Kill the Whale” and “Circus of Heaven”). But as a whole, it’s just very disappointing, especially as a follow up to my favourite Yes album.

  12. As usual Kevin, I’m late to the party. I really enjoyed your podcast this week with playful production and quality chat between you and Mark.
    However as I was listening I thought to myself that every time you speak glowingly of Tormato, I have to go and listen to it and then I wonder if it’s the same album that you’re speaking of.

    Then there was this time. I listened again dutifully as a loyal YMP fan and totally enjoyed it (well all but the perennial difficulty I have with this album)

    I didn’t understand why you spent so much time talking about Arriving UFO and Circus of Heaven as being the dodgy songs. There is for me only one song on this album that I’d gladly have left on the cutting room floor. Don’t Kill the Whale. While it was indeed topical, on the back of it I supported Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior, the production is totally crap. I think Rick must have nodded off while rocking the portamento controller. It is by far the worst thing Yes has ever put on record.

    I think the other songs are really good. Even Madrigal made me think back to how I felt in 1978 about this album. It does help that the live tour was so exceptional but I remember listening to the record over and over and also taping it so I could listen to it in my pal’s car.

    While the cover is a total disaster, it is preceded by the biggest disappointment, GFTTO. That one was truly a let down. After that Tormato was more of the same.

    Now I recall the feel good effect that this album had on me 40 years ago. I wish I was back in 1978 so I could go again …

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