Arc of Life First Impressions – 464

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

This week, Mark and I have had the chance to listen to the whole of the new Arc of Life album so listen out in a few moments for our initial reactions to that.

We also have time to think about a 2 pence suggested by Jeremy North and I need to correct an omission from last week when we played Daniel and Amanda’s contribution to the What if Rick Wakeman had joined Yes before the Yes Album question but didn’t have time to add any feedback.

  • What is the full Arc of Life album like?
  • Is the music different to the singles?
  • Is it prog – and does it matter?

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

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Show notes and links:

Join us in August to record episode 500 here:

Lewis Clarke / West Devon : Yes Tor / CC BY-SA 2.0

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  • Jeffrey Crecelius
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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

6 replies on “Arc of Life First Impressions – 464”

2Cents: The first song that comes to mind as Yes’ most positive and uplifting is It Will Be A Good Day from The Ladder. Just positive all the way through. Of course, there are many others I could mention.

Arc of Life: I like the second single, Just in Sight, a lot better. Will give it more listens. Don’t care for You Make it Real at all. So far, I’d say if you like Open Your Eyes and Billy’s solo work, you’ll like Arc of Life.

Hi Kevin and Mark

I think you are both disappointed after hearing Arc of Life. The expectations were high for something similar to a new Yes album only to get another Billy Sherwood album. Although I believe Billy has done a good job replacing Chris Squire and allowing Yes to continue, I think as far as new music goes he has a certain style and sound which I cannot entirely get on with. So if Billy is the main contributor to new work in Yes or Arc of life it will be more shades of Open Your Eyes, Conspiracy etc.. There is a lot of talent in Arc of Life and this is a reasonable start so let’s see how things develop.

Here’s a question for you both. How would you compare this album to Heaven and Earth? I’ve only heard two tracks from Arc of Life so far but so far Heaven and Earth is the winner for me 🙂

Two Pence: There are so many, but here are the first few that come to mind: The Revealing Science Of God, Going For The One, Future Times/Rejoice, The Calling, To Be Alive

Arc Of Life: so far, this isn’t really doing much for me. Just In Sight sounds like a song that could be on Open Your Eyes, and for me, most of the songs on OYE have a very similar sound to each other that aren’t really my style.

Thank you for the review of Arc of Light…..I look forward to receiving my copy soon. From your comments it would seem this could have been a missed opportunity or perhaps an example of the sum being LESSER than the parts. Anyway I have ordered it on CD along with Prog Collective 3.

Your 2cents discussion was most interesting . Possibly the first thing that attracted me to Yes music over 40 years ago now was its positivity and its ability to uplift the spirit. “Awaken” was probably the first time I had heard a piece of music that filled me with joy and actually brought me to tears.
Jon and Vangelis “I’ll find my way home” does the same.
Actually all Yes music I find uplifting .
Specific albums would be
Fish out of Water
Olias of Sunhillow
Song of seven
Actually I was just about to list virtually every Yes album so I will stop there.

To totally misquote Petula Clarke…”when you are a lone and feeling unhappy can always go…YES town.”

I had high hopes of this record because I have a lot of time for Dave Kerzner’s “New World” and Mantra Vega records. He’s also all over “Thud” which is an album I love.

I think Davison and Sherwood are beyond reproach as conduits for main sequence Yes music and I definitely thought Kerzner could be exactly the right missing ingredient that would lift a US-oriented take on Yes music into properly progressive territory.

Judging by the comments above and the two singles I think that this faith on my part might have been slightly misplaced.

I don’t know if it is geographical or generational (maybe Mark can tell us?) but the thing about the American prog I’ve been hearing over the last 40 years or so is that it seems to completely filter out the late 19th / early 20th century classical, folk, jazz, psych and church music influences that were such a big part of the UK melting pot that spawned Yes half a century ago and not really replaced them with anything other than a lets-make-it-hard-to-play dedication to technical excellence.

What I want from a prog record is to hear great musicians resolve the tension between things that shouldn’t coexist but somehow do through a genius of composition or arrangement thus producing something more than the sum of its influences. Otherwise there is a danger of projects like this being in-essence high concept, technically brilliant collections of rock songs, often with a thick glossy 80s radio sheen spread over the top, but with not much actual musical adventure. Maybe the long tracks will do that for me. Here’s hoping.

I love YMP because it prompts me to think about Yes, and that makes me happy. So the topic of uplifting Yes selections was a concentrated dose of this.
I listen to Yes when I’m out running, so I curate playlists to deliver an endorphin boost. They might contain, in no particular order, the following
“To Be Over” which leads me to a state of transcendent bliss as the themes surge and recede towards the end.
“Awaken” with it’s evocation to spiritual connection to the whole universe
“Future Times / Rejoice”, “Does It Really Happen?”, “Cinema”, and “Almost Like Love” have a brightness to them that wake me up every time.
And, Mark, yes, you are spot on about “New State of Mind”. In particular, the vocal line “Reaching for the golden heights without a doubt you’re ready for the climb” when the harmony subtly changes with one of the middle parts rising instead of falling. That lifts me up!

Great topic – thanks.

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