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Produced by Robert Nasir, Jeffrey Crecelius, Wayne Hall, Preston Frazier and Bill Govier
Mark and I have finally both received our remarkable box sets of the deluxe edition of Chris Squire’s progressive masterpiece, Fish Out Of Water. It’s an expansive set so we get stuck into as much of it as we can this week.
- What is in that really heavy box?
- How does the new mix sound?
- Is it all worth the money?
Listen to the episode then let us know what you think!
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Robert Nasir | Jeffrey Crecelius | Preston Frazier | Bill Govier | Wayne Hall |
Joseph Cottrell | Michael O’Connor | Paul Tomei | Geoffrey Mason | Lobate Scarp | Fergus Cubbage | Steve Dill | Steve Scott
Paul Wilson | Jamie McQuinn | Miguel Falcão | Ken Fuller | David Pannell | Brian Sullivan | Joost Doesburg | Jeremy North | Tim Stannard | David Watkinson | Steve Roehr | Geoff Baillie | William Hayes | Terence Sadler | Neal Kaforey | Simon Barrow | Dave Owen |
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13 replies on “Fish Out Of Water Deluxe Edition – 336”
I say this a lot but that’s another really interesting episode that I will keep and probably revisit when this album gets its next reissue complete with hologram videos.
Try as I might I can’t get terribly excited by anything that happened with Yes between the break up of the Drama line up and the release of The Ladder. Fish Out Of Water is much more up my street as I have loved that record unfailingly from the day I bought it (not long after its original release with money I got for my birthday.) I only bought two of the solo albums in the period of their release – this one and Beginnings – though that represented a massive outlay for me. I heard Anderson’s too but I think it was a combination of budget and the big sell of the OGWT promo films that swung me towards Squire and Howe’s efforts.
So of course I bought this box and it is a lovely and totally respectful document of one of the great rock instrumentalists in a period of peak creativity. Mixes are great, the book is actually worth having (unlike say the Roxy Music one) and it feels like a lot of money has gone into the production of the whole document.
As for the music, if any of our contemporary prog gods came within a country mile of making a record this good then they would have reason to be very proud of themselves and could retire there and then in a glow of public acclaim. I am actually not sure that it is has been bettered by the prod community in the intervening 43 ish years. Awaken rivals it in terms of the sheet amount of invention and beauty it contains but across a whole album? Not for me.
So an album that has always stood next to the very best of Yes family canon but has remained largely unsung is getting its due. The box and the attendant publicity will only enhance people’s awareness and neither age nor musical fashion have diminished its impact one bit. As far as the Squire legacy goes it’s all good.
The problem I have with the bombardment of reissue packages across the spectrum of 60s and 70s artists is that I feel it is taking me further and further away from the original experience of wonderment rather than closer to it. It’s like the past is being bricked up artefact by artefact in very nicely maintained and lavishly catalogued Museum of Rock.
Question is do I want the highlights of my personal listening history curated within an inch of its life? Not sure I do and I am so familiar with the original vinyl and the first WEA cd release of Fish Out Of Water that I might just stick with them rather than accept the box versions as optimal. It looks really nice on the shelf, represents great value but not sure I will play the contents again. Same applies to many of the other 25-30 boxes (some career overviews, some single album redux versions) that I have bought over the last decade.
There is also a wider negative. The fan instinct to consume and internalise the thing we love is so easily exploited but I am not sure it is always a healthy thing for the listener and, like the £75 heritage act concert ticket, it is doing nothing for the money that is going to new music. For the most part these old bands don’t even take out new artists as opening acts who then benefit from the exposure. The majority of fans are not enormously interested in the new music and are a bit past running for last trains and night buses.
Fortunately I can put Fragile on to this day and from the first notes (even with the Wilson mix) I can remember where I was and what I felt hearing that music for the first time when all I really knew was Glam, my sister’s Groundhogs, Fairports and Moody Blues albums and the Top 40. I have forgotten a lot of my childhood and adolescence but that feeling of a musical universe opening up in front of me is something I can still literally taste. Fragile was probably my first listening experience where I was punching above my knowledge base as a music fan. It ultimately led me to all kinds of wonders from Mahler to Sun Ra and beyond. That universe hasn’t closed and, if anything, is opening wider with each passing year. Music is a living experience not an exercise in nostalgia or something I have pasted into a scrapbook or photo album. That is what I fear these boxes inadvertently do.
So maybe keeping that feeling of wonderment pure and unmediated is worth more than the extra insight that track sheets and exquisitely transparent mixes etc might bring. As Alan Bennett says in the History Boys “there’s no better way of forgetting something than by commemorating it”. Still thinking about that one in this context but I expect I will keep spending while I figure it out.
What I will say is that if you have never owned a copy of this record and have nothing to measure it against then there is no better time to catch up.
Thanks for the fantastic analysis. I agree about the dangers of this kind of release but I can’t resist the excitement and satisfaction of owning such beautiful packages even if they don’t really add that much to the experience of the actual music. I find myself tempted more and more by the artefacts of Yes and related music which isn’t something I was expecting.
I’m afraid I’m turning into a Yes collector and getting dangerously close to being a completist. Help!
However, the music itself is what has always been the point for me and if I had to give up the whole collection apart from the albums, I’d be happy. Might free up quite a bit of space as well…
Hey, Kevin – and Mark – if you find that the DVD with the 5.1 version is simply taking up too much space in your house, I know of a great place you could send it, where it will be cared for and listened too frequently… 😉
I’ll let you know.
I listened to the episode on my Monday holiday bike ride, followed by the actual Fish Out of Water album on the return trip. What a great listen, both the episode *and* the album. FOOW is definitely worthy of having attention lavished on it, but I passed on this box set. It just seems that they tried to stretch out a little too much from some pretty slim contents, and put a hefty price on it. It looks nice, but I feel that I’d be just looking at it instead of having new stuff to listen to. Listening to the episode sent me right back to listening to the same terrific 40 mins or so of FOOW, which is obviously a good thing, and I’m glad that some people feel that the effort was worth it.
I like looking at it. 😉 I do think the new mix is really interesting as well. Maybe it will be available as a single CD in the future.
Also, I’m another person who’d be happy to take the 5.1 surround disc off your hands, as that was the main thing I was interested in about this box.
Judging by a couple of my earlier posts to YMP, I think I may be the only person who actually listened to any of the 5.1 mixes of Yes’s (or other groups’) albums. The only responses were the sounds of tumbleweeds rolling by (possibly in surround).
Everything sounds better in 5.1 surely? I think very few people have equipment to experience 5.1 properly or am I misunderstanding?
I can’t speak for that UK, but certainly in the us you can get a reasonable 5.1 surround set for a couple hundred American dollars – and that’s including the player itself which has a streaming option for movies and a radio tuner. I’d encourage you to check them out. It doesn’t seem like too much money or set-up effort for enthusiastic music listeners or movie watchers.
Sounds like Kevin needs a trip to Walmart…
Charles – The 5.1 mixes are always the big draw for me; hopefully we’ll be able to get the FOOW DVD on it’s own… surely one will turn up on eBay, sooner or later. Of the Steven Wilson Yes remixes, Tales is my favorite – my favorite Yes album as well. I haven’t delved into his work on King Crimson, but I do have the recent Heavy Horses New Shoes Edition from Jethro Tull and I’d really like to get my hands on the Songs From The Wood remix, but it’s become frustratingly hard to find and even more frustratingly expensive when you do find it.
Thank goodness for the rest of the episode. If it had finished immediately after the unboxing i think i’d have removed my patronage! Unboxing, if we have to have it at all, surely has to be a visual experience with auditory comments. If the listened is disinterested in unboxing it is a dull boring wait; if the listener is interested it is incredibly frustrating that it cannot be seen. Please, Kevin, if you do another, put it on the YouTube channel. By all means list the items and your impressions on the audio podcast but spare us (well, me really as no-one else has complained) having to listen to you unboxing your goodies.
Fortunately the greater part of the episode was full of great commentary and opinion from both of you.
I bought FOOW in a second hard record store in Truro in around 1979. I’ve always enjoyed it and welcomed the excuse to revisit it prompted by the episode. It’s good, there are some nice melodies and some of the construction may well be very clever and work well, but I’m not entirely sure it deserves the heaps of praise that seems to be lavished upon it. To my ears it lacks the variety of themes or the extensive development of themes one might find in Yes albums of the time.
One example – the repeated “Silently Falling, down, down, down” which ends that track has quite a bit going on and it builds- but it’s nothing compared to the buildup of Wurm which has a real sense of anticipation the a massive release when Steve’s solo enters (and it continues to build).
I do wonder whether there’s a bit of deifying going on here – now he’s sadly no longer with us he can do no wrong?
Oh dear, sorry to hear you didn’t like the unboxing, Tim! I will certainly consider carefully using the same technique again.
In the end, after that careful consideration, I might decide it’s a reasonable way of looking at something new, of course 😉
Anyway, I’m very glad you did get something out of the rest of the episode. I understand what you mean about the deification but I did also rate the album very highly when I first reviewed it back in episode 184, which was shortly before Chris passed away.
It is, I agree, now easy to get carried away with Chris’ output and legacy but I’ve always been in awe of his contribution to Yes Music.
However, thanks for the thoughtful reminder to consider everything we do carefully – it is much appreciated.