Keystudio – 227

Keystudio
CD purchased 2001

Anderson Rabin and Wakeman are working on a new album. The last time Anderson and Wakeman worked on a Yes album together was Keys to Ascension 2 so Mark and I take this opportunity to think about the studio tracks which are collected on the Keystudio album.

  • Should the studio tracks have been assembled in this album?
  • How does it compare to other studio albums?
  • Should Keystudio be better known?

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

Show notes and links

Joost Maglev’s new album!

ARW news item on YouTube

Animaniacs skit

Rabin’s first time live with Yes:

Ben Craven album launch

Play for Chris 2:

More Drama Tour NFTE as spotted by Geoff Bailie

 

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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
About the Author

Kevin

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13 thoughts on “Keystudio – 227

  1. Is there a point to doing a “commercial” Anderson/Rabin/Wakeman album at this point? The music industry doesn’t give older musicians much of a chance. I’d imagine this album’s target audience is hard-core Yes fans, and that’s it. (Nothing wrong with that!)

    1. Hello bdure,
      I believe you answered your own question. The reason…and probably the best reason to make a new album is for the fans. There is no better reason.

      Thank you for your comment and support.

      Mark

  2. regarding the Keys to Ascension studio tracks as a ‘lost gem’, I could not agree more. The marketing for these studio tracks has always mystified me. At the time of their release, there was intense excitement on the various Yes related newsgroups that were active back then. Wakeman, for one, has always been critical of how these studio tracks were released with live recordings of older material, and I think Keystudio was a way to try and correct this marketing gaff – but it was too little too late. There was no proper tour or promotion for these tracks either. Wakeman immediately left Yes again (health problems if I remember correctly), and Open Your Eyes was quickly recorded with a tour to back it instead. Keys to Ascension is the last attempt at epic greatness for Yes, and it marks the end of an era, and the songs never got their just due.

    My opinion: The first half of That, That Is is best thing Yes have done post-1980. Most of the rest of the music is almost as good. The only exceptions are the very flawed and overrated Mind Drive, and the tacked-on second half of That, That Is. Everything else is fantastic listening.

  3. Kevin, Mark,

    I have always been interested in new material and ignored live albums. So when I got back into Yes I looked for a copy of Keystudio. Given the law of supply and demand, I was able to get the set of Keys 1 and 2, along with the Keys DVD for practically the same price as Keystudio. But once I ripped the discs to iTunes, I found the track list for Keystudio and created a playlist accordingly. While I disagree with the last poster, and love all of Mind Drive and That, That Is, I agree that this collection of music as a whole is phenomenal. (Depending on my mood) I often might refer to this as the greatest Yes album of all time. No, I’m not kidding. It is, of course, all a matter of taste.

    My least favorite bit is the very end of Mind Drive, like a disturbing calliope intrusion heard through an open door of the symphony hall, just as the assembled players have wound up a brilliant performance of a masterwork. But I won’t let that ruin the track for me. The lyrical content of That, That Is certainly is a departure from what a Yes fan is used to, and in general I don’t care for it, but if those images are what inspire the songwriters to put these parts together in this prog epic I’m totally OK with getting used to it.

    For my own selfish part, I no longer care about the decision to assemble and release Keys to Ascension and Keystudio the way they did. It may have been a marketing blunder, but those of us who have these tracks in our collections get to enjoy them all we like. How much of a wider audience would really appreciate them anyway? I’m going to go listen to it all again now. Cheers!

    1. Hello Karl,
      Thank you for your comment. It was well written and had interesting points. I have also been listening to this a lot of late and it is quickly climbing the ladder as far as favorite album is concerned. I can’t believe how great this album is…and it’s a crime that it was so overlooked.

      Mark

  4. I couldn’t quite figure out where to put this, so I decided the most recent episode was as good a place as any…

    This goes back to episode #222, and what, exactly, makes up “YES 2.0”

    So, here we go:

    Y E S
    1.0 – Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Tony Kaye, Peter Banks
    1.2 – Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Tony Kaye, Steve Howe
    1.3 – Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman
    1.4 – Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Alan White
    1.5 – Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Patrick Moraz
    2.0 – Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, Trevor Horne
    1.6 – Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Alan White, Tony Kaye, Trevor Rabin
    1.6.1 – Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Alan White, Tony Kaye, Trevor Rabin, Billy Sherwood
    1.7 – Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Billy Sherwood
    1.8 – Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Billy Sherwood, Igor Khoroshev
    1.9 – Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White
    1.9.1 – Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Tom Brislin
    3.0 – Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, Benoit David
    3.0.1 – Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Benoit David, Oliver Wakeman
    4.0 – Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, Jon Davison
    4.1 – Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, Billy Sherwood, Jon Davison

    ..so, as I’m sure you all agree, while Jon Anderson is the single most consistent front man for the group, and Chris Squire (R.I.P.) the longest-lived original member, there is a fairly consistent evolution forward toward whatever lies ahead… and I think the future looks quite bright, lead on by Jon D. and Billy.

  5. Thanks to Kevin and Mark for revisiting the Keys studio tracks. I have always thought they ranked with Yes’s best ever work. I’d rank it as top 5 amongst Yes albums. I created my own play list for them in iTunes using the sequence from the K2A albums, which works really well.

    I totally agree that Yes messed up with their release and promotion of these tracks. Rick Wakeman was totally right. In fact, my suggestion would have been to release them as two separate solo albums with 3 songs on one and 4 on the other, released a year apart. One long epic on each. I think this would help us fully appreciate all these incredible tracks. Having them all on one album is a bit overwhelming and means that some lose their impact.

    I reckon that the Keys studio collection is their best album post Going For The One. It’s their only out and out classic album in the past 39 years.

    Thanks again
    Dave Pannell

    1. Greetings David Pannell,

      I’m glad you enjoyed this episode. I know Kevin and myself had a great time re listening to the album and giving our thoughts.
      I find your idea, about releasing the keystudio songs as two separate albums, very interesting. They would almost come across sort of like Relayer or Close to the Edge in that regard. And while I’ve said numerous times that the Relayer and Close format is my favorite for an album…I still believe that we as Yes fans can handle an album of the length that Keystudio is.

      But it is an interesting idea….keep them coming. Thank you for your support and for listening. ..we really appreciate it.

      Mark Anthony K

  6. Having listened to Kevin’s glowing review of the studio songs I had to give them another listen.

    Prior to this, I had criticised this project because the studio recordings were packaged with some of their great songs performed live. My opinion was that they were selling two albums to Yes fans by the live content and filling it with stuff from the cutting room floor.

    Having given the two Keys to Ascension albums another listen, my opinion has not changed. I’d rather have just the live music without the sub-standard studio stuff. For me, sometimes less is more, not in the sense that M-A K would describe the magnificent TFTO, but that some of YES’s music was really below par. If it were any good it would have been released as a proper album at the time of writing.

    Am I alone in thinking that they were scraping the barrel releasing this material. Yes I am a dinosaur but not a fossil. While I like much of the Rabin Yes, their attempts to get back to the classic Yes after that have never worked for me. The chemistry had gone. It is the musical equivalent of painting by numbers.

    1. No, you’re not alone. I always considered The “Keys” albums to be some really good live recordings with some studio extras thrown in for good measure. I very much wanted to like the new stuff, but the only part that ever came close to being something truly good was about the first half of the far-too-long “That, That Is.” None of the other studio tracks have ever stuck in my memory.

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