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Produced by Preston Frazier
This week Mark and Kevin look at The Story of I by Patrick Moraz. This is the third solo album from the 75/76 collection. The 2 Pence is about Kevin and Mark’s choice of solo albums after this period and there are also a couple of listener voicemails and a written review of ARW to enjoy!
- Does this keyboard-based album stand the test of time?
- How does it compare to the Howe and White efforts?
- Is there a theme or concept?
Listen to the episode then let us know what you think!
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Mark’s vinyl copy of Story of I including those sleeve notes!:
Show notes and links
The Revealing Science of God review by Preston Frazier
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18 replies on “The Story of I by Patrick Moraz – 253”
“There’s nothing new except what’s been forgotten.”
Well, guys, it’s been a while since I posted one of my epic commentary(rants) so, . . . brace yourselves! (I shall try to be merciful…)
Topographic Oceans was my initial introduction to Yes but the first album I just dove whole-hog into the deep end of was Relayer (entirely inappropriate aside: is it just me, or does the color palette of Roger Dean’s cover art for Relayer look sort of like the way the album sounds? Does this make any sense? There seems to be a sort of tannic, washed-out dryness to the sound – which may well have to be something to do with it being recorded in what was, essentially, Chris Squire’s garage – that embodies itself in the grays and whites of the cover art… perhaps a topic for further discussion: how does the specific art of the specific album ‘color’ your opinion of the music itself? And how is it that Dean’s artwork seems to be so much a characteristic of the various albums he’s associated with?)
So, anyway, after hearing the absolute genius and unhinged creativity of Relayer (“Hello, my name is Patrick, and I’ll be taking over this group!”), when I learned that the various members of Yes were taking time off to release a series of solo albums… well, you can imagine my anticipation (I was 15, I was a total nerd, and not just a nerd, but a BAND nerd!)
You already know my opinion of Steve’s “Beginnings” and Alan’s “Ramshackled”; “Fish Out of Water” is still a problem for me to wrap my head around (completely)… but June of 1976 saw the release of “i” and then “Olias” barely a month later (and then I saw them for the first time just a month after that.) These two albums are exactly what I expected from the guys who created what is inarguably the founding keystones and building blocks of progressive rock music: “Tales…,” “Relayer,” “Olias” and “i” are some of the proggiest proggetivity ever to be progged!
Well, there’s my prologue to my comments about “i”. . . (forgive me!) So, on to the subject at hand:
I LOVE THIS ALBUM! From the very first explosion of “Impact” to the final heartbreaking fadeout of “Symphony In The Space” this is one of the most creative, mystifying, frustrating, exultant, orgasmic explosions of musical genius ever perpetrated on the world!
It begins with an explosion that slowly but determinatedely introduces the various musical styles that will be explored throughout the journey we’re taking, taking every sort of detour one can imagine: especially the contrapuntal English/French vocals of “Intermezzo” followed by what I can only imagine is the single moment in musical history when a classical baroque piano piece was enhanced by a jazz riff! (with possible apologies to Maurice Ravel!). And then “side one” ends with a phenomenal pop tune “The Best Years of Our Lives.”
“Side Two” seems like an entirely different animal, and I think it’s not entirely unintentional, with some completely different musicians used – mostly I’m thinking of Andy Newmark taking over the role of “drummer.” Andy has been around FOREVER and this album seems to be almost an outlier in his catalog – for an entirely different take on his style, listen to the final two John Lennon albums, “Double Fantasy” and “Milk and Honey.”
The rest of this album seems as if it’s a single composition (which I suppose it was, right?), highlighted by the incredible “Dancing Now,” which has that amazing riff! You know the one I’m talking about, right?
Anyway, this incredible (have I used that word already?) musical journey continues on towards the only possible conclusion it could have. . . and the end should break your heart. If it doesn’t, then you haven’t been listening…
OK – so far as the podcast goes, YEAH – there’s a lot that sounds like it could have been taken from or included on Relayer; there’s also a symbolic/thematic relation to “The Invention of Knowledge,” but in this case it seems to me that the overwhelming musical creativity is laid down in a predertimed timeline of perfect wonderfulness, instead of dropped on us like an atomic bomb of progressive comlexivity.
Finally (aren’t you just waiting for “FINALLY”?), Kevin: you commented on how Patrick Moraz credits himself for the initial composition of “Awaken,” and I think it’s entirely possibly true: I’m sure you’ll recall that on Disc Six of (what you referred to as my “Yes Magnum Opus”) “Tales From The Edge Of Delirirum” I counter-pointed the introductions of “Awaken” and “Sound Chaser.” They seem to be entirely complementary compositions. Mark, I’m going to have to get a copy of these discs off to you, Mr. Completeness Guy!
OK – So, you probably get that I think “i” is a GREAT ALBUM. YOU ARE RIGHT! I love the way that it brings all the musical themes around to it’s final conclusion – I’m a sucker for thematic continuity. . . ask me about Battlestar Galactica some time. . .
. . .three tries and Spell Check could still not figure out “predetermined”. . . or was it three glasses of wine? . . .
So…is the length of the comment dictated by the amount of wine? ( this is a 3 glass comment?) LOL!!
The amount of time composing it certainly is! 🙂
Nicely done. ..I’m also a Battlestar Galactica fan but this is the wrong place to discuss that. LOL!!!
Excellent post Mr Cottrell.
Hi guys. I agree with many of your selections, but I would also like to throw Conspiracy in the ring by Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood for your list of special, more recent, “solo” albums by Yesmen. Surely a must have for Squire fans.
Yes I have to agree Conspiracy is a great one to include. ..it’s not in my personal top 3 but it is a good album.
In case you have never heard of Grand Funk Railroad and therefore have no idea how confused I was… here is a link to their “hit” from that album. “Paranoid”… https://g.co/kgs/yj61Sp
Loved your story – hilarious
That was an actual Laugh Out Loud moment! What a great story – I wonder if that episode has affected how you relate to Yes’ music (not to mention Grand Funk!)…?
Great episode as usual Kevin. I’m pleased to see that Mark has been promoted to ‘co-host’ as he’s more than earned it by now.
That must have been the most thorough dissection of “The Story of I” ever, probably more than when it was originally released, and while it’s now a pretty obscure album I’m sure the people who loved it really enjoyed the discussion.
Like yourself, I’m not a huge fan of Moraz’s favored style of keyboard fusion – my idea of electronic music was shaped by the likes of Depeche Mode and New Order – but I enjoyed it more than I expected. Bits of it sound to me like a low-budget horror movie soundtrack c.1983, but I’m a sucker for those sci-fi filter passes you mentioned AND of South American grooves. It kept me entertained, though I’m not as enthusiastic about it as Mark clearly is.
I’m much more in agreement with you about Change We Must, which completely reinvigorated my waning interest in Yes after Union underwhelmed me. I’ve always been tempted to do a write up about why I love that album so much; perhaps it’s time I do that.
Thank you for the kind words. I’m also thrilled to have become “co-host” of this fantastic podcast. I’ve said it before..even though I’m very involved in this podcast. ..I’m still one of its biggest fan…I love listening to it still…Kevin is the master of podcasts.
I very much enjoyed going through The Story of I..it’s a great album. But it isn’t for everyone. ..i can see how Change We Must might resonate with more people. I’m sure we will cover it sooner then later.
I like the way you two seem to have sort of informally divided up responsibilities: Kevin still piloting the website and podcast, Mark seems to be mostly running the FB page. There’s enough work for everyone here…
I would like to just add that not only is this the greatest Podcast ever it also helps to expand and rediscover all of Yes / Yes members solo work which in turn causes me to re purchase albums that have since been lost or permanently borrowed or stolen great show as always Gentleman!
I felt moved to send my thanks for the ever improving podcast and note its effect on my listening and purchasing. Then I see Paul wrote it for me!! Small world. Thanks
I enjoyed this foray into one of the more obscure Yes solo albums. For me it was called simply “I”.
Listening to Mark’s glowing review made me wonder why I got rid of it in my album cull of the early eighties when I’d thrown myself into Classical music. There’s no doubting Moraz’ brilliance as a musician and composer. No need to apologise there, he is probably at least if not more skilful than RW, certainly at that point anyway. However Mark’s comments didn’t match my memories of “I”. All percussion and whistles is my recollection.
It was Kevin’s appraisal which immediately brought back to mind the impression it had on me. You expressed it perfectly. That battery of sound with all its glorious percussive and musical pyrotechnics was indeed mind blowing. I remember the day it came out and going to Newcastle to buy it. Feeling a bit headachy that day already you can imagine the effect it had on me! I was open to the latin vibe but it was pretty intense a real assault on the senses. Even though I developed a love for Jazz rock around that time, I never really liked “I” enough to keep it.
While I can understand Mark’s 10/10 from his perspective, it is in no way equal to Olias or FooW. Those two albums are outstanding even among the great Yes albums of the day.
Great show! I always thought “The story of i” was about golf! (See, the cover art tower looks like a golf tee and the globe like a rather small golf ball).
I’d also add Conspiracy to the “solo” list. “Song of Seven” is my 2nd favorite Anderson solo album, so it get a spot. Your next show is about my favorite JA record!