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Yes Tracks Through Time – Part 10 – The Revealing Science of God – 220

Tales From Topographic Oceans
Tales From Topographic Oceans

In a week where Yes revealed they will be playing sides one and four of Tales From Topographic Oceans live, Mark and I look at aspects of the most controversial Yes album ever.

  • What’s Tales all about?
  • How many times have sides one and four been performed live?
  • Which line-up was best at performing it?

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

Show notes and links

Ben Craven’s website for his new album, ‘Last Chance to Hear’

Preston Frazier on Close to the Edge

Paul @Earthbound’s new video

Tony Kaye and Billy Sherwood Live in Japan

William Mulryne’s website and his Metal Band Photographer website

Youtube videos I watched this week:

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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

11 replies on “Yes Tracks Through Time – Part 10 – The Revealing Science of God – 220”

Great show as always.
I really like Tales I believe there is know other band that could have even thought about doing something like this.
However I would agree with Mark that Reveling and Ritual would have made it a great album,however the filler as you referred to it I think serves a much greater purpose that even we could not really understand.
Haven seen Ritual in 76 and in 2001 it has always been one of my all time favorite Yes pieces
Thank you
Paul Tomei

Thanks Paul. I do also enjoy the other sides – sometimes I can’t understand what the issues are with them – at other times I do see where folks are coming from but, in the end, you have to go with your own reactions to music. 🙂

Greetings Paul,
Thank you for your comments. I agree…I’m sure the other songs (The Remembering and The Ancient) play a vital roll as far as the story goes but musically I never found it as I mentioned The Ancient has definitely grown on me over the years but I can’t say the same for The Remembering.
Thank you for listening Paul and your support.

Mark Anthony K

There’s too much good material on the middle two tracks to dispense with them entirely. I always thought that Tales would have made a great three sides, with The Remembering and The Ancient both reduced in length. In the light of your review, MAK, I listened to both today specifically with an ear to what I’d leave out – and guess what? I couldn’t decide where to edit. They seem to me to make perfect musical sense as they stand. Yet i’m still left with the feeling that side two drags on far too long for the first half. The Ancient, on the other hand, has one of the best examples of “order out of chaos” in the Yes canon. There’s a wonderful point where, after all the nastiest sounding pedal steel ever played by SH (the sound and angular screeching really makes me uncomfortable – as I hope is the intention) it calms down and we have something much more sedate and we assume this is the “order from chaos”, but it’s false as it quickly ramps up again before finally succumbing to the “So the flowering creativity of life …”, the classical/flamenco influenced nylon string guitar and, of course, “Leaves of Green”.

Ah – Tim, a man after my own heart! I wouldn’t cut the music anywhere unless I really had to. I too love the ‘order out of chaos’ moments!

I’d be ecstatic if by the time Yes bring Tales to the UK they incorporated all four sides – pretty unlikely i guess. But how about sides 1 & 4 and the whole or Relayer? Wouldn’t that be something?

Greetings Tim,
Thank you for your comments and input. I find your comment about making Tales a 3 side album…which a very much edited Remembering and the Ancient fascinating. .it would make it easier to listen to..I agree but overall I still find the Remembering to dull for my tastes. ..but then everyone has their own likes and dislikes…that’s what makes music amazing. As for Yes doing Side 1 and 4 and Relayer!!! You have my vote…in fact when they come to Canada next I hope they do that.

I have to agree that an edited Tales would be better than just side 1 and 4. Back then, Yes had to do a double LP. I think you could pare them down to about 15 mins each. When LPs only had room for about 40mins of music, bands really had to make more careful song selections. Of course a double LP gets around that! Still, to have condensed all 4 sides to fit on a single LP would leave off too much.

I like The Remembering. It’s the most oceanic of the songs in sound. Rick’s keys have that swirly, feel accented by Squire’s fretless bass work; both to that rising and falling melody (I didn’t realize it was a fretless until I listened to Miguel Falcao’s version on YouTube!).

Fretless bass! No I didn’t realise that either… Tales continues to confound and in some ways frustrate us all!

Hello Brian,
Thank you for your comments. Very interesting. ..Although I don’t understand why they had to make a double LP? They didn’t have to do anything. Frankly I wouldn’t have condensed the 4 sides…I would have got RID of side 2 forsure and most of side 3. But this is just one guys opinion and it does mean I’m right.
Thanks for listening Brian..we appreciate it.

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