70′s prog-rock band Yes are really hit and miss for me. I enjoy a lot of their earlier work but they shifted gears later on and started making the sort of music we now mock when lamenting the cultural shortcomings of that polarizing age known as The 80′s. That aside, they have contributed some amazing work over the years; their eponymous first album is largely considered to be the first Progressive Rock album and it’s certainly a classic. One of my all time favorite songs is the track Survival from that very same album. The production and musicianship on these earlier songs is, to me, perfection. It’s these sort of songs that really make me miss the hot summers of my home. It’s funny how the context of your first experience with a song colors your perception of it from that point forward. Although it is an incredibly beautiful song, hearing Survival usually gets me a little down, I start missing home and getting all nostalgic. The first minute is something altogether transcendent. Being an electronic musician who doesn’t use traditional vocals, the instrumental parts of songs like this are great reference points for building emotion into a song without the need for vocals.
Yes – Survival
Yes was also a visually interesting band. The top five images are paintings by Roger Dean, some of which were used as Yes album covers. The second image is some random shot I found on Flickr while searching for Yes covers. This guy came prepared for whatever he’s about to get into: Portable tape recorder, box of tapes, joint, football, paper towels and of course, a Yes T-Shirt. The final image is from a series of Yes logos also by Dean.
As sort of a follow up to the previous post, I thought I’d post something about the band Wire. The cover above are from their albums Chairs Missing (1978) and 154 (1979). The following song, The 15th, is from the latter (awesome synth work at 0:47). There’s also a very nice live version here. Wire – The 15th
I’ve been meaning to post something about Fischerspooner for a while, they’re definitely one of my favorite electronic bands. They also have a very good visual sensibility with a lot of great design / imagery surrounding their releases. The top image is from their latest album, the middle is Casey Spooner, and the last is the video for Fischerspooner’s cover of Wire’s classic The 15th. Certainly my favorite FS song. Since Youtube sound quality is terrible, I’ve posted the MP3 itself below.
I could fill an entire blog with posts about B&S songs, the list never ends. But in the interest of not boring everyone to death I’m keeping it to my absolute favorites. Stuart Murdoch is an incredible poet and it’s a wonder they also come up with such beautiful music to accompany his words. Something that has always struck me about their recording style is the one-take nature they all seem to have (pre-The Life Pursuit albums at least). Not a ton of effects or production work, just them and their instruments. If you check them out live this fact becomes even more evident. Here’s a great video of them performing this song live.
I also love this cover, for obviously reasons. The type treatment is great and the color scheme is perfect. It’s definitely a break from the sort of duo-tone photos they typically feature on their covers, but this was just an EP and I think they might reserve those for the full albums most of the time. Sorry for the poor quality, I couldn’t find a proper scan of the cover anywhere.
Belle & Sebastian – The Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner
The Ghostly Swim compilation featuring the new Tycho single Cascade [Live Version] is now available for free download at the Adult Swim site. This new track is, as the name implies, a live mix of a new song which will be included on the next full length Tycho release. There’s a flash player you can embed on your site which includes the Tycho track, you can get the code at the Ghostly Swim site.