Close To The Edge (CD/Blu-ray)
Let me preface my observations of the CTTE remix by saying that I don’t put these classic albums on a pedestal. If they can be sonically improved while remaining faithful to the original mix and maintaining musicality and the emotional content then I’m all for it. In general I liked what Steven Wilson did with the King Crimson catalog. I was particularly impressed by his reconstruction and resurrection of Lizard. When I heard he was tackling the Yes catalog I was hopeful because if there was ever a band that could use some sonic wizardry its Yes. Eddy Offord was never able to bring the magic to their mixes that he was able to give to ELP.
So how did Steven Wilson do with CTTE? I can only use one word to describe the new mix: “transformative”. CTTE was an album cobbled together from various bits and pieces. Its widely acknowledged to be the band’s best album (its certainly my opinion) but in terms of sonics it fell victim to the “too many cooks” syndrome. The original mix was a bit of a mess. Its all changed now.
The one thing that is immediately apparent is the foundation provided by Chris Squire’s bass. It reaches the pits of hell and if Mr. Wilson is going to take this approach with TFTO and Relayer he’s got my vote. In general there is a veil of schmutz that has been wiped away. All the instruments have more clarity and focus in the soundstage. “I Get Up I Get Down” was chilling. I found the soundstage consistently extended beyond the boundaries of my speakers. The mix is warm, involving and there is a balance among the instruments that I found lacking in the original mix - primarily because of Squire’s bass being given a shot of adrenaline. Jaw dropping stuff. The bonus track of “America” had exceptional, dare I say audiophile sound.
So the obvious question is - what sounds better - this mix or the SACD? I dunno. I can’t find my bloody SACD to compare…but here is my memory of the SACD. When I got it I played it through. It didn’t overwhelm me or disappoint me. My thought was “its fine...it is what it is - this is the best it will ever sound in the digital domain”. I was wrong. BUY OR DIE!
1 x CD/1 x Blu-Ray
1 Close to the Edge
2 And You And I
3 Siberian Khatru
5 Close to the Edge
Presented in DTS-HD Master Audio
– Album mixed in 5.1 Surround
– New Album mix
– Original Album mix (flat transfer)
– New Album mix (instrumental version)
– America original, new & instrumental stereo mixes & 5.1 Surround
+ further audio extras some exclusive to Blu-Ray edition
• Close to the Edge is the first in a series of remixed & expanded Yes Classics
• The classic album has been mixed for 5.1 Surround Sound from the original studio masters by Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) & is fully approved by Yes.
• CD features a completely new stereo album mix by Steven Wilson
• CD also features a new mix of America
• CD also features an early mix/assembly of Close to the Edge
• Blu-Ray features 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround (24bit/96khz) mixed from the original multi-channel recordings.
• Blu-Ray features the new stereo album mix in DTS-HD Master Audio (24bit/96khz).
• Blu-Ray also features the original album mix & America in a DTS-HD Master Audio flat transfers from the original master tape source. (24bit/192khz)
• Blu-Ray exclusively features instrumental versions of all new mixes in DTS-HD Master Audio stereo (24bit/96khz).
• Blu-Ray also exclusively features a needle-drop of an original UK vinyl A1/B1 pressing transferred in 24bit/96khz audio.
• Numerous audio extras appear in high-resolution stereo including single edits & studio run throughs of album tracks
• Original artwork by Roger Dean who has also overseen the artwork for this new edition
• Presented as a mini vinyl replica gatefold card sleeve with booklet containing new sleeve notes, rare photos & archive material.
“Close to the Edge” is the first in a series of expanded Yes editions including 5.1 Surround mixes, new stereo mixes & High-Resolution stereo mixes of the original music along with a wealth of extra material. Acclaimed musician/producer Steven Wilson has produced the new mixes with the approval of the band, while Roger Dean reprises his role as art director/designer of the newly issued edition, making this the definitive edition of the album.
When Yes entered the studio with Eddie Offord to record the band’s fifth studio album in mid-1972, their second with this line-up, the band was on something of a roll. “Fragile”, the band’s previous album, had taken Yes to a new level of international popularity with Top Ten chart placement on both sides of the Atlantic & yielding a hit single in the USA with ‘Roundabout’. The band was now established in the major music markets to an extent that was, perhaps, unexpected given the complexity of the music Yes performed. But with that popularity came a confidence that the expansive material of the two previous albums could be taken a stage further with the new recording. Rather than consolidating, Yes chose to innovate.
Recorded during lengthy sessions at London’s Advision Studios, “Close to the Edge” is that rarity in recorded music, the sound of a band & its individual members writing, playing and recording at the peak of their collective abilities. The album was issued in Autumn 1972 reaching chart highs & platinum sales status of 4 in the UK, 3 in the USA & 1 in Holland, though such statistics only hint at the worldwide popularity of the album over a period of more than four decades. The three pieces of music, the title track which spanned the entire first side of the vinyl album with ‘And You And I’ & ‘Siberian Khatru’ on side two, have remained concert favourites since release, with the 2013 Yes line-up currently in the middle of a world tour stretching into the middle of next year that sees the album performed in its entirety.
The album remains the favourite among many of the band’s legion of fans, a defining recording both for the band & for the progressive rock movement. It is also one of the most successful British rock albums ever released.
Since this release of “Close to the Edge” was confirmed, the various websites dedicated to Yes, Progressive rock & high-resolution audio have been very active with discussions among fans keen to hear the new mixes & the existing material in its purest audio presentation.