|Studio album by Yes|
|Released||28 November 1974 (UK)
5 December 1974 (US)
|Recorded||August–October 1974 in England on Eddie Offord's mobile equipment|
|Genre||Progressive rock, experimental rock, jazz fusion|
|Producer||Yes, Eddie Offord|
Relayer is the seventh studio album from the English progressive rock band Yes, recorded and released in 1974 on Atlantic Records. Relayer reached No. 4 in the UK, remaining 8 weeks in the Top 40, and No. 5 in the US, remaining 16 weeks in the Top 200. It is the only Yes studio album to feature keyboardist Patrick Moraz, who replaced Rick Wakeman after the tour of Tales from Topographic Oceans, earlier that year. Wakeman returned to his position in 1976.
The album, loosely based on Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, has the same structure as Close to the Edge released in 1972, with a long number on one side and two shorter songs on the other. It is a jazz-oriented album in relation to the other albums by the band, due in part to Moraz's jazz background. "Soon", the last section of "The Gates of Delirium", was released in a single limited edition in January 1975 along with "Sound Chaser", a mostly instrumental piece and a pure exercise in instrumental jazz improvisation that is reminiscent of King Crimson. "To Be Over", the last song of the album, is a complex melodic composition featuring soft keyboard arrangements accompanied by a Pedal steel guitar, also used in the first song, and an electric sitar, both played by guitarist Steve Howe.
Yes have on this album used several instruments that are unique, in that Patrick Moraz adopted several prototypes of synthesizers that were either modified before being offered for sale, or that never came into production. The album name comes from the lyrics of the song "The Remembering (High The Memory)", from their previous album. The cover was designed by Roger Dean, the artist responsible for most of the band's album covers.
After the ambitious concept double album Tales from Topographic Oceans, Rick Wakeman left Yes to resume his solo career. The band auditioned several prospective replacements, the closest contender being the Greek keyboardist Vangelis. He did not become a member of Yes, but these auditions paved the way for several future collaborations between Vangelis and Jon Anderson. The band finally chose Swiss-born Patrick Moraz, previously of the bands Refugee and Mainhorse, as a replacement while this album was well into production. The album title comes from the lyrics of "The Remembering (High The Memory)" from Tales from Topographic Oceans.
As with most of Yes' previous albums, Relayer features artwork by Roger Dean. The CD release features two additional paintings by Dean.
The album was recorded at Chris Squire's home in Virginia Water, Surrey, UK, August–October 1974, with Yes and Eddie Offord as producers. It was mixed at Advision Studios, London, autumn 1974. The recording/mixing engineers were Offord and Gennaro Rippo (spelled Genaro Rippo on the liner notes).
The recording made use of synthesizers and percussive sounds not found on any other Yes album. Patrick Moraz used equipment which was still in prototype stage (for example, a Vako Orchestron, used for the string sounds throughout the album) to colour the sound effects on the instrumental/collage section of "The Gates of Delirium". For example, the whooping and wheezing sounds ("electric slinky") about midway through the track were created by one such synthesizer. Jon Anderson recalled (in the 2003 CD booklet) that he and Alan White would stop by a breaker's yard on the way to Squire's house and buy discarded metal parts (brakes, clutches etc.) which were to be used as percussion. This contributes to the dense, concrete music-like sound of "Gates of Delirium".
Relayer has the same song format as 1972's Close to the Edge—a long epic on the first side, and two nine-minute pieces on the second—but employs a radically different musical style. "The Gates of Delirium" is a dense, 22-minute piece that was inspired by Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. It features lyrics about the futility of war and a lengthy instrumental middle section portraying 'battle' with galloping rhythms, martial melodies, dissonant harmonies, and clashing sound effects. The final section, in which the drive of the previous sixteen minutes is replaced by a gentle melody and a lyrical prayer for peace, was released as a US single under the title "Soon" in early 1975. "Sound Chaser" is a mostly instrumental piece that echoes the then-popular jazz fusion of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return To Forever with experimental and for some moments even funk and disco shades and influences. "To Be Over" features complex, melodic arrangements of guitar and electric sitar (at one point quoting a theme from Tales from Topographic Oceans), and relatively straightforward lyrics.
All the guitars used on "The Gates of Delirium" are Telecasters, according to Howe; prior to this recording he had generally used a Gibson. On "To Be Over" and the last parts of "The Gates of Delirium", a pedal steel guitar is used. Squire uses a Fender bass on "To Be Over" rather than his usual Rickenbacker. Bill Martin (in his book The Music of Yes) recalled how, as a teenager, he saw the band performing live in Atlanta in late 1974. As they opened with "Sound Chaser", then still-unreleased and very unlike anything they had previously recorded, Martin's first thought was that the band had gone crazy.
A special promotional only, white label, "banded for airplay" version of the LP was available to US radio stations in 1974. It has the track "The Gates of Delirium" broken into three segments: the opening vocal section, the instrumental "battle" middle section, and the "Soon" final section, with slight fades between each to aid with on-air segues. This was done to try to increase Relayer's radio exposure, as most radio stations would provide only limited, if any, air time to a 22-minute song. The edit of "Soon" resulting from this treatment was subsequently released as a single in the US
The critical reaction to Relayer, coming after a predecessor that many critics felt was pretentious and long-winded, was mixed. However, it was still a commercial success, with many observers later considering it vastly under-rated.
Relayer was remastered and reissued on Rhino Records in 2003 with three bonus tracks, including a complete studio run-through of Gates of Delirium with partly different or improvised lyrics. While most of the keyboards are not yet present, and some of the structure of the song is different, the complex rhythm track for the "battle" section has the same layout as in the finished version.
All songs written by Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White and Patrick Moraz except where noted.
|1.||"The Gates of Delirium"||21:50|
|3.||"To Be Over"||9:06|
|Rhino 2003 reissue bonus tracks|
|4.||"Soon (Single edit)" (Anderson)||4:18|
|5.||"Sound Chaser (Single edit)"||3:13|
|6.||"The Gates of Delirium (Studio run-through)"||21:16|
- Jon Anderson – lead vocals
- Steve Howe – acoustic and electric guitars, vocals
- Patrick Moraz – keyboards
- Chris Squire – bass guitar and vocals
- Alan White – drums, percussion
- Produced by Yes & Eddie Offord
- Engineered by Eddie Offord
- Tapes by Gennaro Rippo
- Cover Designed and Drawn By Roger Dean
- Plates Design by Mansell Litho
- Co-ordinated by Brian Lane
- Photography by Jean Ristori
|1975||Billboard Pop Albums||5|
|1975||UK Albums Chart||4|
1988 –Atlantic – CD
1994 – Atlantic – CD (Remastered )
1998 – JPN limited edition (LP-style sleeve)
2003 – Rhino – CD (Remastered with Bonus Tracks )
- "Production credits". www.discogs.com. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
- "Interview with Eddy Offord by Time Morse". Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- The Steve Howe Guitar Collection, 1994, p. 43
- The Steve Howe Guitar Collection, 1994, p. 47
- Bill Martin, The Music of Yes. Open Court Books, Chicago IL, 1997
- Ruhlmann, William. Album review Yes Relayer at AllMusic. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- "Top Pop Albums 1955–2001", Joel Whitburn, c.2002
- Billboard album charts info – Yes Relayer at AllMusic. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- "UK chart history – Yes Relayer". www.chartstats.com. Retrieved 16 September 2011.