Relayer

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Relayer
Relayer front cover.jpg
Studio album by Yes
Released November 1974
Recorded Late summer and autumn 1974
Studio New Pipers, Virginia Water, Surrey, England
Genre Progressive rock
Length 40:31
Label Atlantic
Producer
Yes chronology
Tales from Topographic Oceans
(1973)Tales from Topographic Oceans1973
Relayer
(1974)
Yesterdays
(1975)Yesterdays1975
Singles from Relayer
  1. "Soon" (From "The Gates of Delirium")"
    Released: 8 January 1975

Relayer is the seventh studio album from the English rock band Yes, released in November 1974 by Atlantic Records. After keyboardist Rick Wakeman left the group in May 1974 over disagreements with the band's direction, Yes entered rehearsals as four-piece at bassist Chris Squire's home in Virginia Water, Surrey. During this period, they found their new keyboardist in Swiss musician Patrick Moraz who incorporates elements of funk and jazz-fusion on the album. Relayer is formed of three tracks, with "The Gates of Delirium" on side one and "Sound Chaser" and "To Be Over" on side two.

Relayer received a mixed to positive reception from contemporary and retrospective critics. It reached number 4 on the UK Albums Chart and number 5 on the US Billboard 200. A single of the closing section of "The Gates of Delirium", titled "Soon", was released in January 1975. Relayer continued to sell, and is certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for selling over 500,000 copies in the US. It was remastered in 2003 and in 2014, both with previously unreleased tracks; the latter includes new stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes and additional tracks.

Background[edit]

In April 1974, the Yes line-up of singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Rick Wakeman, and drummer Alan White wrapped their 1973–1974 tour in support of their previous album, Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973).[1] The album had been a success for the band, reaching number one in the UK for two weeks, and became the first to be certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry based solely on pre-orders. Despite the group's success, during the tour, Wakeman informed the band of his decision to leave at its conclusion following his disagreements and frustration with the direction the band had taken with the album, with its esoteric concept and its double length which he believed caused the material to suffer as a result. Wakeman confirmed his departure in May 1974, and the news was made public on 8 June.[2]

Reduced to a quartet, Yes retreated to Squire's home, named New Pipers, in Virginia Water, Surrey, which he had purchased in Christmas 1972,[3] and they started rehearsals for the next studio album in his converted garage. After some material had been written, auditions for a new keyboardist were held. They involved about eight players, including Jean Roussel, Nick Glennie-Smith of Wally, and Greek musician Vangelis.[4][5] Anderson was a fan of Vangelis and had tracked him down during the band's stop in Paris on the Topographic Oceans tour. He convinced Vangelis to audition with Yes in England, but they found he was non-committal and too strong a personality for a group.[6] Phil Carson, an Atlantic Records manager and associate of the band, later explained that Vangelis "tried out Yes but it didn't really gel ... Vangelis wouldn't get on a plane and wouldn't fly anywhere and Yes were about to go on tour."[7] The possibility of Vangelis joining the band was also affected by a rejection from the Musicians Union.[8] Soon after, Melody Maker reporter and band biographer Chris Welch suggested that the band try Patrick Moraz, a Swiss musician and film composer with a background in jazz and classical music, and a member of the progressive and jazz-fusion trio Refugee.[9][10] Anderson then listened to Refugee (1974) and took a liking to his playing. Less than a week later, Moraz accepted an invitation from Brian Lane, the band's manager, to attend an audition.[11] Moraz was a fan of the band and had previously met them during their tour of Switzerland in 1969.[9][12]

Moraz's audition with Yes took place in the first week of August 1974. He arrived at Squire's home early, and saw each member arrive in his own expensive car, and he later stated: "Coming from Refugee, where we had been walking three miles to and from our rehearsal place ... it was quite a contrast!"[5] Moraz's audition was held using Vangelis's keyboards, which were still situated in the studio.[13] After tuning up, he played some parts to display his ability. They included a short section of "And You and I" from Close to the Edge (1972), causing the band to stop talking and gather around the keyboards.[5] He was then asked to come up with a section to compliment what they had written for the middle section of "Sound Chaser". The band liked what Moraz had played, and the following day, Lane informed him that Yes was inviting him to join full-time.[14][15][10] Moraz felt some pressure to deliver, and drove from his flat in Earl's Court, London to Virginia Water each day to record.[12]

Production[edit]

Recording[edit]

Howe's main guitar on Relayer is a 1955 Fender Telecaster, similar to this one, which marked a departure from his usual Gibson ES-175.

Relayer was recorded at Squire's garage studio, marking the first time Yes had made a studio album outside of London. The process was cheaper as they no longer needed to pay fees to book studio time, which allowed the band to spend more time on the music.[16] It is their last from the 1970s to feature Eddie Offord as their producer before he left to pursue other projects. Having worked with Yes as their producer, engineer, and live sound mixer since 1970, Offord later stated that his time with the group had become "a bit stale" by the time of Relayer. As Squire's studio did not yet have the right equipment to record, Offord set up a 24-track recording machine and mixing desk using his own equipment,[17][16] and was joined by Genaro Rippo as his tape operator.[12] The album's production duties were shared by Offord and the group.[18] After the album was recorded, it was mixed at Advision Studios in London.[nb 1]

Having made Tales from Topographic Oceans, a double concept album, Yes scaled back their output and presented Relayer as a single album with a structure similar to Close to the Edge, with one track occupying side one and two tracks on side two. According to Anderson, the band wrote two additional tracks during the album's sessions but did not have enough time to record them. He described one of them as "absolutely crazy and intricate".[19] For the majority of his parts recorded for the album, Moraz did not write the music on paper and instead relied on his memory except for some particularly precise sections.[12] Recording sessions would last for as long as eight or nine hours.[20]

Howe uses a 1955 Fender Telecaster on Relayer,[21] marking a departure from his Gibson ES-175 that he had used since The Yes Album (1971). He also uses a pedal steel guitar on "The Gates of Delirium" and "To Be Over".[22] A pedal steel guitar is also used in certain parts of "Sound Chaser", as seen in live footage. Squire uses a Fender bass guitar on "To Be Over". Moraz uses a number of keyboards that are not found on other Yes albums, including a custom built Vako Orchestron.

Songs[edit]

"The Gates of Delirium" is a 21-minute track that Anderson described as "a war song, a battle scene, but it's not to explain war or denounce it ... There's a prelude, a charge, a victory tune, and peace at the end, with hope for the future."[19] Anderson had originally planned to have the entire album based on War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, but instead had a side-long track inspired by the novel.[23] Moraz recalled discussing War and Peace with Anderson, as they had both read the book, after which Moraz showed Anderson a French science fiction comic book with "Delirius" in its title. Moraz said, "He related to it immediately so I think that perhaps as a title 'The Gates of Delirium' came from that".[24] The song originated from an idea that Anderson had come up with and played to the group on the piano "very badly", so he was relieved when his bandmates understood what he was trying to do.[25] Anderson and Howe kept track of its structure by recording sections of it on cassette tapes, leaving Anderson to figure out the next part as the group would develop what was put down prior.[25] The song was recorded in sections at a time, though the group was familiar with the entire piece beforehand and spent several weeks recording takes of each section and selecting the ones the members felt were the strongest. Once picked, the sections were edited together and overdubs were then recorded.[12] The battle section includes crashing sound effects that were created by White pushing over a tower of used car parts that he and Anderson had collected from a scrap yard.[26] Howe remembered Anderson becoming too excited in what he envisaged the battle to be, leading the group to produce one mix that was "too far gone" and another "too safe".[27] Following the battle, the track concludes with a gentle song that later became known as "Soon".[25] Anderson later thought that the song did not come across effectively on record, but fared better in concert.[28]

"Sound Chaser" displays Yes' experiment with jazz fusion and funk influences. During Moraz's audition session with the band, he was asked to play an introduction to the song, which was recorded and used on the album after "one or two takes".[12][29] He has called his Moog synthesizer solo at the end of the track a highlight moment but felt that the keyboards on the rest of the album were buried in the final mix.[30] Howe thought the track was "an indescribable mixture of Patrick's jazzy keyboards and my weird sort of flamenco electric [guitar]", yet he disliked Moraz's initial choice of chords he played during his guitar solo, causing Moraz to play it differently, which he disagreed with.[14] Band biographer Dan Hedges compared the track to the style of fusion group Return to Forever.[23]

"To Be Over" originated in an afternoon that Anderson spent at Howe's house in London. As the two discussed what music to prepare for the album, Anderson told Howe of his fondness for a melody Howe had written and had sung to Anderson before. Anderson also had the initial lyric: "We'll go sailing down the stream tomorrow, floating down the universal stream, to be over". Howe gained inspiration for the track from a boat ride on The Serpentine lake in Hyde Park in London. From the beginning, he thought the song was "really special" and Anderson agreed to develop it further,[31] describing the track as "strong in content, but mellow in overall attitude ... It's about how you should look after yourself when things go wrong."[19] When the song's lyric was being finalised, Howe suggested having the line "She won't know what it means to me" follow "We go sailing down the calming streams", but Anderson changed it to "To be over, we will see", a change that Howe thought was "creatively disguised" to make a broader lyrical statement.[32] Moraz felt constricted to perform an improvised keyboard solo for the song, so he wrote down a counterpoint solo "exactly like a classical fugue" to blend his keyboards with the guitar and bass.[32] He had written an initial version on paper in an evening, yet the band expressed their wish to change the key of the song for the section, causing Moraz to spend several hours rewriting it overnight.[33][25]

Sleeve design[edit]

The album's sleeve was designed and illustrated by English artist Roger Dean, who had designed artwork for the band since 1971, including their logo. In his 1975 book Views, Dean picked the cover as his favourite for Yes, and the recording he enjoyed the most. He revealed his intention of depicting "a giant 'gothic' cave" for the sleeve, "a sort of fortified city for military monks".[34] Speaking about the cover in 2004, he said: "I was playing with the ideas of the ultimate castle, the ultimate wall of a fortified city. That was more of a fantastical idea. I was looking for the kinds of things like the Knights Templar would have made or what you'd see in the current movie Lord of the Rings. The curving, swirling cantilevers right into space."[35] The images depicted in many of Dean's album covers set an otherworldly tone and are an identifiable part of the band's visual style. For Relayer, the warriors on horseback reflect the lyrical themes of war present in "The Gates of Delirium".[36] The sleeve includes an untitled four-stanza poem by writer Donald Lehmkuhl dated October 1974, and features band photograph taken by Moraz's former Mainhorse bandmate, Jean Ristori.[nb 1] The album's CD reissue features two additional paintings, and further unused designs are included in Dean's 2008 book Dragon's Dream.[37] At the 1975 edition of the NME Awards, the album won Best Dressed LP.

Release[edit]

Relayer was released in the UK in November 1974 on LP, audio cassette, and 8-track tape, followed by its release in the US on 5 December 1974.[nb 2] It continued the band's commercial success during the 1970s, reaching number 4 on the UK Albums Chart[38] and number 5 on the US Billboard Top LPs chart.[39] Less than two weeks after its release in the US, the album reached gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America on 18 December 1974 for over 500,000 copies sold.[40] A single of the closing section of "The Gates of Delirium", titled "Soon" (From "The Gates of Delirium"), was released as a single on 8 January 1975, with an edited version of "Sound Chaser" on its B-side.[nb 3]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[41]
Pitchfork 5.3/10[42]

Relayer received a mostly positive reaction from music critics. Music journalist and author Chris Welch gave a positive review for Melody Maker, praising the album as "one of the most successful and satisfying Yes albums". He described "The Gates of Delirium" as a "powerful piece ... and benefits by the time structures imposed by this single album." Welch continued to note the band "at their best, creating tension and release with consummate ease, and preparing the way for Jon's crystalline vocals" at the end of the battle section which segues into "Soon".[43] In its December 1974 review, Billboard magazine called Relayer "another nearly flawless effort" by Yes and noted Moraz "fits in perfectly". It concluded with "one of the simpler, yet at the same time, one of the most workable sets the band has come up with."[44] Those who gave the album a negative review thought it was the follow-up to Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973), an album they felt was pretentious and overblown.[45]

In a retrospective review Allmusic rated the album three stars out of five, stating Yes had "little incentive to curb their musical ambitiousness" at the time, the album "alternated abrasive, rhythmically dense instrumental sections featuring solos for the various instruments with delicate vocal and choral sections featuring poetic lyrics devoted to spiritual imagery."[41]

The band[edit]

Howe described the music on Relayer as "very modern, European style of music, and Patrick brought in a South American flavour as well. It was a very international record".[16] Squire thought some of the interaction between his bass and White's drums was better than anything heard on previous Yes albums at that point.[28] Moraz summarised the album's recording as "pretty loose, but the energy is there".[28] Upon its release, Wakeman was asked to review it for the BBC and felt pleased that the band had made it as it was "far too jazzy and freeform, which I didn't like". Had the group recorded music more melodic and thematic, he would have felt angry as it would have been the direction that he thought Yes should have adopted. "I'm pleased I made the right decision to leave the band when I did".[46]

Reissues[edit]

Relayer was first reissued on CD in Europe[nb 4] and the US[nb 5] in 1988 by Sterling Sound. In 2003, the album was digitally remastered on Rhino and Elektra Records which included single edits of "Soon" and "Sound Chaser" and a studio run-through of "The Gates of Delirium"[nb 2] with less keyboards and alternate song structures in parts but an identical "battle" section as heard in the final version. 2009 saw the album remastered by Isao Kikuchi for the Japanese market.[nb 6] The 2003 remastered edition was included in the band's The Studio Albums 1969–1987 box set, released in 2013.

In November 2014, Relayer was reissued as CD/DVD-Audio and CD/Blu-ray disc packs on the Panegyric label with new stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes by Steven Wilson. The packs feature bonus tracks including an original master transfer and studio run-through versions of each track. The Blu-ray Disc include an instrumental mix of the album. This is the third Yes album reissued by Panegyric following Close to the Edge and The Yes Album.

Tour[edit]

Yes supported Relayer with their 1974–1975 tour of North America and the UK that lasted from 8 November 1974 to 23 August 1975, with the album played in its entirety.[46][1] The tour ended with a headline spot at the 1975 Reading Festival.[47] Most dates featured the English band Gryphon as the opening act.[1] Rehearsals lasted for several weeks at Shepperton Studios, Surrey with Offord on sound, stage lighting by their longtime associate Michael Tait, and the set designed by Roger Dean and his brother Martyn.[48][49] The tour opened with a 31-date leg of the US, for which Moraz had a limited time to learn the band's repertoire, spending roughly six weeks to familiarise with the material during his hour-and-a-half drive from his London flat to Squire's home. Moraz received assistance from Ristori who transcribed Yes's songs onto paper, forming long "memory sheets" that Moraz studied from because of the amount and complexity of the material.[49] He relied on the sheets for the first few shows on the tour, yet by the time the tour reached Madison Square Garden in New York City on 18 November 1974, Moraz realised he had learned the set and ceased to use them.[49][1] The show was a highlight for him, "We had a standing ovation for several minutes. The noise was absolutely unbelievable."[49] His rig included 14 keyboards on stage, double the number he had previously worked with.[49] Future Yes singer Trevor Horn, a fan of the band, remembered witnessing "The Gates of Delirium" in concert during this time. "It got to the end and Jon sang "Soon" ... I felt like crying. It got me so much. I loved that song so much".[14]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written and arranged by Yes.[nb 1] Track durations are absent on the original UK vinyl,[nb 1] but were included on North American pressings.[nb 7]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "The Gates of Delirium" 21:55
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Sound Chaser" 9:25
2. "To Be Over" 9:06

2003 remaster[edit]

2014 Definitive Edition[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the 1974 album liner notes.[nb 1]

Yes
Production
  • Eddie Offord – engineer, production
  • Yes – production
  • Gennaro Rippo – tape operator
  • Roger Dean – cover design and drawing
  • Mike Allinson – paste up
  • Brian Lane – co-ordinator (band manager)
  • Jean Ristori – original group photograph
  • Mansell Litho – plates

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e Atlantic K 50096
  2. ^ a b Rhino R2-73792
  3. ^ Atlantic 45-3242
  4. ^ Atlantic 250 096
  5. ^ Atlantic 82664
  6. ^ Rhino WPCR-75500
  7. ^ Atlantic SD 18122

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c d Sullivan, Steve. "Yes Shows – 1970s – 1974". Forgotten Yesterdays. Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  2. ^ Welch 2008, p. 150.
  3. ^ Welch 2008, p. 168.
  4. ^ Hedges 1982, p. 99.
  5. ^ a b c Smith, Sid (August 2014). Relayer [2014 Definitive Edition] (Media notes). Yes. Panegyric Records. GYRBD50096. 
  6. ^ Hedges 1982, p. 96, 98.
  7. ^ Welch 2008, p. 152.
  8. ^ "Late News – Inside Track". Billboard. Vol. 86 no. 34. 24 August 1974. p. 58. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 27 May 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Welch 2008, p. 151.
  10. ^ a b "Interview with PATRICK MORAZ". DMME.net. December 2000. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  11. ^ Cain, Elliot (28 August 1975). "Yes Affirms: There's Life after Wakeman". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 May 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Morse, Tim (21 May 2006). "Conversation with Patrick Moraz from NFTE #299". Notes from the Edge. Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2017. 
  13. ^ Kirkman 2013, p. 74.
  14. ^ a b c Morse 1996, p. 53.
  15. ^ "News Briefs". Billboard. 31 August 1974. 
  16. ^ a b c Morse 1996, p. 50.
  17. ^ Welch 2008, p. 156.
  18. ^ "Production credits". www.discogs.com. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  19. ^ a b c Demorest, Stephen (February 1975). "Yes Battles The Skeptics With 'Relayer'". Circus. 
  20. ^ Welch 2008, p. 154.
  21. ^ Bacon & Howe 1994, p. 43.
  22. ^ Bacon & Howe 1994, p. 47.
  23. ^ a b Hedges 1982, p. 104.
  24. ^ Kirkman 2013, p. 78.
  25. ^ a b c d Deriso, Nick (28 November 2014). "Jon Anderson + Patrick Moraz discuss Yes' challenging 'Relayer'". Something Else! Reviews. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  26. ^ "Interview with Eddy Offord by Time Morse". Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  27. ^ Morse 1996, pp. 52–53.
  28. ^ a b c Morse 1996, p. 52.
  29. ^ Kirkman 2013, p. 75.
  30. ^ Kirkman 2013, p. 81.
  31. ^ Tiano, Mike (21 January 1995). "Notes from the Edge #124 – Conversation with Steve Howe conducted 27 November 1994". Retrieved 30 September 2016. 
  32. ^ a b Morse 1996, p. 54.
  33. ^ Morse 1996, p. 55.
  34. ^ Capalbo, Dean & Hamilton 1975, p. 112.
  35. ^ Rowe, Jeri (23 April 2004). "Roger Dean: The artist behind the music". Greensboro News-Record. 
  36. ^ Martin 1996, pp. 163-164.
  37. ^ Tiano, Mike (2008). "NFTE #308: Conversation with Roger Dean from 3 September 2008". Notes from the Edge. Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  38. ^ "UK chart history – Yes Relayer". www.chartstats.com. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  39. ^ Billboard album charts info – Yes Relayer at AllMusic. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  40. ^ "Gold & Platinum – Search – Relayer". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  41. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. Album review Yes Relayer at AllMusic. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  42. ^ Dahlen, Chris; Leone, Dominique; Tangari, Joe (8 February 2004). "Pitchfork: Album Reviews: Yes: The Yes Album / Fragile / Close to the Edge / Tales from Topographic Oceans / Relayer / Going for the One / Tormato / Drama / 90125". pitchfork.com. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 31 October 2014. 
  43. ^ Welch, Chris (1974). "YES - Art Out of Electronic Orchestration". Melody Maker. 
  44. ^ "YES-Relayer". Billboard. 21 December 1974. 
  45. ^ "Top Pop Albums 1955–2001", Joel Whitburn, c.2002
  46. ^ a b Popoff 2016, p. 54.
  47. ^ Potter, Lesley (20 August 2015). "Reading Festival 40 years ago". Bracknell News. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  48. ^ Hedges 1982, p. 106.
  49. ^ a b c d e von Bernewitz, Robert (4 September 2015). "Patrick Moraz - An interview with the keyboardist, formally of "Yes" and "The Moody Blues"". Retrieved 27 May 2017. 
  50. ^ Per BMI records (see BMI Work #1386284). Both the 2003 CD and the original single credit the composer as simply "Yes".

Sources

  • Bacon, Tony; Howe, Steve (1994). The Steve Howe Guitar Collection. Balafon Books. ISBN 978-1-871-54764-1. 
  • Capalbo, Carla; Dean, Roger; Dominy, Hamilton (1975). Views (2nd ed.). Dragon's Dream. 
  • Hedges, Dan (1982). Yes: An Authorized Biography. Sidgwick & Jackson. ISBN 978-0-283-98751-9. 
  • Kirkman, Jon (2013). Time and a Word: The Yes Interviews. Rufus Stone Limited Editions. 
  • Martin, Bill (1996). Music of Yes: Structure and Vision in Progressive Rock. Open Court. 
  • Morse, Tim (1996). Yesstories: "Yes" in Their Own Words. St Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-14453-1. 
  • Popoff, Martin (2016). Time and a Word: The Yes Story. Soundcheck Books. ISBN 978-0-993-21202-4. 
  • Welch, Chris (2008). Close to the Edge – The Story of Yes. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-84772-132-7. 

External links[edit]