|Studio album by Yes|
|Released||28 November 1974 (UK)
5 December 1974 (U.S.)[nb 1]
|Recorded||August – October 1974|
|Studio||New Pipers, Virginia Water, Surrey, England|
|Genre||Progressive rock, experimental rock, jazz fusion|
|Producer||Eddy Offord & Yes|
|Singles from Relayer|
Relayer is the seventh studio album from the English progressive rock band Yes, released in November 1974 on Atlantic Records. It is their only studio album recorded with keyboardist Patrick Moraz in the band's line-up; he joined in August that year after Rick Wakeman left over differences regarding Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973) to pursue his solo career.
Following Wakeman's decision to leave the band, the remaining members proceeded to work on new material for Relayer. The group wrote and rehearsed new songs and proceeded to record in Squire's home in Virginia Water, Surrey. Relayer has the same format as Close to the Edge (1972), with one track occupying side one and two tracks on side two. The album saw Yes experiment with elements of funk and jazz fusion.
Upon release, Relayer helped continue the band's success in the mid-1970s, peaking at number 4 in the UK and number 5 in the U.S. The closing section of "The Gates of Delirium," titled "Soon," was released as a single in January 1975. The album is certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
In May 1974, after Tales from Topographic Oceans tour in support of their ambitious double album Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973) ended, keyboardist Rick Wakeman decided to leave Yes as he could not understand its concept and disagreed with the musical direction the band took. The band's line-up during this time included singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, and drummer Alan White.
While the band started writing and rehearsing for Relayer, several keyboardists were auditioned including Greek musician Vangelis. As Phil Carson of Atlantic Records later explained, "He came to London and 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." At the suggestion of music journalist and author Chris Welch, the band invited Swiss-born Patrick Moraz of Refugee to a try out session at Squire's home in August 1974. Moraz used Vangelis's keyboards for his first session. The band liked what he did, and Moraz subsequently joined full time.
Relayer was recorded between August and October 1974 at New Pipers, Squire's then home in Virginia Water, Surrey that he bought in 1972. This marked the first time Yes had recorded a studio album outside of London. Eddy Offord assumed his role as the band's engineer and moved his recording equipment into the garage to make a temporary studio. The album's production duties were shared among Offord and the group. The album was then mixed at Advision Studios in London.
Relayer has a similar format as Close to the Edge (1972), with one track occupying the side one and two tracks situated on side two. According to Anderson, the band wrote two additional tracks but did not have enough time to record them. One of them was described as "absolutely crazy and intricate."
Howe uses a 1955 Fender Telecaster on Relayer, marking a departure from his Gibson ES-175 that he had used since The Yes Album. He also uses a pedal steel guitar on "The Gates of Delirium" and "To Be Over". 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, a polyphonic synthesizer.
"The Gates of Delirium" is a 22-minute track that Anderson described as "a war song, a battle scene, but it's not to explain war or denounce it, really ... There's a prelude, a charge, a victory tune, and peace at the end, with hope for the future." Moraz recalled discussing War and Peace and Leo Tolstoy with Anderson as they both read the book, after which Moraz showed Anderson a French science fiction comic book with "Delirious" in the title. Moraz said, "he related to it immediately so I think that perhaps as a title 'The Gates of Delirium' came from that". Anderson and White stopped by a scrap yard and bought metal car parts which were used as percussion during the song's battle section. During the battle section, White formed a tower of the parts and pushed it over to make a crashing sound. The track concludes with a gentle melody and a lyrical prayer for peace which later became known as "Soon".
"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 ended up on the album. He has called his Moog synthesizer solo at the end of the track a highlight moment but felt the keyboards on the rest of the album buried in the final mix.
"To Be Over" features more melodic arrangements of guitar and electric sitar and relatively straightforward lyrics. Anderson described the track as "strong in content, but mellow in overall attitude ... It's about how you should look after yourself when things go wrong." When the song's lyrics were being written, Howe suggested to have 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. 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.
The album's sleeve was designed and illustrated by English artist Roger Dean, who had designed artwork for the band since 1971. Speaking about the cover in 2004, Dean 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." 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". The sleeve includes an untitled poem by writer Donald Lehmkuhl dated October 1974.[nb 2] The album's CD reissue features two additional paintings by Dean.
Relayer was released in the UK on 28 November 1974 during their 1974–75 tour of North America and the UK. Its US release followed on 5 December that year.[nb 1] The album continued the band's commercial success in the 1970s; it peaked at number 4 in the UK and number 5 on the US Billboard Top LPs chart. The closing section of "The Gates of Delirium", titled "Soon", was released as a single on 8 January 1975 with an edited version of "Sound Chaser" on the B-side.[nb 3] The album is certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
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 strictures 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". 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." 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.
In a retrospective review for Allmusic, William Ruhlmann rated the album three stars out of five. He thought since 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."
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". 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. Moraz summarised the album's recording as "pretty loose, but the energy is there".
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 1] 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 (1972) and The Yes Album (1971).
|RIAA – US||Gold||18 December 1974|
|1.||"The Gates of Delirium"||21:55|
|3.||"To Be Over"||9:06|
|2003 CD 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|
|2014 Definitive Edition "Alternate album"|
|1.||"The Gates of Delirium" (Studio run through)||22:33|
|2.||"Sound Chaser" (Studio run through)||9:35|
|3.||"To Be Over" (Studio run through)||8:37|
|2014 Definitive Edition "Addiotional Material, Blu-ray Exclusive"|
|4.||"Sound Chaser" (Live from Cobo Hall 1976)||11:17|
|5.||"Sound Chaser" (demo version)||8:05|
|2014 Definitive Edition "Needle-drop 2: US promo album"|
|1.||"The Gates of Delirium (part I)"|
|4.||"Sound Chaser (part I)"|
|5.||"Sound Chaser (part II)"|
- Jon Anderson – lead vocals
- Steve Howe – acoustic and electric guitars, vocals
- Patrick Moraz – keyboards
- Chris Squire – bass guitar and vocals
- Alan White – drums, percussion
- Additional personnel
- Eddie Offord – engineer, production
- Gennaro Rippo – tape operator
- Roger Dean – sleeve design and illustration
- Brian Lane – co-ordinator (band manager)
- Jean Ristori – photography
- Rhino R2-73792
- Atlantic K 50096
- Atlantic 45-3242
- Atlantic 250 096
- Atlantic 82664
- Rhino WPCR-75500
- Atlantic SD 18122
- Welch, p. 152.
- Welch, p. 151.
- Kirkman, p. 74.
- "News Briefs". Billboard. 31 August 1974.
- Morse, p. 50.
- "Production credits". www.discogs.com. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
- Demorest, Stephen (February 1975). "Yes Battles The Skeptics With 'Relayer'". Circus.
- The Steve Howe Guitar Collection, 1994, p. 43
- The Steve Howe Guitar Collection, 1994, p. 47
- Kirkman, p. 78.
- "Interview with Eddy Offord by Time Morse". Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- Kirkman, p. 75.
- Kirkman, p. 81.
- Morse, p. 54.
- Rowe, Jeri (23 April 2004). "Roger Dean: The artist behind the music". Greensboro News-Record.
- Martin, pp. 163-164.
- "UK chart history – Yes Relayer". www.chartstats.com. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- Billboard album charts info – Yes Relayer at AllMusic. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- "Searchable Database". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 20 May 2009. Note: User must define 'Artist' search parameter as "YES".
- Ruhlmann, William. Album review Yes Relayer at AllMusic. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- 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.
- Welch, Chris (1974). "YES - Art Out of Electronic Orchestration". Melody Maker.
- "YES-Relayer". Billboard. 21 December 1974.
- "Top Pop Albums 1955–2001", Joel Whitburn, c.2002
- Morse, p. 52.
- 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.
- Welch, Chris (2008). Close to the Edge – The Story of Yes. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-84772-132-7.