Exposé Online banner

Jon Anderson — 1000 Hands, Chapter One
(Blue , 2020, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2020-09-03

1000 Hands, Chapter One Cover art

Certainly the music of Yes is an important element of my teenage years and a foundation of my understanding of what music is (or can be). But I’m not an uncritical listener, and there’s a lot of music from the collective family of the band and its various members in different combinations that I’m less than enthusiastic about. Jon Anderson’s work, to my thinking, has varied from pretty solid to nearly unlistenable, so the arrival of a new release under his name carries no presuppositions as to whether I’m going to like it. In some ways, that increases my happiness that I can say 1000 Hands - Chapter One is quite a fine album. Anderson hits the right balance between catchy tunes and musical inventiveness, and his tendency towards spiritual themes doesn’t sink into sappy clichés on these eleven tunes. You won’t find any epics along the lines of “Awaken” or “Close to the Edge,” but you probably knew not to expect that. What you will get is bouncy rhythms informed by a wide range of styles, including reggae, highlife, Celtic folk, and even hip-hop, massed choruses of Anderson’s overdubbed voices, and superbly played backing parts. Anderson has tapped a whole host of players to help out: Carmine Appice, Alan White, Robby Steinhardt, Pat Travers, Steve Morse, Ian Anderson, Rick Derringer, Jerry Goodman, Chick Corea, Stuart Hamm, Billy Cobham, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Steve Howe all appear here and there, and (as a testament to how long some of this music has been in the works) there are also contributions from Larry Coryell and Chris Squire. Anderson’s voice is in fine form, and he wrote or co-wrote all of the tracks. His collaborators on the writing are Brian Chatton (Anderson’s bandmate in The Warriors back in the 60s) and producer Michael Franklin, though the spirit of the writing is clearly derived from the man whose name is on the cover. In a world that often seems dominated by darkness and despair, hopeful sounds like those on 1000 Hands - Chapter One run the risk of sounding out of touch with reality (as I’ve found some of Jon Anderson’s past work), but in some inexplicable way, it just works. I don’t know whether it’s an antidote to the daily news, but it does bring me an interlude of energetic peace while it plays.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Ian Anderson, Jon Anderson, Larry Coryell, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White, Billy Cobham, Jerry Goodman, Chick Corea, Jean-Luc Ponty, Steve Morse, Pat Travers

More info

Latest news

SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more

Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more

Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Ars Nova - Sunshine and Shadows – A few issues back I reviewed the reissue of Ars Nova’s 1968 first album. Here we have their second and last effort. It takes the baroque-meets-psych sound of the debut and turns a bit more to...  (2006) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues