Yes — Fly from Here
(Frontiers Records FR CD 520, 2011, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2015-05-12
Thinking back to when Yes released Drama in 1980, there was some debate about whether Yes without Jon Anderson was really Yes. That question aside, the album had some great tunes on it, some of which rank with the band’s best (“Tempus Fugit” in particular). Over the span of time since then, even more drastic changes have come and gone for Yes, and Fly from Here finds something of the Drama lineup recreated, with Geoff Downes once again in the fold on keyboards and Trevor Horne also on board (this time as producer rather than lead vocalist). The primary change from that era (or any other) is the presence of Benoît David of the Canadian band Mystery as the main singer; his voice is in the same general register as Jon Anderson’s, and blends with Chris Squire and Steve Howe in a similar manner. It’s his accent that gets in the way of really fitting in — every time he sings “altimeter” on “We Can Fly,” I just cringe. The greater part of this album consists of the title suite, five parts with a preceding “Overture,” and while it falls on the more accessible side of the band’s sound, more poppish in spite of the length, it’s not a bad entry into the Yes canon. The remainder of the album is filled out with a number of shorter tunes, several of which are instantly forgettable; only two stand out: “Life on a Film Set” and “Into the Storm.” These are fine compositions, maybe not the equal of classics like “Long Distance Runaround” and other favorites, but certainly better than most anything the band produced on Big Generator and the like.
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more