And Geoff Downes teams up with members of XTC, No-Man and Big Big Train on new Downes Braide Association album.
Yes gear up for a brand new live album, RIP Virgil Howe, plus the latest news on Genesis, Trojan Horse, Peter Hammill, John Lodge, Von Hertzen Brothers and more…
Yes are to release their first material without co-founder Chris Squire on November 24. Topographic Drama – Live Across America was recorded during last year’s US tour and includes brand new artwork from Roger Dean.
“We wanted to get something out with this line-up,” reveals keyboard player Geoff Downes. “Billy [Sherwood] took over from Chris nearly two years ago and we all felt it would be nice to have something that showed where the band is right now.”
The album, available on double CD and triple vinyl, includes performances from Drama and sides one and four of Tales From Topographic Oceans alongside classics such as Roundabout and Starship Trooper. It opens with Drama’s Machine Messiah.
“It’s a very hard-hitting track and a very powerful way to open up a show,” says Downes. “Drama was the first album I did with Yes back in 1980 and I still think it’s very powerful. We had talked about [playing it in full] before Chris got sick because there was still four fifths of that line-up playing with Yes on stage. Sadly we lost Chris just as we were due to play the album so he never got the opportunity to play it. It’s a real shame because I know that he was very proud of it.”
Adds drummer Alan White, “Tales… and
Drama are two favourite albums of mine. Being involved creatively in writing this music, it took countless hours in the studio to reach our goals for both these classic albums. I’ve always really enjoyed playing this music live and sincerely hope it’s equally appreciated by our fans worldwide.”
Topographic Drama, which has been mixed by Billy Sherwood, comes out ahead of Yes’ 50th anniversary celebrations and 10-date UK tour next March. The band will also host a special fan convention at the London Palladium and are currently discussing a new studio album.
“We’ve talked about it, but we’ve been pretty much flat-out on the road for the last year or two,” says Downes. “We are hoping to get something out at some point next year as a 50th anniversary edition.”
Visit www.yesworld.com for more.
Meanwhile, Downes has teamed up with Chris Braide (The Producers/This Oceanic Feeling) for DBA’s Skyscraper Souls, which is out on November 17 on X2X Records via Cherry Red.
The album includes a host of special guests including Tim Bowness, Big Big Train’s David Longdon, Andy Partridge from XTC and Marc Almond. Says Downes, it has a very English feel.
“When we first got together on this album, Chris had the vinyl of Caravan’s In The Land Of
“We had talked about Drama live before Chris
Grey And Pink and we listened to that. It’s an area of music that our planets align on. It also has elements of Yes, Genesis, King Crimson – there are dark moments in there so it’s not just bright, happy pop, there are some quite doom-laden sections in it. I think the strength of the performances from our guests is particularly special and we’re very proud of the melodies.”
The title track clocks in at around 20 minutes and Downes says it’s their “epic”.
“It goes through all kinds of manifestations. We wanted to do something that has these recurring motifs. We’ve always had a good response to our music and I think this one pushes the boundaries even further.”
Downes is also continuing to work on ideas he developed with John Wetton, before the musician’s death earlier this year.“I’d like to put something together as a tribute to him and get some of the great players he worked with over the years on there.” NRS
MAIN IMAGE: YES ON STAGE DURING LAST YEAR’S TOPOGRAPHIC DRAMA TOUR. INSET: CHRIS BRAIDE AND GEOFF DOWNES, AKA DOWNES BRAIDE ASSOCIATION.