Bonus tracks: Soon (single edit); Sound Chaser (single edit), and the unissued The Gates of Delirium (studio run-through).
Possibly Yes's most musically adventurous album, 1974's Relayer
is their only studio recording to feature avant-garde keyboardist Patrick Moraz (temporarily replacing Rick Wakeman, who was off making portentous solo albums at the time). Whereas Wakeman, for all his pyrotechnic wizardry, was a musical conservative, Moraz's modern jazz background adds a welcome dash of improvisational freedom to the band's tightly controlled sound. The guiding spirits of Joe Zawinul and Miles Davis surely hover in the background as Moraz and guitarist Steve Howe trade discords in "Sound Chaser," or when the 22-minute epic "The Gates of Delirium" apparently dissolves into instrumental chaos augmented by dissonant tape effects, or on the subsequent resolution ("Soon"), one of the band's finest moments. Following the bloated excess of Tales from Topographic Oceans
from the year before, Relayer
impresses with its condensed visceral intensity. A Yes album not to be overlooked. --Mark Walker
--This text refers to an alternate