Wednesday 26 October 2011

Digital delights: Jon Anderson's "Open"; Tony Kaye's "End of Innocence"

Lots of excitement in online Yes fandom around yesterday's release of a 21 minute epic by Jon Anderson, "Open", available to buy on etc. I've not heard either yet, but, actually, I'm more excited by the new 46 minute epic "End of Innocence" by Tony Kaye that he's put up for free on YouTube:

Edit: I've had a first listen through of "End of Innocence". It's a largely instrumental work, with a short vocal part by Daniela Torchia (Tony's wife). It sounds as if it's all done by Kaye on synths, but he's often imitating an orchestra. Overall, I think it's a good piece of music and will, once again, demonstrate how underappreciated Kaye is by many fans!

It is an overtly political piece, supporting a model of US military intervention overseas as something that brings democracy and freedom to people around the world, and linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda. Personally, I would question aspects of that as a political position, but that doesn't stop me enjoying "End of Innocence" as a piece of music. It's less forthright in its politics than, say, Conspiracy's "The Unknown", another musical response to 9/11.

Edit 2: I've now also heard "Open". First impressions... Thumbs up from me. A step up from Survival & Other Stories or The Living Tree; this is Anderson's best work of the last few years. It's partly orchestral, the composition harks back to Anderson's late 1970s work like on Olias or Tormato. However, his vocals are still fragile. It's easy to recognise this as a post-2008 performance. The lyrics are less noteworthy, typical of his recent work.


  1. I agree Kaye is vastly underrated as a keyboardist

  2. Tony Kaye's End of Innocence is quite good. Reminds a little like Vangelis but definitely the Tony Kaye style. Some of it very sound-track like. Thumbs up. Hope to listen to Jon's Open soon.

  3. Listened to ‘Open’ 3 times now, and loaded it into the car for listening during the week coming. Plenty of the tune in my head now. I think Anderson is on good form with this. My first response to the lyrics was that I’d heard it all before, but I think I get it.... it is an incantation, rather than a song lyric. And for me the lyrics are embedded with the music, and the music and lyrics work well for me.

    Music reminds me of Anderson’s Toltec/Angel’s Embrace period. Although it is 20+ minutes long, the music seems to stop prematurely and I can imagine another 20 minutes beyond. I love the delicate and intrinsic orchestration. It is written and arranged well, seeming like a very dynamic musical tapestry.

    Henry referred to Anderson’s voice as sounding frail. I hear this too, but the vocal style meets the music (for me). I always like multi-tracked and orchestrated vocals, and ‘Open’ has plenty of this. Anderson’s wife Jane is also provide backing vocals, that in parts are quite high and distinctive in the mix, and they come across well.

    ‘Open’ is a very unique piece of music. Although it is clearly Jon Anderson, for me it is very unique and individual. It is not a side of Anderson that I have heard before, and it is very welcome in my collection. I bought ‘Open’ at, and I’m sure it is a mistake of pricing that will be changed soon, but it only cost me £0.42. That’s a bargain! Cheers Jon!

  4. Had my first listen to Open and I quite like it as well. It is not his best but it is good. Reminds me of his Key's days with Yes except missing Squire and White which I think in some parts of the piece needed that power bass and drum. Hope he does more of this style of music.