Saturday 22 September 2012

Poll: Best Yes-related album of first half of 2012

Our latest 6-monthly poll of the best Yes-related album releases attracted 126 votes.

1. Squackett: A Life Within a Day (w/ Squire): 46 (37%)
2. Trevor Rabin: Jacaranda: 39 (31%)
3. Asia: XXX (w/ Howe, Downes): 24 (19%)
4. Producers: Made in Basing Street (w/ Horn, Downes): 11 (9%)
5= Tales from the Edge: A Tribute to the Music of Yes (w/ Davison): 2 (2%)
5= King Crimson: Live in Toronto, June 24, 1974 (w/ Bruford): 2 (2%)
7= Sonic Elements: XYZ—A Tribute to Rush (w/ Sherwood): 1 (1%)
7= King Friday: Let the Song Begin (w/ O Wakeman): 1 (1%)

It was a bumper period for major Yes-related releases. The clear winner was the much-anticipated and long-awaited Squackett collaboration. Major Chris Squire projects outside Yes are a rare thing and the team-up with former Genesis/GTR guitarist Steve Hackett proved irresistible. It's unfortunate that plans for a Squackett tour this year have evaporated.

Until a late surge for Squackett, Jacaranda was very close. While Rabin's film music output has been prodigious, his non-score work has been limited to just a handful of guest appearances over the 18 years since Talk, so Jacaranda was perhaps even more anticipated and awaited than Squackett. I've reviewed the album previously and interviewed Rabin about it recently.

Completing a triumvirate of projects that took their time about being released was Producers' Made in Basing Street. The band has been going since 2006 and much of the album was written and recorded in December 2006 and January 2007. For Yes fans, the album is most notable for seeing Horn taking on the lead vocal role for parts of the album, with a series of poignant songs about his wife's accident.

But Made in Basing Street only made 4th, beaten by Asia's XXX. In comparison to Made in Basing Street, Jacaranda and A Life Within a Day, XXX was a rapid project and the third album from the reunion band in fairly quick succession.

There were no votes for Marco Sabiu's Audio Ergo Sum (with Anderson guesting on one song), Icon's Heat of the Rising Sun, Estelle's All of Me (minor Horn production input), Jay Tausig's Pisces (Sherwood guests on one track) or the two Patrick Moraz releases, Pianissimoraz and Live at Abbey Road.

Anderson's PR machine made much fuss about the Sabiu album and Anderson's talked about making a full album with him, although it's unclear whether that will actually happen.

Moraz' Pianissimoraz attracted much anger from fans: although billed as a new album, it actually only contains one new piece, otherwise being a compilation from Windows of Time and ESP, plus one track from Resonance.

The second half of the year sees no less than six guest star-laden releases from Cleopatra Records (five with Billy Sherwood) going up against major releases from the most recent two Yes vocalists (Davison and David) and possibly one from the guy before.

[Edit: corrected vote totals.]

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