Invention Of Knowledge

Anderson & Stolt

Yes may be done with Jon Anderson, but he isn't done with Yes - or at least he isn't done making Yes-like music. Layered soundscapes of light and dark dynamics, lofty cosmic-tinged lyrical concepts centered around forgiveness and love, angelic vocals spiking above a layered brew of keys, bass, guitar and drums - this is what Anderson is most known for. It will certainly come light on the Fall 2016 tour he's doing with Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin, and it is most evident on Invention Of Knowledge, a collaboration of original music with Flower Kings and Transatlantic guitarist Roine Stolt.

Anderson and Stolt met on the "Progressive Nation At Sea" cruise in 2014. Anderson issued Transatlantic the challenge to back him up on an excerpt of the Yes epic Tales Of Topographic Ocean. No easy task to be sure, but the piece went so well on that cruise that Anderson and Stolt became friends and began collaborating via the Internet on the four long songs that make up this album.

The three-part title track begins with floaty swirls, chimes, and Stolt's expert guitar noodling into Anderson's voice. The bass is Chris Squire-like, the drums pretty much straightforward (Flowers Kings bassist Jonas Reingold and drummer Felix Lehrmann are featured), and there are tons of stylistic changes. It's as much the layered production as Anderson's still clear-as-a-bell voice and Reingold's bass that makes the most impression here. The third movement gets slightly Willy Wonka-ish around a slightly sappy lyric. Even so, Anderson sounds at times like he is singing directly to the current Yes band regarding his trials and tribulations of having his music heard and played.

The "Knowing" pieces (four in all) showcases Stolt. There's pedal steel and heavy playing midway through the first part, plus some nice tinkling piano forms. For my money, the true gem is the three-part "Everybody Heals." This is the most coherent things get on Invention Of Knowledge. Stolt's high flying guitar soars under and around Anderson's voice so well it's as they were standing next to one another in the studio. The end of the first part throws down into a jazzy jam that Anderson picks up on the middle section "Better By Far," then follow through with his harp on "Golden Light." Yes and progressive rock fans will love Invention Of Knowledge. It's what we have all been wanting from Jon Anderson since he parted ways with Yes.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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