(All Album Reviews by ffroyd)
I have to admit that I was a bit wary of picking this one up, not because I'm not a fan of techno/electronica remixes (I am), but because I know how painful these things can be. Some of you may remember the “Close To The Hype” single that came out a few years ago that featured Jon Anderson and his son Damian. That was an unequivocal disaster but thankfully this is a little better. Even so, I would suspect that probably a good 95% of Yes fans will cringe when they hear this.
Yes Remixes is, exactly as the name implies, a collection of dance remixes of various familiar Yes songs. The culprit behind this project is Steve Howe’s son Virgil who has taken on the pseudonym of “The Verge”. Armed with only an Akai MPC2000XL sampler and a handful of Yes LPs, Virgil has crafted some very interesting pieces here. His audacious first attempt at a Yes remix with the song “Heart Of The Sunrise” was given the seal of approval from his father and he was encouraged to do an entire albums worth.
I won't go into all the gruesome details of the music, just a few highlights. Some songs like “Tempus Fugit” and “Arriving UFO” lend themselves very well to the remix treatment. Others like “Sound Chaser”, “Ritual” and “Siberian Khatru” put up a bit of a fight. There's a really neat synth solo inserted towards the end of “Starship Trooper” and a good tweaking of some of the piano parts in “Awaken”. Probably the most notable achievement on this is the stretching of “5 Per Cent For Nothing” from a 30 second number on Fragile to almost 5 minutes here. Basically, what he does is loop small sections of the song behind a freaky rhythm track.
The song that sounds most similar to the original is “No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed”, most of the original tune is there with some added drum tracks and a few skips and repetitions in the vocals. That's one of the downfalls of Remixes, there are quite a few repetitive loops and annoying vocal edits that get a bit tedious after a few listens. The album ends with a piece called “No Clowns” which seems to contain bits of almost every Yes song ever recorded. A very nice way to close things out.
I'd say most folks will want to sit this one out. If you like Yes and don't object to a little electronic manipulation and synthetic rhythm, you may want to check it out. Honestly, if there wasn't so much familiar source material here, I think this would be some fairly mediocre electronica but it works quite well for what it is. I can see quite a few folks will play this and just wait for it "To Be Over".