Words according to Thomas, Co-Founder, Jack of all Trades, and Creative and Visual Director of Raven Vanguard
We are revealing today’s Weekly Once-over to you in fragments; not because we are trying to increase Site traffic, but because the week simply got away from us.
A Seasoned Witch
Forty-seven years ago this month, five extraordinarily gifted young men began creating and working in earnest in west London’s District of Sheperd’s Bush on one of, if not the greatest singular achievement in all of modern music. Nearly five months later, Yes would reveal their tour de force, Close To The Edge. This particular version of the Band consisted of Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Steve Howe, and Rick Wakeman.
Across the entire history of humankind, no other musical recording released before this one sounded anything quite like it. Apocalyptic urgency, a restless disquietude, abstract, visionary, yet ancient, rhythmic discord, yet uniquely harmonious, cacophonous, yet, at times, tranquil, complicated, terrifying, but utterly transcendent and beautiful, sometimes all at once. Did I hear the unveiling of scripture, the unwinding of cosmological forces, divine perfection, or the type of feverish creativity that is so often the consequence of a restlessly daydreaming mind? Whatever it was, and no matter how many times I listen to this record, the experience of listening is a striking reminder that beauty arises out of nothingness and that sometimes lying deep within this beauty there are unexplainable moments of foreboding and dread.
After hearing this incredible piece of music for the very first time, I penned the following nonsense, apparently fancying myself a lyricist – Once upon a time, I could smell only the roses and nothing else. Now, existent in timeworn memories, I ask myself whether there are even roses in heaven, or if nothing is ever as it seems, and wondering whether we dwell only in the imagination of others.
Well, at least my imagined lyrics paled in comparison to the first verse of Close To The Edge:
A seasoned witch could call you
From the depths of your disgrace
And rearrange your liver
To the solid mental grace
And achieve it all with music
That came quickly from afar
Then taste the fruit of man
Recorded losing all against the hour
And assessing points to nowhere
Leading every single one
A dewdrop can exalt us
Like the music of the sun
And take away the plain
In which we move and choose the course you're running
If you are not familiar with this record, you owe it to yourself to hear it at least once, and you be the judge.