Yes release Relayer
Relayer is the seventh studio album by the progressive rock band Yes.
Recorded and released in 1974, it is the only Yes studio album to feature Patrick Moraz, who replaced keyboardist Rick Wakeman earlier in the year. Relayer reached #4 in the UK (remaining 8 weeks in the top-40) and #5 in the US (remaining 16 weeks in the top-200).
After the ambitious concept double album Tales from Topographic Oceans, Rick Wakeman left Yes to resume his solo career. The band auditioned several prospective replacements, the closest contender being the Greek keyboardist Vangelis. He did not become a member of Yes, but these auditions paved the way for several future collaborations between Vangelis and Jon Anderson. The band finally chose Swiss-born Patrick Moraz as a replacement while this album was well into production. The album title comes from the lyrics of "The Remembering (High The Memory)" from Tales from Topographic Oceans.
As with most of Yes' previous albums, Relayer features artwork by Roger Dean. The CD release features two additional paintings by Dean.
Relayer has the same song format as 1972's Close to the Edge—a long epic on the first side, and two nine-minute pieces on the second—but employs a radically different musical style. "The Gates of Delirium" is a dense, 22-minute piece that was inspired by Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. It features lyrics about the futility of war and a lengthy instrumental middle section portraying 'battle' with galloping rhythms, martial melodies, dissonant harmonies, and clashing sound effects . The final section, in which the drive of the previous sixteen minutes is suddenly replaced by a gentle melody and a lyrical prayer for peace, was released as a U.S. single under the title "Soon" in early 1975. "Sound Chaser" is a jazzy, mostly instrumental piece that echoes the then-popular jazz fusion of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return To Forever. "To Be Over," the gentlest piece on the album, features complex, melodic arrangements of guitar and electric sitar (at one point quoting a theme from Tales from Topographic Oceans), and arguably features Jon Anderson's most straightforward lyrics since the band's second album, Time and a Word.
The critical reaction to Relayer, coming after a predecessor that many critics felt was pretentious and long-winded, was mixed. However, it was still a commercial success, with many observers later considering it vastly underrated. No doubt, many were surprised at the sudden departure in terms of sound which Yes had made on this disc. The atmosphere and sonic quality are very different from Close To The Edge or most of Tales From Topographic Oceans (the one track on that album which could be said to point towards Relayer is The Ancient with its free-form, spinning rhythms, Arabic-tinged percussion and its frantic, dramatic guitar work.)
The vocals on Relayer are more dramatic, emotionally charged with aggression, and the guitar has stepped up to the front (in consequence of Wakeman's sudden departure), with a new hard edge. Gates of Delirium is "all Telecaster" according to Howe (The Steve Howe Guitar Collection, 1994, p. 43); before which he had generally and famously used Gibson. On To Be Over and the last parts of Gates of Delirium a pedal steel guitar is used (Steve Howe G.C. p. 47). Squire's bass lines and White's drumming throughout the album are of great dynamic range and complexity (with Squire using a Fender bass on To Be Over rather than his usual Rickenbacker). Bill Martin (in his book The Music of Yes) recalls how, as a teenager, he saw the band performing live in Atlanta in late 1974. As they opened with Sound Chaser, then still-unreleased and very unlike anything they had previously recorded, Martin's first thought was that the band had gone crazy.
Relayer was remastered and reissued on Rhino Records in 2003 with three bonus tracks, including a complete studio run-through of Gates of Delirium with partly different or improvised lyrics. While most of the keyboards are not yet present, and some of the structure of the song is different, the complex rhythm track for the "battle" section has the same layout as in the finished version.
A special promotional only, white label, "banded for airplay" version of the LP was sent to U.S. radio stations in 1974. It has the track "The Gates of Delirium" broken up into shorter segments. This was done to try to increase radio exposure as most radio stations did not want to air a 22 minute song. Most of the segments were in the range of 3 to 5 minutes and all were marked on the record to assist disc jockeys. The U.S. single release of Soon was first created for this promotional version of the album.