Yes – Highlights

Yes - HighlightsAs much as I like some acts which could be considered progressive rock (Alan Parsons, early ELO, and so on), I’ve got to fess up to something: I’ve never quite gotten as “into it” as some diehard prog-rock fans. I’m more of a popster, so sometimes the big league prog stuff like early Yes or Emerson Lake & Palmer leave me a bit cold. Not that I doubt the musicianship of the people involved, but it’s just not the style of music that I feel like spending a lot of time with. If I want long, epic pieces, I tend to go orchestral.

But damned if I don’t like me some early Yes from time to time. Remember the Wayne’s World scene where Wayne, Garth and friends are banging their heads in time to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”? I’ve been known to do something similar with “Roundabout”. And fortunately for me, there’s Highlights, a nice little one-disc selection of remastered material from a Yes box set that, while I’m sure the fans dug it, relly amounted to too much of a financial commitment for a casual fan like myself. Highlights is about all the prog-rock I need: sort of a prog-rock hot pocket which surveys the band’s career from those gloriously overblown AM radio epics of the early ’70s to their more accessible ’80s material.

Well, more accessible to me, anyway. “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” was a high water mark for Yes’s public profile as well as the early (and far more innovative) MTV era; that song also has the curious distinction of helping to launch the career of a whole other entity, as producer Trevor Horn took the sound of the now-immortal sampled horn break and ran with it to create the Art of Noise. I’ve also always had a sneaking liking for “Leave 4 out of 4It”, which dispenses with some of “Owner”‘s studio flash in favor of a great song with incredible vocal harmonies, a description which could be equally applied to “Rhythm Of Love”.

So perhaps what I need here is a Yes ’80s collection. But then again, maybe not. My life just wouldn’t be the same without the occasional psychedelic headbanging session set to the tune of “Roundabout”.

Order this CD

  1. Survival (6:18)
  2. Time And A Word (4:31)
  3. Starship Trooper (9:26)
  4. I’ve Seen All Good People (6:55)
  5. Roundabout (8:31)
  6. Long Distance Runaround (3:33)
  7. Soon (4:06)
  8. Wonderous Stories (3:45)
  9. Going For The One (5:32)
  10. Owner Of A Lonely Heart (4:27)
  11. Leave It (4:10)
  12. Rhythm Of Love (4:46)

Released by: Atlantic
Release date: 1993
Total running time: 66:00

Animaniacs – music by Richard Stone

AnimaniacsHailing from the landmark cartoon of the same name, Animaniacs bestows upon the show’s fans 16 songs from the early episodes of the show. There are some surprising omissions (namely the theme songs for the “sub-shows” that existed within the Animaniacs umbrella before being spun off themselves), and in many cases it becomes evident that the show’s best musical content hadn’t arrived yet.

The best stuff on here is the series of spoofy educational songs (i.e. “Wakko’s America”, which name-checks every state and its capitol), though there are some decidedly non-educational games as well (“Video Revue” and “I Am The Very Model Of A Cartoon Individual”). A few things on here grate on my nerves very easily 2 out of 4(“Schnitzelbank”, anyone?), but thankfully they’re in the minority.

Given that it weighs in at barely half an hour, Animaniacs gets a cautious recommendation from me; Animaniacs Variety Pack is a better buy – not much more content, but at least it’s more interesting.

Order this CD

  1. Animaniacs (1:09)
  2. Yakko’s Universe (1:58)
  3. Schnitzelbank (2:48)
  4. What Are We? (1:46)
  5. Yes, Brothers Warner We (1:06)
  6. Yakko’s World (1:48)
  7. Wakko’s America (1:54)
  8. Video Revue (1:45)
  9. I Am The Very Model Of A Cartoon Individual (1:11)
  10. I’m Mad (4:01)
  11. The Planets (0:43)
  12. The Etiquette Song (0:55)
  13. I’m Cute (2:00)
  14. The Senses (1:48)
  15. Be Careful What You Eat (1:23)
  16. Let The Anvils Ring (1:36)
  17. Animaniacs Closing Credits (2:01)

Released by: Kid Rhino
Release date: 1993
Total running time: 29:52

Sting – Ten Summoners’ Tales

Sting - Ten Summoners' TalesA little bit more manic than Blue Turtles, this album begat the singles “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You” and “Fields Of Gold”, but the fun doesn’t stop there. In fact, there are songs which are vastly superior to those singles, my favorites of which are “Heavy Cloud, No Rain” (possibly the closest Sting has ever come to returning to the jazz style heard on Turtles) and the starkly somber “Shape Of My Heart”. I strongly advise those who really liked Turtles to give this one a listen.

3 out of 4

  1. If I Ever Lose My Faith In You (4:25)
  2. Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven) (5:09)
  3. Fields Of Gold (5:40)
  4. Heavy Cloud, No Rain (5:46)
  5. She’s Too Good For Me (2:30)
  6. Seven Days (4:39)
  7. Order this CDSaint Augustine In Hell (5:17)
  8. It’s Probably Me (5:08)
  9. Shape Of My Heart (4:38)
  10. Something The Boy Said (5:28)
  11. Epilogue: Nothin’ ‘Bout Me (3:41)

Released by: A&M
Release date: 1993
Total running time: 52:21

Kronos Quartet – Short Stories

Kronos Quartet - Short StoriesOutside of catching the last half of a TV special about the Kronos Quartet, this was my first exposure to them, and even though I liked what I’d heard enough to seek out an album, I have to admit to you that this may not be the one to start out on. Oh, it’s good, but perhaps you should get your feet wet with the Released “best-of” collection before you wander further into the Quartet’s very eclectic world. Favorites here include “Digital” – which is a lot of pounding and clicking, but for some reason I find it terribly soothing – and rating: 2 out of 4John Zorn’s “Cat O’ Nine Tails (Tex Avery Directs the Marquis de Sade)” (what a title…!), a cartoonish composition which will truly grate on your nerves unless you are in just the right mood for it.

  1. Digital composed by Elliott Sharp – (1:39)
  2. Spoonful composed by Willie Dixon – (4:33)
  3. Spectre composed by John Oswald – (5:48)
  4. Order this CD Cat O’ Nine Tails composed by John Zorn – (12:48)
  5. Quartet Euphometric composed by Henry Cowell – (1:54)
  6. Physical Property composed by Steven Mackey – (14:31)
  7. Soliloquy from How It Happens composed by Scott Johnson – (13:13)
  8. Quartet No. 2 composed by Sofia Gubaidulina – (8:31)
  9. Abe kee tayk hamaree composed by Pandit Pran Nath – (10:57)

Released by: Nonesuch
Release date: 1993
Total running time: 74:58

Doctor Who: 30 Years at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop

Doctor Who: 30 Years at the BBC Radiophonic WorkshopHere it is. This album is, without a doubt, the ultimate test of whether or not you’re a rabid Doctor Who fan. Obviously, I am. If you pay good money to get this CD imported from the U.K., you’ll have yourself a huge library of Doctor Who sound effects and rare music cues, both famous and obscure. From the familiar sound of a materializing TARDIS to a bizarre 1968 episode’s sound effects including a track title “Quark Goes Berzerk and Explodes” (meaning this obviously isn’t a Deep Space Nine CD), just about any sound you can imagine is here. Well, maybe not. I would have liked to hear more of the bleeps, clicks and whirrs associate with the TARDIS control room in the 1980s, but I suppose I can learn to live with that minor disappointment. Also included are suites of abstract incidental music from the 1985 episode Timelash and the 1993 BBC Radio play Paradise Of Death, as well as a truly goofy version of the Doctor Who theme which sounds like it was played on a jaw harp! Who could ask for anything more?

Order this CD

  1. Doctor Who signature tune (2:21)
  2. TARDIS exterior (1:36)
  3. TARDIS take-off (1:09)
  4. Sensorites in laboratory (1:21)
  5. Slyther on the move (0:51)
  6. death of a Mirebeast (0:25)
  7. Mechanoid (0:51)
  8. Dalek space ship takes off (0:39)
  9. Dalek space ship lands (0:20)
  10. Chumblie constant run (1:09)
  11. Chumblie at rest (0:57)
  12. Chumblie dies (0:14)
  13. a few Fish People (0:57)
  14. Signature tune: a new beginning (0:46)
  15. propaganda sleep machine (1:21)
  16. Macra Control and Macra (1:15)
  17. destruction of the Daleks (1:35)
  18. cobweb mutates (1:00)
  19. Yeti growls, roars and dies (0:22)
  20. four Yetis signaling (0:23)
  21. Cybermats attracted to ship (0:28)
  22. start of the Cyber Invasion (1:16)
  23. Birth of Cybermats (0:45)
  24. Cybermat killed by special sound (0:24)
  25. Quarks chuckle (0:19)
  26. Quark kills (0:04)
  27. Quark goes berserk and explodes (0:23)
  28. Kroton theme with the birth and death of a Kroton (1:52)
  29. original Sonic Screwdriver (0:13)
  30. time zone (1:20)
  31. SIDRAT control (0:54)
  32. factory with mechanical and physiological Autons and Auton guns (1:47)
  33. Signature tune: the "Delaware" version (2:14)
  34. TARDIS lands (0:18)
  35. threat to Sarah (0:34)
  36. Sonic Screwdriver – multi-purpose mode (0:12)
  37. Wirrn in the infrastructure (1:03)
  38. void (1:07)
  39. shuttle landing sequence (0:49)
  40. Fendahl shuffle & slobber (0:34)
  41. Vardan materialises & shimmers (0:32)
  42. K9 probe and gun (0:04)
  43. TARDIS doors (0:07)
  44. White Guardian’s windbells (1:06)
  45. an Ogri about (0:32)
  46. pouring crystals (0:07)
  47. attack on war room (1:20)
  48. Doctor’s repair to TARDIS central column fails (0:15)
  49. Foamasi voices (0:17)
  50. doors (0:10)
  51. reactivation and laboratory room (0:43)
  52. Dodecahedron beams (0:39)
  53. Marshmen emerge from the Mistfall (0:52)
  54. timewinds (1:05)
  55. TARDIS landing bleep (0:03)
  56. Cloister Bell (1:04)
  57. march of the victims (1:48)
  58. search, capture & display dolls (0:26)
  59. scrolls self-destruct (0:10)
  60. Borusa destroyed (0:34)
  61. Melkur passes (0:47)
  62. Sea-Devils energising chamber inside Silurian rock (0:54)
  63. exploding river of mud (0:57)
  64. music suite from Timelash by Elizabeth Parker (5:54)
  65. tissue compression eliminator (0:03)
  66. limbo atrophier (0:13)
  67. drinks machine (0:06)
  68. transformer machine (0:11)
  69. sonic cone switch on & detonate (0:12)
  70. bees (0:35)
  71. singing trees with Dragon shots and two nitro-9 bombs (0:50)
  72. confuser machine (0:12)
  73. baseball bat hits Daleks (0:11)
  74. big Dalek gun (0:08)
  75. Doctor in time tunnel (0:31)
  76. Cyber ship lands, doors open (0:32)
  77. statue (0:24)
  78. execution sequence (0:28)
  79. letters burnt on crypt wall (0:24)
  80. phial breaks, gas escapes (0:17)
  81. energy bursts (0:22)
  82. Bessie drives off (0:12)
  83. transmaterialisation (0:10)
  84. Light petrifies victims (0:08)
  85. bird nightmare (0:36)
  86. sphere (0:33)
  87. music from The Paradise of Death by Peter Howell (2:13)
  88. Doctor Who end title theme 1980 (0:53)

Released by: BBC Records
Release date: 1993
Total running time: 66:58

Doctor Who: Ghost Light – music by Mark Ayres

Doctor Who: Ghost Light soundtrackAnother 1989 Doctor Who story scored by Mark Ayres, this music follows closely the synth-symphonic style of Curse Of Fenric, though the shadows are cast at a different angle. That’s an oblique way of saying that both discs contain very dark music settings, but this one relies on different elements than Fenric. Where Fenric‘s style owes a little something to the John Williams school of film music, Ghost Light‘s music is more eerie and horrific, depending on primitive percussion samples, unearthly sounds, and a lot of pipe organ and choral samples. If anything, 4 out of 4Ghost Light is more operatic and depends more on mood and suspense than all-out action. Both have merited addition to the Damn Near Perfect Album List.

  1. The Madhouse (3:44)
  2. Redvers, I Presume? (0:43)
  3. Uncharted Territory (1:42)
  4. Heart of the Interior (2:19)
  5. Order this CD Enter Josiah (0:28)
  6. Indoor Lightning (1:39)
  7. Nimrod Observed (1:02)
  8. Time To Emerge (1:23)
  9. Burnt Toast (1:37)
  10. Ace’s Adventures Underground (4:36)
  11. Where Is Mamma? (0:44)
  12. Loss of Control (3:34)
  13. The Way to the Zoo (1:54)
  14. The Memory Teller (1:51)
  15. Lighting the Touchpaper (1:11)
  16. Homo Victorianus Ineptus (1:19)
  17. Out of the Shadows (4:03)
  18. Light Enlightened (1:58)
  19. Tropic of Perivale (2:10)
  20. Tricks of the Light (4:29)
  21. Judgement in Stone (2:19)
  22. Reqiuem (5:03)
  23. Passing Thoughts (1:26)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: 1993
Total running time: 51:14

The Cat – Tongue Tied

The Cat - Tongue TiedThe Cat is, of course, Danny John-Jules, who plays the Cat character on Red Dwarf. “Tongue Tied” is a song which opened the final episode of the series’ second season in 1988; it took place in one of Cat’s dreams, and featured some very funny backing vocals from fellow cast members Craig Charles and Chris Barrie. Sadly, this CD maxi-single, released only in the U.K. and now available only through John-Jules’ fan club, is not that version of the song, but a re-recording of it minus John-Jules’ fellow cast members. Numerous remixes of “Tongue Tied” delve further and further into hip-hop and club stylings, and a so-called “kateoki” version is also included, a karaoke version with backing vocals, allowing you to be the Cat (if this is, in fact, what you really want to do with your life). Actually, the real treat here is John-Jules’ rendition of the Red Dwarf end credit song – also available in two Rating: 1 out of 4mixes, one of which is rather cryptically labeled the “Dalek mix.” While I was a bit disappointed that the original recording of “Tongue Tied” wasn’t included – but after all, I suppose the sound quality of that version was just enough to pass muster on television – this new version of the Red Dwarf theme makes up for it. Even so, I only recommend this one to extremely die-hard Red Dwarf fans.

Order this CD in the Store

  1. Red Dwarf theme – tongue tied mix (2:21)
  2. Tongue Tied – meeow mix (5:00)
  3. Tongue Tied (4:02)
  4. Tongue Tied – Tabby Ranks edit (6:14)
  5. Tongue Tied – kateoki mix (4:23)
  6. Tongue Tied – pussy mix (5:26)
  7. Tongue Tied – purrfect mix (5:26)
  8. Tongue Tied – paws mix (5:16)
  9. Tongue Tied – paws mix 7" single (5:16)
  10. Tongue Tied – 7" single mix (3:51)
  11. Tongue Tied – instrumental (4:22)
  12. Red Dwarf – Dalek mix (2:15)

Released by:
Release date: 1993
Total running time: 53:59