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Mirror to the Sky : Every Chapter

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  • Mirror to the Sky : Every Chapter

    CHAPTER ONE : THE PRELUDE



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    Beraaaaaaang



    That's it. The first sound we hear on the much vaunted title track. Unexpected? Not entirely. Very western twang. Steve has his country flavour but the mood is slightly pensive and moody. Wide open spaces. Heat. Tension. Shadows are lengthenin'.

    Howe is joined by Geoff on accompanyin' piano. Loose. Bar room. Western. I can visualize him in the corner of the saloon. The mood is set. Two ol' amigos bracin' themselves for one final adventure. Guns are placed in holsters.

    0. 48

    Until. Jays's drums kick in with Billy's nimble and dancin' bass. The youngbloods joinin' the fray. Geoff's openin' organ salvo is one note. Held down for a couple of bars. Drivin' the groove for Howe to shine in the first blisterin' attack of his telecaster. Angry Howe. Prog metal Howe. He is pushin' that telecaster to the limit. Can imagine Schwartz in the control room shoutin' " Steve! It cannae hold!!!" Pure adrenaline.

    1. 17

    2 Billy rollin' solo runs. Just showin' off. Jay has a rollin' solo run. Providin' the pulse.

    Flexin' muscles. For the adventure ahead.

    1. 49

    Then. One note telecaster repetition by Howe. Bar after bar, then he bends the notes. Squealin'. Blisterin'! Transcendant.

    2. 40

    Then a Machine Messiah descendin' run of notes. To end the prelude. To the Main acts to follow....




    __________________________________________


    DREAMS OF A SKY WITHOUT FIRE
    Last edited by Gilly Goodness; 07-25-2023, 10:43 PM.

  • #2
    CHAPTER TWO : THE MAIN THEME



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    2. 49

    Now the rubber really hits the road.

    This section begins with a circular run of notes, a snake swallowin' it's tail. And. So. The first lead vocal we hear is by a certain baritone by the name of Steven James Howe. The immortal, cryptic and dramatic line. "Dreams of a sky without fire". Comes from an old unfinished song Howe wrote and jettisoned. Chillin'. If like me, you have lived through bushfires stretchin' hundreds of miles across.

    3.14

    Now the true lead character appears, Jon Davison. Pure of voice. Tender of heart. Complete contrast to the raspy baritone. Askin' questions. "Are we not leaves in a storm?" "this fleeting existance." Vulnerable. Tentative.

    3.26

    The circular melody returns backed for the first time by the North Macedonian orchestra arranged by Paul K. Joyce. A swellin' rousin' effect.

    3.40

    We have lift off. Now Juano sings "dreams of a sky without fire". The band takes flight. Gainin' strength. Aided by very James Bond flourishes by the orchestra.
    Horns. Brass. Billy is providin' some cool funky moments on bass as well. The music is airborne. The main riff soarin' high

    4. 26

    Until. It goes even higher. Steve's guitar. This passage is peak YES. Why? Because it evokes the same noble quality that the main theme to Close to the Edge does.
    Nobility in music is usually defined as a stately, ascendin' quality. That catches your breathe. It swells the chest with pride. It washes away inequity. It soothes the soul.

    4. 43

    Re-enter Juano. Singin' smoothly along with pure ease. Mirrorin' the music. A highlight of this song. He will sing " you are my mirror to the sky" twice. But. Wait. On the third attempt a palpable sense of urgency is established by him singin' " you're my mirror to the sky" leanin' into the more strident delivery. Subtle. Yes. But gives an emotional heft to the words. Here we see a reply to Steve's openin' line. Juano's wife casually remarked at the seaside this line and he immediately thought it would go with Steve's initial line. And gentlemanly allowed Steve to have the first line delivery. The collective. Redistribution of composition.

    5. 15

    Now. We have reached the apex musically. All of Monument Valley lies below us. All thrustin' slabs of magnificent red rock. Sculpted by the ages. By wind and rain. Are we not slabs of rock in a storm? 😉 Juano sings "still I dream of a sky without fire...falling. "

    The noble telecaster takes us out.

    _____________________________________________


    STILL I DREAM OF A SKY WITHOUT FIRE
    Last edited by Gilly Goodness; 07-24-2023, 08:25 PM.

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    • #3
      CHAPTER THREE : LEAVES IN A STORM



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      Now. We have just reached the apex.
      We have survived. Buffeted by winds and howlin' dust. Surely it can't get more challengin'? Steve's guitar has given it's all. But. There are darker clouds on the horizon.

      5. 45

      Enter the North Macedonian Orchestra sawin' away with relentless vigour. There are massed cellos. There are massed violins. They are unrelentin'. Can Steve's guitar match them? He sounds like he is findin' his way. Tentative.
      As Juano asked before, "are we not leaves in a storm?"

      As Mr White said to Bond in Quantum of Solace, "You are a kite dancin' in a hurricane". Small, powerless against the world of chance. " Here tossed and then blown". Can we gain back control?

      The question is answered by Howe findin' a twisty way of soarin' above the storm, the orchestra. It is magnificent. It is hard won. Surely he can now rest?


      __________________________________________


      TIKKUN OLAM. SPIRITUS MUNDI
      Last edited by Gilly Goodness; 07-25-2023, 03:11 PM.

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      • #4
        CHAPTER FOUR : EVIL UNDER THE SUN



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        7. 09

        Enter malevolence. Man made malevolence.

        "What the Shadow Minds behind The Third Eye Spies in Vain Define".

        Shadow minds? Surveillance? Juano sings in a hushed and sinister tone. Just when you get relaxed and satiated. The chase begins again. "The essence they fail to possess." The very soul? Who are they? This sounds like Matt Bellamy of MUSE levels of paranoia. Bad State actors? Spy Satellites? "They cannot control"

        Time for Resistance?

        7. 38

        Final yearnin', beseechin' drawn out pleadin' to the sky above. The very peak of the song.

        "The Very Soul and it's Inseperable Ties to the Limitless Sacred Skies!"


        ______________________________________



        THEIR FORCES THEN DESPISE THE VERY SOUL
        Last edited by Gilly Goodness; 07-26-2023, 01:18 PM.

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        • #5
          CHAPTER FIVE : THE PRINCIPLE OF UNITY



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          7. 53

          A recapitulation to the Prelude's twangy langour.

          "Voices stir from future Earth" Juano sings. The harmonies here remind me of All Connected. A nice link between 2 very different songs.

          "Tikkun Olam. Spiritus Mundi"

          Have we found the crux of the song? Always dig my prog to have new concepts that I've never experienced. Tikkun Olam is a Jewish concept that means "repair the world". Leave the world a better place. Be the guardian of the world.

          Spiritus Mundi is Latin for world spirit, a belief that there is a Universal intelligence that links everyones' minds. What Jung conceived as the Collective Unconscious. Universal symbols. What William Butler Yeats wrote of in The Second Coming. He believed you could foretell the future. "Voices stir from future Earth" indeed.

          8. 27

          "Affirm the principle of Unity"

          We are one as a species. We only have one home. All is connected. This is a pure distillation of YES themes if ever there was. Love Steve's guitar figure here. Dramatic. Urgent. Spirallin'.

          "Afterall...We are starfall"

          Always like conversational lyrics thrown into the mix. Eg: "Afterall." Reminds you that it is just another human being that is singing and you could be in dialogue over the back fence with someone.

          8. 50

          Again the twangy, bluesy riff with loose piano accompaniment, the saloon bar riff. A respite. A familiarity. A regroupin'.

          9. 05

          "Pause and reflect. The cause and effect"

          Love how Juano sings this in a clipped, aggressive manner. He really wants you to pause and reflect!!!
          His vocal deliveries are a joy to behold. Having listened to his Glass Hammer work, his vocal styles are quite varied. The angle of attack. The emphasis. The broad range of emotion without ever being overwrought or trite. A natural.

          "Where soon all man must go"

          Is he talkin' about a physical location or a new attitude? Dunno. My gut instinct is that the crux of all this is to renew the guardianship of our home, our world, our planet. The Anthropocene Epoch has already begun in the 1950's accordin' to Science.
          We have long passed the tippin' point. We will have to end fossil fuels and completely rely on Green energy. We have to adapt to hotter temperatures and wild weather. The Gulf Stream may end in 2025 and that will change the weather for a lot of people readin' this forum. Clever to write lyrics around all this without the need for "climate emergency/doom" terminology that we're so used to. Refer to Jewish guardianship and Irish poetry. Use disparate concepts to underline a common underlyin' connection. Science. Every atom in our bodies was created in a star once. Incredible isn't it? Truly a world of wonder. Love these lyrics. They give pause. Yes. But they also give hope.


          __________________________________________


          WITH MINDFUL MIND SAIL TIMELESS TIME
          Last edited by Gilly Goodness; 07-29-2023, 04:54 PM.

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          • #6
            CHAPTER SIX : THE SYNTH MIASMA




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            9.22


            The music slows. Beautiful plucked harmonics from Steve. Simple spaced notes from Billy. A pulse. Aided by rimshots from Jay. A chance to breathe and sink into the red mist miasma of Geoff's synths. You literally settle into the ooze. And those gorgeous strums by Juano. At last a lead singer who can actually play guitar. To free up Steve for other duties. Had to laugh when people at first were sayin' they couldn't get into this track because there was no repetition. It's all repeatin' themes and motifs. By different instrumentations.

            10. 02

            Special shout out to those fallin', descending violin notes. Pure bliss. Class. Elevates the music.

            The next 60 or so seconds is just mesmerisin' music. No one overplays their hand. Steve's woozy electric becomes more prominent. Jay's tip toein' drums provide support with Billy's subtle bass. Geoff ties it all together. Amazin' hypnotic instrumental passage. Dreamy. A respite. Perhaps the journey is over? The amigos can rest. Or maybe not...



            _____________________________________________


            YOU ARE MY MIRROR TO THE SKY
            Last edited by Gilly Goodness; 07-30-2023, 03:22 PM.

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            • #7
              CHAPTER SEVEN : THE CULMINATION



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              11. 49

              The circular melody returns and then is immediately joined by 57 North Macedonian orchestra members. "Excuse us Mr Howe. We got this. You rock chappies have had your turn with your loud amplified instruments, long hair and louche demeanours". ..... Ouch!!!


              Freed from all constraints, the orchestra let's fly. Straight up into the stratosphere. Above the clouds. Like a glorious eagle in it's triumphant gyre. Circles within circles. The hard won victory.

              12. 35

              Now Paul K. Joyce in a YMP podcast said that Aaron Copland was a big influence on him with this. So I raced away to hear Appalachian Spring. Nope. Not that even though the climax would be great walk-on music for YesTrueWest to use in concert. I found it in Copland's rousin' ballet score Rodeo. Thigh-slappin' cowboy music full of the wide open space brio of the New World. Yee-haw indeed!!!

              So the orchestra pulls up in resolution.

              The journey is over. Finished in classical music terms. The culmination of this "global symphony."



              ______________________________________________



              STILL I DREAM OF A SKY WITHOUT FIRE
              Last edited by Gilly Goodness; 07-30-2023, 07:22 PM.

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              • #8
                CHAPTER EIGHT : THE CODA



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                12. 43


                But. Wait. Bang!!! The whole band burst back into life out of nowhere. Howe is in full face-melt mode. Aggressive. Downes is holdin' down that surgin' organ note again. Billy is nimble and dancin' his bass. Jay is the pulse comin' up from the earth. Juano is nowhere to be seen. His job is done. The 57 North Macedonians are goin' bat shit crazy!!!

                It's an absolutely thrillin' finale. Bang!!! It ends. A ripple of tympani. Bang!!! Stunnin'. You feel suspended mid-air. A burst of nuclear explosion!!!


                ___________________________________________



                YOU ARE MY MIRROR TO THE SKY
                Last edited by Gilly Goodness; 08-01-2023, 03:34 AM.

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                • #9
                  THE WASHUP


                  Gonna keep it short 'n' sweet.

                  1. When listenin' to any chapter of this song, I'm thinkin' to myself, this is the best chapter

                  2. When listenin' to any chapter of this song, I wish it could last longer.

                  A monumental achievement.


                  _________________________________________


                  STILL I DREAM OF A SKY WITHOUT FIRE


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                  • #10
                    A most excellent series of posts about an excellent song. Thank you, Gilly!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      YOUTUBE STREAMING : LANDMARK



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                      100K.

                      Soon to be played LIVE for the very first time in
                      Lititz Pennsylvania United States of America.




                      _______________________________________




                      INTERNATIONAL DARK SKY PARK

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                      • #12
                        I certainly hope they play it! I will cry tears of joy when Steve’s guitar kicks in at the end after the orchestra. And probably when the mood changes for the “mirror to the sky” section.

                        I’ve been known to tear up during AYAI and Awaken… And probably a few others.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JMKUSA

                          I certainly hope they play it! I will cry tears of joy when Steve’s guitar kicks in at the end after the orchestra.
                          Let the rivers flow. Flow to the sea 🤣


                          ________________________________________





                          BRIGHT LIGHTHOUSES BY THE SEA

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                          • #14
                            thanks for the great analysis GG.

                            When I first heard Subway Walls, I thought it was both a glance to the past while pushing forward. Great song.

                            Then I heard Ice Bridge and my jaw dropped. Fantastic intro, Davison's unique vocal phrasing, and a jamming guitar/keyboard duel.

                            But Mirror to the Sky is beyond words for me. It is an absolute masterpiece.

                            I have heard several reviews praising this album and saying they expect the next one might be even better.

                            I honestly cannot think of anything better than the title track Mirror to the Sky.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by YesWill
                              thanks for the great analysis GG.

                              When I first heard Subway Walls, I thought it was both a glance to the past while pushing forward. Great song.

                              Then I heard Ice Bridge and my jaw dropped. Fantastic intro, Davison's unique vocal phrasing, and a jamming guitar/keyboard duel.

                              But Mirror to the Sky is beyond words for me. It is an absolute masterpiece.

                              I have heard several reviews praising this album and saying they expect the next one might be even better.

                              I honestly cannot think of anything better than the title track Mirror to the Sky.
                              I am not expecting anything of the next album, I only hope that it has a distinct sound of it's own.

                              My wishes for a great album with Davison as singer have been met and I couldn't be happier. This album has that great epic of course but it's so much more than that, and that's what I find so appealing. The whole main album + Unknown Place are stellar. (and the groove of Magic Potion.) So the next album can wait for now!

                              Mind you my opinion of the Quest has dwindled a tad as of late. It's still a solid 7, 7.5/10 but it doesn't have the same impact. I still enjoy certain tracks: Ice Bridge, Dare to Know, The Western Edge, A Living Island mostly.
                              The Definitive YES Albums

                              -The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge-Tales From Topographic Oceans-
                              -Relayer-Going for the One-Drama-90125-Big Generator-Union-Talk-
                              -The Ladder-Magnification-Fly From Here-The Quest-Mirror to the Sky-

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