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YIN/YANG albums

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    YIN/YANG albums

    This thread is about yin & yang albums.

    These would be albums that start off in one style or mode, and end in another. Most notably, half-and-half albums. For example , an album from the vinyl days where side one is punchy and accessible, and then you flip the record over and side two is more low key, or ambient. Or instrumental. Or a CD that starts in one direction, but by the half way point, it gradually becomes stranger or more experimental. Not an album where two styles mesh and are spread throughout the running time, but albums with an apparent division between its first half and the second half - Yin and Yang. For me, some of the best ones have a funkier side one and a spacier side two. But that's just my unofficial criteria. And I suppose it doesn't necessarily mean it can't be a first half of symphonic prog and then side two/second half of all sea shanties or Cajun songs or something. Usually for me the Yin/Yang album is regular song-based stuff on side one, and avant garde/ambient/experimental left field material on the back half.
    Here's some of mine:

    KING CRIMSON - THREE OF A PERFECT PAIR: the 'yellow' album, where side one(side left) is mostly quirky vocal tracks keeping with the new wave stylings of the 80's Belew-fronted Crimso, and side two(side right) is partially improvised and mostly instrumental industrial factory music. In an interview, Fripp called the left side 'accessible' and the right side 'excessive'.

    STEVE HACKETT - GUITAR NOIR(original 1993 version): The first half is more rock based with the usual Genesis leanings, with fiery tracks like 'Vampire With A Healthy Appetite' and soaring guitar-scapes like Sierra Quemada. But then by the second half the album gradually becomes more rich, ghostly and atmospheric, with nylon acoustic guitar and somber orchestral keys prominent. Fine late night listening. It was later reissued with some bonus material, but the tracklisting was changed around and the songs scrambled into a different running order - thus wrecking the Yin & Yang effect of the earlier 1993 release. Go for the original for maximum effect.

    BRIAN ENO - BEFORE & AFTER SCIENCE: side one is new wave-tinged glam Eno like 'King's Lead Hat', still a bit in that post-Roxy solo sound. But then you get to side two, and it's more ambient dreamy and almost drumless - with collaborations with people like Cluster, who he would work with.

    and one of the most notable Yin/Yang albums:

    DAVID BOWIE - LOW: side one, classic Bowie sound and vision from the Thin White Duke, then flip it over - somber, ambient, arty, Berlin school experimentation. Droning, mostly instrumental, released the same year as the above Eno album, who also guests on Low. Listen to at dusk.

    Don't think Yes or its alumni have anything in terms of a Yin/Yang album, but I could be overlooking one. What are some of your favorite Yin & Yang albums?

    Great question! I suppose the one that comes to mind is Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love: four big singles on the A side, then an atmospheric song suite filling the B.

    David Sylvian’s Gone to Earth also, much like Crimson’s ToaPP.

    Almost in this realm might be Going for the One, too: four of the most song-like songs in the catalog in years, and then one abstract epic. Kinda sorta?