The only studio album to feature keyboard whiz Patrick Moraz, filling therole from departing Rick Wakeman. But what a contribution he makes. Thoughsome of the material was written before Moraz joined, his jazzier andfunkier style embellishes the distinctive Yes sound with something moreaggressive and frenzied. The overall effect, especially on "Soundchaser"was more like the Mahavishnu Orchestra.
This album comes across as a mirror image to Close to the Edge. Bothcontain three pieces, one side long track, backed with two relativelyshorter pieces. But whereas Close to the Edge was all lightness, andcolour, Relayer was hard and grey as typified in their respective sleevedesigns. But Relayer is my personal favourite of the two. The opening"Gates of Delerium" rips through it's 20 odd minutes at a tremendous rate.The middle instrumental section never lets up, a fierce duel betweenMoraz's synths and Howe's frenetic electric guitar. The serene ending ofthe "Soon" section is a welcome chance for a breather after the cacophonyof what has just come before. Yes have never been as energised as on thistrack. "Soundchaser" is funky, with again Howe's jagged guitar playingtaking solo spot in the mid-section. The closing "To Be Over" is calmingand beautiful and a fitting finish to this classic album.
Special mention must be made of the remastering of this recording. Allprevious versions of this, whether on vinyl, cassette or earlier CDreleases have suffered from high levels of hiss, particularly noticeableon the "Soon" section of "The Gates of Delerium". Here at last, this hasbeen removed and we now have a crystal clear sound, with lots of detail inthe mix. New life has been given to this recording. The digipak andbooklet do justice to Roger Dean's artwork. A superb job all round fromRhino.