A nondescript overcast morning in the dull old West Midlands....was completely transformed by a new interpretation of "To be over" by Yes (Relayer 1974) on the bass guitar. Whilst, in part, elevated once more by the Roger Dean artwork on the CD cover (with a scene of ancient Oriental riders trekking through the harsh, wind-eroded landscape), I was challenged by Gavin to work through the more demanding C and A scales first so that I would recapitulate on existing skills which Steve Howe, the songs principal composer, would have used when constructing the overriding theme. Gavin doesn't just give it away: through worked understanding and practice, the reasoning comes to the fore, prior to the metamorphosis and the release. The metamorphosis comes in the form of seeing and hearing the shape of the theme trying to emerge from the aforementioned scales from the guitar and the fledgling guitarist; certain recognisable notes which, in time, pitch and volume, are just beginning, like planetary fragments, to coalesce into gradually recognisable melodic repeats and refrains. The release occurs when the apprentice finally traces over the notes with accurate timing and pronunciation (given the guidance and motivation from the composer, the band recording and imparted experience of the craftsman), finally enabling the enunciation of the theme in unison with the recording and the mentor...and he, the novice, gasps in momentary gleeful achievement. From the stone egg, lying dormant on the grey earth of the Relayer cover, has emerged the performance, replete with the kaleidoscope of atmospheres, gleaned on the first hearings some 42 years ago, now re expressed in person and a once forgotten song rises again on the warm wings of remembering.
For part 2 click here