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Fly From Here

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Title: Fly From Here
Artist: Yes
Type: Studio Album
Released: June 22, 2011
Recorded: October 2010 – February 2011
Length: 47:28
Label: Frontiers Records (Europe, U.S.), Avalon (Japan)
Producer: Trevor Horn


Fly from Here is the twentieth studio album from Yes. Their first studio album since Magnification (2001), it is also the only one to feature Canadian singer Benoît David, and only the second (after 1980's Drama) without former singer Jon Anderson. The lineup is David, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White and keyboardist Geoff Downes. The album was produced by Trevor Horn, who was the singer on Drama, and who had previously produced 90125 (1983) and co-produced Big Generator (1987).

The album takes its name from its main track, "Fly from Here", a 25-minute song split up into six parts. The basis of the song was a demo originally recorded by Downes and Horn of The Buggles before they joined Yes in 1980. After Yes disbanded in 1981, Horn and Downes recorded a second demo, and both recordings became the foundation of the tracks "We Can Fly" and "Sad Night at the Airfield".

Fly from Here was first released on 22 June 2011 in Japan and France, followed by releases on 1 July in the rest of Europe and Australia and on 12 July in the United States. It peaked at number 30 on the UK Albums Chart, and number 36 on the US Billboard200.

ProductionEdit

BackgroundEdit

Fly from Here is Yes' first studio album since the release of Magnification (2001), the longest gap to date between two Yes studio albums. It is also the first (and only) with Canadian singer Benoît David on vocals, who replaced long-time member Jon Anderson when Anderson was struggling with health issues. Before joining Yes in 2008, David performed as the lead vocalist in Close to the Edge, a Canadian Yes tribute band, for more than 10 years. He remains the lead singer of the Canadian band Mystery, which he joined in 1999.

In 1980, singer Trevor Horn and keyboardist Geoff Downes of The Buggles replaced Yes members Anderson and Rick Wakeman. They feature on Drama (1980) and its supporting tour. Before joining the band, Horn and Downes had first approached Squire, Howe, and White with a demo titled "We Can Fly from Here." The first rehearsals had in fact featured Bill Bruford on drums, an original member of Yes who had left in 1972. It was later recorded as a studio demo and was never recorded for Drama, but it was performed live on the subsequent tour, of which a live performance appears on the compilation live album The Word Is Live (2005). After Yes disbanded in 1981, Horn and Downes recorded another demo of "We Can Fly from Here", this time as a two-part suite. It was a candidate for inclusion on The Buggles' second album, Adventures in Modern Recording (1981) and was eventually featured as a bonus track on the album's 2010 reissue. These two demos and a third (which has not been released) would become the basis of the tracks "We Can Fly", "Sad Night at the Airfield", and "Madman at the Screens". Downes returned to Yes for Fly from Here, handling "most of the keyboards", following the departure of Oliver Wakeman, who had contributed both to the album's writing and recording.

According to Squire, "Fly from Here" is the band's 11th epic-length piece, their first in 15 years, which clocks in at nearly 25 minutes.

"Life on a Film Set" is based on "Riding a Tide," a Buggles demo that was first released on the 2010 reissue of Adventures in Modern Recording.

RecordingEdit

The first recording sessions took place between 3 October and 12 November 2010 at SARM West Coast Studios in Los Angeles, California, before resuming in the first week of January 2011. Horn produced the album using the digital audio workstation software Pro Tools. The album was then mixed in April 2011 at SARM West Studios in London, with additional vocals being added.

Sleeve designEdit

The cover was designed by artist Roger Dean, who has created many of the group's previous album covers. It is a painting he started in 1970 but had remained uncompleted. He finished it in the style of his current works, but the colour and texture were kept from the original.

Music videoEdit

An official music video that combines "We Can Fly" and "We Can Fly (Reprise)" was released on 3 July 2011. The video portrays the story of an airline passenger awaiting his flight, who reads a magazine article about a 1940s Hollywood mogul who died in a plane crash as a result of a "pilot error." The man finishes reading, runs down a flight of stairs, and boards his plane only to find the same '40s-era cast of characters aboard, with a stewardess leading him to the cockpit to pilot the plane. Trevor Horn makes a cameo appearance as the movie mogul.

ReceptionEdit

Reaction from Jon AndersonEdit

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Anderson stated that on hearing the single "We Can Fly" he felt it sounded "a bit dated" and that Horn's production "wasn't as good as I expected". He did, however, praise David's vocal performance.

In a recent 2012 Interview, Anderson doesn't seem so critical over the album. He mentioned, "Well, since I wasn't a part of it, I can really complain too much about it. "Obviously we're all human, and there are some things that I would've done different, but overall, again, I can't complain."

Track Listing Edit

  1. Fly from Here – Overture (1:53)
  2. Fly from Here, Part I: We Can Fly (6:00)
  3. Fly from Here, Part II: Sad Night at the Airfield (6:41)
  4. Fly from Here, Part III: Madman at the Screens (5:16)
  5. Fly from Here, Part IV: Bumpy Ride (2:15)
  6. Fly from Here, Part V: We Can Fly (Reprise) (1:44)
  7. The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be (5:07)
  8. Life on a Film Set (5:01)
  9. Hour of Need (3:07)
  10. Solitaire (3:30)
  11. Into the Storm (6:54)

Japanese only track Edit

  1. Hour of Need (Full-length version) (6:45)

Musicians Edit

with

  • Oliver Wakeman – additional keyboards on "We Can Fly", "We Can Fly (Reprise)" and "Hour of Need"
  • Trevor Horn – backing vocals, additional keyboards, additional acoustic guitar on "Sad Night at the Airfield"
  • Luís Jardim – percussion
  • Gerard Johnson – piano on "The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be"

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