Yes – Yes Remixes

Yes - Yes Remixes

What were Yes thinking when they accepted, and subsequently released these remixes by Steve Howe’s son Virgil? I don’t think it’s simply for nepotism’s sake, trying to get another Howe family member into the spotlight either. By his own merit, Virgil Howe is a capable electronic producer, but it still doesn’t explain this. Remixes is possibly more singularly detested in Yes‘ career even than Union, and given that we all know progressive fans are a bunch of old fogies with a deep resentment for anything new and trendy, none of this reception comes as a surprise. Again, what were Yes thinking? What demographic was this album aimed at?

Beyond the shattered principle of bastardizing something as classic as Yes 70s material, I’m not opposed to the material’s infusion with electronic. I’m a fan of many types of electronic music both old and new, and based on some of the more inspired chops and cuts Virgil Howe offers here, I think Remixes could (and should) have been more compelling than it is. Although every track here can be traced back to its origins easily enough, Virgil has stripped most of the songs of their initial structure, rewiring and repeating samples, often alongside programmed beats.

Yes fans and progressive lovers would probably balk at that last line. Surprisingly enough, parts of it work really well. The rhythmically reworked intro to “Starship Trooper” is particularly inspired, and Virgil takes advantage of “Awaken”‘s celestial atmosphere to his own benefit; the moments here that stick to me go as far as to vindicate the idea of remixing Yes‘ material. I get the impression that Virgil Howe wasn’t the person to take it all the way however. Whether the project was rushed or undercooked altogether, for every clever idea here, there’s three or four others that are almost intolerably annoying. “Heart of the Sunrise” is a muddled mess here, without any of the gorgeous build-up that made the original so impressive. The unnecessary sample-repetition is usually taken too far; the weird first seconds of “Sound Chaser” are repeated ad nauseam, to the point where the magic and effect are lost entirely.

Remixes are far from my first choice musically, but even when they’re set on dissecting classic material, there’s the potential to create a new and satisfying experience. Max Graham’s reworking of “Owner of a Lonely Heart” was really interesting, and some of Virgil Howe’s cuts here lend credibility to something proggers would reject outright. Remixes has too many interesting moments to be horrible, but too many worthless cuts and chops to be recommended to anyone, be they fans of Yes or electronic music in general. It’s an interesting novelty, but there’s no substance here to keep the interest going. Check out Virgil’s recuts of “Starship Trooper” and “Awaken”, and leave the rest to the dogs.


1. Tempus Fugit (5:07)
2. Arriving UFO (5:54)
3. Heart of the Sunrise (5:59)
4. Starship Trooper (7:33)
5. Awaken (7:48)
6. Soundchaser (5:24)
7. Ritual (6:20)
8. Siberian Khatru (5:26)
9. Five Percent for Nothing (4:40)
10. No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed (4:44)
11. No Clowns (3:15)

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