How I Got Myself Into Listening To Prog Rock

It was around April / May of 2012

I was ready to graduate from college, and to leave Oberlin. It really was sweet and surreal four years, but I was ready to face new adventures in a new city. Even though it was 4 years of a wonderful life, I was having a very tough time during the last semester at Oberlin. Actually not just myself, my friends, Luke and Tom, were also having their own tough time. While we were individually dealing with our own issues in life, we got together at night to talk about music, school life, politics (newspapers were covered by Occupy Wall Street), arts, post-Oberlin life, and whatever you can possibly imagine. Conveniently we all lived together, so we got together in the living room every night. Talking to each other about every possible thing you can imagine worked as a group therapy in a friendly environment – at least for me. I got through the tough time of my life, thankfully without causing any trouble.

We were always sitting in the living room talking, and listening to music - different topics and different music every night (during this time they got me listening to recordings of Klaus Tennstedt conducting the Mahler symphonies.) We only listened to music that we thought the greatest. I still consider some of what we listened to that year the best, or at least they were the best for us at the moment. (Link: in the bottom of the post) We needed something enlightening and different every night.

Mahler is great without a doubt; however, one can't listen to Mahler every day and night especially when one is personally going through tough time in life - at least for me. So I certainly needed something new to listen to.

It was May 19, 2012.

Luke, Tom and I borrowed a car from our music theory teacher so we could visit our friend in hospital just outside of Oberlin. On our way back to "Obieland" we were curious about the kind of music that our theory teacher listens to. So we got the disc out from the car stereo. It was the legendary "Close to the Edge" by Yes (1972). I didn't know anything about the album, or the group. We listened to the album, and we loved it.

- an interview with Jon Anderson, the lyricist and singer of Yes, on Close to the Edge:

“It’s all metaphors. That’s when I went through that very strong period of just sketching and writing whatever I sang as being a state of consciousness. (...) it can rearrange your physical self to a higher state of mind. (...) Close to the Edge, round by the corner, I was reading Siddhartha. So everything means something to me. And people can say what they want — I don’t care — because I know what I was saying was what I was thinking, what I was dreaming.” 

It's vague, so vague. But one clear thing is that we were looking for inspiration, and an enlightening moment in music and life. We needed something which possibly can help us to toughen up and to deal with the life. Close to the Edge, a product of understanding one's higher self and consciousness, came into our lives. I didn't know anything about the story behind this album. I didn't know what progressive rock means, and I still don't know what it really means. But I liked what I listened to it, and I still love listening. I started looking up albums by Yes, or by other groups in the same time period. I know what I like, and I still like Close to the Edge the most. 

To be honest, I don't know if this album and/or music of this kind have any significance in Luke's or Tom's life; however, it certainly helped me to calm down and focus on myself. My love for listening to this album and music of this kind is still valid, and that never-ending love truly peaked in the spring of 2013 – it seems like I go through a hard time every spring. Anyway, I was able to get through the tough spring of 2012 and never stopped listening to this album. This album means to me more as a crucial part of my life searching for the higher self than just an album.

Playlist of Spring 2012

Album Cover

Album Cover

photo from May 19, 2012

photo from May 19, 2012