Reviews and Commentaries for Fragile
Eddie Offord took charge of Yes’s engineering starting with Time and a Word (1970) and we are very glad that he did.
Although his masterpiece is surely ELP’s first album, both The Yes Album and Fragile are so amazingly well recorded they clearly belong at the top of any list of All Time Great Sounding Rock Albums.
You can tell by the sound of the opening guitar whether you have a copy that is tonally correct, has its ambience intact, as well as the proper leading edge transients to the strings plucks. Most of the reissues will sound either thin and edgy, or dull and blunted. On the best copies, that guitar will just sound out of this world.
Cans and Brahms
We Have Heaven
South Side of the Sky
What really separates the amazing copies from the merely good copies is the WEIGHT of the sound. The lower midrange is key in this regard. When you hear the piano on this track, it should have tremendous body and sustain to the notes. If the piano comes across at all anemic, the sound will be unbearably harsh.
Five Per Cent for Nothing
Long Distance Runaround
This is one of the best sounding Yes tracks of all time. Jon Anderson’s voice is so present; he sounds as if he’s standing right between the speakers.
Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)
Mood for a Day
The top pressings exhibit amazing transparency and sweetness on this track. We would rate this one of the best rock acoustic guitar recordings on the planet. I’ve recently come to realize that this is actually a key track for side two. The guitar can sound midrangy and hard; too fat; blunted; and I’m sure lots of other ways.
And I’m talking about ONLY the best early pressings (the four digit ones). None of the later pressings sound any good to me at all.
This is where the surface noise will be most audible. After playing a number of copies, I noticed that there was always surface noise on this track, but not necessarily others. And then it dawned on me: the surface noise has to be spread evenly throughout the record; it’s on this track that you can actually hear it. The other tracks tend to be loud and little surface noise will ever be audible.
Heart of the Sunrise
My second favorite track on the album. All those aggressive guitar parts can be very irritating if you do not have a copy that’s cut properly, which in this case means smooth and full-bodied. Any thinness or edginess will be all but unbearable on this track.
- More Albums with Key Tracks for Critical Listening
- Yet Another Record that We Are Obsessed With
- Basic Concepts and Realities Explained
- Important Lessons We Learned from Record Experiments
- Records that Sound Best on Big Speakers at Loud Levels
- Demo Discs for Bass
- Demo Discs for Dynamics
- Demo Discs for Energy
- Demo Discs for Recordings that Are Doing It All
- Demo Discs for Size and Space
- Demo Discs for Tubey Magic