Turn Of The Century – Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Yessongs of all, and again, with one of the most fascinating basslines by Chris Squire. Many peculiarities about it as well. Chris played a Gibson Triumph bass, which is a short scale bass. The tone is quite different from the usual, more discrete and less aggressive. However, it allowed Chris to play the higher registers a lot, due to the large number of frets, going to a high F sharp. I asked my good friend Américo Silva at Music Light for one of his basses which had that range and I chose his beautiful blue Alembic Essence. The tone of the bass is wonderful and I really couldn’t seem to achieve the same “middy” timbre of the Triumph bass. Doing a lot of EQ would rather spoil the Alembic’s tone, so I opted to let the bass speak by itself. The bassline is, again, exquisite – not a single note is played with less care than the other, and often seems to leave the main chord tones, to derive as a counter melody, sometimes beautifully dissonant. In addition, the bass pedals work bring even more drama – as Chris plays also some very bold passages with scales provoking chord inversions, suspensions and yet more dissonance. I listened to several bootlegs and footage of the 1976 sessions to try to compute how the bass pedal line could be played, as the album version is almost criminally undermixed on the pedals (as it happened on some other Yes albums such as Tormato). In fact, I believe that there are more bass pedal passages on the song but the ones I played were the ones I thought had the best chance to be right. Let’s hope that more new formats of mixes will come out, as it seems to be a trend nowadays, and they this part of Chris Squire’s work will come to the surface so we finally get to hear more of his treasures!
Download the full transcription by Simon Gilman, here.
Bass: Alembic Essence
Strings: Rotosound Swing Bass RS66LD (45-105, stainless steel)
Signal conditioning: Boss LM-2 (limiter)
Preamp: Sansamp Bass Driver DI (BDDI)
Signal path: Bass→LM-2→BDDI→PC