Tag Archives: Jon Anderson

Interview at Yes Music Podcast 5th anniversary

Last week I had the honour of featuring in one of Kevin Mulryne’s interviews celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Yes Music Podcast. Some topics discussed were my interest in Bulgarian Folklore Music, start of my online bass lessons project and, of course, Yes Music and Chris Squire.

YMP 5th Anniversary – Part 2 with Miguel Falcão – 246

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Video

Long Distance Runaround

Bass: Rickenbacker 4001 CS

Strings: Rotosound Swing Bass RS66LD (45-105, stainless steel)

Preamp: Sansamp Bass Driver DI (BDDI)

Effects: T-RackS

Signal path: Bass→BDDI→PC→T-RackS

Video

Rhythm Of Love

Throughout this Holiday season, I recorded this very special bass cover of “Rhythm Of Love”.

As you may know, the album Big Generator (1987) was yet another challenge for Chris Squire, as he used a 5-string bass for all of the songs. Yet Chris made several alterations regarding the tuning. On this track (and others, including “I’m Running“) the tuning was AEADG.

The bass tone, as Chris demonstrated on his Starlicks video interview, becomes really low and powerful. The album mix doesn’t put the bass at the forefront like in many of Yes’ previous albums. I did struggle to understand the notes played, especially in the aforementioned lower register. I like to think that this is a good example of Chris designing an apparently more conventional bassline, with elements of soul music that was one of his big early influences. Yet, one can spot many of those details, variations or simply the sheer bass playing expression which makes it sound unique, like only Chris Squire knows.

For the video illustration I was generally inspired by the original video clip, which is, for me, one of the best that Yes has made. Then I took a little help from my friend Milton Trajano, by borrowing his great artwork and adapted it, with lots of improvisation, to the several moments of the song. Thank you, Milton!

As a final fortunate coincidence, we recently celebrated both Tony Kaye and Trevor Rabin’s birthdays so this is for Tony and Trevor as well!

Bass:  1992 Warwick Thumb Bass 5-string

Strings: Rotosound Swing Bass RS66LD (45-105, stainless steel) and Warwick Red Strings (135, stainless steel) Tuned to low A. I especially boiled this string to regain some brightness.

Signal conditioning: Boss LM-2 (limiter)

Preamp: Sansamp Bass Driver DI (BDDI)

Signal path: Bass→LM-2→BDDI→PC

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Video

Astral Traveller (HD remaster)

Here is a remastered version of my early cover of Astral Traveller. The previous version had some very primitive video effects with the story of the Portuguese Flag, which I just removed this time. The bass was significantly boosted and a bit processed with some compression. I hope it’s more audible now, considering  YouTube’s more recent HD encoding should also help to make a better sounding video.

Bass: Rickenbacker 4001 CS

Strings: Rotosound Swing Bass RS66LD (45-105, stainless steel)

Preamp: Sansamp Bass Driver DI (BDDI)

Effects: Amplitube 3 – Ampeg B-15R, T-RackS CS Vintage Compressor 670

Signal path: Bass→BDDI→PC→Amplitube→T-RackS

Video

A Venture (HD remaster with bonus track)

I recovered one of my first covers from 2008, “A Venture” from “The Yes Album”. Little I knew back then that in fact the bass that Chris Squire used for this song was his white Fender Telecaster and not the usual Rickenbacker!

I did a Yes Album cover “spoof” with me in the empty chair, with a little big help from my friend Milton Trajano.

Then I added a take I had recorded on the previous day, where I missed a few notes in the end.

Video

Turn Of The Century

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!

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

Video

Montreux’s Theme (Jazz Bass)

Here is my first take using a Fender Jazz Bass, which was the most voted bass on the poll that I created.

I will make another version with the Rickenbacker, which was the runner-up.

Thank you so much for voting and commenting! Hopefully Chris will provide us the correct answer!

Bass: Fender Jazz Bass 1975 Re-issue, MIJ

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

Video

Looking Around (remastered… and expanded!)

New year has begun! I have been busy with work and new projects and, with the few time I had, I did yet another “remaster”, this time with Looking Around, from the very first Yes LP. As we approach the first anniversary since our dear Peter Banks passed away, I took the opportunity to decorate the green screen in the memory of Peter.

I also discovered on my computer that I had kept a test video which I had recorded on the day before while I was still practicing. Strings are out of tune and camera loses focus but still I thought it would be interesting to show you how I was rehearsing.

Towards the end you will be able to see how I was beginning to experiment with very rudimentary graphic effects. I used a Yes cartoon designed by brazilian graphic artist Milton Trajano, which featured on The Ladder Tour program. Milton is in fact who suggested me that I should go and try to make a video clip of Chris’ basslines on YouTube, and helped me with the artwork of my early videos, like Parallels and A Venture.

Bass: Rickenbacker 4001CS

Strings: Warwick Red Label (45-105, stainless steel)

Preamp: Sansamp Bass Driver DI (BDDI)

Signal path: Bass→BDDI→PC

Video

The Solution

Time to re-discover another OYE song – The Solution was always one of my favourites for the beautiful vocal interplay between Jon and Billy nad the tricky odd-time meters. Chris’ bass does have a mighty tone here. I wonder which bass was used… the Tobias extended scale? The 6-stringed Carvin? My friend Américo Silva from Music-Light lent me his new-old bass, made by JP Custom Guitars, here in Portugal. – a beautiful sounding bass.

As usual I took the bass notes by ear – some parts I wasn’t absolutely sure of the notes. Perhaps the most difficult part for me was that groovy riff around E – to understand the notes played and fingering pattern… well, I hope I didn’t miss by many. All in all it’s a bassline full of interest, contrasts and a thunderous tone!

Bass: JP Custom Guitars “Luso”

Strings: Elixir

Signal conditioning: Boss LM-2 (limiter)

Preamp: Sansamp Bass Driver DI (BDDI)

Signal path: Bass→LM-2→BDDI→PC

Video

Universal Garden

 

Universal Garden has been a sort of “forgotten” song for me, since I had so many other favourites on “Open Your Eyes”. When it came the time to rediscover this album, I thought I should give a chance to this song and hear carefully what was going on with the bass. When I finally noticed that Chris was playing the 8-string bass and detected the “Ranney” tuning, that’s when things started to become interesting.

For those who don’t know, Chris developed an alternate tuning with his Ranney 8-string bass. Instead of having all string pairs tuned as octaves, he decided to have perfect fifths above the D and G string. On his “starlicks” video interview, Chris describes this as a “gothic” sound, and songs like “Changes”, “Hearts” and more recently “To Be Alive” and “It Will Be a Good Day“.

The bassline is a bit hard to hear in places. I had some doubts in the opening section, deciding whether the notes were played on the E string (as octaves) or the D and/or G strings (as fifths). The is a guitar overdub that plays on a similar register and confused me a bit. I decided to play a mix of the two versions but to be honest I am not sure about that intro. For example, on the Conspiracy live DVD Chris plays his “second” Mouradian 4-string and he hits the same notes using fifth chords on the D and G strings (G#, E, A, G#).

For the video, I did a very basic concept that I actually think of many times… only I forgot to write down here. I just googled for “universe” and the name of a colour and I selected the images I liked the most. I remember I looked for red, orange, blue, purple… maybe the same as Jon Anderson’s Yesshows “pre-Ritual” speech :) So I just applied the effects to those pictures. Finally I included Yes members pictures and applied a colour to each one… I thought of which colour to associate to each member. Billy – Purple; Steve – Red; Jon – Gold/Yellow; Chris – Green and Alan – White! :)

Bass: Zon Sonus 8

Strings: Zon 8 String set and D’Addario EXL 280 piccolo strings (for the fifths)

Effects: Amplitube 3 – Ampeg BA-500

Signal path: Bass→PC→Amplitube