Monday, April 3, 2017

136. Yes - Relayer

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The album's sleeve was designed and illustrated by English artist Roger Dean, who had designed artwork for the band since 1971. Speaking about the cover in 2004, Dean said:
"I was playing with the  ideas of the ultimate castle,  the ultimate wall of a fortified city.  That was more of a  fantastical idea.  I was looking for the kinds of things like the
Knights Templar would have made or what you'd see in the current movie Lord of the Rings.  The curving,  swirling cantilevers right into space."  The images depicted in many
of Dean's album covers set an  otherworldly tone and are an  identifiable part of the  band's visual style.  For Relayer,  the warriors on horseback  reflect the  lyrical themes of
war present in "The Gates of Delirium". wikipedia

My tweak of the original album cover art design is simply the whole of the  front side of the gatefold that was
extended on the sides  by mirroring part of the original image  (left)  and by repeatedly  adding a portion of it
(right).  The album  title was  covered  and the  band's name  was used  to form a  cloud of smoke  from some
faraway fire, a sight which I think,  is not totally incompatible with a parade of horse-riding warriors treading
across an eerie and craggy landscape.

The mirroring  at left produced  what might look  like a starfish  misplaced in the arid terrain,  or some slimy
creature  encircling  a pointed crystal dome  in which sits an icon of  some alien idol,  but on the gatefold this
part of the image is actually the tail of a snake encircling a rock.

Cover art design and illustration by Roger Dean, album produced by Eddy Offord. Atlantic 1974. 

Rarely have a band and an artist been so closely associated through the years as Yes and Roger Dean. As of 1991, the prolific artist has drawn or painted eleven of the group's
album covers, from Fragile to Union. He's also designed covers for such Yes offshoots as Asia, Steve Howe's solo projects and Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe.

Dean thinks he knows why Relayer is singled out among his efforts for Yes:  "If I had to describe my skills," he says, "they started out with me being a designer and draftsman,
and Relayer  is the peak of those two skills.  "It took him about 300 hours  to render the artwork,  which was actually quite small  -  only an inch larger  than the wraparound
jacket  for the LP.

Curiously,  Dean had not heard  Relayer when he began work on the cover.  In fact,  Yes's Jon Anderson  came up with the title after seeing Dean's drawing.  "I never paint the
music," says Dean.  "I'm very skeptical of people who say they do.  It's very rare for the  members of Yes to sit down and say,  'This is the flavor of the music.  Do you think you
can get a bit more into the picture?' It doesn't work that way."

(A) The Gates of Delirium

(B) Sound Chaser - To Be Over