From "PELO"Magazine, Printed in Argentina in 1975.
EXPERIMENTING WITH DEATH
Moraz has not only occupied the spot of Wakeman in YES, but also seems to
want to surpass him in the field of the Supershow with a work of dubious
content that he has vehemently promoted.
Since quite a few months ago until now, many musicians have established
their "base of operations" in Switzerland. Robert A. Moog, the king of
synthesizers, flew to Geneve specially to give the necessary instructions to
those who were going to play his new Polyphonic Moog.
But, also, two drummers arrived - Alphonse Mouzon and Andy Newmark - and
sixteen Brazilian percussionists who traveled to Switzerland to record with
one of the best keyboardists of the moment: Patrick Moraz.
The successor of Rick Wakeman in YES is working in a project that, according
to him, will be even grandest than "Journey to the Centre of The Earth" and
"The Knights of King Arthur".
This report was made when Moraz flew to England to begin the mixing sessions
of this album.
PELO: We know that, besides the ordinary work that takes making an album,
this time you had to learn the technique of some entirely new instruments.
How was that experience?
Patrick Moraz: When I am learning to use a new instrument I can work with it
during thirty six continuous hours; I do this even during a normal recording
session. But the other musicians generally want to go to sleep in a
determined moment because after eight or nine continuous hours of work they
get tired. Even the engineers get tired.
PELO: What role have these new instruments in the album?
Patrick Moraz: They are not the most important thing; this is not one of
those records where technology deprives art. In reality I would have needed
six months or a year to make this album; however I did it in much less time.
But I repeat, this is not a purely electronic album, although that's what I'
d like to do next time because I feel that I need to introduce myself more
For example, I have a great apparatus reproducer of sequences that Dick
Parmee constructed for me. I still don't use it too much, because I have a
lot left to learn. Then I have a PolyMoog which is fantastic but very
difficult to play. It is a marvelous instrument; it is probable that it will
become the Steinway of the electronic keyboards; one can do many things with
it; entire chords can be played and the sound of many instruments. But at
the beginning I found it difficult to feel. The Piano, for example, one
feels from the first time one begins to play; on the other hand the PolyMoog
takes a bit more time.
I also have a MicroMoog, which is a small instrument quite different from
the MiniMoog and that also requires a lot of time of practice to be able to
I had an Orchestron Trimanual, which resembles a Mellotron although, of
course, has its differences. But I got rid of it because I didn't quite got
to like it entirely. I spent a lot of time in the factory where they make
them in Florida trying to get the hang of it, but finally I returned it. I
love the Mellotron; is very practical and one can work rapidly.
PELO: How do you organize a recording to insure that the musicians are
present when you need them?
Patrick Moraz: Well, that has been a somewhat complex operation because I
found difficulties as, for example, the fact that I could not hire someone
like Alphonse Mouzon for three months because he could not dispose of so
much time. Hence we had to finish his part in around ten days, and that
carried some problems. Luckily everything worked out well. I've known
Alphonse for a long time and I always wanted to work with him. I mean, I
like Billy Cobham a lot, and I think that he is technically the "maestro";
but I've always held that Alphonse had not been valued correctly ever since
he left McCoy Tyner and joined Larry Coryell. He is an excellent guy, but
very timid. Those who don't know him think that he behaves like a big Rock
star, but is not like that. He is very emotional, very sensible and is not
In this album, Alphonse plays in side one only. For side two I preferred to
use Andy Newmark because is a different music and thence needs different
drums. Side two is a bit more magic, although at any rate is very vital.
Making this record in Switzerland brought me several complications: I had to
rent two villas so that all the people who collaborated would have a place
to reside during the time that was necessary. At one time there were twenty
persons living sixteen miles from the studio, and the organization of food
and transportation could have turned into a headache. Luckily everything
worked out well.
PELO: Why don't you talk a little about the music?
Patrick Moraz: Well, this is a conceptual album, a science fiction story
located in the Brazilian jungle. But instead of extending the sounds into
two or three LPs, I decided to pile vertically the complexities one on top
of the other during mixing, in such a way that I managed to obtain a sort of
tapestry of sounds, in which countless things happen simultaneously, even
though the linear development is simple enough.
With YES I had many good experiences, since I began working with them. But
this album does not have anything to do with what the band does, even though
I discovered America thanks to them. When I went to the United States I
found myself with a terrible quantity of people searching and searching.
What? Madness, real madness. Everybody goes up and down and up and down, all
the time, and they all feel sick. I like people, I respect them, I love
them. I love working with people, communicate with them, but when I see
those crazy masses trying to climb more and more and never arriving
anywhere, I think that everyone in this planet is destined to some sort of
end, so: What is the point of running so much?
Something of this is present in the story of the album: It happens in a
building destined for pleasure, of 900 floors, located in the heart of the
Brazilian jungle. In each floor the people who inhabit it have to compete in
a series of games, and the winner passes to the next floor. When they
finally arrive at the last floor, they have to jump. The final jump is like
a big ceremony, of the sort of the song festival Eurovision, which is only
done at a certain time of year and is watched by all.
If we look closely, we realize that in our society, really, everything has
been offered to us, from pornography to violence. The only thing that is
left for us to experiment with is death. People want to experiment what is
felt by those who jump from the last floor of a building, and society allows
them to do so because it knows that it is the maximum sensation at that time
But the story also has its romantic part: There is a couple that decides to
jump together. Probably I am very sentimental or emotional, whatever you
want. And I confess that I believe in Love. When this couple is just about
to jump, they see below, 900 floors below, the spectators dancing samba.
Suddenly they find themselves in the air, falling, and in the last instant,
instead of crashing and killing themselves, they leave flying, carried by
their love, which saves them.
Is not an ending; is a suggestion that leaves the listener with many
questions in his head. The story can be understood in different levels, be
it in the direct or commercial aspects of the erotic scenes, or in a more
intellectual manner, like the symbolism, the esoterism and all those things.
Everyone can identify with this in his or her own way.
(Translated by Roberto Celis, Caracas - Venezuela)