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Gentle Giant - Octopus CD (album) cover

OCTOPUS

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.26 | 1243 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Fight Club
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Strange at first, but ultimately rewarding

I keep being strangely reminded of this album lately. A friend of mine was interested in hearing it (via his dad) and a guy I work with mentioned it again today. So, I felt compelled to listen to it again. After all, it's a very interesting piece of work.

At first listen, one might describe this music as "strange". I thought it was bizarre the first time I heard it too. It's pretty normal to feel that way though, the music is quite dissonant. However, I urge you, listen to this album carefully over and over again and eventually you will "get" it. Once understood, this album stands out as a work of genius in the world of music. If you want to achieve this understanding, however, there are a couple things you need to know about Gentle Giant!

Their style includes significant use of counterpoint. For anyone who doesn't know, counterpoint is basically the use of multiple voices that are completely independent in rhythm and harmony. To pull this off successfully is quite a feat, and Gentle Giant does it better than most artists out there. It's really impressive.

Their music is always polyphonic and uses a significant amount of rhythm and chord changes. The chord structures end up falling much closer to those used in classical music than rock music. The complexity of the harmonies, and sudden twists in chord and key changes are a couple of reasons the music can come off sounding so strange to an untrained ear =P

Another reason everything can sound so strange is due to the complexity of their timing. Half the time their song lines feel in the wrong place as they do not start at the beginning of a measure and sometimes go for longer or shorter than what feels normal. The vocals sometimes go one simple note behind a down beat playing quarter notes while the bass plays the same note, but starting at the downbeat. This makes it very hard to follow along with. A lot of the time, the vocals alternate between different singers as well, two singing different syllables of the same line, with a third singer doing a different syllable in a different beat. Just listen to "Knots".

All this can be absolutely fascinating to a musician and completely boring to an average person. Personally I find myself wondering how the [%*!#] they think of this stuff, and it makes me very jealous haha. So, if you're up for something with unbelievable musicianship and an extremely unique sound I URGE YOU LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM.

Fight Club | 4/5 |

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