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Gentle Giant - Octopus CD (album) cover

OCTOPUS

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.29 | 1844 ratings

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ster
5 stars Probably their best known album and a great one to start. Octopus may be the best GG album among many of their greats. Octopus is complex but also pretty accessible in some weird way. A very energetic album and it sounds like they had fun making it. On Three Friends, Gentle Giant started to focus more on the ensemble playing that would appear on Octopus which where one instrument would start a phrase then another would add to or complete it. Octopus showcases this, front and center. One instrument would play a theme then later in the song it would be another and so on. Kind of like a rotation. GG would take this approach to the extreme when performing Octopus live.

This would be drummer John Weathers first album with GG and he was the right man for the job. JW was able to add a steady beat to whatever was thrown at him unlike the previous drummer who pretty much went along with the other players. He made them actually rock without losing their complexity and he also added xylophone as well. This would also be Phil Schulman's (saxes, vocals) last record with the band.

Don't let the short times of these songs fool you. They are packed with detail and are very fun to listen to. The ensemble playing is on another level. GG didn't do jazz, what they did was construct songs in a hyper organized way. Like a highly complex puzzle where everything just fits. No loose jamming or solos just incredibly structured music. Amazing juxtaposition of instruments and voices. No other band does it like GG and Octopus is the pinnacle of that direction. A masterpiece. GG would take this direction in a more sublime way on the next few releases.

ster | 5/5 |

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