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Gentle Giant - Octopus CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

4.30 | 1872 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars After a relatively acclaimed concept album Three Friends, Gentle Giant decided to carry on experimenting with diverse ranges ideas and styles. The drummer Malcolm Mortimore left the band and was replaced with John Weathers - an experienced multiinstrumentalist, who allowed the band to go to real musical extremes. With little concern for fame, the band decided to conquer forgotten areas of music. The fruit of this experimentation was Octopus, which is considered one of the band's

Gentle Giant's music on Octopuss is heavily inspired by English folk music, especially from the middle ages and renaissance. The medieval/reneissance influence is evident not only musically, but also lyrically, the lyrics often tell a story with an overall mood of the times (notably on "The Advent Of Panurge"). The band's sound is rich in feminine pastoral acoustic passages ("Dog's Life"), liturgical-esque choir parts ("Knots") as well as influences of British plainsongs that picture country's pleasant countryside. There are however elements of other genres. Although not at the first plan, components of classical music are evident. Kerry Minnear, the band's keyboardist and main composer always remarked the influence of the English composer Ralph Vaughn-Williams on Gentle Giant's music.

A characteristic quality in the band's sound is the tonal ambiguity that the music has. This is very much the case on this album. "Knots", a legendary prog rock piece is driven by harmony vocals, every single one of which sings its own different theme. Together, they create a beautifully twisted whole very much in the English pastoral folk style. As always, the musicianship on this Gentle Giant release is out of this world with many different instruments being utilized and put into a progressive rock context. Kerry Minnear uses instruments as diverse as an electric and acoustic piano, organ, a harpsichord, a Moog synthesizer, a Hohner Clavinet, a vibraphone, a cello, and a regal. Other band members also contribute to a fantastic effect with a wide plethora of instruments. Countless different sounds do not create a feeling of musical overabundance that is common in progressive rock.

All in all, Octopus is in my opinion one of the finest and most accomplished progressive rock albums of all time. Mature experimentation, exploration, musical intelligence, allusions to the English music traditions ? this is what this album is all about. It's just plain fun to listen to. I firmly believe that despite many great works that were to come, Gentle Giant never got better than this. Highly recommended! Five stars!

ALotOfBottle | 5/5 |


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