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Gentle Giant - Octopus CD (album) cover

OCTOPUS

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.30 | 1776 ratings

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Walkscore
3 stars Mix of brilliant and pretentious.

Pushing the boundaries of composition meant adopting ever-more complex time signatures, faster lines and phrasing, and 'untraditional' choral harmonies and medieval stylings. This is perhaps most extreme here on Octopus. It seems in many places that the pieces were composed on paper perhaps without regard to how they might sound, in order to make them that-much-more complex and different. In places it works well, creating novel kinds of sometimes brilliant music. In others, it just sounds forced and pretentious. This album is a mix of both, often within the same piece. For me the most musical tracks are the third song "A Cry for Everyone" (great melodies, excellent odd-timing instrumental breaks, etc), and track seven "Think of Me with Kindness", which is the tune here that comes closest to sounding like it was not written on paper. The opener ("Advent of Panurge") and the closing track ("River") also work on balance - there is enough real music here to justify repeated listenings. Other songs, like the three middle tracks of "Knots", "Boys in the Band" and "Dog's Life", or the second song "Raconeteur Troubadour", meanwhile, just don't work as well for me. Despite being clearly inventive, they are just not sufficiently musical. I certainly applaud GG's original and innovative approach to composition, and I really like some of these tracks. But at this point (after many years of listens), I can't listen to this album all the way through, at least not easily. So, like the album 'Three Friends', for me this album ends up mixed and uneven. Later albums would sound less pretentious and forced. I give Octopus 7.8 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is just below what it takes to garner a four-star rating. So, high 3 PA stars.

Walkscore | 3/5 |

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