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Gentle Giant - Under Construction CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

3.14 | 69 ratings

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Man With Hat
3 stars An adeptly named compilation. Gentle Giant's Under Construction is really a tale of two worlds. The first being a CD of "Entirely Unreleased Material" and the second being a world of "Demos and Out-takes". Some of the material is excellent, top notch Gentle Giant, other bits are a mere curiosity in the chronicle of Gentle Giant. First and foremost, the sound quality is pretty top notch across the board, except for a couple of times, which is fairly amazing for material that's been sitting away in storage lockers for decades. The first CD is where the magic lies with this set. Even though this is touted as "Entirely Unreleased Material" there are some familiar passages. Most notably with seems to be an early run through of Nothing At All, Rondo - Playing The Game, Interview Whispers, and technically the sample archive. This is not meant to be a slight against the set, as they are all interesting pieces, especially Nothing At All. Tracks 2-5 are really interesting in showing the progression of the Gentle Giant sound. As they play through, it's very easy to hear the development of ideas and how they develop their sophistication and desire to do something different or at the very least interesting. Nothing At All appears here with some vocal faux pas, but still comes across as one of the strongest songs in this set. Most notable is the lack of electronic muddling on the drum solo (as well as no classical piano being played over it), and that the last verse has been omitted allowing the listener to fully soak in some delectable piano playing. DVS Guitars and Robin Hood are interesting if a bit underwhelming. The real gems of this disc are the two live tracks that really should have been part of Playing The Fool (they were from one of the concerts that appeared on said album). Interview is as strong as any song they included and has a fairly comical opening bit. Timing gets an great live treatment as well, including a fine violin solo from Ray. Unreleased Civilian Track is an uninteresting as it sounds (and this is one of the times where the sound quality plummets, but all things consider I forgive it). You Haven't A Chance sounds like an unfinished work from their late days, but has one hell of an infectious bassline, and easily out performs any track from Civilian. Sample Archive is a bit of a mind twist (for lack of stronger language ;-)) if taken as a song as opposed to a collection of samples (which it is). Familiar beats, riffs, and flourishes cascade together after a forced cohesion. Interesting for sure and should certainly turn heads when played. CD 2 is quite an affair, but ultimately is far less interesting or engrossing than CD 1. This disc id surely just for fans of the band that are interested in the creation process. The material here ranges from interesting, to fun, to enjoyable, to funny. It should come to no surprise that the longer songs are more fulfilling. Particular favorites of mine are Intro 74, Intro 76, Peel The Paint (Demo/Studio), and So Sincere (Demo Studio). Having said that, this disc isn't something I'd listen to often, and is honestly more of a curiosity than anything. Also, the sound quality is understandably worse than disc one, but isn't unlistenable. All in all, this CD is a mixed bag, but it is somewhat marketed as such. The first disc alone is worth four stars, and the second disc alone is worth two. Thus, a three star rating I think is fair. Die hard GG fans should own this, casual fans could probably pass. New comers to GG should start with the studio albums and official live album. However, for anyone with desire to dig a little deeper into the world of GG this is an excellent opportunity.
Man With Hat | 3/5 |


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