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Gentle Giant - Acquiring the Taste CD (album) cover

ACQUIRING THE TASTE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.23 | 964 ratings

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FenderX
5 stars Gentle Giant "Acquiring The Taste", my favorite album of all times, one of the things that got me into prog. The album starts the new experimental Gentle Giant, it was their second album which was released at 1971. The album was a new start for the band and they risked all of their popularity to make some new, perhaps strange, unique and very technical yet very emotional music. A very famous phrase that the band said before the release of this new album: "...It is our goal to expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of being very unpopular. We have recorded each composition with the one thought - that it should be unique, adventurous and fascinating. It has taken every shred of our combined musical and technical knowledge to achieve this. From the outset we have abandoned all preconceived thoughts of blatant commercialism. Instead we hope to give you something far more substantial and fulfilling. All you need to do is sit back, and acquire the taste." And yes, they have received a lot of critics, but this album was a very disputed one, as it was really an adventurous, very new with a lot of experiments and a lot of instruments, most of them are very not popular at rock, and at the progressive rock especially. There is a very interesting defect in the mastering of the title track, the first two or three notes are not at the correct pitch and only then the synthesizer pitch stabilizes, it is one of the most famous facts of this album. The version without the defect can only be found on the remastered "Edge Of Twilight" Gentle Giant collection. The album has a lot of musical genre elements from genres like: classical music, rock, jazz, and more, it is a complete inversion from the first album "Gentle Giant'' which I would consider more as a very high quality hard rock album, but not really as a progressive rock one.

You can't mention this album without reminding the humorous artwork on the cover, a brilliant innuendo, when you look at the cover, you can see a big tongue as it is ready to lick an ass shape, an anus, but when you open the cover completely you can see that the tongue is only ready to lick a peach with a knife in it, it is a very nice piece which adds to the atmosphere of the album.

In this album, all of the band are singing in at least one track except for Martin Smith the drummer. The album uses a lot of instruments: acoustic guitar, electric guitar,12 string electric guitar,12 string electric wah-wah guitar,bass,donkey's jawbone, electric piano,organ,mellotron,vibraphone,moog,celeste,clavichord,harpsichord,cello,timpani,xylophone ,maracas, tambourine ,alto sax,cowbell,tenor sax, clarinet,trumpet,claves,violin, viola ,electric violin, tambourine ,organ bass pedals, skulls, drums, gong, side drum, trumpet ,descant recorders, treble recorder, tenor recorder, triangle.

The album starts with a moog playing a quiet melody, with some sound effects along it, then a mellow,soprano singing of by Kerry Minnear , which is really atmospheric, proceeds to a guitar fill, which can be accepted as the chorus of the song. "Pantagruel's Nativity" the song is called. Along to some gentle trumpet playing, and some more instruments continues the play. An instrumental part enters very quietly with an acoustic guitar, and moog, it is a very soft part, which proceeds to a heavy, more aggressive guitar riff along with some drumming which creates a really heavy atmosphere, a lot of singing men can be heard after that in a very dreamy voice while continuing playing the riff along to the vocals. Trumpets enter with a fill which was first played by the acoustic guitar, some xylophone and more instruments are leading to the emotional hard rock style guitar solo, it is not very technical or fast, but more emotional and mellow. The heavy part is coming again and the vocals enter after some time, which leads to a new instrumental part which is inspired by the main verse of the song. Another verse comes, you can hear those atmospheric vocals, this time accompanied by more vocals, the chorus is playing again in one octave under the original one, and then this riff breaks and this fantastic song ends. The lyrics of this track are about a book called "Gargantua & Pantagruel" by the french author Francois Rabelais (pronounced: Fransua Rebelei) .

"Edge Of Twilight" is the next track of this album, starts with a high, beautiful singing of Kerry Minnear again "the moon is down,casting its shadows over the night-haunted town" is the first sentence of the song and it has some sound effects along. Xylophone plays a very dreamy melody, then a really heavy bass only riff is played along. The verse comes again this time with drums and guitars, the xylophone then bass chorus are coming again, some vocals are starting to sing along to the bass line now with an organ, beautiful. Drums and timpani are playing some pretty loud but nice line, a short drum solo gets us back to the verse, this time it enters an instrumental very short part that fades out into the end of the song. A very strange and experimental track indeed, it is interesting and psychedelic, I enjoy it a lot every time I listen to it.

Next on the list is "The House, The Street, The Room" it is starts with a heavy bass+piano riff which is the main riff in this song, an alto vocal of Derek Shulman enters and it is matching the riff perfectly along with some drums. A pretty short, more soft and dreamy chorus enters the line. An emotional guitar solo is playing along to the main riff, with some drums, a mellow guitar touch, which includes some very nice bends, not very technical but still a very good solo, it is a pretty long one but it is very good and interesting. The verse comes again this time more fast with more aggressive drumming, after the chorus there is a very strange part with a lot of instruments playing almost the same riff over and over until the end of the track.

"Acquiring The Taste" the title track plays now, it is some organs and, it has a famous note defect at the start which gets normal after a few notes, this track has almost nothing to describe, it is instrumental, pretty dark, but very happy at the same time, it has some baroque-like moments, which are really interesting in my opinion. This track is very short, but includes a lot of highlights which are amazing in my opinion.

"Wreck" is coming next, starting with a heavy, dark bass+guitar riff, continues to a similar riff which is the main one in the song, the riff is very emotional but heavy, "hey hey hey hold on" is the phrase that some clean heavy voices say after every sentence. The chorus is very baroque style, with some very high vocals, it is amazing, and it has some instrumental short emotional part after it which gets us back to the verse, and after that one more baroque styled instrumental part which gets us into the mellow guitar solo is amazing and a very good bridge, it gets us back to the verse but this time it coming to the end of the song. The vocals here are done by Derek Shulman, which is a very good singer, with some amazing beautiful vocal, which matches most of the band songs perfectly, even though he isn't singing most of them.

"The Moon Is Down" one of my favorite tracks of this album. It has a very dreamy atmosphere which makes you sleepy but very awake at the same time, a feeling that you can't feel in many songs, this is the power of Gentle Giant and a few more bands. The song starts with a beautiful introduction and then singing by Derek Shulman, but the song has a lot more voices that are crafted together. The instrumental part begins pretty fast but then proceeds to a folk music part which I find very interesting and good, then proceeds to a pretty interesting melody again but this time it sound very experimental, a very gloomy piano fill gets us to the verse again, which gets us to a break with some melancholic piano playing proceeds to a spooky, quiet piano legatos then fading out into the end of this fantastic song.

Coming right next is the song "Black Cat" which creates a very darkstreet-like atmosphere, you can really feel like you are walking in a cartoon dark street at night and you see some black cats running on roofs or on the floor, with their yellow burning eyes, an amazing atmosphere which can't be created by a lot of people,Gentle Giant might be from that group that can create it. This piece is a beautiful intro (which is the main riff too), a fantastic verse, a brilliant instrumental part with a lot of percussion instruments, cellos and violins, all carefully crafted into one masterpiece by this band. At the end of the song there are some cat calls which really sound like cats playing at the garden, it fades out into the end of this strange yet brilliant track.

Last track on this album is "Plain Truth" it is a perfect outro for this brilliant album, starts with some very fast violins, then some british accent talking at the background, proceeds to a heavy verse, which is pretty happy but still emotional, gets to a fill that gets us into the a-tonal chorus which is kinda strange but short. Bass guitar plays the riff then proceeds to a little instrumental part, with a pretty nice guitar solo in the middle, it has some interesting bends and harmony with the bass. The verse gets back again, flows in to the chorus, gets us to a very quiet guitar+electric violin instrumental part, hi-hat enters, it builds up this instrumental part to a certain point, then gets to a more heavy part with a guitar solo, which I find nice, but not much more than that, it gets us back to the great verse with some singing of Gary Green, an instrumental electric violin solo gets us to the end of the song with a quick break then some guitar quiet touch and fades out into the end of the album.

This album is one of my favorite albums of all times, at 39 minutes and 26 seconds is the longest album by Gentle Giant. It is very experimental, and in my opinion they risked everything, and it was worth it, they have created a new style of music, i would even give it its own sub-genre if I could. This album is worth every dollar and I suggest every one to listen to it, I am pretty certain that you will enjoy it. This album started a new era for Gentle Giant and for prog. Of course, there are more albums of Gentle Giant that can get to the same level as this one, but this one was one of my personal favorites, I can't describe why it happened, but yes, you can really say that I fell in love with this album, it is a masterpiece, probably the best masterpiece that I personally know. The thoughts about the album were very disputed, it have received lots of critics because it was a kind of an adventure for Gentle Giant members and for the progressive rock world in general, because it had a lot of experimental perhaps strange instruments such as donkey's jawbone, it is of course gave the album its own atmosphere but it created a very peculiar sound, which is not suited for anybody, not every person in the world can really understand the album to the depths, I probably could.

I would give this album 100/100, I think that this is the only album that you'll see me giving a full hundred, it was unique and experimental, and I love it very much.

FenderX | 5/5 |

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