Album Review: Gentle Giant — Octopus (Steven Wilson Remix)

Progressive rockers Gentle Giant released Octopus, their fourth album, in December 1972. Allowing that Gentle Giant’s music is nothing if not an acquired taste, Octopus is among their best work. The album got a long-awaited CD reissue on the group’s own Alucard label in 2011. That release featured excellent sound along with a booklet containing

Album Review: Gentle Giant – Octopus

On their third album, 1972’s Octopus, Gentle Giant delivered a collection of songs that ranked among their best. With a sound that synthesized their medieval/renaissance aesthetic wedded to a jazzy approach, Octopus – in places – feels like a hard-rocking answer to ex-King Crimson duo McDonald and Giles. Gentle Giant would go onto (slightly) greater

Album Review: Gentle Giant – Three Friends

Three Friends finds 70s progressive group Gentle Giant at their most rocking and abrasive, yet the group manages to deliver a set of challenging, progressive numbers in the process. Right out of the gate with “Prologue,” the band combines the fiddly-bits melodic style that endears them to fans (and drives everyone else up the wall),

Album Review: Gentle Giant – Free Hand (2010 reissue)

Sporting a sound that’s at once highly polished and more accessible than anything the band had done before, Free Hand remains firmly in the progressive rock camp. A challenging listen, it’s the best point at which to enter the Gentle Giant catalogue. It’s easily the group’s most consistent, best album. Gentle Giant always had a

Album Review: Gentle Giant – In a Glass House (2010 reissue)

If you’re not expecting it, the smashing glass sounds that open “The Runaway,” the opening salvo of Gentle Giant’s 1973 In a Glass House, they’re a pretty jarring experience. While the use of found sounds in a musical context is pretty common in the 2st century, Gentle Giant’s use of glass-smashing to establish the song’s

Album Review: Gentle Giant – The Power and the Glory (2010 reissue)

As “Proclamation” — the opening track on Gentle Giant‘s 1974 album The Power and the Glory, newly remastered and reissued in 2010 — unfolds, it may at first seem that the song isn’t grounded in any sort of accessible melodic configuration. Kerry Minnear‘s nimble, skittish electric keyboard and Derek Shulman‘s high-flying vocal acrobatics seem to

Interview: Gentle Giant on Barrett, bootlegs, Badfinger, Back catalog and the biz

The career of Gentle Giant spanned the whole of the 1970s, and their modest commercial fortunes closely paralleled that of their chosen (or assigned) genre. Beginning with their self-titled debut album in 1970 and running through their eleventh studio album (1980’s Civilian) the group charted a singular musical path. While they went their separate ways

Ask Gentle Giant! No Kidding!

UK-based Gentle Giant was one of the most consistently fascinating progressive rock groups of the 1970s.  Like — but not part of — the Canterbury Scene (Soft Machine, Caravan et. al.) Gentle Giant managed to combine compelling arrangements and tricky time signatures with whimsy and humor. And they brought an English folk orientation that put

Album Review: Rachel Flowers — Bigger on the Inside

The manner in which I first discovered Rachel Flowers is, I would imagine, similar to the way that many others learned of this remarkable artist. Videos on YouTube showcased her astounding ability on synthesizers and other keyboard instruments. I witnessed her playing some incredibly challenging pieces from the likes of Keith Emerson. What I didn’t

The Chris Brubeck Interview, Part Three

Continued from Part Two. In Part Three of my conversation with Chris Brubeck, we talk about the idea of instrumental works still having subject matter, and the mystical communication that can exist between drummers and bassists. And somehow, something happened that I didn’t expect in a jazz interview: the conversation wandered into talking about King