What does it sound like?:
Gentle Giant I suppose are one of those bands you either get or you don’t – count me in the first category! This band was ahead of their time with their music, but also in some ways quite ‘of their time.’ Having previously worked on reissues of The Power and The Glory and Octopus, Steven Wilson has now created this set curating material from the band’s first three albums, originally issued in the period 1970-72.
This CD & Bluray set includes remixes of all the remaining multitrack tapes that could be found from these albums – Giant, Acquiring The Taste, and Three Friends. The available tapes comprise around half of the material originally issued across the three albums, with the remaining tracks missing in action and presumably lost for good.
The Bluray disc is the meat of this release. It has flat transfers of all three albums in full, together with ten tracks (approximately one hour’s music) mixed in 5.1 sound, along with instrumental versions of the same material. The ten tracks comprise nine from the various individual albums plus Freedom’s Child, a non – album demo. The cd has remixed stereo versions of these ten tracks, along with an edited ‘single version’ of Nothing At All. There are also animated videos for all of the remixed material, while a super informative booklet has interviews with Wilson, various band members and their original producer Tony Visconti.
It has to be said that Steven Wilson has done the usual superb job with this release in what clearly has been a labour of love. He has polished the sound, adding both clarity and detail to the music, without undermining the original mixes. He highlights the complexity and even eccentricity of the material, bringing to the fore the musical dexterity of the musicians. There was certainly a noticeable development in the band’s sound between their first and second albums – it’s a great shame only two pieces from that second album could be located. Indeed, it’s their third release, the concept album Three Friends, that is best represented here with four surviving pieces. Again, it’s a shame more tapes couldn’t be located so we could have savoured the full piece in all its glory, but such is life. At least the songs we do have sound quite magnificent!
What does it all *mean*?
If you’re a fan of the band, this is quite simply an essential purchase. If you’ve not heard them before then check this out – the ten tracks actually work well together as an album in their own right, so much so that you wouldn’t particularly realise they come from three different releases.
Goes well with…
An evening when you can sit back and give this music your undivided attention.
Might suit people who like…
Other GG albums, serious hard core prog.