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Gentle Giant: Octopus -Steven Wilson 5.1 remix (CD/Blu-ray)

King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Yes, and now Gentle Giant are receiving the magic remixing job from Steven Wilson, and the latest release is the classic 1972 album Octopus. Though the original multi-track tapes for a few songs were missing, Wilson took what was available, remastered it all, and remixed the original source material for a stunning presentation that sounds great on CD, but even better played on your Blu-ray player through your home theater system. With options of 96/24 Stereo LPCM as well as DTS 5.1, you get some spectacular options to hear Octopus as you've never heard it before, with Wilson's remix allowing for every little nuance and musical bit to be heard with perfect clarity. In addition, there are a few instrumental versions of these songs, which are mind-blowing in that you can hear just how complex these arrangement really are without the vocals laid over the top.

With the release of Octopus, John Weathers had taken over the drum role in the band, and Phil Shulman would leave shortly after, leaving the core of the band to be Ray Shulman, Derek Shulman, Gary Green, Kerry Minnear, and Weathers going forward. Long considered one of the landmark releases of progressive rock, Octopus contains no shortage of classic material that blended Gentle Giant's mixture of medieval music, hard rock, jazz, folk, and classical. "The Advent of Panurge" is one of the band's most intense songs, filled with charming vocal passages, searing guitar, huge bass grooves, tricky rhythms, horns, and angular keyboard textures, while the lighthearted "Raconteur Troubadour" blends classical & folk, featuring Ray's soaring violin and plenty of sumptuous keyboards from Kerry. The band lets their hard rock muscles come out on the upbeat "A Cry For Everyone", with both Kerry & Gary firing up the riffs, and the uncanny vocal acapella of "Knots", which weave around some complex vibe and piano accompaniment, needs to be heard to be believed. One of Gentle Giant's rare instrumentals, "The Boys in the Band", is a prog gem, showing their ability to implement counterpoint so successfully in their arrangements. The lovely folk ditty "Dog's Life" follows, highlighted by violin & acoustic guitar, and those folk & classic leanings pop up again on the melodic and quite majestic "Think of Me With Kindness". "River" closes things out, and groove laden bluesy prog rocker with wah-wah laden guitar & violin riffs as well as Kerry's amalgam of vintage keyboard sounds. As a bonus, a ripping "Excerpts from Octopus" from their 1976 tour is included here, which the band often played, amassing many of the arrangements from the songs of the album into a little medley.

As you can expect, the album sounds great, especially the Blu-ray played through the home theater system. Honestly, we've never heard this album sound this good. It all comes in a cool digipack, containing both the Roger Dean UK album cover and the US cover as well, with a booklet packed with photos, info, and some new artwork from Dean. Calling it a perfect product doesn't do this justice.

Track Listing
1) The Advent of Panurge
2) Raconteur Troubadour
3) A Cry For Everyone*
4) Knots*
5) The Boys in the Band
6) Dog's Life*
7) Think of Me With Kindness*
8) River*
9) Excerpts from Octopus (Live 1976)*
* Remixed by Steven Wilson

Album Remixed by Steven Wilson
Album Mixes in 96/24 Stereo LPCM & DTS 5.1 Master Audio
Original 1972 Album Mix (Transferred Flat from the original 1/4 inch tape @ 96/24 Stereo LPCM)

Added: November 16th 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 5105
Language: english

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