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Gentle Giant: Three Piece Suite (CD/Blu-ray)

With Steven Wilson's recent remixes of some of Gentle Giant's fantastic classic era albums, much of the prog world has been clamoring for him to give his expert touch to the bands seminal first three releases, Gentle Giant, Acquiring the Taste, and Three Friends. Sadly, due to the majority of the original multi-track masters being lost, Wilson was only able to remix in DTS 5.1 Surround sound 9 of the original 21 tracks from those three albums, plus the rare "Freedom's Child" from Gentle Giant's first recording sessions with producer Tony Visconti. If you purchase the CD/Blu-ray combo back, you'll get all 10 tracks in remixed 2.0 stereo, plus a 7" edit of "Nothing at All", on the CD, while the Blu-ray is saddled with a wealth of material, including all tracks in 5.1, instrumental versions in stereo of all songs, as well as flat transfers of all three complete albums.

Thankfully, the majority of the songs presented here represent some of the best material from these albums; sure, there's no "Funny Ways", "Prologue" , and "Working All Day", but hearing Wilson's remixes of classics like "Giant", "Pentagruel's Nativity", "Nothing at All", "Schooldays, "Peel the Paint", and "Three Friends" is a revelation. The sound clarity is stunning, the balance of the instrumentation and vocals more vibrant than we've heard them before, and if you listen to the original mix back to back with Wilson's work here, you can clearly hear the difference. It's also quite fascinating to hear the instrumental mixes without the vocals, which will allow you to truly appreciate just how expert these guys were at their craft and how many little nuances were woven into their music. Many of the tracks have added animation and lyrics to add that multi-media element, and after enjoying the remixed tracks you'll of course want to listen to all three albums in their entirety, which are provided with flat transfers here on the Blu-ray. Again, you'll hear the difference in clarity, but having these on Blu-ray to blast on you home theater system will be a joy nonetheless.

Alucard has also included a great booklet that talks about the early history of the band, with commentary from all the members, and it's a fine read. Throwing in "Freedom's Child" is a nice bonus, though to be honest the song is nothing special, but still a fun document from their really early days right after the demise of Simon Dupree and the Big Sound and before they really discovered what was to be their signature sound. Basically, Three Piece Suite is an essential purchase for any Gentle Giant fan or prog-rock lover.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
Disc 1 � Blu-ray Audio
1. Giant (Steven Wilson Mix)
2. Nothing At All (Steven Wilson Mix)
3. Why Not? (Steven Wilson Mix)
4. Pantagruel's Nativity (Steven Wilson Mix)
5. The House, The Street, The Room (Steven Wilson Mix)
6. Schooldays (Steven Wilson Mix)
7. Mister Class and Quality? (Steven Wilson Mix)
8. Peel The Paint (Steven Wilson Mix)
9. Three Friends (Steven Wilson Mix)
10. Freedom's Child (Steven Wilson Mix)
11. Giant (Instrumental)
12. Nothing At All (Instrumental)
13. Why Not? (Instrumental)
14. Pantagruel's Nativity (Instrumental)
15. The House, The Street, The Room (Instrumental)
16. Schooldays (Instrumental)
17. Mister Class and Quality? (Instrumental)
18. Peel The Paint (Instrumental)
19. Three Friends (Instrumental)
20. Freedom's Child (Instrumental)
21. Giant (Original Mix)
22. Funny Ways (Original Mix)
23. Alucard (Original Mix)
24. Isn't It Quiet And Cold? (Original Mix)
25. Nothing At All (Original Mix)
26. Why Not? (Original Mix)
27. The Queen (Original Mix)
28. Pantagruel's Nativity (Original Mix)
29. Edge Of Twilight (Original Mix)
30. The House, The Street, The Room (Original Mix)
31. Acquiring The Taste (Original Mix)
32. Wreck (Original Mix)
33. The Moon Is Down (Original Mix)
34. Black Cat (Original Mix)
35. Plain Truth (Original Mix)
36. Prologue (Original Mix)
37. Schooldays (Original Mix)
38. Working All Day (Original Mix)
39. Peel The Paint (Original Mix)
40. Mister Class And Quality? (Original Mix)
41. Three Friends (Original Mix)

Disc 2 � CD
1. Giant (Steven Wilson 2.0 Mix)
2. Nothing At All (Steven Wilson 2.0 Mix)
3. Why Not? (Steven Wilson 2.0 Mix)
4. Pantagruel's Nativity (Steven Wilson 2.0 Mix)
5. The House, The Street, The Room (Steven Wilson 2.0 Mix)
6. Schooldays (Steven Wilson 2.0 Mix)
7. Mister Class and Quality? (Steven Wilson 2.0 Mix)
8. Peel The Paint (Steven Wilson 2.0 Mix)
9. Three Friends (Steven Wilson 2.0 Mix)
10. Freedom's Child (Steven Wilson 2.0 Mix)
11. Nothing At All (Steven's 7" Edit)

Added: October 7th 2018
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2466
Language: english

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Gentle Giant: Three Piece Suite (CD/Blu-ray)
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2018-10-07 06:31:02
My Score:

Anyone who follows progressive rock has at least heard of the classic ‘70s progressive rock band Gentle Giant. Their string of albums beginning in the early ‘70s have reached legendary status. Going forward to more recent times we have the incredibly prolific Steven Wilson who has dipped his fingers in many projects, both as a musician and as a record producer and remixer. Keeping track of his work is a seemingly daunting task. This takes us back to Gentle Giant. It is well known that the band’s discography has needed to be cleaned up and who better than Steven Wilson. The band’s first three albums; Gentle Giant (1970), Acquiring The Taste (1971) and Three Friends (1972) are the focus of Gentle Giant’s latest album titled Three Piece Suite. There are only a few songs from these particular albums that exist as multi-tracks as the remaining tracks have been lost over time. The tracks fit together so nicely and sound so refreshed it’s almost like a new piece from the band.

The first three tracks are taken from the debut album beginning with the sublime “Giant”. A moody organ builds in intensity and from there its classic prog as the complex guitar and drums weave their magic. The vocals are intense and the jagged rhythms add more to the complexity. Grandiose orchestrations further enhance the sound. Next is “Nothing At All” and at over nine minutes is the album’s longest track. Gentle guitar and vocals bring a somber accent before biting electric guitar adds rockier elements. The vocals are superb here, stunningly emotive and captivating. Half way through a spacey drum solo takes the stage before a softer outro brings the song closure. “Why Not?” is a heavy prog rock gem with another great vocal arrangement, intense and tranquil. The fiery organ and guitar will have the ‘70s dripping from your speakers. On “Pantagruel’s Nativity” the music slowly gains loudness and when it does the biting guitar tone and complex harmonies simply astound. I love the vibrant vocal intensity in the part madrigal/part heavy rock of “The House, The Street, The Room”, having some of the heaviest moments the band ever put to tape. The charmingly weird and whacky “Schooldays” is a creative juggernaut that has surely had an influence on modern bands such as Haken. And then there is the magnificent “Peel The Paint” one of my all-time favourites from the band, this time in stunningly sonic clarity. The gentle guitar motifs, the lush violin and the eruption of heavy guitar jamming are a treat for the ears. The organ in the beautiful “Three Friends” is all that more majestic, as is this entire album.

Also included is the pre first album track “Freedom’s Child” which first appeared on the 1997 album Under Construction. Quaint and melodic, it certainly warrants its addition here.

Informative liner notes from Anil Prasad complete the package.

Wilson’s remix reveals details and sonic textures that are more vibrant, more detailed than ever before. The band has never sounded so vital and energetic as they do here. A true revelation.

*My copy is the single CD version*

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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