Gen­tle Gi­ant

Three Piece Suite

Classic Rock - - THE HARD STUFF ALBUMS -

They say ne­ces­sity is the mother of in­ven­tion. The fact that only a few songs from Gen­tle Gi­ant’s first three al­bums still ex­ist as multi-track tapes means that mas­ter remixer Steven Wil­son had a fi­nite set to work with here. Yet the re­sults gel beau­ti­fully as a Best-Of-cumprimer to the band’s early work, it­self the def­i­ni­tion of in­ven­tion.

The tracks from Gi­ant, Ac­quir­ing The Taste and Three Friends, all recorded be­tween 1970 and 1972, with Tony Vis­conti pro­duc­ing the first two, show­case a panoply of mul­ti­in­stru­men­tal­ists who, de­spite truly dread­ful al­bum cov­ers, warped the prover­bial en­ve­lope. At a time when some postpsychedelia ex­per­i­men­ta­tion was oblig­a­tory, they all but over­dosed. The three Shul­man brothers had harshly dis­missed their glo­ri­ous 60s hit Kites, un­der the name of Si­mon Dupree And The Big Sound, as too cabaret, or as they phrased it, “ut­ter shit”. They fig­ured they could fly higher.

From Mel­lotrons to brass to drums to voices, they re­jected the pre­vi­ously done. These new pat­terns bled later, di­luted, into Su­per Furry An­i­mals and Beta Band, but more swiftly were re­fined in the art-pop of 10cc. Gen­res mash on ev­ery track, as choir­boy vo­cals switch to gruff blues-rock and ram­pant per­cus­sion mar­ries jazz pi­ano. There’s also a pre­vi­ously un­re­leased nugget, Free­dom’s Child. As apogees Pan­ta­gruel’s Na­tiv­ity and Noth­ing At All dis­play, they had gar­gan­tuan dreams.

chris Roberts

Con­sum­mately cu­rated cu­rios from Gi­ant’s baby steps.

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