A blog post

Gentle Giant revisited

Posted on the 01 October, 2019 at 6:28 pm Written by in Music

You might think a group named “Gentle Giant” was about masculinity. Maybe it was. But this group was mainly about “weird”, as in “far out”, beyond any of the confines of their context, the music scene in the UK around 1970. Where, suddenly, everyone and his son in law were competing, how to be “progressive”. How to push “prog” music along.

Gentle Giant were masters of this art. Pushing prog rock beyond the borders of convention, acceptance and imagination of the day, with very experimental albums – resulting in a “niche” limited following. Later, their merits have been rediscovered.

Now, excerpts of their first three albums have been re-mixed and reissued by Steven Wilson (Three piece suite). I bought this double LP. Cover reproduced below.

I have compared the original albums to the Wilson remix. I like the originals better, on most accounts. There, the production goes further into the “weird” territorry, along with the music. The ambience, especially, is more striking. But this is probably not so much due to Wilson, rather it is due to the state of the tapes he worked with. The tape recordings on my original LPs sound more fresh, with more treble energy. I bet that the tapes that Wilson worked with – after years of storage – were somewhat reduced in the high treble. This is what happens to tapes over time.

I find plusses and minuses across the line. If I want Gentle Giant to sound “modern and normal”, not so hard to accept, I turn on the Wilson mix. If I want them in all their weirdness, disregarding some glaring and badly composed production, I go back to the originals. If I had to choose one, the originals win out. But it is nice to have both.