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Thread: Where to start with Gentle Giant?

  1. #51
    Estimated Prophet notallwhowander's Avatar
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    The two albums I most listen to are Acquiring the Taste and In a Glass House.

    The first four albums are more pastoral, for lack of a better word, In a Glass House marks a change to something with a little more grit.

    So, do you want something softer, with oodles of English charm (think of the more storybook elements of Genesis), or do you want something that rocks a bit harder?

    For me, Gentle Giant has been an acquired taste. I had The Power and the Glory for a year before it clicked. My follow-up was In a Glass House and that locked me in. To say that the band is idiosyncratic is like saying the ocean is full of water. In fact, some of their songs are about being idiosyncratic. However, their idiosyncrasies require a truly deft hand and a fiendish commitment to execute with any level of aplomb. They really carved out their own space and are worth sticking to, even if your first couple of reactions are WTF?
    Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

  2. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Welcome to the site, dude. This place could change your life (mostly for the better) .

    GG is flat out amazing. Their first 6 or 7 albums are all pretty great-to-stellar and all are worth owning if you like their "sound". Make sure you get on board with the Cardiacs thread that is on here. The band once again is called Cardiacs. That's Cardiacs with a 'C'.
    You had me until you mentioned the Cardiacs, sorry not even in the same genre IMO. Can't stand them.

  3. #53
    I started with Acquiring the Taste and never looked back. I actually recommend starting with their debut so that youíre not disappointed by it later. Since you are in the unique position of being able to start from the beginning of a bandís discography and working forward, hearing how they developed their sound as the years went by, why not try that route? Their debut lays out their manifesto as a band for all to see; it hasnít completely developed their sound yet, and there are a few experiments that didnít work (and would not be repeated on future outings), but everything that makes Gentle Giant Gentle Giant is there already.

    But really? All of their first eight albums are superb works with a ton of artistic integrity. I almost want you to just buy all eight at once and pore through them, I think of them that highly!
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  4. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Proghound View Post
    You had me until you mentioned the Cardiacs, sorry not even in the same genre IMO. Can't stand them.
    To each their own of course. While probably not strictly within the same genre, Cardiacs' music is no less intricate than Gentle Giant's. Both bands have made towering musical achievements, IMO, and both bands were progressive in the truest sense of the word.

  5. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by RapidRefresh View Post
    Actually, I just turned 15, but people my age are into hip hop and dance stuff. I kind of found prog by accident. I thought it was best thing ever!
    Welcome to the board!

    It's quite simply amazing to find there are people your age still discovering these classic groups. Very refreshing. Glad to hear you're enjoying this stuff so far.

  6. #56
    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RapidRefresh View Post
    Actually, I just turned 15, but people my age are into hip hop and dance stuff. I kind of found prog by accident. I thought it was best thing ever!
    Welcome! I just realized that you may be one of the first members to join that was born after our site started (1999). That's pretty neat in a lot of ways. Enjoy your stay!

  7. #57
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RapidRefresh View Post
    Thanks for the Support! But I have to say that your site name scares me a little bit.
    Even scarier, though: Typical PE behaviour...
    you ask for an album to start with to get into a band, and typically every worthy album gets named in equal amunts , which means there is no clear-cut solution drawn out for you.

    You'll get used to it.



    With someone as young as you and whatever still freshness you may have, I'd suggest that you start chronologically with most of these 70's prog giants (ok, maybe don't attack Genesis with FGTR, but with Tresspass) as to discover the band's works in the same order than they created them.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by zravkapt View Post
    That was my first because it was the only one available (in the mid-late 1990s). The only other GG available was the King Biscuit live CD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Start with Free Hand. It retains their overt refinements as well as their (somewhat) eccentric approach to things, yet it's a highly accessible and stupenduously listenable record.

    Then go either way. It's all good; the last two albums significantly less adventurously so, still there are some rocks going on even there as well.
    If you do get Free Hand make sure you don't pay for the Canadian Cinema/Capitol cd. It has no treble on it.

  9. #59
    Member RapidRefresh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    If you put a gun to my head (that's what it would take because I love all their albums ).and I had to pick one GG album, it would be Octopus. It's their "Fragile."
    Oh, I hope the other members don't get mad if I start with Octopus. Fragile was the only Yes album that this guy left behind on cassette and I don't think I stopped thinking about it for days after first playing it. I thought it must have been their best album until I heard Close To The Edge about 6 months later, which was even better! Which is incredible!

    Thanks to everyone for your great suggestions and making me feel welcome at PE. I really appreciate it!

    Oh, and Octopus has a really cool cover too!

  10. #60
    Member aplodon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RapidRefresh View Post
    Oh, I hope the other members don't get mad if I start with Octopus.
    I get so mad

    Just kidding. Octopus is actually my favourite.
    In spite of that, I still think the best advice is to take them in chronological order. GG have one of the best debut albums of the time. I think you will love it if you start with it. If you get it after their best ones, you may be less impressed.

  11. #61
    Member aplodon's Avatar
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    If you buy CDs, stay away from the 35th anniversary edition. Those sound terrible. I don't think the first four albums were included in that series, though, so you'll be safe with Octopus (or the debut ).

  12. #62
    I 2nd Octopus.

  13. #63
    When I was collecting German prog, Gentle Giant was my favorite British band, probably together wit Renaissance.

  14. #64
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    I second Octopus as well.
    Steve F.

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  15. #65
    Three Friends was my first. Wasn't blown away by it to be honest (of the albums through 1976 it is my least favorite other than the debut). Fortunately I gave them another chance with Acquiring The Taste which I loved and then I bought Playing The Fool, and then all of the others through Missing Piece not long afterwards.

  16. #66
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    It doesnt really matter which one you start with (except: avoid Giant for a Day and Civilian they are nore representative, they changed direction in hope of commercial succes - and didn't get it).

    As you have read here, they are all VERY good, so just make sure you take your time with each album, get to know it, and you will love them all.
    I borrowed them from classmates and started with Three Friends went on to In a Glas House and The Power and the Glory and then just bought the lot as soon as I could afford it. Contrary to most here I found Octopus too mixed - then.

  17. #67
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    Octopus or Free Hand.

  18. #68
    Member Phlakaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Ah, but don't worry 'bout it; disclosing that age of yours has also revealed you to be somewhat of a hero now.
    Take your time with new music too... some people just get way too much and get lost. haha. Seriously. Anyway - good to know young minds are dialed into the good side of the musical world still.

  19. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by Rand Kelly View Post
    If you do get Free Hand make sure you don't pay for the Canadian Cinema/Capitol cd. It has no treble on it.
    Also avoid any version on One Way. One has some sort of recording defect, the “corrected” one uses the wrong tapes.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  20. #70
    I started with Octopus, but deviated directly to their double set best of - and now I'm slowly exploring their deeper tracks and acquiring the taste. They are an acquired taste.
    I got nothin'

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  21. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by Yodelgoat View Post
    I started with Octopus, but deviated directly to their double set best of - and now I'm slowly exploring their deeper tracks and acquiring the taste. They are an acquired taste.
    They are just great. What is there not to love on a group that uses so many different instruments. I always wanted to have a band with multi-instrumentalists.

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    Also avoid any version on One Way. One has some sort of recording defect, the “corrected” one uses the wrong tapes.
    Same thing I forgot to write One Way/Cinema. I had this at one time and it is all bass.

  23. #73
    I'd go for Three friends, freehand, power and the glory, in a glasshouse to start with.
    I think Octopus has a couple of duds on it so I don't know why people rate it as their best

  24. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by PROGMONSTER View Post
    I'd go for Three friends, freehand, power and the glory, in a glasshouse to start with.
    I think Octopus has a couple of duds on it so I don't know why people rate it as their best
    I'm listening to Octopus now for the first time in years... There are a few duds (or at least near-misses), but my biggest problems with this LP are the sequencing of the songs (there's no good opening song on here!) and my belief that the live "Excerpts From Octopus" medley represents all the best of this LP in 15 minutes time, and sounds more exciting to these ears. Octopus is a very dry listening experience. I blame Phil (Shulman)!
    Last edited by mx20; 11-15-2015 at 09:35 AM. Reason: spellllingg

  25. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by mx20 View Post
    I'm listening to Octopus now for the first time in years... There are a few duds (or at least near-misses), but my biggest problems with this LP are the sequencing of the songs (there's no good opening song on here!) and my belief that the live "Excerpts From Octopus" medley represents all the best of this LP in 15 minutes time, and sounds more exciting to these ears. Octopus is a very dry listening experience. I blame Phil (Shulman)!
    Well, you're entitled to your opinion. I think the first five tracks on this album are near perfect in their running order and that Advent of Panurge is a great opener. It's after this that I think the "duds" come in, but many see to love Dog's Life, ToMWK and River, while I strongly prefer Cry for Everyone; a song many don't seem to enjoy as much. It's all opinions. Ultimately, the overall consensus on Octopus put is squarely with their classic material, despite some fans liking some parts more than others.

    I think the OP did well to choose Octopus as a starting point and hope it encourages further exploration.

    Bill

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