Octopus (Gentle Giant album)
|Studio album by Gentle Giant|
|Released||December 1, 1972|
|Recorded||July 24 – August 5, 1972|
|Studio||Advision Studios, London|
|Genre||Progressive rock, symphonic rock|
|Gentle Giant chronology|
US and Canadian release.
Octopus is the fourth album by British progressive rock band Gentle Giant, released in 1972. It was the first album by Gentle Giant to feature drummer John Weathers following the departure of Malcolm Mortimore, as well as the last album by the band to feature Phil Shulman. The new line-up of the band delivered the Octopus album later in 1972, generally considered to represent the start of the band's peak period.
Octopus was allegedly named by Phil Shulman's wife Roberta as a pun on "octo opus" (eight musical works, reflecting the album's eight tracks). In 2004, Ray Shulman commented "(Octopus) was probably our best album, with the exception, perhaps of Acquiring the Taste. We started with the idea of writing a song about each member of the band. Having a concept in mind was a good starting point for writing. I don't know why, but despite the impact of The Who's Tommy and Quadrophenia, almost overnight concept albums were suddenly perceived as rather naff and pretentious".
Musical style and themes
The album maintained Gentle Giant's trademark of broad and challengingly integrated styles. One of the highlights was the intricate madrigal-styled vocal workout "Knots", lyrically inspired by the work of R. D. Laing. The album's songs are generally based on novels and philosophers: "The Advent of Panurge" is inspired by the books of Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais; "A Cry for Everyone" is inspired by the work and beliefs of the Algerian-French writer Albert Camus, while the song "Knots" is inspired by the book Knots by the Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing.
On 30 October 2015, a Steven Wilson remix was released on CD/Blu-ray via the band's Alucard label. Three tracks were unable to be discretely remixed as multi-track tapes are currently reported missing (tracks 1, 2, and 5) while the remaining tracks were. The three tracks however have been upmixed to 5.1 surround with the Penteo surround mixer.
The UK release of the album featured art by Roger Dean. Dean's logo appears inside the lyrics booklet.
U.S. and Canadian issues featured a different cover by Charles White. Early printings of this cover were die-cut into a jar shape.
Later reviews have stated positively about the album. AllMusic have declared that Octopus is "an album that has withstood the test of time a lot better than anyone might have expected."
In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, the album came #16 in its list of "40 Cosmic Rock Albums". In The 100 Greatest Prog Albums Of All Time, by ProgMagazine, Octopus stands at number 65.
|1.||"The Advent of Panurge"||Minnear||4:41|
|3.||"A Cry for Everyone"||R. Shulman||4:04|
|5.||"The Boys in the Band" (instrumental)||R. Shulman||4:34|
|6.||"Dog's Life"||R. Shulman||3:11|
|7.||"Think of Me with Kindness"||Minnear||3:34|
- Gary Green – Electric guitars (tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 8), percussion (track 2)
- Kerry Minnear – piano (tracks 1-5, 7, 8), Hammond organ (tracks 1-5, 7, 8), Minimoog (tracks 1, 3, 5, 8), electric piano (tracks 2, 4, 8), Mellotron (tracks 2, 7, 8), Clavinet (track 1), harpsichord (track 4), regal (track 6), vibraphone (tracks 4, 8), cello (tracks 2, 6), percussion (track 2), lead vocals on tracks 1, 4 and 7, backing vocals
- Derek Shulman – lead vocals (tracks 1-4, 8), alto saxophone (track 5)
- Phil Shulman – trumpet (tracks 1, 2), tenor saxophone (tracks 4, 5), mellophone (track 7), lead vocals on tracks 1, 4, 6 and 8, backing vocals
- Ray Shulman – bass, violin (tracks 2, 5, 6), viola (track 6), electric violin (tracks 4, 8), acoustic guitar (track 6), percussion (track 3), backing vocals
- John Weathers – drums (tracks 1-5, 7, 8), bongos (tracks 3, 8), varispeed cymbal (tracks 4, 8), xylophone (tracks 4, 6)
- Gentle Giant – production
- Martin Rushent – engineering
- Cliff Morris – mastering
- Geoff Young – Tape operator
- Murray Krugman – overall American supervision
- John Berg – cover concept and design
- Fluid Drive – art
- Charles White III – illustration
- Kenny Kneitel – design
- Michael Doret – lettering
|1973||US Billboard 200||170|
|United Kingdom||December 1, 1972||Vertigo Records|
|United States||February 1973||Columbia Records|
- "Interview: Derek Shulman (Gentle Giant)". http://www.hit-channel.com. April 22, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2014. External link in
- "allmusic ((( Octopus > Overview )))". www.allmusic.com. Retrieved 2009-12-05.
- Q Classic: Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, 2005.
- Gentle Giant's website (www.blazemonger.com/GG/)