Octopus (Gentle Giant album)

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Octopus
Octopuscoveruk.jpg
Studio album by Gentle Giant
Released December 1, 1972
Recorded July 24 - August 5, 1972, Advision Studios, London
Genre Progressive rock, symphonic rock
Length 34:09
Label Vertigo (UK)
Columbia (U.S.)
Producer Gentle Giant
Gentle Giant chronology
Three Friends
(1972)
Octopus
(1972)
In a Glass House
(1973)
Alternative cover
US and Canadian release.

Octopus is the fourth album by British progressive rock band Gentle Giant, released in 1972. It marked a change in drummers from Malcolm Mortimore to John Weathers. 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.

Production[edit]

Octopus was allegedly named by Phil Shulman's wife Roberta[citation needed] as a pun on "octo opus" (eight musical works, reflecting the album's eight tracks).[1] 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[edit]

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.

Releases[edit]

On the 30th October 2015, a Steven Wilson remix was released on CD/Bluray via the band's Alucard label. 3 tracks were unable to be discretely remixed as multi-track tapes are currently reported missing (Tracks 1, 2 & 5) while the remaining tracks were. The 3 tracks however have been upmixed to 5.1 surround with the Penteo surround mixer.

Cover[edit]

The UK release of the album featured art by Roger Dean. Dean's logo appears inside the lyrics booklet.

North American releases featured a different cover by Charles White. Early versions of this cover were die-cut into a jar shape.

Critical Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]

Later reviews have stated positevly 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."[3]

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".[4] In The 100 Greatest Prog Albums Of All Time, by ProgMagazine, Octopus stands at number 65.[5]

The 2015 reissue of the album, mixed by Steven Wilson have entered the BBC Rock Chart at no.34.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Kerry Minnear and Ray Shulman (music); lyrics jointly written by Derek Shulman and Phil Shulman (according to the 2015 Steven Wilson remix).. 

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Advent of Panurge"   Minnear 4:41
2. "Raconteur Troubadour"   Minnear 4:01
3. "A Cry for Everyone"   R. Shulman 4:04
4. "Knots"   Minnear 4:11
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
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
8. "River"   R. Shulman 5:53

Personnel[edit]

Gentle Giant

Production

  • Gentle Giant - Production
  • Martin Rushent - Engineering
  • Cliff Morris - Mastering
  • Geoff Young - Tape operator
  • Murray Krugman - Over-all American Supervision

Design

  • John Berg - Cover concept & design
  • Fluid Drive - Art
  • Charles White III - Illustration
  • Kenny Kneitel - Design
  • Michael Doret - Lettering[7]

Charts[edit]

Year Chart Position
1973 US Billboard 200 170

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label
United Kingdom December 1, 1972 Vertigo Records
United States February 1973 Columbia Records

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Interview: Derek Shulman (Gentle Giant)". http://www.hit-channel.com. April 22, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  2. ^ "allmusic ((( Octopus > Overview )))". www.allmusic.com. Retrieved 2009-12-05. 
  3. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/octopus-mw0000203971
  4. ^ Q Classic: Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, 2005.
  5. ^ http://www.cygnus-x1.net/links/rush/prog-08.2014.php
  6. ^ http://prog.teamrock.com/news/2015-11-11/gentle-giant-celebrate-chart-success
  7. ^ Gentle Giant's website (www.blazemonger.com/GG/)