Gentle Giant — Under Construction
(Alucard alu-gg-01, 1980/1997, 3CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1998-07-01
Gentle Giant was at its best when adding polyphonic arrangements to aggressive rock music. Determining who was responsible was merely a scan of the writing credits, where "Shulman, Shulman and Minnear" was typically credited with the bulk of the work. Under Construction goes the extra step to pinpoint keyboardist Kerry Minnear as the gifted brains of the band. Maybe the package should be called Minnear’s Revenge since we’re now privy to a bird’s eye view of his ideas and their development from those piano based themes ( chronicled on disc two). Disc one is a combination of different sources, including unearthed 1970 BBC out-takes from the very first album. "Hometown Special" features what may be the first vocal rounds which would later be an important element in the repertoire. "A Round" appears to be a clever rehearsal for "Playing the Game" with chorded electric guitar playing over looped sections of the track (including unison recorder and additional electric guitar). Also included are excellent live versions of "Interview" and "Timing" (known for the heavy drum and percussion arrangements) from a German concert.
Disc two focuses on licks, riffs, fragments and the little bits that Minnear has salvaged from his personal tapes and sorted into a listenable order. Check out the demo for "Peel the Paint," with his abrasive organ style. Core band members were involved in contributing to liner notes including now record executive, Derek Shulman and his hot shot producer brother, Ray. The set should appeal to the ardent collector as well as provide a keen introduction to a rare and wonderful genius.
Related artist(s): Gentle Giant
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more