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Gentle Giant - Free Hand/Interview CD (album) cover

FREE HAND/INTERVIEW

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.28 | 33 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This box set includes Gentle Giantīs seventh and eigth album Free Hand and Interview on one CD. If you know the music on those two albums you also know that this will be a very worthy purchase. Free Hand is an essential progressive rock album while Interview might not be as essential but itīs still excellent. Two albums for the price of one is just something you canīt turn down.

Free Hand:

Free hand is the seventh album from Gentle Giant and one of their best albums IMO. After The Power and the Glory which was the predecessor to Free Hand, Gentle Giant must have felt extremely inspired for Free Hand to come out as well as it did. I think The Power and the Glory is the weakest of the first six albums from Gentle Giant ( itīs not weak at all compared to other prog rock albums of course, only compared to the other five albums. I personally gave The Power and the Glory 4 stars) and I was afraid that their really good era was over. Free Hand fortunately proves me wrong. While still maintaining all of the charateristics of Gentle Giant which means a mix of hard rock, jazz/ fusion, classical chamber music, medieval music, avant garde and folk, Free Hand takes Gentle Giant one step further. Never on any of the previous albums have the music been this memorable yet still very complex. Itīs a great achievement that only Gentle Giant could have done.

The music is as always pretty hard to describe as you can probably sense when reading my above description. Songs like Just The Same, Free Hand, Time To Kill and Mobile are all extremely well written progressive rock songs while On Reflection might be the finest polyrythmic vocal song Gentle Giant ever made. On Reflection is the song with most avant garde influences on the album, but itīs very memorable. His Last Voyage is a beautiful semi-ballad while the instrumental Talybont completes this beautiful and very powerful prog rock album.

The musicianship is outstanding. Every single musician plays beyond his abillities on Free Hand. Not only do Gentle Giant make beautiful and powerful music they are also mulitinstrumentalists and outstanding musicians every one of them.

The production is very good. absolutely the best sound quality Gentle Giant had achieved by then.

Free Hand is one of my favorite Gentle Giant albums, and also one of my favorite prog rock albums. It deserves all 5 stars for the musical genious put into the compositions and the interplay between the musicians. You will very seldom come across anything remotely like this. If you havenīt listened to this album yet, you better run out and buy yourself a copy, because this is pure genious.

NOTE: I have an edition with both Free Hand and Gentle Giants next album Interview on one CD which is of course a great treat. Two albums for the price of one. I would seek out this version if I were you.

Interview:

Interview is the eigth album from Gentle Giant. Their last album called Free Hand was very successful both artistically and to a certain degree commercially ( this is prog rock. A band like Gentle Giant didnīt sell a million copies). All seemed well within the band with a stable lineup now for the last 4 albums and lots of creative and innovative musical ideas. Interview started the downfall for Gentle Giant though and is generally regarded by the fans as a disappointment after the masterpiece that was Free Hand. Iīm a bit disappointed too but still think that Interview is a very good progressive rock album.

The music is unmistakebly Gentle Giant with all the features that we know from the previous seven albums. Jazz, Rock, polyrythmic choir arrangements and avant garde virtoso playing. Many of the earlier reviews have said that Interview is like a twin album to Free Hand and the style is very similar to that great album. Gentle Giant themselves werenīt very satisfied with Interview as they didnīt feel they had developed their sound further like they had on each of the previous albums. I hear plenty of development though. Just listen to the reggae rhythm in Give It Back. Thatīs something Gentle Giant hadnīt done before. I donīt think there are any weak points on the album, but it is true that Gentle Giant just donīt seem as inspired as they used to. Songs like the aforementioned Give it Back, the title track and the avant garde like Design are all very good tracks though. Another Show needs to be mentioned as it is a powerful song. The remaining three songs are also very good.

The musicianship is one of the main attractions on any Gentle Giant album and as usual itīs outstanding on Interview.

The production is a bit colder than usual from Gentle Giant and does ruin a bit of the listening pleasure. Itīs still pretty good though.

Interview is definitely an above average progressive rock album even though itīs not a favorite of mine from Gentle Giant. I canīt bring myself to give Interview a big 3 star rating so itīll be a small 4 star rating. Out of the eight first albums from Gentle Giant this should be the last one you purchase though. There are traces on Inverview as to what would come on the next Gentle Giant album called The Missing Piece but no one could have imagined that the change in sound would be as significant as it would be. The downfall had started. Sadly.

Even though Interview might not be up there with Free Hand in the league of essential prog rock albums the idea of putting these two albums together for the price of one is so good that Iīll reward this box set with 5 stars. Think of it as purchasing the masterpiece Free Hand and getting the very good Interview for free.

UMUR | 5/5 |

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