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Gentle Giant - In a Glass House (1973)

Posted By: DiceCracker
Gentle Giant - In a Glass House (1973)

Gentle Giant - In a Glass House (1973)
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Gentle Giant - In a Glass House (1973)

I have 18 other titles of Gentle Giant albuns… but I am too lazzy today. So, heard this one, be nice and mybe I post the others in a near future

Gentle Giant's fifth studio album has an aura about it in the progressive rock community. This 1973 record captured the band as they were peaking, but because it was not released in the United States by their record label at the time (Columbia), it became a highly prized import and gained a legendary stature. Furthermore, In a Glass House has been only intermittently available as a CD; most recently, a nice remastered package with bonus live material was released (as an import) for limited runs in 2000 and 2004, and the disc finally got a US release when reissued in 2005. But while this title's rarity probably has something to do with the extent to which it is praised, I do think that it is a great album that earns just about all of it on its own merits.
The band's sound on In a Glass House isn't too different from Octopus, except that the songs generally have fewer about-faces within them and instead feature a greater amount of development. There is also less of a "medieval" feel to the album, as the sound is more electric guitar oriented. It is a concept album of sorts but unlike Three Friends, it does not attempt to tell a story. The songs portray several characters in various dire straits; I guess the point is to elaborate on being too quick to judge people without understanding them. The album is sequenced quite effectively as it is book-ended by two long, guitar-heavy tracks that I think are the album's most immediately accessible - although this is always a relative concept where Gentle Giant is concerned. The record's pithy interior is somewhat more experimental and introspective.

Lyrically, I think this is Gentle Giant's finest album (though "Experience" isn't up to par). The standout in this area must be "An Inmate's Lullaby," which is an unsettling peek into the mind of a mental hospital patient:

Line Up
Derek Shulman, vocals, alto sax, soprano sax, recorder; Gary Green, guitars, mandolin, percussion, alto recorder; Kerry Minnear, keyboards, tune percussion, recorder, vocals; Ray Shulman, bass guitar, violin, acoustic guitar, percussion, backing vocals; John Weathers, drums, percussion

Tracklist
1. The Runaway — 7:15
2. An Inmate's Lullaby — 4:40
3. Way of Life — 7:52
4. Experience — 7:50
5. A Reunion — 2:11
6. In a Glass House — 8:26

(Not a re-issue, this is the original release from 1973)

Gentle Giant's fifth studio album has an aura about it in the progressive rock community. This 1973 record captured the band as they were peaking, but because it was not released in the United States by their record label at the time (Columbia), it became a highly prized import and gained a legendary stature. Furthermore, In a Glass House has been only intermittently available as a CD; most recently, a nice remastered package with bonus live material was released (as an import) for limited runs in 2000 and 2004, and the disc finally got a US release when reissued in 2005. But while this title's rarity probably has something to do with the extent to which it is praised, I do think that it is a great album that earns just about all of it on its own merits.
The band's sound on In a Glass House isn't too different from Octopus, except that the songs generally have fewer about-faces within them and instead feature a greater amount of development. There is also less of a "medieval" feel to the album, as the sound is more electric guitar oriented. It is a concept album of sorts but unlike Three Friends, it does not attempt to tell a story. The songs portray several characters in various dire straits; I guess the point is to elaborate on being too quick to judge people without understanding them. The album is sequenced quite effectively as it is book-ended by two long, guitar-heavy tracks that I think are the album's most immediately accessible - although this is always a relative concept where Gentle Giant is concerned. The record's pithy interior is somewhat more experimental and introspective.

Lyrically, I think this is Gentle Giant's finest album (though "Experience" isn't up to par). The standout in this area must be "An Inmate's Lullaby," which is an unsettling peek into the mind of a mental hospital patient:

I heard someone saying
I think he will be staying
maybe for a long time
and that I'm mad.
Lying down here in the afternoon
in my pretty cozy little cushioned room
I can talk to all my funny friends in here
I was told to rest…
Quoting lyrics barely does the song justice, though, as the words are potently augmented by the tumbling, off-centered music - which consists wholly of malleted percussion. The song is emblematic of the great success that Gentle Giant achieved by continuing to experiment. Like most "main sequence" Gentle Giant albums, the vocals on Glass House are usually sung in a manner that isn't immediately catchy or memorable and "Inmate's Lullaby" is certainly no exception. The vocal melodies used throughout the album can dip and dive unpredictably and sometimes rush past the listener in an incomprehensible flurry. I owned this album a very long time before I could quote more than a line or two from any particular song. The lyrics are hard to pick up just by listening and the music is so good that I wasn't prompted to investigate further.

Music this dense and diverse cannot be easily or succinctly described. Suffice it to say that while In a Glass House is as contrapuntal and experimental an album as Octopus, it is harder rocking. It may even be more cerebral. Octopus dazzles with its multitude of themes and the songs are saturated with ideas. The twists on In a Glass House are more integrated. There is little on this album that you can initially see coming, yet after repeated listens the compositions make sense. Motifs get flipped around and turned inside out, light acoustic passages are cut off abruptly in favor of some electric guitar riffing (yet the riffing never turns into soloing) and the organs and synthesizers are often used unconventionally. In one of my favorite parts of the album, a synthesizer motif on "Way of Life" flirts with becoming a trite-sounding fanfare, but the plug is yanked out of it first and it collapses into a dissonant gurgle.

The recent CD reissues of this album come with two additional tracks that are live performances of some of the Glass House material. Both tracks show a side of the music that you don't get from the studio versions, but while I think that the Dusseldorf (1976) medley is excellent, the Munich (1974) show is hurt by bad sound quality

Download in RS
http://rapidshare.de/files/19779628/GGIAGH.part1.rar
http://rapidshare.de/files/19780715/GGIAGH.part2.rar
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