Sunday, August 1, 2021

Gentle Giant’s Free Hand

Progressive rock legends Gentle Giants classic seventh album, Free Hand, has been remixed by Steven Wilson, and will be released on 25th June, but prior to that comes the video release of ‘Just The Same’, featured here at RAMzine.

Originally released in July 1975, Free Hand was the most commercially successful of the band’s career reaching the top 40 albums in Billboard Magazine over in the USA. It stands as the culmination of the band’s maturity, following the successes of In A Glass House and The Power & The Glory.

Having toured Europe & North America non-stop in the years prior to the album’s release with artists like Jethro Tull, Yes and Frank Zappa, the band had gone from strength to strength. By the time Free Hand was released Gentle Giant had become a major headliner in their own right. All the members were multi-instrumentalists. The band was never afraid of surprising an audience with a four-part recorder ensemble followed by a vibraphone solo, all the while rocking the audience and thoroughly enjoying themselves onstage at the same time.

Gentle Giant’s albums featured many songs with both literary subjects as well as social and personal commentary on life as rock musicians. Free Hand has more than most. The album’s title and first track was thus titled because the band had just changed record labels and management and felt unshackled by prior contractual obligations. Putting these issues behind them upon its first release, Gentle Giant embarked on an extensive tour of North America and Europe, plus a short tour of the UK, to promote the album.

The diverse range of Gentle Giant‘s music is evident throughout this album. From the intricate vocal fretwork of ‘On Reflection’ and the delicate medieval flavour of ‘Talybont’, to the Celtic-tinged rock of ‘Time To Kill’ and the jagged rhythms of ‘Just The Same’, all those diverse elements that made the band so strikingly original can be said to be skilfully blended and perfectly executed.

Award winning producer and musician Steven Wilson has added his delicate touch in remixing Free Hand in Dolby Atmos and 5.1 surround sound. His tonal range and painstaking attention to sound quality make Free Hand sound as fresh today as it did on first release. A fitting tribute to the compositional skills and expertise of five dedicated musicians.

The remixed versions will be accompanied by custom animated visuals for each track on Blu-ray. In addition, the original flat mix, original 1975 quad mix and an instrumental mix will all be included in a digipak CD.

A double vinyl album will also be released with both the original flat mix and the Steven Wilson remixed version. The initial first pressing will include a limited edition transparent red version.

To pre-order Gentle Giant’s Free Hand visit here.

Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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