Gentle Giant: The Power And The Glory

The boy Wilson’s at it again with another fine spruce up.

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Not content with writing and playing some of the most beautiful and daring prog rock of the present day, Steven Wilson is working hard on bringing its back catalogue back into the sun via his remixing and remastering commissions. Portsmouth’s Gentle Giant are the latest to benefit, with 1974’s The Power And The Glory returned to shimmering life in an excellent CD/DVD set.

One of the latent glories of prog is the difference between the often-quotidian nature of its origins and the breadth of its ambition. The Power And The Glory is, as vocalist Derek Shulman (or Derek V Shulman as he’s billed on the sleeve) says in its liner notes, a conceptual narrative about the ways in which power manifests itself. Yet grand critiques like the mighty Aspirations and No God’s A Man were pieced together in various church halls and pub backrooms on the South Coast.

The abiding intricacies of Proclamation, Playing The Game and Cogs In Cogs allow Wilson’s remixes to shine: considering this is material recorded in 1974 it sounds sharp and bright, and while Gentle Giant sometimes groan under the sheer weight of styles and influences, this is a snapshot of a very particular era coming back through time.

Shulman, who went on to a successful career in A&R, has apparently said that the band are still keen on making an animated film of the record. Once a progger…

Jon Hotten is an English author and journalist. He is best known for the books Muscle: A Writer's Trip Through a Sport with No Boundaries and The Years of the Locust. In June 2015 he published a novel, My Life And The Beautiful Music (Cape), based on his time in LA in the late 80s reporting on the heavy metal scene. He was a contributor to Kerrang! magazine from 1987–92 and currently contributes to Classic Rock. Hotten is the author of the popular cricket blog, The Old Batsman, and since February 2013 is a frequent contributor to The Cordon cricket blog at Cricinfo. His most recent book, Bat, Ball & Field, was published in 2022.