Gentle Giant’s ninth album The Missing Piece was released in 1977 just as the music world that we prog rock dinosaurs knew so well was changing (well at least according to the useless national press) but the beauty about never being in fashion also means that you are not subject to its whims.
For sure, the Giant made some sound changes with the gloriously titled Betcha Thought We Couldn’t Do It being their wry poke at the supposed energy that punk brought to rock music but, in truth, The Missing Piece was every bit a classic Gentle Giant album but one that, for some reason, is not quite held in the same high regards as classics like Octopus or Free Hand. Maybe that is now about to change as it is the latest album that Steven Wilson has turned his prodigious skills to and we now have a stunning remix which has given the album a quite revelatory make over so that it almost seems like a brand new release from the prog rock gods.
Everything that you could ever want from the band is here to revel in from superb musicianship, clever and intricate song writing, the perfect vocal harmonies that no one else has ever been able to replicate and all suffused with the humorous touches that the band did so well. Steven Wilson has again waved his magic wand giving the work a new lease of life and I would suggest that this could quite easily be the best remix of any record that he has worked on to date!
The Missing Piece saw the band evolving for the changing times but also keeping one foot in their glorious past so this is a great reminder of a band at a crossroads with every road having the potential to lead to more wonderment from one of the greatest bands from these shores and one that has influenced bands beyond counting. Check out the new video for Two Weeks In Spain which is a real riot with lots of delicious references to previous albums and there is also a bonus track with the previously unreleased outtake of Winning.
The double set featuring the Blu-ray disc also contains the album in Dolby Atmos, Stereo and 5.1 surround sound, an instrumental mix, the original 1977 stereo mix as well as new videos for each track. Steven Wilson is an undoubted genius and his new version of the album is absolutely stunning and you will hear things you have not previously picked up on such is the clarity of the work and he has made a classic album better even when I thought that this could not be done!
The Missing Piece always was a brilliant album and one that deserved more acclaim and this remix will certainly help to change a few opinions. A must have in every sense of the word and if you have the original then buy and compare and prepare to be amazed.
The Missing Piece (Steven Wilson Remix) will be released on 16 February via Chrysalis Records and is available for pre-order
The Missing Piece
- Two Weeks in Spain (3:05)
- I’m Turning Around (3:58)
- Betcha Thought We Couldn’t Do It (2:16)
- Who Do You Think You Are (3:37)
- Mountain Time (3:21)
- As Old As You’re Young (4:21)
- Memories of Old Days (7:22)
- Winning (4:15)
- For Nobody (4:09)
- Winning (outtake) (3:31)