Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 26th, 2015 - A (Not So) Gentle Octo-Indra-Kunindra-Pus

US/Canadian Version


Good evening!  The Meista here with a rather odd pairing tonight... I'm going with early '70s progressive album "Octopus" by Gentle Giant and a rather crazy Indra Kunindra India-style Curry Export Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company! 
Album Info:
  • Artist: Gentle Giant
  • Title: "Octopus"
  • Recorded: July 24th through August 5th, 1972 at Advision Studios, London
  • Release date: December 1st, 1972 (4th studio album by Gentle Giant)
  • Record company: Vertigo (UK) / Columbia (US)
  • Production: Gentle Giant
  • Album cover art: Roger Dean (UK version), Charles White (US version)
  • Personnel: Gary Green (electric guitars and maracas), Kerry Minnear (piano, electric piano, Hammond organ, Minimoog, Clavinet, harpsichord, regal, vibraphone, tambourine, cello, and lead and backing vocals), Derek Shulman (lead vocals and alto saxophone), Phil Shulman (trumpet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, mellophone, and lead and backing vocals), Ray Shulman (bass, violin, electric violin, viola, acoustic guitar, tambourine, and backing vocals), and John Weathers (drums and percussion)
  • Musical style: Progressive rock, experimental rock, art rock, jazz, folk music, hard rock, and symphonic rock
  • Sound: Vastly progressive, the "Octopus" is a demanding and challenging album sonically.  The music is intricate with broad strokes into multiple music styles. 
  • Major themes: Philosophical in approach, the themes of the album come from the writings of Albert Camus, R. D. Laing, and François Rabelais delving into existentialism, mental illness, expressionism, humanism, and fantasy. 
  • Notes: Bassist/violinist Ray Shulman once commented that the "Octopus" album "was probably our best album.  We started with the idea of writing a song about each member of the band.  Having a concept in mind was a good starting point for writing.  I don't know why, but despite the impact of The Who's Tommy and Quadrophenia, almost overnight concept albums were suddenly perceived as rather naff and pretentious".  The band, and particularly "Octopus" would go on to heavily influence and inspire the neo-prog bands of the 1990s and 2000s such as The Flower Kings, Porcupine Tree, and Spock's Beard.
  • Tracks: 
  1. "The Advent of Panurge"
  2. "Raconteur, Troubadour"
  3. "A Cry For Everyone"
  4. "Knots"
  5. "The Boys In The Band"
  6. "Dog's Life"
  7. "Think Of Me With Kindness"
  8. "River"
  9. "Excerpts from Octopus" (Live Recording)

    Brew Info:
  • Brewery: Ballast Point Brewing Company (San Diego, California)
  • Website:
  • Brew: Indra Kunindra
  • Style: India-style Curry Export Stout / Chili Beer
  • Serving: 22 ounce bottle
  • ABV: 7.0%
  • IBUs: 50
  • Ingredients: Chocolate malt and Fuggle hops with Madras Curry, Cumin, Cayenne, Coconut, and Kaffir Lime
  • Pour: Deep dark chocolate brown (almost black) with tinges of red and a huge, creamy, and thick mocha head with lots of "fish-eye" bubbles and excellent retention and chunky lacing.
  • Nose: The nose is initially a blast of yellow curry and coconut milk along with cumin and cayenne.  More subtle (much more subtle) notes of cocoa, vanilla bean, and rich malt.
  • Taste: Like the nose, the taste starts with a big blast of yellow curry and coconut milk, followed by tart lime and spicy cumin in the mid-range, and then cayenne heat in the back.  There are also rich dark chocolate notes along with vanilla, marshmallow, and coffee... although these are all rather subtle, but become more (somewhat) prominent as the beer warms.
  • Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with minimum carbonation, the mouthfeel is creamy, velvety, smooth, but with increasing (but pleasant) heat throughout that hits the lips first, then works its way over the tongue and continues to linger.
  • Notes: The Indra Kunindra was originally conceived and brewed in 2011 as a 46th anniversary celebratory brew of Holiday Wine Cellar, a destination beer, wine, and liquor store in San Diego.
Overall pairing: The reasoning of my choice for this pairing is two-fold: 1) the obvious album cover and bottle label parallels 2) and more importantly, the insanely unique oddities found within both.  The Indra Kunindra includes some rather strange ingredients for a stout while "Octopus" is full of odd times, enigmatic lyrics, and the somewhat strange usage of instruments for a rock album... especially in 1972.  Combined, the two make for a very interesting and somewhat overwhelming sonic/gustatory experience! 


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