A Master Returns
March 7, 2023 3:40 PM   Subscribe

Twenty-one years after his last release of new material, Peter Gabriel has emerged from creative hibernation and has a new album and tour this year! The album, titled "i/o" will have two mixes, Bright Side and Dark Side, and for those spatial-audio-capable, an In Side mix done in Atmos. He's released three tracks so far: Panopticom [Bright, Dark], The Court [Bright, Dark], and Playing For Time [only Dark so far]. In Side mixes are available on Apple and Amazon streaming services.

Peter is doing a lot to promote this project. His 2023 Full Moon videos for January, February, and March are all informative about the first three singles. He also has interviews with artists doing work for each track: David Spriggs and Tim Shaw thus far.
posted by hippybear (37 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
I do like that Peter Gabriel.
posted by wenestvedt at 3:58 PM on March 7 [7 favorites]

I have been listening to Peter Gabriel 3 (the melting face album) lately, wondering if we'd get anything new from him. Thanks for this!
posted by Chuffy at 4:00 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

Recalling this segment of the making-of video for Peter Gabriel's album Us, I'm struck by music video director Nichola Bruce's body language while listening to her co-director discussing working with Gabriel. About 20 seconds in from the time I marked here, she interrupts with, 'He's [Gabriel] very fertile!'

Now I can take that as meaning he's very creative and/or sexy, which he definitely was back then, or she thinks he's 'fertile' as in the old Xerox meme of 'it is strong and promoteth growth' (i.e. Bandini[TM]

Personally, I lean toward bemused contempt on her part, but I guess we'll never know for sure.
posted by zaixfeep at 4:13 PM on March 7

Oh, thank .

A friend of mine once said, and I agree, that the worst Peter Gabriel song is still better than 99% of all the pop crap we are subjected to daily.

posted by JustSayNoDawg at 4:23 PM on March 7 [11 favorites]

I am kind of bemused by all the options here

I haven't dug very deep into them, but on the few listens I've given each track, I'm not hearing much immediate difference between the Bright and Dark Side mixes.
posted by hippybear at 4:56 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]

I'm still listening to the tracks and trying to digest them, but for Panopticom, the Dark Side mix sounds a bit more modern, and the Light Side Mix makes the song sound like it could have been on UP.

I hope someone will eventually be like "these are the good songs from this (these?) albums."

If you're looking for recommendations across his career, Peter Gabriel is one of those artists where to point you in the right direction you pretty much need to have a flowchart. But the songs that personally get me still, every time I hear them, and not far short of 40 years after buying my first Peter Gabriel album, it would be these (in no particular order):

Here Comes The Flood (the version from Shaking The Tree)
Mercy Street
San Jacinto
Secret World

Most of these are kind of deep album cut, moodier tracks rather than the more catchy stuff like Sledgehammer or Shock The Monkey, so be aware my aesthetic inclination is strongly toward the former from most bands.
posted by tclark at 5:09 PM on March 7 [15 favorites]

Was a slobbering Gabriel fan all through high school and uni. First CD I ever bought was Gabriel III. My favourite album is probably Security/IV (one day I just "got" the Family and the Fishing Net but this is not something I have been able to transfer to anyone else). First "stadium scale" rock concert I ever saw was the So tour at the CNE stadium in toronto. The visual effects were timed to match a simultaneous Symphony of Fire fireworks competition show out over the lake. Also the first time I ever heard the downtempo piano based "Here Comes The Flood". Great night, even if we had to be brought there by our parents. If I could do one over again it would probably be that one.
posted by hearthpig at 5:30 PM on March 7 [6 favorites]

I can't say how I really feel about the new record yet, but I'll give him this: I love an old-school 16-bar intro.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:53 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]

Longtime PG fans in this household. We got tickets today for one of his shows! Pumped to see him, we never thought we would. Even the preteen kid is coming.

The last Genesis tour sounded pretty dire in terms of music quality, and so we didn't go, so we're especially glad we get to see this.
posted by fortitude25 at 5:56 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]

talked to tony last week after a stickmen gig. i would not be surprised to see some tour dates.
posted by j_curiouser at 6:17 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]

@hearthpig: Security was my fist PG album, too. I remember going to the maul and asking the music guy for “the album with the monkey shocking song” (I’ve never been good at discerning titles). I probably listened to that album 10 times thru before I ever listened to anything else.

The Family and the Fishing Net was like a holy experience for me, too. Much the same way that Of These, Hope (from Passion) and Mercy Street (from So) were.

I kinda wish I’d never heard them just so I could have the chance at the joy of hearing them for the first time, again.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 7:03 PM on March 7 [4 favorites]

I think the version of I Grieve from the City Of Angels soundtrack is one of the most intense things I've ever heard.

I was a Gabriel fan even before I knew who he was, because I was getting into Genesis' early catalog back in the days before I know people in bands had names and might do things outside of a band with another band or by themselves. And then I heard, um... probably III, because I remember Biko pretty clearly. Anyway. It was then several years before I put Gabriel and Genesis together. I was not a quick child about some things.

I don't think I'm going to be able to make it to this tour, which has me a bit pissed off. But sadly I'm unemployed right now, and that money could be used better for things like survival. (He's not coming anywhere local so it would be a travel concert situation, so triple the cost...)

Anyway, I'm eager for this album. It's been a very long time with a lot of things I've appreciated even while not necessarily liking them much.
posted by hippybear at 7:21 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

Oh and... back in a former lifetime, I spent a summer working in the kitchen of the Lodge at Zion National Park. I'd get out of the kitchen at 11pm or midnight just WIRED, and the only way I could find to unwind that didn't disturb others in the staff dorm was to go driving late at night.

Now, Zion has this road that winds from the bottom of the canyon up to the top, with some of it going through tunnels carved into the cliffside. With windows.

Anyway, I'd get into my Datsun B-510 (I miss that car!) and drive up this road at night with just my parking lights on blasting Security/IV at top volume. I'd get up to the top where there was a parking area and I'd sit on the hood of my car looking out over the lands far below me, watching summertime desert column thunderstorms with their bolts of lightning blowing slowly across from Utah into Nevada, with Kiss Of Life or Family And The Fishing Net thumping behind me.

I was young and foolish and I really loved those nights after work.
posted by hippybear at 7:29 PM on March 7 [32 favorites]

PG is the artist I’ve seen live the most often and he never disappoints. in my youth, my appreciation of his music once got me a room in a house share (score!). very psyched that he’ll be touring!
posted by mollymillions at 7:33 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

The Court (dark side) got me immediately and I think Playing for Time is a slow burner. Panopticon is also better w the dark mix. Of course I'll listen to the album a thousand times and change my mind over the favorite tracks.

To this day, Passion is one of the greatest records in my collection. I adore it and skipped school to buy it the day it came out not knowing what it was (the soundtrack to the Last Temptation of Christ) and had no idea where it would take me when I took it home to listen through and through.

My limited music universe just exploded and grew exponentially with every PG record. Looking forward to the new places he takes us.
posted by underavenue at 7:49 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

I've seen him a few times, most recently on the Rock Paper Scissors Tour with Sting (where they played each others' songs and some of their own). He was amazing live in the 80's, some of the most profound shows I've ever seen.
posted by Chuffy at 8:23 PM on March 7

New tracks are exciting. III, Security and Lamb Lies Down on Broadway were my junior high jam that no one else could care about, and So becoming a phenomenon was the first time I felt I could beat the world bloody. Putting a small town 14-year-old on the path to being a New York hedge fund manager was probably not exactly what PG was going for in 1986, but I just paid him back with the price of floor seats…
posted by MattD at 10:02 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]

Happened to see this last week:

It was Peter Gabriel who had the first Fairlight CMI [synthesizer] in the UK and introduced Kate Bush to the instrument. Here, Gabriel demonstrates his use of the CMI in his studio.
posted by fairmettle at 10:19 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

I want to add mine to tclark's list but maybe you need some acclimitzation before liking them:

Kiss of Life
The Family and the Fishing Net

Putting a small town 14-year-old on the path to being a New York hedge fund manager was probably not exactly what PG was going for in 1986

On the contrary MattD, on that very album he wrote your anthem! :)
posted by Meatbomb at 10:55 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]

It looks like the Dark Side tracks are mixed by Tchad Blake (Soul Coughing; Sheryl Crow; The Black Keys) and the Bright Side tracks are mixed by Spike Stent (U2; Madonna; Gwen Stefani). You can see the intended vibe here, and I think it comes through.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:21 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]

That Fairlight demo video is amazing. Thanks for posting!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:40 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]

Since I don't want to end my comment with negativity, I'll start with the negative, and then ease into the positive! I don't like these new songs! I mean, maybe they'll grow on me, I dunno, but they definitely feel like Pixar-era PG, a bit of easy listening. Which, I must emphasize, is fine, he's allowed to make some music that's not for me, because good lord, he's made plenty of albums very specifically for me, maybe more consistently than any other artist.

I just found out about the new songs the other day doing one of my periodic "I wonder what Peter Gabriel is up to these days" searches. I can't even remember what prompted the search this time around, probably a snatch of music stuck in my head. And I got to reading about his previous albums, which made me homesick for them, so over the past few days I've been listening to them and being Old and reminiscing, although I don't have any memories quite as spectacular as hippybear's listening beneath the lightning storms.

So was the first album I ever bought--on vinyl, no less, with my own allowance money. It was that era of teenhood where finding the right new thing felt like a revelation, like part of your life has suddenly snapped into place. (A few months after that I'd get Graceland, and those two duked it out in my head for a long, long time.) And that impression only deepened buying his earlier albums.

I'm glad so many people on this thread reference Security, because that one made an impression on me probably stronger than any of the others--it makes such a break with the prior three albums--not a break, I shouldn't say that, but a sort of culmination. You could see where things were headed with the addition of electronics and atmospheres, and then Security creates an entire world around you, a world that's strangely menacing, very other, but a place you desperately want to be. I used to try to explain this to people and they had no idea what I was talking about. Listening to it now, it's surprising how well it holds up. There's a timelessness to it that the other albums don't have. I love So, I think it's as fine a pop album as anyone has ever made, but I do think my heart clings to Security a little harder.
posted by mittens at 5:06 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]

favorite deeper cuts from the older albums...

Blue Car/I (known for Solisbury Hill)... Modern Love (which did get a single so maybe not as deep as I think?), Here Comes the Flood

Scratch/II (no big hit? DIY was the only single)... On the Air, Mother of Violence

Melt/III (known for Biko and Games Without Frontiers)... Intruder, No Self Control, I Don't Remember, Not One of Us, Lead a Normal Life (I love this album a lot... it's supported me through many mental health crises)

Security/IV... this has been well covered in the discussion... I love love I Have the Touch and Lay Your Hands on Me
posted by kokaku at 7:31 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]

Speaking of Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush:

Don't Give Up
posted by Splunge at 8:50 AM on March 8 [3 favorites]

While I've always enjoyed his albums, I'm as big a fan of his work with his Real World label and with WOMAD. I'd say that his legacy and impact will rest as much on the spotlight he cast on international stars such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Sheila Chandra as on his solo work.

In that vein, the Passion Sources album of the musics he incorporated into his soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ is a fave. As is the Music and Rhythm comp from WOMAD.

EDIT: Just noticed that that playlist has the wrong version of "Mirror in the Bathroom," i.e., not the amazing dub version that's on the album. Here it is.
posted by the sobsister at 10:03 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]

I've probably recommended this before, but fans of PG4/Security should see the South Bank Show where the cameras hung out while the record was being made.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 10:13 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]

posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 11:38 AM on March 8

I played both versions at the same time and it sounded full
posted by BlunderingArtist at 2:10 PM on March 8

Not bad, you're only off by one syllable...

(Kidding, I just get so few chances to use that joke!)
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:48 PM on March 8

I will point out, if you want Far Too Much Peter Gabriel You May Not Have Already Heard, and you don't have the Flotsam And Jetsam release, you should get it. It's literally hours of alternate mixes and b-sides and if you're a completionism or someone who thinks they are, it's worth checking out. I have yet to get all the way through it in a single listening. It's THAT MUCH Peter Gabriel.
posted by hippybear at 2:53 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]

OMG he's coming to Austin. No date announced yet. /starts saving pennies

My fandom has a pretty specific era, beginning with Melt, peaking with So (I graduated high school in 1991) and beginning to taper off with Us and Up but oh god Passion and Secret World Live and and and.

I've only seen him once, closing out Woodstock 94. Magical.

I was just texting with a friend of mine who isn't really a fan, although she respects his obvious genius, and rattled off a list of my favorite tracks off the top of my head that brought me to tears as I was remembering each one, and what it meant and means to me.

@hippybear, I'm sorry you're in a tough spot right now. Check your memail. ❤️
posted by ZakDaddy at 9:14 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]

tchad blake is a master.
posted by j_curiouser at 10:02 PM on March 8

I came to Peter Gabriel in a roundabout way. Despite being a kid of the ‘80s, I missed most of his songs because I was a snob about rock or pop or any song that would reach the radio. It took me most of my high school years to grow out of that. One spark for that change came during Governor’s School, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s attempt to improve Arkansas education thru a summer program for rising high school seniors. It had tracks for math, science, English, music, art, and more, so we got exposed to a lot of really cool things outside our normal areas of study.

At one evening’s gathering, the Governor School choir’s performance included This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds), PG’s collaboration with Laurie Anderson. I was captivated. Once I found the original recording, I hunted down everything PG had done and became a huge fan.

I’m not sure I’d recommend this approach to getting into PG’s music, or indeed pop music in general, but it worked for me!
posted by sgranade at 5:40 AM on March 9

That was a great concert, and Paula Cole had (has?) an outstanding voice.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:57 PM on March 9

so roughly 35 years after my last PG concert I just scored tix for Toronto in September. Time to get boned up on the new material I guess!
posted by hearthpig at 7:37 AM on March 10

I smiled through "Playing for Time" from the moment his voice came in right up to the point I started weeping. My favorite Gabriel mode, the "Excuse me, I'll just take hold of your heart" one.
posted by jocelmeow at 10:02 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]

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