“The Passion” of Peter Gabriel

The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad
Malay Mail
June 15, 2004


Reviewed by Jerryz

PETER GABRIEL PASSION PETER Gabriel was part of English progressive
rock group Genesis before he struck out on his own in 1977.

His wide-ranging musical interests ranged from R&B, funk, rock to third
world music, and his first four albums had several very commercial
tracks like Steam, Sledgehammer and Shock The Monkey.

These were hit singles and came with sensational, state-of- the-art

But he was always keen to extend his own boundaries and he accepted
the task to supply the music for the controversial Martin Scorsese
film The Last Temptation of Christ.

The movie created quite a furore with its intimation of Jesus Christ
having sex with Mary Magdalene, but Scorsese always said it was a
fictionalised account.

While famed for his singing and songwriting, Gabriel made an about
turn and this album has hardly any singing except when the voice is
used as an instrument.

His challenge was was now as a composer.

Gabriel’s interest in world music now came to the fore.

But he combined with them his knowledge of synthesisers and electronic
music to create pieces of music with complex musical layers,
atmospheric, ambient and filled with awe and yes, passion.

Informed by the sounds of North Africa and the Middle East, the
tracks contain instruments like drones, finger cymbals, Armenian
doudouks, surdus tablas, horns, flutes and blend into one another
almost seamlessly.

The first track, The Feeling Begins, start with an evocative
synthesiser drone.

Then the doudouk, an Armenian string instrument, states a haunting
eastern melody, origin and here the record sleeve notes that the
doudouk’s melody is that of a traditional Armenian melody titled The
Wind Subsides.

Then the percussion kicks in – tumbling polyrhythms clash and collide
furiously for a climactic ending.

Another strong track is A Different Drum which features a hard-hitting
beat with percussive loops and samples plus some voices.

On It Is Accomplished, check out the glorious pianos and celestial
bells – passion indeed.

In Gethsemane, flute samples, and sampled brass and woodwind
instruments combine to create a futuristic, spooky atmosphere.

Incidentally Gabriel also released a sister album to this – it’s called
Passion Sources and is made up of the music which influenced him.

This album is more about atmosphere and moods, rather than the usual
verse-chorus-bridge-chorus kind of thing.

If you like Pink Floyd, and world music, this album could well be
your kind of thing.