CD Review, Peter Gabriel – New Blood
I was fortunate indeed to have received, as a gift from a dear friend, and a man of impeccable taste, this album:
Peter Gabriel, New Blood
I listened to it, for the first time, on the night of the Winter Solstice, in the throes of a strong dose of psylocybin. I could not have chosen more perfect entertainment. Listening to this work transformed an otherwise auspicious occasion into a miraculous event.
No artist, in any medium has moved me as much, or as often, as Peter Gabriel. No one even comes close. His music is not just familiar to me, it is burned into every fiber of my soul. The songs contained on New Blood are all old friends, with new orchestral arrangements, but there is nothing tired or re-hashed about New Blood. Quite the opposite.
All of the pieces on New Blood sound better than the originals. This remarkable, opulently produced masterwork, nearly makes those undeniably great Peter Gabriel albums from the past, like Rainy Windshield,
sound like rehearsal tapes by comparison. New Blood may be Peter Gabriel’s best work, as a producer, to date.
This is an album unlike any other. It doesn’t sound like a classical orchestral recording. Every instrument on this record sounds like it was close-miked, and recorded on it’s own track, like a rock album, rather than miking the concert hall as they do in most classical recordings. The result is a full orchestral arrangement, with the intimacy of a chamber music ensemble, and the dynamic range and deep, full bass of a rock album.
New Blood includes very few of Peter Gabriel’s big hits. You won’t find “Games Without Frontiers”, “Shock the Monkey” or “Sledghammer” on New Blood. Even “Solsbury Hill” is only included as an encore. New Blood is certainly not a “Greatest Hits” release. On New Blood, Peter Gabriel chooses tracks that benefit from the rich orchestral textures, and finds something new in them. As a result, New Blood sounds like a completely new Peter Gabriel album, as original as “Supper’s Ready” in 1972,
as original as Security in 1982,
and as original as the 1992 “Talk to Me” tour.
New Blood has a completely new sound.
Peter’s voice sounds great, as always. All of the vocals on New Blood soar. Peter features his daughter Melanie Gabriel on “Downside Up”, and Ane Brun will melt your heart with her take on “Don’t Give up”, the piece Peter originally sung with Kate Bush. The vocals are so good that I find it hard to make myself listen to the instrumental disk.
Disk two, of this two disk set, includes instrumental versions of all of the same songs on disk one, with the exception of “Solsbury Hill” which only appears on disk one and “Blood of Eden” which only appears on disk two.
New Blood proves that the man who elevated rock music to a high art in the seventies, with albums like Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot, as part of Genesis, became arguably the most influential musician on the face of the Earth in the eighties with his early solo material, and blossomed into a full-blown pop superstar in the nineties, still has something to say to us in this new century. With New Blood, Peter Gabriel has taken his work to a higher level, and in so doing, he has elevated the state of the art.
This record, miraculously, exceeds expectations, in ways that I could not have imagined and that words fail to describe. You simply must hear it! Thank you Bobby for the generous gift, thank you Peter for all of the music, and thank you God for ears to hear it.