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Peter Gabriel - Passion CD (album) cover

PASSION

Peter Gabriel

 

Crossover Prog

4.10 | 309 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Chicapah
Prog Reviewer
5 stars My definition of a progressive music enthusiast is a person who enjoys not only the past and ongoing work of their favorite prog groups and/or artists but also derives immense pleasure and satisfaction in listening to music that comes to them out of left field to challenge, intrigue and surprise the aural senses. While the typical model of music fan is more interested in obtaining the instant gratification to be found in a danceable beat or a catchy, buzzword hook line the progressive ear actively seeks out sounds and influences that are alien to their comfort zone. They crave music that takes them into realms where unusual instrumentation, strange surroundings and unexpected mental journeys (where other means of assimilation become necessary) are a source of joy rather than a reason for rejection. By that definition, this album epitomizes progressive music.

Peter Gabriel is not one whose nature is to play it safe. After his 1986 album "So" made him one of the most popular, respected and recognized musical artists on the planet he could have started cranking out pop hits and love ballads like a machine and cashed in on the riches that were there for the taking. Instead, he used his notoriety and fame to steer his admirers both old and new into the bountiful kingdom of world music by utilizing extremely talented but little-known musicians and their fascinating ethnic influences that the average citizen of the earth didn't even dream existed. He further confronted the status quo by associating this mostly instrumental project with a highly controversial film directed by none other than the gifted Martin Scorsese. It takes true courage and determination to lead the way down the path less traveled in an attempt to broaden musical horizons for the masses but that's what Peter boldly did with "Passion."

Rather than go track by track I will just tell you that there's a lot of incredible music to immerse yourself in here. Gabriel's use of many, many different types of drums and percussion is especially exciting on rhythmic tunes like the opener "The Feeling Begins," "Of These, Hope," "Before Night Falls" and "Disturbed." Particularly moving is "A Different Drum" and "Zaar" where huge, atmospheric walls of sound carry you along for the ride. A mysterious, experimental slant is to be found on numbers like "Gethsemane," "In Doubt," "Troubled," "Sandstorm," "Stigmata," "Wall of Breath," and "The Promise of Shadows." The best of this style comes in "Passion," where Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's unique singing makes as big an impression as he would some years later on the mesmerizing, spine-tingling "Signal to Noise" cut on PG's brilliant "Up" album. Certainly not the kind of thing you hear every day. There is also inspired, overwhelming beauty to be found in pieces like "Open," "It Is Accomplished," and the breathtaking ender, "Bread and Wine." Robin Canter's exemplary oboe and Coranglais performance on the transcendent "With This Love" is heavenly and when he is joined by the angelic choir that delivers the reprised version later on the song approaches having the ability to spiritually enlighten.

I saw recently where one obviously misguided guest reviewer, in criticizing another of Gabriel's albums, said that Peter was incapable of creating meaningful world music because he was born and raised in England's upper class. That's not only inane hogwash but is also ignorantly biased and prejudiced. It's equivalent to saying that Eric Clapton can't play decent blues because he wasn't born in the Mississippi Delta or that Bob Dylan can't write great folk or rock & roll songs because he's a Jewish man from Minnesota! The fact is that Peter Gabriel acquired his knowledge and ability through involved interaction and dedicated study of music from foreign lands and cultures over a long period of time. The ongoing impact of this landmark project is a revealing testimony to its quality and authenticity, not to mention Gabriel's status as a visionary artist. All who love an adventurous musical excursion outside one's familiar haunts will find this album amazing. 4.8 stars.

Chicapah | 5/5 |

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