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Peter Gabriel - Passion CD (album) cover

PASSION

Peter Gabriel

 

Crossover Prog

4.11 | 309 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Negoba
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Ambient / World Masterpiece by the Master of Prog

Peter Gabriel's album Passion contains music that he composed for Martin Scorcese's 1988 movie The Last Temptation of Christ. However, the project expanded past the soundtrack and evolved to become a landmark in the popularization of world music, which was and continues to be a primary passion (see what I did there?) of Gabriel. Numerous world musicians were recruited for the project, including L. Shankar from India, Youssou N'dour from Senegal, Nusrat Ali Khan from Pakistan, and Billy Cobham from Panama. The resulting sound on the album was broader than anything Gabriel had done before, but still sounds like a Peter Gabriel work, with textures pointing back to previous work like Rhythm of the Heat or San Jacinto from Security.

Gabriel plays percussion, bass, keys, and adds vocalizations but his primary role is more as composer and conductor. Most of the lead sounds are provided by guest musicians, with Gabriel adding ambient textures over which the musicians play traditional melodies from across the Mideast. Exotic instruments, percussion (both contemporary and traditional), and numerous synthesized sounds combine to make an intense, dark journey that actually goes past Scorcese's alternate (and controversial) take on the life of Jesus. The variation from song to song is very wide from quirky wind instruments to 80's echo-y toms to eastern violins. Gabriel's reworking of this music from soundtrack to stand-alone album is very well done, with none of the problems of repetition or loss of interest that I've experienced listening to some movie music.

So the question becomes, does this ambitious project work? For me, the answer is a resounding yes. For the last 20 years, this has been the album I choose when I want to sit in a dark room, turn on the music, and get transported to another world. This is music to lose your self in, to swim in a flood of sound, to enjoy almost like an altered state. The images evoked are dark, intense, and frankly have little to do with the film (which I saw some years after getting this album). The film, which is dry and sandy, and visually very brown, pales compared to the music which brings up a palette of color, sensations of swimming underwater or floating in air, and emotions of sadness, contentment, fear, happiness.

This album is what made me a Peter Gabriel fanatic. Before I knew that pre-pop Genesis existed, this album was a comfort to me, a retreat that transported me to another place. It was and is a masterpiece, and is an essential part of recent musical history.

Negoba | 5/5 |

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