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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel 4 [Aka: Mask, Aka: Security] CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The first of PG's albums to blend rock sensibilities with african influences. The vocals are dramatic and passionate and drums play a huge role in the music, as they relate to african inflluences. This album is IMHO PG's swansong, as it deals with interesting rythm sections and proves that PG is able to mix two different cultures with genius. Some people regret PG's departure from Genesis but I think that it eventually was a good decision because it allowed him to write a different music but as challenging as the music he contributed to Genesis. This album is an absolute classic in PG's discography.
Report this review (#24007)
Posted Sunday, November 2, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the album that turned me on to world music.The family And The Fishing Net is a heart rending song about a family trying to make a living fishing in Lake Chad which is drying up is as good as it gets.No better artist exist on the planet than Peter Gabriel.
Report this review (#23995)
Posted Saturday, March 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars There are good musicians on this record: Tony Levin on bass and Larry Fast (SYNERGY) on keyboards. The songs are varied: pop hit ("Shock the Monkey"), mellow, full of beat and floating ("Lay Your Hands On Me"), catchy and relaxing with piano parts ("Wallflower"). The drums, beat and percussions are omnipresent. Some patterns are a bit irritating, especially on "I Have the Touch" and ""Kiss of Life". Let's say that the record is very unequal: I have to skip some parts to find the better bits. I appreciate the more mellow parts.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Report this review (#23996)
Posted Thursday, April 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Peter GABRIEL dug deeper to find the animal within, exploring two very different paths in the process that led to a sort of future primitivism on "Security". Not only is the music ahead of its time, but somehow it manages to be ahead of GABRIEL's own vision. As intelligent and ambitious as these songs are, GABRIEL fails to bring most of them into focus, and you get the sense that the singer only had a vague idea of what the final product might sound like. At least that's the impression left on me by works like "The Family And The Fishing Net", "I Have The Touch" and "Wallflower". This suspicion was confirmed in part when GABRIEL released a far superior version of "I Have The Touch" a few years later that finally balanced the song's disjointed giddiness with its worldbeat sensibilities. That balance is already evident on the wonderful "Shock The Monkey" (with a video that made plain the album's theme of a modern man lost in a primal world), far and away Security's most immediately accessible track. The rest of the record takes time to sink in, from the subtle but stirring "Lay Your Hands On Me" to the spellbinding "San Jacinto".

"Security" is well worth the effort, as the arrangements are so rich in subtle detail that nuances are discovered with each sitting, eventually revealing the power and unlocking the obscured majesty of songs like "The Rhythm of the Heat" and "San Jacinto". And yet it's not the stunning achievement of his last album, here suffocating under too many layers, but a necessary step toward the cooly confident So. In a real sense, "Biko" and "Wallflower" and "Red Rain" are the same image articulated by an evolving artist (and listeners may favor one period or style of composition over another as their tastes dictate). I've always been impressed with the record, and over the years continue to go digging in it for hidden treasures, but it's never been the rewarding experience of the works around it. Note that the original elpee featured a sticker with the title "Security" that, when removed, rendered the album again untitled.

Report this review (#23997)
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album of ex Genesis lead singer is excellent. Gabriel has explored his musical talent further and pushed beyond his limit. The music of this album is totally different with what he had contributed so far with Genesis. The opening track "The rhythm of The Heat" is very nice. It goes smoothly to second track "San Jacinto" where Gabriel demontrates his clean vocal and nice timbre at low voice. This is one of my favourite track together with "The family and the fishing net" and "wallflower". Some tracks I don't rate highly, ie: "Shock The Monkey" (too poppy), "I have the touch". But overall, this album is excellent. Even the track "San Jacinto" ,"The Family and the fishing net", and "The Rhythm of the Heat" make this CD worth buying. Don't miss it! Enjoy the theatrical voice of Gabriel. But don't expect you will hear some sort of "Fly on A Windshield" or "Firth of Fifth" music in this album.
Report this review (#23998)
Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Peter Gabriel's fourth solo album, disposably titled "Security," is a masterwork of the highest order. It defies simple classification: It is not pop; it is not rock. It is art, a sensational marriage of adventurous artistry and engrossing songcraft, with Gabriel's richest soundscapes and most intricate polyrhythms to date fusing to form his most focused effort (at that time). Every song is an evocative, dark-hued, dramatic triumph, with both propulsive art-rockers (the smash "Shock The Monkey," "Kiss Of Life") and sweeping, viscerally affecting mood pieces ("The Rhythm Of The Heat," "The Family And The Fishing Net," "Lay Your Hands On Me") coming to life in Gabriel's tribal-educated rhythms and stark, seductive arrangements.

Words cannot do justice to the scope and power of this record (if they could, there'd be no need for music at all) -- It must be heard. For some pop-oriented listeners, "Security" may well be too emotionally and artistically intense, but for any fan of art in music, it is a staggering, massively compelling work of genius that commands repeated listens.

Like all ten of the deluxe remasters in the recent Peter Gabriel reissue series, "Security" is disappointingly without bonus tracks and substantial liner note essays. The improved sonics are truly excellent, however, and the nuanced performances of Gabriel's band sound rich and clear; subtle percussion elements and bass tones, for instance, have a significantly enhanced impact. Furthermore, the package features evocative artwork and lyrics. Such improvements in sonics and packaging may not make it worthwhile for casual fans to upgrade their old CD copy, but for fans of artsy pop who haven't yet discovered this brilliant disc, this new remaster is the best way yet to get the full experience.

Report this review (#23999)
Posted Thursday, July 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've been having a hard time deciding which Peter Gabriel solo album I like the best. The two that rival are this mesmerizing album and the bone-chilling "Us." In terms of quality, I find "Peter Gabriel 4" to be the better of the two. There are many albums that were released in 1982 that were SOOOOOO 1982! But this one has held up well for over 20 years.

The scary mask on the cover is in someways a warning to the listeners: "Listen to the album at your own risk." And indeed, "Peter Gabriel 4" is inaccessible. The album gets darker than "Peter Gabriel 3" and includes more of his musical pilgrimages into Afro- Brazilian sounds.

The fun begins with "The Rhythm of the Heat," complete with Ghanaian drums and deep foreboding tones. The players run wild near the end of the song, and, the album, which started out strong, is about to get tighter.

"San Jacinto" is an amazing track. With CMI toning and the lyrics of a Native American autopsy, no one escape the track's powerful grip. When the guitars come in, the track turns into a black hole. And near the end of the song, you've been sucked into another dimension.

The fun rocker "I Have The Touch" is a cleverly-written track in which PG describes the elusive pleasures of life. Tony Levin plays some mean Chapman stick.

"The Family And The Fishing Net" is a creepy, mind-bending 7-minute cut. The lyrics are hard to follow with, but the arrangements and the playing are quite futuristic. The traditional Ethiopian panpipes give it a nice texture.

"Shock The Monkey" to life? Okay, I think I will. This is probably the only song that casual fans will recognize from this album, since it gets played on classic rock radio. It is no doubt a groovy track, driven by the CMI, a ferocious guitar attack from David Rhodes, and a Chapman stick.

"Lay Your Hands On Me" is not a bad track, but it's my least favorite on this album. It's a slow, and slightly repetitive, track, but it is a tight and polished track nonetheless, and for some reason, it sounds like it was recorded inside a high school gym. I must be a psychiatric hospital patient ... :)

Now, here comes my favourite track on the entire album. It is an admittently lovely 6―- minute political protest song called "Wallflower." It's quite a moving song, both musically and lyrically. The song deals with political prisoners in Africa and South America, which is the purpose of the Amnesty International concerts which Peter Gabriel helped organize. The keyboards alone are quite a touching addition, especially in the final part of the song. The song was only released as a single in Holland and I don't think it did very well. In addition, he probably has never performed this song live. What a shame!

After pouring his heart out on the previous track, Gabriel regains energy and uses it up on the last track, the samba-esque "Kiss of Life." The lyrics are a bit hokey, but the music, complete with synthesized (?) Brazilian percussion, and non-stop fun. Nothing more than a perfect way to end this wonderful album.

Another note for this album is that, because of its amainzg sound quality, is often used to test car stereo systems. It was the first of PG's album to be recorded and mixed entirely in digital. The engineering job alone gives the sound its glamour. The 2002 remastered CD only adds to the purity of the sound, bringing out more depth in the instruments. You can actually feel like you're inside the Ghanaian drums on "The Rhythm of the Heat." Unfortunately, the ultracool graphics from the original LP sleeve are missing, and there are no bonuses, but the packaging on the CD is lovely, and adds some great photos as well as accurate lyrics.

"Peter Gabriel 4" is undoubtedly one of PG's finest albums and perhaps the most well- recorded. The songwriting and playing is first-class, and if you enjoyed "So" or "Us", then I strongly recommend you check this one out.

Report this review (#24000)
Posted Saturday, July 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another excellent example of high class composition. 'San Jacinto' has to be my favourite Gabriel song along with ' Exposure' for stretching his vocal abilities. This albums has a nice balance of song framework starting with the swealtering ' Rythm of the heat'. The only weak song IMO is the last one ' Kiss of Life' but other than that listen to ' Wallflower' or ' The family and the fishing net'. Listen to ' Ovo' for similarities to the fishing net song. 'Shock the Monkey' was a great single too. To create this after the immaculate PG3 album makes you realize what an astonishing musical force Peter Gabriel is.
Report this review (#24001)
Posted Monday, July 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I`m not always in the mood to hear this album and others by Peter Gabriel, but I recognize that he is a good musician, always experimenting with new music influences. This album has a lot of influence from African rhythms, and in this album Gabriel made the African drums the focus of this album. This album, as the three before it, is also called "Peter Gabriel" in the U.K. and in other parts of the world, but the U.S. record label called it "Security", and in my country, the album was relased as "Peter Gabriel" in the cover but in the label it says "Peter Gabriel 4". My favourite songs from this album are in the Side Two of the L.P. : "Shock the Monkey","Lay your hands on me", "Wallflower" and "Kiss of life". The other songs are in better versions in "Plays Live" (also "Shock the Monkey" is better in this live album). This 4th album by Gabriel really moves the "primitive" factors of the listener`s mind.And sometimes is disturbing.I really imagine a "primitive tribe dancing around the fire" in some places of this album.
Report this review (#24002)
Posted Saturday, October 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Gabriel 4? This is SECURITY! At least that's what the album cover said when I got it. And oh, what a happy day that was. While already a huge fan of GENESIS and ANTHONY PHILLIPS by the time this album came out, this was my first PG solo album. There is not a weak song here, no fillers, just great music. Great music. San Jacinto, Shock the Monkey, Lay Your Hands on Me, Wallflower - need I say more. Mr. Gabriel employs the finest musicians, always. I am perticularly a fan of MORRIS PERT who plays on this album. I got to see PG play live, for the second time, in the summer of 2004, 18 years after I saw him at Madison Square Garden for the "So" tour. What a show ( . . . The Barry Williams Show)! He's still got it, a ture performer to the very end. He played San Jancinto - which sounded timeless and ballsy - thanks to Tony Levin. Always, visionary, always good, this is one of two PERFECT Gabriel records. The other being "UP". This is 5/5, great music from one of the all-time best. Thank you Peter.
Report this review (#24003)
Posted Thursday, December 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Peter GABRIEL's fourth release titled "Security" (only in America, to generate better sales than his previous self-titled releases) was the album that put him over the top in the U.S. This was due in large part to the smash international hit "Shock The Monkey," which by the way has never sounded better. Although the dark and serious side was still present in GABRIEL's atmospheric soundtracks and lyrics, there was a new lighter and more rhythmically complex element due to a lot of percussion, giving it all a decidedly Latin world flavor. This was the beginning of a new era for GABRIEL and rock music as whole, with many artists following his lead.

I found this to be a fine effort with the tried and true GABRIEL atmospheric touch in place with polished production and the usual stellar musicianship provided by key people performing and producing in all phases of the musical processes. This was the beginning of a new phase is Peter's career, what was to come next would move GABRIEL to yet another level, giving him a more powerful presence in several segments of the music industry.

Rating: 3.5/5

Report this review (#24005)
Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the beginning I must say, I do not like the world music. I mean the term. This is often, very often, nothing but an obscure cloud wherein pseudoartists without their own ideas use to hide themselves and play great magicians. But not Peter Gabriel. If something deserves to be named a world one, it is exatly this album. I remember, I was a big fan of Genesis as a student and Gabriel (still I am, I mean a fan not a student). however, I have not listened to this music very very long time, and now, when I am going through my old cassettes and make an order, I am re-discovering a plethora of great stuff. Of course, not everything what I liked I still do, but this album I find an absolute jewel. I know what I like. It is, to tell it in one word, an intelligent music. You can feel the heat of Africa, voices of the jungle, songs of chinese rivers, murmuring of the highest mountains, silence of unknown icelands, a sigh of a girl behind the wall (where I was living at that times too). And all that is performed in a very relaxed, smooth and so-called english way. Although absolutely different, I hear here something of Tresspass. By the way, Peter Gabriel made a great dicision living Genesis. Had he not we would have hardly heard Wind and wuthering, had he not we would have been without this masterpiece of art.
Report this review (#24010)
Posted Saturday, February 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is pretty good, although not up there with "So" and "Us". I really like the songs, "I Have The Touch", "Shock The Monkey" and "Kiss of Life". The song, "Kiss of Life" is not a "normal" Peter Gabriel-style song in that it's not dark - it's actually UPLIFTING and makes you feel happy! He needs to do a few more of these "happy" songs and have some fun doing albums.
Report this review (#24011)
Posted Saturday, March 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Characteristic Peter Gabriel's solo albums are very different compare to his former group, Genesis.

Like others Peter Gabriel's solo album, "Peter Gabriel 4" is a world music album. Majority songs on the album very hard to be listened, domination of percussion sounds as causal factor. But, try listening Shock the Monkey. A nice and easiy listening song. With song like Shock the Monkey, maybe fans of Peter Gabrie will be wider. His effort to explore world music and liberate from Genesis characteristic, should be appreciated. He deserves FOUR STARS (****) for this album. torro-karawang-indonesia.

Report this review (#24012)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Naaahhh.. you can't do that to me after that wonderful "melting face" album. Yes, it's still very good, (ok, he's Gabriel you know) , but it's too much cheesy for my tastes (shock the monkey.. don't you know you're gonna...WHAT!!!... oh well, so much for those good old Gabriel Lyrics), looks like the man needed the money too ( who doesn't) .Still we got The family and the fishing net, so that's 3 stars. I would reccomend it to everybody who likes 80s well crafted popular music, but not to anybody who wants to know how well has done this guy in the turning of the 70-80s era. Go get PGIII now!!
Report this review (#24013)
Posted Friday, May 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm sorry for the bluntness of what I'm about to say--but I find it rather hypocritical of some to constantly pick on PHIL COLLINS for making GENESIS turn pop, yet refuse to call PETER GABRIEL on it when he does the exact same thing on some songs on this album. The double standard is ridiculous, and I'm going to say it: the poppy-sounding songs on this album drag the rating way down. I enjoy some pop, but some of this sounds mindless, even when the lyrics underneath might be good (and they aren't always!). While I liked the lyrics to "I've Got the Touch"--but the music was awful. "Kiss of Life" was not so good musically, either...but by far the worst offender was "Shock the Monkey". What was that? Terrible, is what it was.

The other huge problem with Security is the incredibly muffled mixing, which made even some of the good parts impossible to hear without running the volume up to absurd levels. The volume level I have to use is so obnoxiously off from the other albums I own that there really is no excuse for it. So, combined with the three miserable tossers of songs, the album just barely makes the grade as a 3.

The truly good songs include "Rhythm of the Heat", "San Jacinto", "The Family and the Fishing Net", and "Lay Your Hands on Me"...musically innovative and lyrically intriguing, all of these are what make the album. The percussion section is incredibly rich and GABRIEL's Eastern-seeming vocal stylings do very well to add to the "world" atmosphere, and as others have said, the lyrics tend to focus on some of the most "primitive" aspects of our lives and emotions, some of our deepest spiritual yearnings. "Rhythm of the Heat" and "Lay Your Hands on Me" seem to evoke the wish to connect with something beyond what we perceive with our senses, but conversely, "San Jacinto" and "The Family and the Fishing Net" focus on some of the more difficult parts of a "primitive" life--including the terrible destruction that occurs when such a culture comes into contact with a "modern" culture that has no respect for it.

"San Jacinto" in particular details a Native American's look at the destruction wrought by the invading settlers and the way in which America has now commercialized much of what's left of their culture. This song is especially helped by the bass work of TONY LEVIN, and the most powerful section actually seems to recall some of the darker songs like "Yet Another Movie" and "Terminal Frost" on PINK FLOYD's 80s album A Momentary Lapse of Reason (undoubtedly helped by the fact that both albums shared LEVIN!). This is the song that I think I found the most moving of any on the album.

However, I have to warn you: I don't think this album deserves the kind of kudos it's getting at all. Where it's good, it's fantastic...but where it's bad, it's truly awful--and I have to reiterate, if you're going to call COLLINS on stuff like that, then don't shy away from pointing it out when GABRIEL does it! Just barely a 3.

Report this review (#24015)
Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars I have seen Peter Gabriel solo many times and every concert was a wonderful visual, musical and emotional experience, this man is so pure and so creative! But I had problems with his studio albums, I enjoyed it far less than the concerts, especially the second and third album. But on this fourth album I enjoy the ethnic and emotional touch. Peter Gabriel had went through an intense psycho-therapeutical process, the result was that he succeeded to sound more direct from his heart and feelings ("Lay your hands on me" tells about the poor emotional bonding with his parents). People from the venomous musical press in the UK blamed Peter Gabriel that he integrated the African sound because of his feeling guilty about 'the way Britannia ruled the waves in the past' but in my opinion this is rubbish! Peter Gabriel is a very curious, inventive and creative personality who discovered that the African sound was ideal to blend with his musical ideas and personal feelings and emotions. This resulted in impressive and very compelling songs like "The rhythm of the heat" and "San Jacinto". And "Shock th emonkey" is a mirror for the whole human race!
Report this review (#41954)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3,5 stars really!!!

Also known as "Mask" or "Security" (since the first four album did not have names or numbers), this is probably the "proggiest " album , maybe not in terms of musicianship , but it is certainly the most dramatic songwriting The Gabe had done since his leaving his former band. Actually , this album gives me very mixed feeling as it is also the most "new wave" sounding of his album.

Rythm Of The Heat and San Jacinto are probably the most stunning song on this album and are excellent dramatic and enthralling tunes , taking their time to evolve and pass thru a few moods. The last two tracks on side reveal less appeal to me as the sounds are simply too new wave-ish for me. Actually a much superior version of Touch will appear later.

The Stunning starter on side 2 , Shock The Monkey is really a shocker and not just for monkeys but all humans too. It came with a shocking videoclip , but it is also the blueprint for later huge successes such as Sledghammer anf Big Time (Success) in the following mega selling SO album. Lay Your Hands On Me is another excellent track , exactly the archtype Gabe track you have come to expect by now. Walklflower is a rather neat piano dominated track that fits well in the album and the last track is unremarkable.

This album is maybe my fave from The Gabe , but it does announce the future mega success of SO.

Report this review (#46385)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I was younger, my father had introduced me to many prog style bands that would later influence my taste in music. Bands such as Pink Floyd, Yes, Kansas, and even Led Zeppelin were all among my father's Record and Cd collection. But "Peter Gabriel 4" was one of the few albums that stuck in my mind so intensly that I would ask dad to play it more than any other album he had.

The very first song I heard off of the album was "Shock The Monkey", a very exciting piece of music with a catchy tune and very industrial sounds playing alongside of Gabriel's god-like, echoing voice. It was the song that set the tone for me. Soon after, I began listening to all of the other songs on the album, "Lay Your Hands" on me being my next favorite. In my opinion, this album was nearly perfect from beggining to end, and the booming drums and atmoshoperic sounds included throughout this masterpiece makes it a five star winner for me.

"The Rhythm Of The Heat" Starts the album off on a very good tone. Deep, foreboding, and beautiful is a way to describe this song. The entire thing gives me chills everythime. I find it to be one of the album's best songs. It will dazzle you, all five minutes and eighteen seconds of it.

The second song, "San Jacinto", has a very stirring opening, and it only gets better from there. Soon there are heavy guitar chords that will send you into a spiral of listening pleasure that only few songs can do.

I have noticed that many people seem to find "I Have The Touch" coming short of their expectations, but I personally find this song a very fun, uplifting part of the album. If you are in a mellow mood, this song will probably snap you out of it better than any other song on the album. But of course that's just my opinion. The highlight of this track would have to be the precussion, as it has very stirring and unexpected parts to it, and that's a good thing.

"The Family And The Fishing Net" is a song that I usually skip, simply because of it's length. Don't get me wrong, I love 7 to 10 minute long songs just as well as the next progger, But I feel that the song could have been shorter and had a much deeper impact. Nonetheless, the Ethiopian panpipes and creepy undertones make this song stand out among the others as the most different.

Ah, "Shock The Monkey". The very first song that I heard off of the album, and I still favor it over all others. Of course the strong sence of nostalgia that I feel when listening to it could be the reason why I like it so much. It's more maistream and has a much more pop-rock sound than the others, but still worth the listen.

Now we come to the best part of the entire album. In my opinion, the magnum opus of "Security". One of those songs that just makes the entire album worthwhile. "Lay Your Hands On Me" takes so many interesting turns, and truly makes the entire album worth owning, in my opinion. It starts out with powerfull, booming drums that echo and give you a sence of awe as the song begins to unfold..... Now we hear small, moody precussion that sets up the magic to come. Eventually the song becomes bigger and louder until it finally ends the complete opposite way that it begins. Many people don't like this track as well as I do, but at least listen to it a couple of times before giving your final rating on it, because it grew on me.

Sadly, from this point on is where the album begins to loose momentum, in my opinion. From this point on, the songs don't get much better than the previous six, but of course, this is all my own opinions, and the only way to decide for yourself is to listen. In any case, this album is near the top of my list in terms of originality, and by far, this piece of work is still my favorite Gabriel album. His musical genious truly shows in "Security".

My rating: 5/5 for sure. An essential masterpiece.

Report this review (#50152)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is arguably the best of Peter Gabriel's solo albums. I remember seeing him live in 1983:, when the album had just come out: a mesmerising performance indeed from one of rock's greatest musicians and lyricists. Unfortunately, this record is mostly known for the hit single "Shock the Monkey", which is a nice song but not really representative of Peter's creativity. On the other hand, it contains some of PG's best- ever compositions, notably the powerful, intense "San Jacinto", a tale of Native American rites of passage on the background of modern-day society, with one of Peter's strongest vocal performances ever; the eerie, intriguing "The Family and the Fishing Net", featuring the atmospheric sound of Ethiopian pipes; the heavily percussion-driven "Lay Your Hands on Me" and the stirring, majestic "Rythm of the Heat", which opens the album in style.

As we have come to expect from Peter, the standards of songwriting and musicianship are first-rate, with a special mention for bassist extraordinaire Tony Levin and electronic keyboard wizard Larry Fast. Obviously, we are miles away from the pastoral soundscapes of Genesis' heyday; nevertheless, "Peter Gabriel 4" is progressive in the true sense of the word. Don't miss it.

Report this review (#57238)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the album where the mainstream finally GOT Peter Gabriel. A lot of us wondered what took them so long. But this one sounded so incredibly good and due in a very large part to the addicting, infectious beat and charismatic atmosphere of "Shock the Monkey," his appreciative audience expanded a hundred fold. He was also astute enough to take advantage of the power of the video revolution and turn it to his advantage by making a clip that engaged and intrigued the viewer instead of just showing some dudes slinging their hair around. "San Jacinto" is one of the most powerful pieces of music he's ever produced. It's hypnotic and stunning in its breadth. The album was still probably a "shock" to the casual record-buyer of the time when songs like "The family and the fishing net" and "Wallflower" came on but I'd like to think that Mr. Gabriel succeeded in expanding their musical horizons just a little (if not considerably). It has its usual darker moments as PG continued to battle his many inner demons but the uplifting and joyful "Kiss of Life" is the perfect ending to this cd. By now he had rid himself of over-association with Genesis and was starting to be known for his own volume of work that had little resemblance to his former group's revered catalogue of symphonic prog. It's also admirable that he was able to find acceptance by the masses while retaining his avant-garde attitude and his integrity. Thanks to albums like this one the early 80s decade of music was not a completely vapid wasteland.
Report this review (#76481)
Posted Thursday, April 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is my fav solo album by PG due to incredible "dark" atmosphere and wonderful "ethnic" percussions and sounds. Forget about "Shock the Monkey" (which is nevertheless a good song by pop standards) and "Kiss of Life" (which is largely disposable track). All that remains is Gabriel at his best, including amazing drummer Marrota and guest appearance by Peter Hammill. Absolutely recommended and please allow several listens until it gets you inside his world.
Report this review (#76488)
Posted Thursday, April 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Peter Gabriel's solo career up to the release of his fourth studio album yielded two excellent albums and one slightly underwhelming (but still very good) album. This is the last of his albums in his series of unnamed and untitled albums (so logically in the series it is called Peter Gabriel 4). Anyway, utilizing essentially the same lineup as his previous three ventures (at the core), he adds some more dynamics to his sound by recruiting Van Der Graaf Generator's Peter Hammill on backing vocals for a few tracks as well as a wide range of African music and African influences. So in the end this album is a fusion of rock and african music sensibilities, and for the most part it's quite nice. That said, I do think that along with the second album that this is the weakest of his first ventures, as only about half of the songs really stay in my mind and are really incredible, with the left being somewhat mediocre material. Still, though, this is a pretty good album, but it comes with a warning from me.

All of the songs I like actually come within the first half of the album. It opens with Rhythm of the Heat. The forbidding opening drones and the subtle instrumentation break out into a brilliant Gabriel vocal performance. Towards the ending, the song picks up with a thundering african drum section and it hits a crescendo of sound at this point and doesn't really reach that much intensity again. The second song is also just as brilliant. San Jacinto opens with a quiet keyboard laying down a foundation and another slow build up musically and vocally. Gabriel's vocals and lyrics here are quite effective and poignant at the same time, offering a lush description. The chorus of, "I hold the line! San Jacinto" is a powerful and moving section that is nothing truly short of brilliant. I Have the Touch is a bit of a throwaway and it is sandwiched between the previous San Jacinto and the superb following track The Family and the Fishing Net. It's a bit of a pushy, urgent piece lyrically and the music isn't terribly interesting. The Family and the Fishing Net makes up for the previous piece, though. A fantastic mood and atmopsheric piece, it has that same buildup quality that the first two tracks had, but the story that Gabriel tells is well conceived and his vocals are very dynamic (and Hammill does a backing vocal job on this track as well). Probably my favorite track off of the album.

Shock the Monkey is the next piece, and in my opinion it's the last truly interesting piece on the album. The dynamic musicianship is complimented perfectly by stellar vocals from Gabriel and Tony Levin really shines here with a precision stick performance. Lay Your Hands On Me, Kiss of Life, and Wallflower round out the album with some okay, if not on par performances from everybody. Lay Your Hands on Me despite the dramatic vocal performance from Gabriel does not really grab me and there is really no evolution to the piece at all. Wallflower is a forgettable piece that despite having an interesting keyboard motif and melody, and like Lay Your Hands on Me, does not really grab me at all. The same sentiment could be said with Kiss of Life, which is in my opinion the worst song on the album and one of my least favorite Gabriel songs up to that point.

In the end, Peter Gabriel's final untitled album would prove to be one of his most unbalanced, and despite having some incredibly crafted and dramatic pieces is riddled with pieces that don't really make the grade. If you're looking for any connection with Gabriel's past, you may find bits and pieces (speaking of his solo career as his disconnection from the Genesis sound came immediately). It's a good album, but nothing that I would call brilliant. 3/5.

Report this review (#87110)
Posted Sunday, August 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars A reasonable good album. Gabriel allows more etnic and folk rhythms to form the core of his difficult to access pop rock. And that's one of the things that appeals to me most in Gabriel recordings, he never uses an easy route for the music to evolve from, and the music is always challenging.

There are no bad tracks on this album, neither are there any really outstanding tracks, so I will not really recomend this, but for those who dare and take the time to let the music sink in, it is a worthwile listening.

Not easy listening stuff.

Report this review (#94090)
Posted Wednesday, October 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars There is more raw power in the first three minutes of this PETER GABRIEL album than in the entire careers of most popular musicians.

Peter Gabriel III (Melt) ended with 'Biko', an attempt to make us accept our culpability for what happened to a non-western culture in South Africa. Peter Gabriel IV (Security) begins by taking us to the heart of not one, but two non-western cultures (African and North American) in the first two tracks. Instead of berating us for what we've done, GABRIEL shows us the human face of those we've marginalised.

And, finally, his music matches the power of his lyrics. It's hard to imagine anything more visceral than 'The Rhythm and the Heat'. His long and continuing association with world music begins here, with African musicians lending authenticity to his message. 'San Jacinto' is a more fragile thing, but no less powerful - GABRIEL sings "I hold the line", an extroadinary assertion of self in the face of overpowering odds. I can't remain unmoved whenever I hear GABRIEL sing this line. 'Shock the Monkey' is well known, and 'The Family and the Fishing Net' ought to be. Possibly the most obscure of GABRIEL'S lyrics, this chilling song about sex and marriage presages his preoccupation with gender trouble on subsequent albums. And I do mean chilling. His use of metaphor here paints an extraordinarily frightening picture of the all-consuming nature of love, comparing marriage to an occult rite, and again the music matches his vision. Such rhythms, such soundscapes were what GABRIEL was born to deliver.

If side 1 is absolutely essential listening for anyone interested in music, side 2 is less so, though still excellent. 'Lay Your Hands on Me' is an impressive piece, for example. For me, Peter Gabriel IV is PETER GABRIEL'S crowning achievement. He will write songs with this power again, but never a sequence such as he offers on side 1 of this record.

Report this review (#115817)
Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Undoubtedly, my favorite in his catalog. This is him at his artistic peak as a solo artist. I've never heard anything quite like this in my life. This continues his work with world influences that would culminate in "Passion". The percussion, especially is very world-driven. I knew this was was special the first time I heard "Rhythm of the Heat". "San Jacinto" is probably my favorite track. It's so subtle on the way it builds up. Peter's voice gives me the chills almost every time. I can't even give a list of my favorites because I love every song on here. I'd end up listing them all. I really have nothing else to say other than this is amazing and my favorite. No question about it- Masterpiece.
Report this review (#136346)
Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In a successful fusion of the modern with the ancient, Peter Gabriel brought his post-art dramas together with the sounds of tribal dance and reached down into ancestral memory in a most contemporary way. The brainwave trance 'Rhythm of the Heat' introduces us to his fourth album, with wood sounds and a wall of Moog and CMI. The touching 'San Jacinto' moves mountains with power and dignity, Gabriel's sympathetic yearn, and a nicely unexpected finish. Robotics on 'I Have the Touch', a great dancehouse number with cutting guitar chimes from David Rhodes and Gabriel's soulful voice showing his range and stellar falsetto, and the troubled 'The Family and the Fishing Net' with its psycho-sexuality and bizarre images as it coaxes memories of Genesis. The bread and butter of hip FM radio was 'Shock the Monkey', an engaging pop tune bristling with nervous energy and veiled commentary. The quiet hugeness of 'Lay Your Hands on Me' features Jerry Marotta and Morris Pert's dual percussion, the haunted but hopeful 'Wallflower', and the set closes with Cuban dance bit 'Kiss of Life'. A good prog record, a great pop one.

Report this review (#137033)
Posted Friday, September 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Another Fabulous line up of musical talent and superb lyrics.

Side One Rhythm of the Heat is an intense beautifully crafted piece. My favourite. San Jacinto keeps the intensity but introduces a native american theme. I have the Touch drags for me. The Family and the Fishing Net is another interesting track: a more mystical ethnic feel/

Side Two For me Shock the Monkey is a banal early 80s pop number. I always fast forward through this track now. Lay Your Hands on Me is an interesting track. Atmospheric, unusual rhythm (gorgeous percussion) and vocal, and a supreme confidence in leaving space and silence. Wallflower is for me just too drab. It's slow (painfully and annoyingly slow like the laggard on a hiking trip). So the song is also political. I'm not against political content in songs and there is little doubt that the lyrics of this song are excellent. A fabulous protest poem. I would just like the music to be good as well. If this song was a dog I would have referred it to a vet for an opinion on whether it should be put down. Maybe the the Kiss of Life could resurrect the poor beast. Or maybe not.

I do not warm to this album at all. I often read the lyrics without the music. the musicianship is excellent but this album remains one of the least played in my collection.

Report this review (#137353)
Posted Sunday, September 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Peter Gabriel 4 is when Peter Gabriel started putting a significant emphasis on primitive percussion and world music. This is not the most accessible album of his at all. At first, it brought some tediousness to my ears. However, if you are willing to let the music grow on you, you might find this among your favorite Peter Gabriel solo albums. The music focuses more on atmosphere/tension and is helped by an outstandingly clear production.

The defining track of the album is the opener "Rhythm of the Heat" which excels at intense African percussion and unusual riffs and harmonies. It also features great use of dynamics, with it slowly building up to an explosion of drums. "San Jacinto" may appear to be not much more than a synth loop at first listen, but it ends up being a restrained piece of art full of emotion and powerful vocals at its climax. "I Have the Touch" and "Shock the Monkey" are mainstream attempts that succeeded. The latter has a cool beat and is somewhat catchy, but I can't stand the rhythm and instrumentation of "I Have the Touch".

Between these radio-friendly tunes, you have the very experimental and eerie "The Family and the Fishing Net" which features Ethiopian pipes. This song relies more on soundscapes and atmosphere rather than melodies so it's another song that may need repeated listenings. Another atmospheric tune is "Lay Your Hands on me" which focuses on mesmerizing percussion work that starts simple and then gets pretty busy near the end (like the opening track). It also has some proto-rap and vocal harmonies from other vocalists. The album ends with a surprising amount of joy with the latin-influenced "Kiss of Life" which has a ridiculously catchy synth riff and a danceable rhythm.

Report this review (#141374)
Posted Monday, October 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars I know what I (don't) like (much)

The good album, bad album trend continues with this largely disappointing collection of slightly longer songs. Released in 1982, this was the last of Gabriel's eponymous albums the unofficial subtitle of "Security" being rather less obvious than the previous three. Gabriel's desire to experiment with new sounds and technical innovations led him to invest in a FairLight synthesiser/sampler, which Larry Fast used for the first time on this album.

The opening track, "The Rhythm Of The Heat", picks up where "Biko" left off on the previous album, with pulsating African rhythms. Gabriel gives a fine vocal performance on the song backed by a tribal chorus. Unfortunately, the atmosphere of there song is lost when the percussion takes over in an ever more dramatic, but entirely prosaic build up to the track ending.

Thereafter we have a succession of rather dull pop based songs, some of which are extended by a couple of minutes for no obvious reason. There are hints on "I have the touch" of future songs such as "Sledgehammer", but the ideas here are largely under- developed, generally failing to capture the listener's ear. The album dips to its lowest point on the seven minute " The Family And The Fishing Net", a dull understated dirge which completely fails to justify its length.

"Shock the monkey" was Gabriel's first hit single in the US, who overlooked the perhaps too British "Solisbury Hill" and "Games without frontiers". Gabriel states that the rather obscure lyrics are not in fact about animal rights, but simply relate to jealousy. Quite why the song was a hit single at all is something of an enigma. It has a strong beat, but it is rather ordinary and certainly lacks the quality of the other singles mentioned.

For me, the best track here is the atmospheric "Wallflower". The song is more representative of what would follow on subsequent albums, with Gabriel's voice sounding assured and strong.

In all, a disappointing album, which continues the pattern of the good PG albums being the odd numbered ones! It is interesting to observe here just how far removed from prog Gabriel was becoming. Those who cite his departure from Genesis as part of the reason that band strayed from prog, should listen again to albums such as this for evidence to the contrary.

Report this review (#141757)
Posted Wednesday, October 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars While Gabriel's first four albums have their moments of interest, Security is probably the most excruciating for me to get through. After the first two mediocre albums and a better third one, Pete takes another step backwards with Security. Whereas the third album took the wanderings of the first two and added sophistication, focus, and fun, Security retains the sophistication but loses the focus and fun. Of course it has good moments here and there but it is such a dry, smug album that appeals to almost no side of my relatively open musical palette. It wanders and wanders and just never gets anywhere. I have little to say about the songs other than they just crawl for me. "San Jacinto" has some very good vocals but could really use a kick in the... "The Family and the Fishing Net" features some interesting bass playing. "Wallflower" is probably the closest I come to liking anything here, it's a pretty song. In "Kiss of Life" you can hear some of the influence of his friend Kate Bush who was doing "The Dreaming" around this time. While he may have been the big star having been in Genesis, she was cleaning his clock in these days at putting out delicious progressive flavored pop-rock music that was not only inventive but had a real infectious grab on you. Precious little grabs me on Security.

With his first four solo albums behind him for better or worse, his future work would raise the bar considerably on a commercial level. Some would hate the more mainstream directions and while I often bristle at it, in Pete's case I think it may have been a wise move. His record in these fairly explorative early albums has not been particularly solid in my view. I repeat that if you cherry-picked the best tracks from these first four albums you'd have one hell of a good one. But as they are I find them full of filler and many more strikes than home runs. Better stuff would come down the road.

Report this review (#146147)
Posted Saturday, October 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I like to look at music as a living thing - Peter Gabriel, 1981

Frustrated with the musical and geographical limitations of western rock music in 1981 Peter Gabriel sought out alternative sources of technology and spirituality to create opaque atmospheres and images which probed into the deepest recesses of human consciousness for his fourth studio LP which was also known as Security in North American markets. While not trying to create music for other cultures but rather for the world as a whole, Gabriel chose to borrow extensively from African, Latin American, Caribbean and Aboriginal rhythm structures and applied them in modern contexts. He also exploited the potential of many state of the art tools which were available to him in his recently acquired personal recording studio. Most notably the sophisticated sound possibilities of computerized musical instrumentation were used to to modify real sounds into surreal effects throughout the album including the sound manipulation of his voice which added to the intensity of the many underlying human themes which were explored here. As a result of Security`s overall ominous aura many erronously saw this album as an extension of his previous work which explored darker elements of human nature. On the contrary, this fourth album conveys much more warmth and understanding and finds Gabriel confronting human circumstances more directly, some of which are resolved and some left for further ponderance. Whatever the outcome of the individual compositions each had their own sound personality built around a unique pulsating rhythm base which breathed a certain life into them. A haunting presence also lurks throughout the work with elimination of more familiar sounds found in contemporary music such as conventional guitar and bass sounds which are either distorted or used more rhythmically.

The opening track, Rhythm Of The Heat establishes an overall poignancy which will preside over most of the work. Inspired by the book Symbols And Interpretations Of Dreams by noted German psychologist Karl Jung the piece focuses on Jung`s encounter with a group of drummers during an expedition to Africa and extracts visceral anxieties that reside within our souls which are isolated from any contrived origins. Employing a troupe of African drummers Gabriel accentuates this air of torment and gathering madness concluding with a spectacular crescendo which ends abruptly as if to release one from an uncontrollable mystical confrontation with a primeval consciousness. He continues to work his way through the album more like a tonal artist rather than a musician and this is reflected through frequent insertions of spoken word over dense atmospheres created by his arsenal of synths, computers and freak knows what else. Whether he`s bearing witness to the obliteration of ancient native traditions through modern decadence ( San Jancinto ) or referring to the modern wedding as a twisted pagan ritual ( The Family And The Fishing Net ) these voicings add a certain intensity which draws the listener deeper into the essence of his messages which can be difficult to interpret at times. The mowtown influenced hit from the album about jealousy, Shock The Monkey, is often mistakenly linked to animal experiments ( largely due to the video release which accompanied it ) while Lay Your Hands On Me has been misconstrued as some sort of reference to the life of Jesus Christ when in effect it was about trust, healing and sacrifice with Gabriel emphasizing this meaning by falling backwards into the audience during live performances of this piece. I Have The Touch, one of the more upbeat songs on the album has an important human message with Gabriel urging us as humans to reach out to one another, seemingly being discontented with the English aversion to physical contact. One song seems to be out of place and context with the themes presented on the album though. Wallflower, which was originally inspired by the mistreatment of political prisoners in Chile sort of intrudes on the more metaphysical themes of the other tracks. Ironically, it`s one of the prettiest and poetic songs on the album but has no happy ending, much like Biko from his previous album which describes the cruel murder of a black man in a Souith African police station. Gabriel wisely places the celebratory danceable Kiss of Life after Wallflower to give the listener some relief at the conclusion of the album which could have had ended with an air of lingering uncertainty.

It`s worth mentioning that Gabriel released this album in the German language under the title Duetsches Album. In keeping with his desire to make music more of a universal institution he tried to convince foriegn divisions of his record company to release his music in as many languages as possible with Germany being the only taker. Although his previous album was released in German it differed only in the German vocal track. Here Gabriel varies the final mixdown slightly and worked with a translator which resulted in some tracks not translating well. In particular, Shock The Monkey acquired a somewhat ridiculous treatment as did Kiss Of Life. Wallflower also sounds too harsh in the German translation considering the sensitive nature of it`s content. Gabriel also demonstrates his impecable command of the German language adjusting and varying his intonation and phrasing to flow better musically. Without reservation definitely worth checking out for the various subtle differences in the mixdown.

An early digital release with thoughtful and meticulous use of technology, Security not only broke down technological barriers but also had a worldiness to it which reached out to the plight of third world cultures and tried to show how important it was to stay connected with one another both physically and culturally. Although it was bashed in some circles for the overuse of technology it was warmly recieved by black magazines and recieved extensive radio play on black radio stations in the United States. An album which talks to both the body and the mind as well as to the past , the present and the future. And as such, demands patience and attentiveness in order to glean some Gabriel`s visionary messages which are still prevalent to this day.

Report this review (#159527)
Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars SECURITY (As it was referred to by my father) was the very first Peter Gabriel album I ever heard, and is still one of my favorites, if not the very favorite. Some things to not about it: I was unaware until very recently that Tony Levin was the bass player on the record, but that is a definate plus, but also when I first heard the record, I had no idea what progressive rock was or even what Gabriel's sub- genre, ''Crossover rock'' meant. All I knew was that it was one of the most original-sounding musica; works I had ever heard. Peter Gabriel was called a 'musical genious' by my uncle, who is also a big fan of his, and I have to say I agree with him. Especially for an 80s era album, it was daring to do something that went against the grain of traditional 'hit' recordings of the time, what with all of the african influences clearly present here, as well as the electronica side of things which were used in a way that did not date them, unlike many of the other 80s records were. Certainly, there are moments that are a little more 'poppy' than others, but overall this album is a wonderful example of what true progressive music is all about, as it is very eclectic and doesn't really seem to hold to any given genre.

''The Rhythm Of The Heat'' starts out with a very unusual percussion beat, and already, because of the booming, echoing quality of this album's production, I feel like I am in a distant country away from everything I know to be familiar, and then Gabriel comes in with a cry, followed by big booming drums (The percussion plays a huge role all throughout this record, which helps push the African influence to the forefront), Gabriel then delivers the first lyrics heard on the record: ''Looking out the window, I see the red dust clear, high upon the red rock stands a shadow with a spear . . . ''. The world music feel on this effort is very strong, and there are many different types of instruments incoorperated to make this amazing eclectic effort somehow work. Whenever Peter yells out ''The rhythm has my soul!'', I get the chills. To tell you the truth, it is very difficult for me to determine exactly what instrument is getting what result in terms of the unusual sounds to be found here, but I suppose that is a good thing, because it really gives the record an otherwordly feel to it all, and it is like this for the entire album (Abliet a few exceptions here and there). Soon a wall of sound is produced from continuous, ferocious drumming, and then the song ends instantly.

''San Jacinto'' - Wow, what an amazing track! I can hardly begin to describe how the intro to this song makes me feel every time I hear it. Possibly some sort of african or otherwise foreign bells are being rung as alongside some really dream-like keyboard playing from Gabriel (the latter is often hard to make out unless you are listening through the headphones, but it is there). I truly wish that I had a wider knowledge of world instruments, as I would love to know how these wonderful sounds were created, but sadly my education musically stops at rock instruments. Anyway, as I was saying, the opening of this track is great, and then when Gabriel begins to sing the hauntingly beautiful first verse, I melt away every time. The man has possibly the most amazing singing voice in prog history, and this song surely proves that. After a few bars, the drums come in, as prominent as ever. I would also like to mention how wonderfully layered this song is, as by this point there is so much stuff going on that all contibutes to the completel-ness of it, even if it is hard to make out one specific part, if one were to be taken out of the equation, it would completely change the sound of the song. So yes, the layers of this album are very complex and beautifully done, nothing feels like too much or unnecessary, it just all seems to fit. Eventually, Gabriel sings out the words ''I hold the line!'' while a powerful guitar chord rings triumphantly in the background, and it gives this track a form of majesty that truly makes me very emotional each time I listen to it. The song seemingly ends, but then instead of switching to the next track, another lovely section is introduced which seems to feature many different sorts of flutes playing in the background as Gabriel sings the final few verses. At this point the song does indeed end, leaving me aching to hear more.

''I Have The Touch'' - This is the first straightforward song on the record, with a much more 'produced' and 'electronic' feel to it, but it still has this punch to it that keeps it from heing simply another pop tune. And as always, a powerful vocal performance from Peter. Keyboard, synth percussion and guitar play a fairly big part on the track from what I can hear, and it is the first song that doesn't feel as open as the others, and the mood is ultimately a big 'brighter', where as with the previous two songs the emotion I felt as I listened was a mellow, slightly dark emotion. This song has a much more bouncy edge to it that would appeal to more general listeners. I am especially fond of the breakdown near the song's end where Gabriel repeats ''I need contact!'' over and over in a very hard hitting statement. Once again, the blistering drumwork comes in to finish the song with a bang.

''The Family and the Fishing Net'' - Ah, gee, well . . . this song doesn't really do much for me, and is mainly the reason why this record didn't get a full five stars from me. It just seems to have no direction for the longest time, and doesn't begin to get even slightly catchy until the 03:17 mark, and while prog music doesn't necessarily have to be catchy to be good, the more obscure parts of this song don't have any effect on me at all, good or bad. It's just mediocre. But then again, that is just my opinion. However, if you want to scare your kids to death you could always crank this song up in their headphones and send them off to bed, but other than that nothing really that amusing will come of this track. Near the edn of it all, it does tend to get a bit cheerful in it's tone, but the light at the end of the tunnel is introduced too late to really redeem this track for me. I mean, sitting through six-and-a-half minutes for thirty seconds of genuine enjoyment seems rather pointless to me. Anyway, this track is the one that gets skipped over when I play this album generally.

''Shock The Monkey'' - The first Peter Gabriel song I ever heard in my life, and I think had it been any other song from this album, I would not have enjoyed it, but because it was the most radio-friendly song, it appealed to a six-year-old, who got hours and hours of enjoyment out of simply repeating the same track over and over again. Again a more electronic song in nature, the beat is fairly fast-paced, and the rhythm, melody and instruments used make it a very enjoyable song even for more elitists among the prog crowd. The section that remains my favorite is the moment when we hear the soaring guitar chords ringing out in the distance as Gabriel (or is it Peter Hammill?) gruffly barks ''SHOCK!'' repeatedly. The song ends fairly abruptly, making way for the album's 'epic', ''Lay Your Hands on Me''

''Lay Your Hands on Me'' - Amazing, amazing, amazing! We hear an ambience created by keys, then suddenly the drums come booming in, setting the stage for a very epic, evolving journey. Gabriel does some dramatic spoken word work here, which preceeds a very uplifting build of many different instruments which creates a truly overwhelming sense of granduer. We then get a small taste of the song's chorus, before everything receeds to start over once again. We then hear some flute work, followed by more powerfull percussion. This incredibly uplifting drum beat continues throughout the second buildup, which then leads into the full-blown main themse of the song, where Gabriel sings out ''I am ready! I am willing! I believe!, accompanied by backing vocals which shout out the song's title in an almost chant-like unison. Truly powerfull stuff. I may not be exactly sure what this song is about, but all I know it is uplifts my spirits considerably whenever it is played, and has even brought me to tears before, because it is so beautiful. Gabriel's incredible voice leads the way in this march of hope and power. A drum breakdown then follows, which is accompanied once again by the goregous chanting of 'Lay your hands on me!'. This goes on until the song's abrupt, but powerful end.

''Wallflower'' - This begins with one of the most beautiful flute melodies I have ever heard, and sets the tone for this very calm, personal track which shows the softer side of everything, including Gabriel's vocals, which act as a sort of lullaby for the listener. A very hopefull note is made with his ''Hold on'' lyric, which he re-iterates over and over again. More or less, each verse in the song is the same, yet each tie he repeats it, the song gets bigger, more hopefull and more powerful. Ah, the drums! Once again they help give the track a very uplifting power with their continuous playing, and some great piano work is also present here. The flute also makes a reprise before track's end. ''And I will do what I can do!'' he yells at the very end, finishing up the last really good song on the album.

''Kiss Of Life'' - Not a bad song by any means, but certainly the most out of place. Everything about makes me think of party music. I'm waiting for someone to start doing the hokey-pokey or limbo, or something. The lyrics are actually pretty funny in this song, whether that was intended or not, and the only really enjoyable melody is the chorus: ''Burning, burning, burning with the kiss of life!''. Like I say, certainly not a bad song, just not very good compared to everything that preceeded it. This is my second-least-favorite, beaten only by ''The Family and the Fishing Net''. On the bright side, this is the most straightforward song in terms of being able to hear the more traditional instruments.

All in all, ''Security'' is a truly amazing piece of work, with only two weak songs on the entire thing. That deserved four stars, I believe, especialy when you consider all the other trash that is out there in the prog world. Absolutely an excellent addition to anyone's collection, but no, not essential. However, I do think it is a great introduction to Gabriel's solo work, but that may only be because I heard it first. If all you want is Genesis, you won't like this, but if you wanna hear what else Gabriel can do, try this out, you may just find you like his solo stuff much better than anything Genesis ever did.

Report this review (#161104)
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Nice album. Peter Gabriel's first real incursion in world music (San Jacinto, Rhythm Of The Heat) and pop music (Shock The Monkey). Very difficult, indeed, to get into. Not as difficult as for the second album ('Scratch', ah ah), but this ain't a commercial album anyway - Pete Gab' will do much more commercial with his follower, So. I don't really like The Family And The Fishing Net, but the remainder's very good. I like this album a lot.
Report this review (#163996)
Posted Saturday, March 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Crossover Team
4 stars Peter Gabriel's fourth album followed in the trend of not having a title like his three previous albums. Instead people referred to it as Peter Gabriel 4 or Mask. However, in the U.S., Geffen Records apparently gave it the title Security. I recall when I purchased this the word Security only appeared on the 33 1/3 rpm vinyl record label. The album sleeve made no mention of the title.

With another all-star cast of musicians, Peter Gabriel took his interest in world music another level deeper incorporating many African rhythms and percussion into this selection of songs. The percussion on many of these songs is simply amazing. The lyrical content became even darker than his previous album, often close to disturbing. Along with this, the instrumentation became more electronic giving the album a colder, bleaker atmosphere. The cause of this is partly Gabriel's compositions, but may also be due to this album being one of the earliest digitally recorded albums and the use of the new and extremely expensive Fairlight CMI sampling computer. The Fairlight CMI would become a popular synthesizer system throughout the 1980s that many top names of that decade eagerly acquired.

In many ways this album could be considered quite progressive, in the literal sense of the word, but not necessarily in the traditional sense defined by the prog rock genre. Nobody else (as far as I know) was making music quite like Peter Gabriel at this time. He combines African rhythms and percussion, world music, new wave, and synth pop together to make something rather unique. Although pop song structures are prevalent (like Shock the Monkey), some songs differ considerably from this mold.

This album is probably even more groundbreaking than Melt, Gabriel's previous album, particularly in regard to experimental rock. I'm finding it difficult to fit into the traditional prog rock mold, and in some ways that's a good thing. This is definitely not a masterpiece because it is more tailored toward mainstream pop music, but it sure is an intriguing album. Four stars seems fitting in my opinion, although I still feel uncomfortable giving this an accurate rating.

Report this review (#164400)
Posted Thursday, March 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is a prog masterpiece - in fact its a very versatile record with pop songs (Shock the Monkey, I have the touch) World Music (Rhythm of the Heat, Kiss of Life) and a prog masterpiece (The Family and the Fishing Net - disturbing lyrics, disturbing music - but just fantastic once you got into it). San Jacinto is simply beautiful and great, Lay your hands on me starts like a ballad but has some surprising energy in the undertow. Wallflower is decent but nothing to write home about. It has charms, nevertheless. Kiss of Life I find a bit out of place with its calypso like rhythm - it's not only strange , it is a very crude ending for such a subtle record. As if PG lost his good taste for a moment. But not even these 4 minutes of mayhem can hamper this most accomplished of Peter Gabriel Solo albums - five stars.

Favourite sings: Rhythm of the Heat, San Jacinto, I have the Touch, The Family and the Fishing Net, Lay your Hands on Me

Report this review (#167678)
Posted Wednesday, April 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a great LP, and the first LP where we can definitively state that Gabriel shook off the heavy hand of Genesis weighing upon him and emerged as a major talent in his own right (and, yes, I have all his solo works. III is still, in my opinion, under the Genesis shadow, as great as it is).

San Jacinto remains my favourite Gabriel track of all time - his plaintive vocals capture the seriousness of the subject matter perfectly, and you can tell he means it. Walflower is, I think, even better than Biko in drawing to our attention the mass cruelties perpetrated on prisoners of conscience across the world.

The world music crossovers Rhythm of the Heat and The Family & the Fishing Net both bring fantastic atmosphere to the piece, and the drums at the end of the former are particularly fantastic.

Shock the Monkey was a great single, and I am amazed it was never as big as later tracks such as Steam & Sledgehammer.

Lay Your Hands on Me would perhaps have been better left as a great live curiosity when Gabriel jumped into the audience. Kiss of Life closes the LP with a mad world/jazz crossover and these two tracks just make it a four star review rather than the perfect five.

Report this review (#190708)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars Peter GAbirel's fourth consecutive album to bear his name only for title (although it seems it was released under the title Security in America), was a logical step forward with the successful formula he used on his brilliant third album. His combination of high tech instrumentation with tribal rhythms reaches its peak here. Everything that he developed on third is taken to a new level completely on Security.

Incredibly, this highly artistic, daring and groundbreaking work would be his most commercially successful LP up to that point. Thanks to the fact that, as much as his music was complex, he never really lost his touch for the great melody lines and his great sense of humor, even when dabling on some serious subjects (like in I Have The Touch), OK, sometimes his music is too elaborated and oblique for the mainstream (The Family And The Fishing Net is maybe the most notorious case), but still enjoyable and not too much out there. Maybe the best exemple of his craft is Shock The Monkey, an absolute irresistible song that is hardly your choice for the pop market both on the lyrical and musical side), but one that still made the charts.

His new found love for the african music quite influenced this project, as the great opener The Rhythm Of The Heat clearly shows, but not only. San Jacinto explores the native american culture in a very clever and unique way. Also we have to credit the incredible band that played with him (Jerry Marotta on drums, Tony Levin on bass and N/S Stick, David Rhodes on guitar and, above all, synth genius Larry Fast). Never again he would find musicians of that caliber that fitted so well to his music.

It was hard to believe that Gabriel would deliver another masterpiece so soon after Third. But he did it. LIke that album Security only grows with each listening. And even today, more than a quarter century after its release, it still sounds fresh, modern and innovative as it did in 1982. conclusion: an essential CD, a masterpiece of progressive music. Five stars.

Report this review (#193298)
Posted Sunday, December 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Call it "4", "Security", "Mask" or whatever, this Gabriel 1983 album has to be regarded as a definitive cornerstone of what the signature Peter Gabriel sound has come to be (at least, that's how I see and hear it). This is the point of no return that "3" aimed at; this is also the point of reference concerning Gabriel's evolution as writer and performer for his following studio efforts ("So", "Passion", "Us"). "4" is a triumph of the meeting of Western rock's technology and exotic tapestries (North and Middle Africa, mostly). The album kicks off with the mysterious, intense 'The Rhythm of the Heat', a powerful opener that pretty much relies on the sense of restrained energy that ultimately leads to an incendiary percussive explosion. The pulsating atmosphere that comes out droning in the sung section comes out conveniently based on synthesized layers, rhythms and samples, sounding modernistic and telluric at the same time. The arrival of the multiple celebratory drums makes the impending menace become an exciting reality. 'San Jacinto' perpetuates the general feel of mixed modernity and ethnic ground on a very different mode: more melancholic, denser, darker yet Retailing a powerful melodic framework. This tale of longing trapped in a world of cubicles finds a perfect conveyor in Gabriel's calculatedly affected singing through the exquisite keyboard orchestrations that dominate the track. The climax is awesome, and so is the languid coda that seems to portray the longing's obscurity. 'I Have the Touch' goes to a catchier appeal, providing a mixture of R'n'B-infected techno-pop and African rock. 'The Family and the Fishing Net' picks up this extroverted vibe and takes it to a rougher level. It features wild guitar (not too distant from the most guitar-oriented songs from teh "3" album) and colorful bagpipes among the ever. dominant waves of synthesizers and a solid rhythm framework. This is the first song including special guest Peter Hammill as support vocalist. The next one with this special trait is just 'Shock the Monkey', the amazing hit single off "4". This song recaptures much of the lively spirit delivered in track 3, but it sounds more ballsy and bears a more interesting melodic development. It is, indeed, catchy enough as to justify its status as hit single, but it definitely doesn't indulge in pop sweetness or banal lyrics: the words reveal the anger and fear that emerge from jealousy (that destructive energy that stems from the lover's id), and the instrumentation echoes them with effective colors. This song states a perfect balance between the stamina of rock and the lively swing of R'n'B in tune with teh album's overall scheme. 'Lay Your Hands On Me' is yet another terrific number in this album - the last one with the distinguished Hammill as guest backing vocalist. It stands somewhere between the atmospheric density of 'San Jacinto' and the magnetic colorfulness of the sung portion of 'The Rhythm of the Heat'. The ominous synth layers and effective rhythmic arrangements fit well in the process of surrounding Gabriel's chant, drowned as it is in the vulnerability of the man who needs to feel the real expression of caring and affection. The falsetto lines during the choruses and the track's title letanies are really moving. With 'Wallflower' Gabriel brings some of his most introspective side: the slow pace and the concise piano chords make room for the delivery of Gabriel's lines, full of messages against police torture and state terrorism. The song's mood is obviously dramatic, but Gabriel and the remaining instrumentalists stay clear away from the temptation of making things too corny. It definitely bears a less pamphlet-like mood than 'Biko' (a great song, anyway). The album's closer is the lively 'Kiss of Life', a clear provider of contrast against 'Wallflower'. Working in a role of album ender, 'Kiss of Life' brings an air of optimism with its African rock colors ordained on a rhythmic combination of 4/4 and 10/8. "4" stands out as a Gabriel master work, and of course, as the statement of his own musical voice's confirmation.
Report this review (#207391)
Posted Monday, March 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Riding the Wave of Creativity to Success

When Peter Gabriel found his voice on his third solo album, it was no surprise that he simply took the sound and ran with it on the fourth. Named Security or Mask, the disc takes a few ideas (world music and pop) further than the previous album, but for the most part, the album is simply more great music coming from a similar place. Opening in dazzling fashion, the album settles into a collection of great work, solidifying the fact that III / Melt was not just a one-time gift.

1, Rhythm of the Heat - Perfectly named, this song is propelled by an African drum section pulsing like a heartbeat. I actually saw this song performed by a local prog group in the early 90's, which was one of my motivations for exploring Gabriel's early catalog. As the title suggests, the song is not only dark and intense (PG's forte) but also warm in feeling. It pulses with life and this slight tick towards positivity is the major contrast between albums 3 and 4. The vocal performance is top notch, Gabriel truly at the peak of his form. One of my favorite PG tracks ever.

2. San Jacinto - This may well be the prototypical Peter Gabriel solo track, almost universally lauded as one of his best. Intense vocals, great lyric, perfect dynamics. The programming is perfect on this song, and still sounds as fresh as when it was first released over 25 years ago. The 1-2 punch to lead off this album is one of the best ever recorded.

3. I Have the Touch - This song introduces Gabriel's pop sound, which is a bit more upbeat and danceable, with more obvious verse-prechorus-chorus-bridge structures. At the same time, the sense of texture, intelligence lyrics, and emotional intensity remain. Drummer Jerry Marotta gets a chance to fill plenty of space on this song to great effect. The song actually functions quite well on this album, placed between the intense openers and the most challenging song on the album.

4. The Family and the Fishing Net - If anyone thought Gabriel had completely abandoned prog, this song disabused them of the idea. A dark and twisted story song with spooky synths, this song's multi-sectioned, near-epic structure and layers are clearly a nod to the old fanbase. The only song nearing this one in the solo catalog is "Moribund the Burgermeister" on the debut.

5. Shock the Monkey - Again choosing a pop song to break the intensity after the very challenging fourth track, this was Gabriel's biggest hit to date. Despite its pop pacing and structure, the lyric and delivery are remarkably dark and disturbing. It's actually a bit surprising that this song was as popular as it was. In fact, it was the video that propelled the song, a pattern that would eventually gain PG superstardom on the following album.

6. Lay Your Hands on Me - This song plays a very nice balance between dark intensity and a more pop-styled chorus to create a song that is always better than I expected when I listen to it. A spoken word verse allows Gabriel more lyric freedom, using a face two inches away delivery to grab the listener firmly. The near spiritual chorus releases the tension without letting the listener free. A brilliant piece of sonic artwork which also showcases some powerful playing by Levin and Marotta.

7. Wallflower - This quiet, almost ambient piece starts warm and gentle and grows gradually. Continuing his long series of songs on depression, here Gabriel sings a near- lullaby for the victim to emerge. Whether this love song is directed at a part of himself or a specific person is hard to tell. The music itself is fairly straightforward, but very pretty.

8. Kiss of Life - Powered by a frenetic rhythmic track, this is another song that is always better than I remembered. An energetic way to end the album, we get the other end of the world beat spectrum that would increasingly permeate Gabriel's music.

Security is probably even more flawless than its predecessor, with every single track succeeding in its intention. At the same time, where III / Melt developed a completely new sound, IV develops the sound only modestly. This is possibly drummer Jerry Marotta's best album with Gabriel, and most of the new territory explored on this album is in the rhythm section. All the same, the songwriting is superb and Gabriel's vocal delivery stellar. Before coming back to the album for this review, I had intended to give it four stars. But the songs I had remembered as simple pop are actually quite compelling, and the high points are as powerful as ever. There are some who may bemoan that this is a less risky album than its predecessor, but for me it is still a masterpiece. That is, a true master of the artform creating his best work at the top of his game.

Report this review (#224169)
Posted Wednesday, July 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Peter Gabriel's "Security" is a very revealing album. By that I don't mean that it reveals anything we didn't know about PG, but instead it unveils the true character of many so-called "prog" music fans.

Granted, music is one of the most subjective art forms and no single piece of music will appeal to everyone. Knowing that, I still find it difficult to believe that any "progressive" music fan would give this record anything less than four stars. Well, that's not true; I'm scratching my bald head in disbelief that anyone would DARE give it anything less than FIVE STARS!

My dear fellow "proggers" please understand that guitars, or lack there of, do NOT determine if an album is worthy of being labeled "Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music". Listen BEYOND the guitars and BEYOND the rock -n- roll themes and you will discover a BIG, BIG world of much wonderful music.

In an era where FAST and HARD is rewarded by adulation, Gabriel takes the tangent approach and creates what is DEEP and WIDE. With Security, Peter embarks on a strange trip and paints pictures with his voice, words and music that are downright mesmerizing and at times frightening.

Some have opined that this album should only be listened to at night, or with the lights off, and that it doesn't lend itself well for varied listening environments. I don't necessarily disagree with that notion. Like any good wine who's qualities are exploited with the right combination of foods, Security must also be enjoyed with full attention and in the proper listening environment. Headphones a MUST!

I have no reservations in saying that Security is THE BEST ALBUM that PG has ever produced. Although PG's "Passion" is a masterpiece in its own right Gabriel's lyrics and vocal gymnastics in Security raise it above all others in the PG catalog.

What "Dark Side of the Moon" is to space rock, Peter Gabriel's Security is to "earth rock".

Report this review (#229270)
Posted Friday, July 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Peter Gabriel" is the 4th full-length studio album by UK rock artist Peter Gabriel. The album was released in September 1982 through Charisma Records in the UK and Geffen Records in the US/Canada. The Geffen Records version features the title "Security". The album is also often refered to as "Mask" because of the mask on the front cover artwork and also as a way to distinguish between the first four Peter Gabriel albums which all just bear the title "Peter Gabriel". A Deutch language version of the album was also recorded and released under the title "Deutsches Album".

The music on the album are for the most part mainstream vers/chorus build pop/rock tracks featuring Peter Gabrielīs distinct vocals as the primary focal point. Highlights to my ears are the opener "The Rhythm Of The Heat" with itīs tribal percussion and Peter Gabrielīs intense vocal delivery and the ballad type track "Wallflower". Deeply emotional singing by Peter Gabriel on that one. Besides the the rather silly pop song "Shock The Monkey" the rest of the tracks are decent too. The world music influence that was initiated on the previous album on the "Biko" track is even more dominant on this album.

The musicianship are generally on a high level, but I wouldnīt expect anything else with session musicians like Tony Levin (bass), Jerry Marotta (drums, percussion) and Larry Fast (Moog, Prophet, Moog brass, electric percussion), playing on the album in addition to the mainman himself, who should also be mentioned for this strong performance. The sound production is among the strongest on the first four albums by Peter Gabriel. The eighties were sneaking into the sound with reverb and synthetic synths claiming a more dominant role in the soundscape, but itīs still organic enough to not sound cold. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

Report this review (#231485)
Posted Friday, August 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars This is an astonishing album where impeccable song writing, a passionate performance and undisputed originality merge together seamlessly. I've always thought it the pinnacle of Gabriel's career but look, that's not what PA says, strange.

I fail to see how this could be called mainstream in any possible way. Except for the preceding Gabriel album there is next to nothing that sounded even remotely like this album. Certainly not in what came before, but often in what came after, as in the dark and sparse atmospheres of the Massive Attack album Mezzanine, which comes close to the unique atmosphere that is created here with the minimal percussion and unique keyboard effects.

Such an amount of originality is what I call the opposite of mainstream.

The songs are sure accessible and bound to appeal to a wide audience but again they are nothing like your standard 3-chord driven verse chorus rock song. Every track takes an entirely different approach, sometimes it's done by the tribal percussion, sometimes it's due to the cymbal-free drum kit, at other times it's by the intense emotionality of Gabriel's voice. Whatever the reason, every track had something that did not belong in pop music. Or have we forgotten that this album was from 1982?

The Rhythm of the Heat and San Jacinto are my favourites here. The first for its raw power, the second for its eerie beauty and sweeping melancholy. I Have the Touch and Shock the Monkey come closest to what might be called pop music. Not because they were intended as such but just because they somehow struck a chord with the tastes of the times, when originality, intensity and integrity were preferred over soulless technical swagger.

Yep, don't come nitpicking to me about the 80's. It was a wonderful era for music and this is one of its essential masterpieces.

Report this review (#248411)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Great Peter Gabriel album. I think, your point of view on this album will depend on your starting position: if you are old (Gabriel period) Genesis lover, you wouldn't find too much of mellow symphonic rock there. But if you bored to death with all that Genesis -clones all around , just listen a new sound of great Gabriel.

For me it is easy - I never could listen Genesis too much ( monotonious, boring mellow sound, long neverending repetetivous compositions, sleepy rhythm and voice,etc,etc). So, Gabriel solo works are much more interesting. And this one is one of the great.

Great musicians there not only play competent support to Gabriel's voice, but build new ,dark, almost cold athmosphere. Tony Levin /Jerry Marotta - two great musicians from period,when Genesis became just nice legend.Rhythm section are so perfect there! Peter Hammil and John Lord are not so feelable on music. Great using of african drumming, very unusual rhythms, suberb combination of african drums and pipes with some modern synth sounds.Rich bass/stick pulsation. Space in between didn't filled with usual keyboards or even guitar! Almost revolutionary sound ( for time of recording).

Yes, music is dry,soft and rounded, so for unprepared listener it often works as pop-oriented sound. But it isn't. Just try to listen few more times!

Yes, there are MTV top hit "Shock The Monkey" on this album. Yes, this song is more pop oriented. But believe me, if all MTV air will be filled with song like that, I can even watch that channel time to time!

Absolutely great album for listeners having their ears wide opened!

Report this review (#252323)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars This album was a bit of a letdown for me considering, but how would it possibly be any different considering that Peter Gabriel 3 - "Melt" was Gabriel's greatest achievement. I guess that Peter had no real intention to make another artistic statement with Peter Gabriel 4 aka "Security" or "Mask" and instead chose to follow the same basic pattern of follow-ups to great classics like Queen's A Day At The Races and Deep Purple's Who Do We Think We Are, to name a few. The basic problem is that the artist is under a great deal of pressure to top his previous effort and therefore decides to make a change in direction instead of continuing pushing uphill.

Eventually this effort actually payed off for Peter Gabriel in terms of success and record sales. Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad album, I just don't see any really outstanding tracks and the best material here isn't anywhere near the compositions off the previous album. I'm always amazed when any popular artist releases a slightly weaker follow up release and actually get away with it. Things get even weirder when great artists like Peter Gabriel get the attention that thy deserve with on of the weaker release.

This is a good, but non-essential release for anyone interested in the experimental aspect of Gabriels music.

**** star songs: The Rhythm Of The Heat (5:18) San Jacinto (6:29) I Have The Touch (4:36) The Family And The Fishing Net (7:04) Shock The Monkey (5:29) Lay Your Hands On Me (6:11) Wallflower (6:35)

*** star songs: Kiss Of Life (4:16)

Total rating: 3,91

Report this review (#255705)
Posted Saturday, December 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I cannot imagine what this album sounds like to someone born after 1990, as so many Progarchives users are. Perhaps it smacks a little too much of the early eighties (abundant use of orchestral synths and all) and it does not even have the advantage of sounding "quaint" and "antique", like early Genesis.

But if you can reconcile yourself with its unique idiom, there are a lot of treasures to be found. Generally speaking, Gabriel continues in the (largely) experimental style which characterised his third solo album, but where PG III was dark and ominous, PG IV is life-affirming, predominantly festive, exultant even. I tend to see III as black-and-white, but IV is in vibrant multicolor.

Many of the tunes are among the best Gabriel has written. In any retrospective box set of his work, I would definitely include "The Rhythm Of The Heat", "San Jacinto", "I Have The Touch" and "Kiss Of Life". Only two tracks turn out to be disappointments. "The Family And The Fishing Net" purports to deal with Weighty Themes, but as a piece of music it doesn't stand up; and "Wallflower" is a rather bland and unconvincing ballad.

By the way, have you noticed how Gabriel keeps returning to that triumphant climax of "Supper's Ready"? We've seen the gorgeously symphonic second half of "Humdrum" on his first solo album, and now he employs a similar effect in "San Jacinto", surely one of his strongest compositions. Once a symphonic progger, always a symphonic progger; in spite of all those fashionable New Wave trappings!

Report this review (#264339)
Posted Friday, February 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars No shocks here

This album was Peter Gabriel's fourth album in a six year period. It was also the last of his four albums to be called simply 'Peter Gabriel'. His next studio album, that was still several years away at this point, would constitute a slight change of musical direction for him. It is thus very natural to draw a line just after Peter Gabriel 4 (or rather after the live album that he released the following year) between tho phases in Peter Gabriel's solo career; "the early" and "the later" Peter Gabriel, if you like.

For those who have heard his first three albums, there are really no big surprises here. It is possible, however, to trace a development over his four first albums away from Rock and towards experimental Pop. Rhythm was clearly more important than melody for Gabriel at this point and the rhythms are not conventional Rock rhythms. There is absolutely no question about this being Prog, it isn't. This is Art Pop, at best.

Once again, Gabriel had a couple of hit songs, most notably Shock The Monkey. And once again, I am left unimpressed and wondering why Gabriel is held in such high regard among fans of progressive Rock. This is by no means bad, but also not as strong as his previous album. I'll take 80's Genesis over this any day!

I think that Gabriel made a wise decision to release a live album after this and then take a rest for several years before the release of So in 1986 (he did work on movie soundtracks in the meantime though, something he would do more often in the future), he crearly needed some time away after this.

If you are about to explore Peter Gabriel's solo output, I would recommend to start with either Peter Gabriel 3 or Peter Gabriel Plays Live. The latter features tracks from all four of Gabriel's solo albums up to this point.

Report this review (#265890)
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The fourth eponymous Peter Gabriel album is the most percussion-heavy and the starkest of them - or any of his albums (and it seems to be the most respected here). It has some fantastic tracks in it, but somehow the LP that I have has never been much played. It may be the way it is produced that makes it a bit difficult for me to digest, plus the fact that there are two songs I can't stand. Those are 'I Have the Touch' and 'Kiss of Life'. The latter attempts to be joyful with some Caribbean style rhythm, but its sharp and hollow synth sounds sink it down fast. Hmm, "hollow synth sounds", to some extent these words describe in general the sound of this album. It is slightly sinister and depressing, evoking images of empty and cold cement rooms. Of course the video of 'Shock the Monkey' affects to these images too. The heavy, almost tribal-like percussion on many tracks effectively adds to the cold atmosphere.

I probably have said this same thing with #3, but here it is even more true: I strongly prefer live versions in Plays Live. That superb live album consists mostly of tracks from the 3rd and 4th albums. For example 'San Jacinto' is absolutely great song live but here it misses something. This album is full of exciting material but it's not produced in the best possible way, I think (some reviewers praise its production - well, in the end these are matters of taste!). That material was very much used also in the sountrack of the Alan Parker film Birdy, to a great effect. Speaking of Birdy, it's quite a coincidence that the emotional ballad 'Wallflower' almost could have been included in the film as a song too, with lyrics dealing of a troubled mind locked in a hospital. Instead it was included as a brief instrumental theme.

Unarguably this is a strong classic among Gabriel's discography, but I punish the stark and hollow sound by giving it only three stars. (That's unfairly two stars less than I gave to peter gabriel #3... OK, let us say this is 3,5 and #3 is 4,5 stars. The other is rounded down and the other up, but blame it on my feelings.)

Report this review (#291172)
Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An album I worshipped when it came out and which received daily spins on my turntable, it slowly lost its lustre and now rarely receives much attention. Occasionally, I get in a Tony Levin mood or want to try to recapture the amazing experience of listening to "The Rhythm of the Heat," "Lay Your Hands on Me," or "San Jacinto" for the first time, but otherwise, the rest of the album has been relegated to things passé and out of date. The genius of incorporating the Ekome Dancers, Tony's ChapmanStick magic, as well as all of the samples funneled through his Fairlight CMI are now overshadowed by the overly-compressed and overly-clean sound as well as the over-familiarity with the song's more pop-oriented songs ("Shock the Monkey," "Kiss of Life," "I have the Touch," and the tribute to then-imprisoned Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, "Wallflower"). Impressive at the time; technologically dated now. Still, a nice step toward's Peter's "big" sound with his next album, "So"--and fun stuff to experience live in the concert hall.
Report this review (#406689)
Posted Wednesday, February 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is not just another review of Peter Gabriel 4. Itīs rather the story of Peter Gabriel 4. Yes itīs a lengthy story and it could have been done even longer. Pandora's Box knows no end. Once you start to write the story will bud by itself. Like in a botanical garden, the Japanese cherry tree carries the loveliest flowers. Year after year. The mere sight of it is enough to feel its fragrance. The same goes for a very special music. You are able to discern its "invisible light", just by listening to its transcendental qualities. It takes intuition, feel, deep understanding and knowledge though. Beauty is for those who are able to discover it. I will divide the eight songs on the record in, let's say, three groups. The more commercially written (or at least produced)"Shock the Monkey" and "I have the Touch". Leastwise one of the two reached premier league. "Monkey" was Gabriel third big hit after "Games Without Frontiers" and "Solsbury Hill". Almost as big as Collinsī"In the Air Tonight". Gabriel had indeed become a true superstar. The hot single gave 4 necessary push in the right direction. People donīt go out and purchase a full-length record if theyīre unaware of its existence. "Shock the Monkey" became, just like "Solsbury Hill", a huge live favorite among fans. Its accompanying video was expedient and well worth oneīs attention. Just remember Gabriel looking like an authentic clerk in suit. He could just as well have been the insurance officer at your local office. If you were to rank all videos from this singer, this would be a splendid choice for pole position. Not that itīs the most lavish or eventful, but just impressive in its directness.

"Shock the Monkey" is the sister song to "Games Without Frontiers" from 3. The siblings are resting on the same top modern, high tech bed. They define the crisp sound of the early eighties, utilizing all available technology of the time. Positioned as first track on side B on LP(not only a curiosity!). And just as interesting, its lyrical alliance. Human beings, monkeys(goons, baboons). How we all in this lot behave similarly with oneīs back to the wall. Weīre all a part of the evolutionary process no matter which side of the jungle. It never went equally well for "I Have the Touch". The most straight forward tune on the album. A perfect starter for the more indigestible dishes. The song, released in a number of different mixes/arrangements, could not compete. One vocal section was removed from the single version, in an attempt to make it even more streamlined. Next try, much later, was a version on the B-side of the Sledgehammer Ep, with additional meaty keyboard synths. In 1996 it became a part of the film Phenomenon. Its hit potential was never discovered by the record buying public, until now. Perhaps John Travolta knew the intricate trick how to turn a hitherto undiscovered Gabriel single into a sale item. As a result, it charted.

In the second group of the album I place "Wallflower" and "Kiss of Life". It's appealing to believe that the pair form a valid gray zone between light and dark on the album. And if so, how? "Wallflower" is an exemplary melodic and sedate piano-based thing. Its textual content is a natural continuation of what began on 3 in general and "Biko" in particular. The continent isnīt Africa here but South-America, letīs say Argentina or Chile. The Biko case ended in darkest possible way, in this present the outcome is more hopeful. Despite "the shutters on the window and no light at all" in a cramped prison cell, there is still a glimmer of hope with the final words "I will say to you, that I can do that I can do". Wallflower is sparsely arranged but evocative. The most expressive instrument is Gabriel's voice itself. The song is unique in the sense that it's not characterized by percussive dominance, as is the case on the rest of 4. "Kiss of Life" is a catchy thing that rounds off the album in an optimistic light. The song contains more musical muscle than the "Shock the Monkey" single, that's why it's seen in a little different angle.

All songs on the album are within 4.30 - 7 minute format. "Kiss" is no exception. There are no "extended versions" to be found. No instrumental sections, guitar solos, keyboard excesses ā la Selling England-album are to be found. "Kiss of Life" is no exception; actually it's the shortest track on 4. Could the song have benefited from a free-form tuned percussion solo? Eight minutes instead of almost only four? Possibly, but this is from the LP days with its limited running-time so, be happy with what you got. "Kiss" utilizes the expertise of synth-wizard Larry Fast. Letīs title him Doctor of Philosophy(PhD) in Synthesizer construction. He also handles the electronic percussion. With the presence of Fast in the studio, the technocratic parts of the process just canīt go wrong. Heīs also assigned co-production credit for his knowledge in the electronic field. Typical for the song "Kiss"(and album)is the moog brass on the chorus, which has no delay. All 70īs production would have had plenty. Restraint is the word. "Kiss" is representative for the albums flow, its sense of rhythm is nothing less than ingenious. Peter Gabriel is simply a very distinguished non-drumming drummer. The highly respected Rush drummer Neil Peart stated the same thing: - "Gabriel is not a drummer, but he has a great sense of rhythm". The Canadian spoke about the Security album, as 4 was titled on his continent(the North-American label refused to release it untitled). Perhaps Peart's positive comments contributed to the albums fine sales figures in his country. 4 went platinum in Canada.

"Kiss of Life" stands for top modern technology, fresh production and transnational sound images. The eighties, the new decade, has relentlessly made its impact and nullified its antediluvian predecessor. And Gabriel leads the way...The third group of the album consists of "The Rhythm of the Heat", "San Jacinto", "The Family and the Fishing Net" and "Lay Your Hands on Me". Their weight is equivalent to the El Capitan rock in Yosemite Valley Park. They stand just as solid and will do so indefinitely. This prominent quartet stands out not only on this particular record but also in the artist's entire career. Let's start with the exquisite first song, The Rhythm of the Heat. Itīs some of the most emotionally captivating the composer has ever come up with. And simply the best music. Itīs "Watcher of the Skies" ten years on. The face of God takes many forms. Just like the majestic Foxtrot-opener(its mellotron intro; an ode to Holst, but structured and shaped with genuine Tudor architecture), "Rhythm" allows the listener to embark on distant inner journeys. The tonal colours are dark, pitch black, with reddish elements interspersed. A deep blue sky adorned with creamy, pure white clouds smiles at you. Dry orange growths on a cracked rocky ledge. All for your pleasure... The location is not your hometown, rather a timeless sphere that feels enticing to explore further. This is your Kingdom Come. The surdo rhythm has become your heartbeat..."Rhythm" has some of the heaviest (or the heaviest!) percussion ever laid on record. In addition to a whole company of drummers of African/West-Indian origin, thereīs also Jerry Marotta on his kit, minus cymbals. Gabriel himself contributes and on top of it all, programmed Linn drums. Onstage the presence of percussion became even more dominating! The whole band including Larry Fast, Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta, David Rhodes+Gabriel were lined-up at the front of the stage playing portable drums. Even Ekome Dance Company were present onstage at certain occasion.

The other new feature on "Rhythm" is a keyboard instrument called CMI Fairlight. CMI stands for Computer Musical Instrument. Donīt forget that around 1980 the computer was still, for most people, as abstract as a marching robot stationed on planet Mars. This was a new invention and Gabriel was one of the first (the first in England!) to take advantage of its limitless possibilities. With the fairlight you could easily walk out with a microphone in hand and record whatever sound you wanted. Like the roar of a car engine. The inviting hum of a dental drill. The blackbird in your garden. Or if you prefer; your mother-in-laws howling hair dryer. Then transfer it to your (very expensive) Fairlight and put it on record. The instrument isnīt exactly standing in every manīs wardrobe, purchase price amounted to 50 000 pounds in the mid eighties. Gabriel not only utilized the CMI, he also managed to incorporate its tones into his music in a masterful way. The CMI is there all through the album in a number of guises. Just try to trace their origin while you enjoy the chord progressions! Note that first take of Rhythm of the Heat included a full guitar arrangement. It was erased for some reason. Perhaps it wouldīve been too much for the faint hearted listener ...For the ambitious who wants to find out where San Jacinto is located on the world map, you will learn that this song titles home is not one but two. They are both located in North America (Texas/California). Let's chose the second alternative, which seems more suitable for the story. The Spanish settlers arrived here a long time ago and named it Saint Hyacinth in their own language. The lyric is based on an oral story narrated to Gabriel by an Apache Indian. An age-old ritual where a novice is taken to the misty mountains by the wise Medicine Man. A poisonous snake bites(as planned) the young man, and leaves him to find his own way downhill. He will return, strong or weak, dead or alive. It has to be pointed out that the lyrics are not entirely lifelike regarding story, its characters, or at least the two subjects mixed together. But thatīs not decisive. Art is not meant to reflect a scenario, rather to filter it to achieve desired experience.

The CMI Fairlight goes like a steam train on its rails. The content here is sound of broken glass added to traditional percussion, and drainpipe blown by human power(in the final section). The result is an audio phenomenon. One can rightly ask whether these sounds in themselves formed the song, or did the song find its true companions in the CMI? Tony Levin is present with his familiar stick. The bass player can be heard hitting the strings on all tracks, as opposed to 3 where he only guested on one title (stick on "I donīt Remember"). Heīs still the only musician who has played on all Peteīs albums. Levin has been just as prolific on stage, where his presence is taken for granted. The guitars are finally making their rightful entry. It takes, however, more than half the track (or 9 minutes into the album) before it explodes. Both David Rhodes and John Ellis are allowed to add heavy chords. Not heavy as in "metal", the sound is hard but cleverly regulated and controlled. Ellis was live guitarist on the 3 tour, a role that was taken over by Rhodes later on. Neither of the guitar players excels with solos or fast playing. This era belonged to the dinosaur age, and went out of the door with the arrival of the modern man. It doesnīt imply that the guitars are less interesting. David Rhodes knows how to shine, also when his instrument is embedded in the song(a contributing factor to his employment). He understands wholeness, that moderation and silence are just as telling as the fuzz-pedal. His partner John Ellis is more of a complement, but in agreement with whatīs desired from his employer.

Highly interesting is the female voice belonging to none other than wife Jill Gabriel. Her presence on 4 is far too short. It ends as quickly as it began. It's not Jill's first contribution to her husband's recordings. She co-wrote the lyrics(successfully!) on top song "Mother of Violence". But no one knew about her vocal abilities. Her duet singing works flawlessly and one can wonder why she wasnīt there for even larger responsibilities? Perhaps Jill's spouse preferred the male vocal(?), or maybe he simply didnīt want to get trapped in the "Paul/Linda" situation (where the female part of course is accused of being here solely on account of her husband, and not out of own merits). When the So-album arrived four long years later - Peter/Jill were both singing the final verse. Not in musical context, but in conjugal. They were soon to have their breakfast tea in different locations. Just as notable, Jill Gabriel is immortalized in Genesis music as an inspirational source to Suppers Ready. Things lighten up with "I Have the Touch", but weīve already dealt with this third track so let's move on to next heavyweight, "The Family and the Fishingnet". The longest track on the album. With a grand song title like this you feel instinctively what to expect. More marvelous Fairlight sounds, this time in form of scraped exhaust pipe. You couldnīt imagine how musical the spare parts for your car can be, in their proper context! Also the sound of the swanee, which is a wind instrument also known as slide whistle. Perhaps not the most well known instrument in any genre, but used by jazz legend Louis Armstrong once and in classical music by Maurice Ravel. This is one of its few contributions to popular music, and itīs privileged with a place in this marvelous keyboard instrument.

Another main feature on "Fishingnet" is of course the presence of Peter Hammill. All descriptions of the latter may seem redundant, but is still relevant. Hammill is credited as "backing vocalist" on 4. That's probably true, but thereīs more to it. Let's put this under the microscope. The space for detailed information about every contributor on a record is limited. Therefore, it becomes generalized rather than specified. If you want the exact input, you have to think for yourself. Do you have a painting signed Matisse/Picasso placed behind a radiator in the scullery? A backing vocalist is just there to fill out the space. Peter Hammill you listen to. The latter has a parallel career with his namesake Gabriel. They spent both late sixties/first half of the seventies(roughly) in their respective groups Van Der Graaf / Genesis(who in turn shared the same ultra legendary record label Charisma). Performed 25-minute pieces of complex counterflow-music, facing a university type of audience who were on requisite intellectual level. They moved on to solo works. Both are outstanding vocalists and highly original as such. They are not in the ABC-book of progressive singing. They are the ABC-book of progressive singing. The same description applies to the pair as artistic music makers and penetrative, shrewd lyricists. Do you think they have influenced each otherīs writing? Well, why not? Listen to Hammill-song "Stupid" from This and you will possibly hear a few similes with a Gabriel-song called "The Family"........ Conversely, according to the scholars, "A Motor-Bike in Africa" is a source of inspiration for "Biko"!

None of them have ever settled down, but constantly sought new means of expressions. Regardless of trends or fashion. If thereīs only one individual who has been given his music transferred to German language, in addition to Peter G, who is this then? You guessed it, Peter H. The gentlemen have a liking for female management, they have both benefited from the services of a lady by the name of Gail(not Gaga!)Colson. They even have residence in the same town, Bath. Producer on current disc, David Lord, has at more than one occasion worked with Hammill(eg on his contemporary masterpiece Patience). If you gathered this respected duos overall artistry, it would fill every single show-case of British Museum. Including its storage area, where all unfinished demo-tapes could be stacked! The similarities between Gabriel/Hammill are apparently many. This is like a fairy tale for an amazed music theorist. And hopefully - for everybody else as well! One canīt make no bones about the fact that there are disparities as well. Hammill has remained faithful to his main occupation, music making. Apart from regular solo albums, he also has his reunited band to cater for. Gabriel has gone from the same position to be equally involved in whatīs around the music scene, and in some cases, even completely outside. Peter Gabriel himself talks about the turtle-effect, which is a creating moving at a pace required. Nobody complains about a sculptor who takes time to perfect his statue. Video art, a (great) number of film soundtracks, high tech Cd-Romīs, Womad, amnesty, the mighty Ovo-project(was meant to take months, turned into years), Real World...All this is fantastic seen from a multi-artistic point of view. Also an important reason why Gabriel quit Genesis in the first place. Just to do what/when/how he felt like. But for the starving fan whoīs longing for the next studio album...Hopefully theyīre coming. Where is Peter Hammills "Shock the Monkey"? Where is the "Sledgehammer" of the Generator front man?? Hammill has never ever followed Gabriel up the single charts or reached the masses far away from progressive lands. Why did Gabriel go "from rags to riches" and not Hammill?

While your workmates on the assembly line happily hummed to Gabriel's latest hit, Hammill was struggling in solitude to even get a record contract. Why on earth did this happen? At the same time, how can you be so sure that the ex Genesis front man chose the glamorous route? Did the former flautist really aim for it? Wasnīt "Games Without Frontiers" a creation by the listeners just as much as its instigator? Did Gabriel force the consumer to go out and buy a record already existing on LP? No, not in the slightest! The latter song could in all its ingenuity has stayed firmly on its album, visible for the die-hard fan only. So finally, it's up to each and everyone to speculate if Peter Hammill just failed in this area or if he never opted for it. And as a matter of fact, the same predicament applies to Peter Gabriel. It depends how you define the term "Big Time". So weīre back where we started...Still, itīs remarkable how little attention this eminent vocal collaboration has received. No matter how little space itīs given(which only makes it even more valuable). Obviously it's difficult to see the forest hidden behind the trees. Someone might ask why Gabriel, in turn, never guested on any of Hammills numerous albums. The answer is probably not negative, just that it "didnīt happen".

It's tempting to further develop this fascinating subject, and here we can likewise note that 4 is the first solo album where guitar maestro Robert Fripp is missing. County governor in the King Crimson earldom. Just like his generation colleagues here, a demigod. This Fripps contribution to the first three Gabriel records is heterogeneous. From arranger(on demo tapes) to Sr. producer. From a generous helping hand to "only guitar player". Had he been involved in the making of 4, his role wouldīve been similar to the one he had on 3? That means basically chord playing. This is just as good as anything. Or had producer David Lord insisted on a freer role? Probably not. 4īs dark mood couldīve been suitable for Fripp. Itīs unclear if he even was in prospect. In any case, he deserves highly to be mentioned as a significant force in Gabriel's nascent solo career. Bob went on to recreate his dormant Crimso, albeit in a brand new band costume. They played "Red" onstage for the very first time."Fishingnet" continues with the albums characteristic mix of programmed/acoustic rhythm. The bass sound is not light and airy. Both stick and moog bass are like cake and pudding. This taste is exquisite for your eardrums. It's not an easy task for the average listener to separate the both instruments from each other, as they both have fairly similar sound. The stick, Tony Levin is not only well-known and skillful. He personifies the instrument. It has very little in common with the bass guitar when it comes to playing technique. Its construction seems futuristic. The bass normally has four strings, the stick eight, ten(or even 12). The strings are, in turn, divided in two groups. One melody- and one bass sounding. Unlike traditional guitar, its strings are only touched with one hand. You can therefore keep melody and bass running simultaneously. Thatīs the secret with the Stick.

"Lay Your Hands On Me", as the title suggests, is about the healing power caused by the simple, but stimulating effect from the touching hand("I have the Touch" is logically in the same mould). Gabriel used to do his stage diving where the fans were just as much a part, carried by a sea of hands out among the audience. A wondrous experience and a rare luxury. Also a little risky of course. The song itself does not need a manual effort to be lifted. The CMI offers once again new cliffhanging sounds. Is "Glock" a pistol? Or Glock(enspiel)? There was a newly constructed arm in 1982 called Glock, so... Arr 1? Saxy!? After all these abstruse figment, we are lucky to have the cozy and familiar scratch sound of a paving stone. Morris Pert(who passed away last year) makes a recurring display on his timbales. A top five ranked percussionist who played(free jazz) with Phil Collins in Brand X. Levin is said to deliver the usual bass and also fretless ditto. Can you figure out where? No, you canīt. Either is it down-mixed(and inaudible) or treated beyond recognition. It sounds more like fretless/ bass on "Wallflower". Such a bass has no delay, the tone is firmer and dies immediately after the touch.

David Lord takes an active role on the keyboards. The Prophet soundscape seems to be taken directly from the scorching savannah, with its panting pride of lions resting in the shade. Rhodes brings a minimum number of guitar tones, and this almost only at the end of the song. One per bar. The creator of Tubular Bells, Mike Oldfield, asserted rightfully that itīs better to play one tone and mean it, than to play 10 and not mean it. Jerry Marotta enters stately after three minutes admirable silence. The drums are so far ahead in the sound picture that you can almost touch them with your hands. Normally a rhythm is based either on acoustic- or programmed drums. On 4 hits a mix of both worlds, as weīve mentioned. How do you get a drummer to share space with a static rhythm device? Or how do you get the Linn drum to sound human enough? If you look at the 1980s in general and it's horrible drum sound and inflated production(in fact it's by far the worst period in recorded history), then you realize how meticulous 4 was to become. If youīre not a drummer yourself, or if you donīt deliberately listen to the percussion, then you won't notice the difference between real and programmed drums. That's a good rating and also the intention, to bring the opposite into one unit. Just like on 3, you won't find any cymbal sounds on 4. The same rule here, only when you listen to the cymbals, youīll realize the absence of them.

As we are fully aware of, this is Gabriel's fourth album. Is there something magical about "fourth"? And if so, why? Genesis album Foxtrot was No. 4 in chronological order, so there has to be something magical about it. For purely logical grounds. You reach a point when everything just clicks. When the plateau is ascended. When you occupy the summit of your personal Mount Everest. Thereīs nothing to change, to improve or replace. This era, however, usually only lasts for a short period. When creativity and enthusiasm meet experience and skill. When the innocent heart encounters the capable brain. This period is as narrow as the sharp edge of a knife. Subsequent albums can be just as good but studied, planned and contrived. Previous albums were perhaps on the same level but certain details in form of production, arrangements, mixing etc. werenīt up to scratch. So enjoy the crest of the wave while you can. How competitive is 4 compared to band Genesis? "San Jacinto" is just as strong, or even stronger, than "Carpet Crawlers". "I have the Touch" doesnīt stand alongside "I Know What I Like", but "The Family and the Fishingnet" touches "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" in every aspect. "Shock the Monkey" is probably the single "Happy the Man". "Lay Your Hands on Me", a cornerstone on a par with "Blood on the Rooftops"(from a post-Gabriel record). "Wallflower" takes similar colourful road as teenage-oriented "Am I very wrong?". "Kiss of Life" ends in the same rollicking manner as "Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging" on side A of The Lamb. A great collection of danceable songs, it is. The dance steps, calculated using geometric circles, triangles and squares, form the ballet of the weightless fairy in the still morning mist. Close your eyes and witness her graceful moves balancing on the petals of her friend; the timid buttercup.

4 is the first Gabriel album with a real band feel. Study the instrumentation list and notice the first five names. They represent the band(the other serves as guests). Outside this quintet are all but percussionist Morris Pert newcomers on a Gabriel album. They know each other enough by now to communicate in an effective musical language. The harmony of the five piece group is tactile. Although Gabriel is the sole songwriter in the five piece, the solo artist has become Peter Gabriel Band. What about the producer of the album? He is not a small figure in terms of importance. His name is David Lord, and he is, if you want, right man at the right place. David Lord is Gabriel's fourth producer in equal number of albums. This is not a result of discord. Nor is it a disagreement on personal level. Not due to complaints from a frustrated record company. The reasons are quite different. To seek new artistic ways that no one has tramped on before. To reach unknown land may pose both hazards, mishaps and accidents. On 4 is away home. All foreign, odd instruments are safely gathered under one single roof. No producer in the world can make a weak song good. But a clever idea even better. David Lord is composer, arranger, engineer, keyboard player, a studio pro. Classically trained, worked with pop, folk, soundtrack for TV- and radio. What more can you possibly hunger for? He has Tori Amos, Xtc(listen to the mellotron drenched chorus of "All You Pretty Girls"), Roy Harper and Jean-Michel Jarre on his track record. Just to mention a few. At the same time an offish individual, who could have done even more fruitful for the progressive movement. Why didnīt Caravan, Camel or Curved Air attempt to benefit from his knowledge? Or did Lord turn them down in favour of the more manageable solo artist? Anyhow, he did a masterly effort on Gabriel 4. Thereīs not one tone, sequence or passage on 4 that is unthinking. The album is tasty as a dark 96% chocolate bar. It's not an insult to suggest that the Deep Purple Jon's namesake contributed to the albums final status. It's rather a compliment. The Gabriel/Lord pair encountered a few technical problems during the recording and had to solve them as a team. They put the puzzle pieces back in the right place.

Release date for their work was originally set to 1981, but was delayed one whole year. It was worth the wait. Despite the successful cooperation, their paths separated afterwards. There was no 4 part 2 in your record collection. Where is the acoustic guitar on 4? The 12-string and/or nylon 6-string? They are conspicuous by their absence. Why are they not here? Regarding the 12-string, this instrument was too synonymous with early Genesis and was discarded from the outset. So was the flute. But the 6-string? It was audible on 1 and 2 but not on 3 or 4. Where is the Hammond organ? Read previous sentence. The mellotron? The acoustic pianos? Does a certain instrument belong to a certain decade or era? Canīt they take a step "forward" just like the music? The New York Philharmonic donīt celebrate the New Year by taking the cello and the bass clarinet away from its repertoire. At the same time, if one component is gone, it will pave the way for something new. The Yamaha CP-70 electric piano had a floating and soft sound picture, compared to the traditional acoustic one with its hard sharp tone. Did it replace the grand piano, or was it a completely new instrument? Genesis song "Duchess" would definitely not have been the same without the CP-70. It's highly interesting to compare Gabriel to the remaining trio Genesis in this aspect. Abacab/Duke lacks most of, or all, the mentioned "seventies" instruments as well. The singer/band have long since gone their separate way, but in an eerie way, managed to undergo the same transformation. All in the same time transition.

Regarding the 4 tour can be mentioned that Gabriel did a one-night stand at Crystal Palace stadium Selhurst Park in the summer of 1983. None other than Phil Collins played drums. He made a flying visit, the ex-bandmate had learnt the set overnight. The autumn of `83 saw a European tour(I went to Stockholm myself). Non-album track "Across the River" alternated with "The Rhythm" as opening song throughout the journey. The North-American fans were privileged with a lesser known song with odd title, "John Has a Headache". A chorus friendly but not too remarkable tune. For the very first time since Genesis period, the performer Gabriel was in his element. Painted face and thus theatrical stamp on the show. If you study, or just look at the album cover you will notice the first(and so far last) Gabriel album lacking his own face. In other words, the face value has dramatically changed. The masked figure is his neat replacement. How will 4 be regarded in a distant future? Will anyone pay attention to this stand out twentieth century product? Will it become the rock-carving of progressive music? Thereīs no reason why the actual audio tracks, the music, would lose its lustre. Thereīs originality in its presentation. But what about the song titles, are they understandable for a future reader? Perhaps thereīs a curious five year old wide-eyed child asking the grandparent about this unknown "monkey"? Our closest relative the chimpanzee is hunted, shot and slaughtered. It ends up at our dinner table, not only at home ground Africa but also right where you are in western society. Its environment disappears. The situation for the monkey is, truly shocking...

Report this review (#463578)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Peter Gabriel is definitely an amazing artist. His music gives us different ways, ranging from lucid dreams and beauty to the terror, despair. He is the kind of artist that will widely respected by both the prog community and by lovers of pop music.

But the career of Peter Gabriel is not progressive as a whole. In fact, is more mainstream and commercial than anything. It's funny how people criticize both the Genesis and pop seem to forget to see that their former leader walked the same path. After all, "Sledgehammer" won the "Land of Confusion" at the Grammys 1986, no? Becomes a hypocrisy.

Problems with that? Noooo, think.I love pop Genesis and I have deep respect for the career of Peter Gabriel, which I recently came to unravel. But my feeling for his music, according to what I've heard so far is mixed. And that feeling does not change with "Security / Mask," his fourth album, although it is by far the best of their self-titled album.

The influences of world music, as widely reported in the career of Gabriel, are even more evident than before. The sound is typical of 80 years - the drum machine is used extensively, although not all the time as in "Melt."

One thing I found interesting is the proximity of the light sound of "Melt" and "Mask" with the trilogy of King Crimson 80 years. Of course, this is my opinion, friend, but the presence of Tony Levin on bass and Robert Fripp in the production of my third album reinforces this idea.

4 stars: San Jacinto, I Have the Touch, The Family And The Fishing Net Shock the Monkey

3 stars: The Rhythm Of The Heat

2 star: Lay Your Hands On Me Wallflower, Kiss Of Life

Average: 3.12

3 stars

Report this review (#483653)
Posted Saturday, July 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars From 1982, SECURITY, MASK, PG 4, whatever you want to call it, is at the top of the charts in my book for all-time Peter Gabriel albums. At almost 30 years old, this is still as fresh as the first time I listened to it. "San Jacinto", "I Have the Touch", "Family and the Fishing Net", "Wallflower", and "Kiss of Life" are all classic PG tunes. The mixing of rock and world-beat is perfect. Only "The Rhythm of the Heat" (a bit dull) and "Shock the Monkey" (overplayed) fall short of 5 stars. The usual cast of backing musicians keep up the background, and Peter's singing sounds great. Close to perfect, but not quite. 4 stars
Report this review (#493186)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars At a time when Genesis and Phil Collins had completely sold out to the pop world, Peter Gabriel was rising to new heights with albums like Melt and Security. I had the great fortune to see Gabriel perform the tracks from Security live and was up front at the stage when he jumped into the audience for "Lay your Hands on Me'' so I this album brings back quite a few memories for me. Gabriel was experimenting with world music and had an african band performing with him during the live show where the influences became even more apparent. I'm not sure where this best fits in the classification of prog, but it is really immaterial, as Gabriel had completely broken away from the symphonic prog roots that he had mastered with Genesis, and had created something very new, highly creative, combination of tribal rhythms and rock to form a masterpiece. My favorite tracks here are "The Rhythm of the Heat", "I have the touch", "The Family and the Fishing Net", "Shock the Monkey", and "Lay your hands on me", and "Kiss of Life". Overall this album rates a 9/10, and is deserving of 5 stars.
Report this review (#542170)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Peter Gabriel had already revealed an increasing fascination with traditional African music in his previous solo album - particularly in the closing track Biko - but it was on his fourth solo album (the last one to go without a title) that he chose to incorporate aspects of world music into his sound on a wholesale basis. Working in parallel with others experimenting in this direction such as Talking Heads or the 80s King Crimson (which Tony Levin takes some time out from to lend his talents to Gabriel once again), Gabriel creates an intoxicating feast of interweaving rhythms and danceable beats with sufficient art rock sensibilities that it makes sense in the context of the rest of his solo career. It's possibly his most original and accomplished song-based album.
Report this review (#572938)
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Peter Gabriel's fourth album - also known as Security - is one of my favourite Gabriel solo albums. Opening with the tribal drum work of "The Rhythm of the Heat" it also displays Gabriel's early moves toward what is known as world music. Keep in mind this album predates Paul Simon's Graceland by a good three or four years. This continues on the second track, the classic "San Jacinto".

At this point Gabriel is just experimenting with world music rhythms and the majority of Security still sounds very much like the (for a lack of a better definition) progressive new wave sound of Peter Gabriel III. You can also hear a few of the more mainstream elements he would use on So, his popular follow-up, on tracks such as "I Have The Touch" and "Shock The Monkey". I mean mainstream for Peter Gabriel, of course, because each song still has a lot of distinctive touches that firmly places Gabriel ahead of the generic pop music of the 1980's or any era.

The tribal rhythms return on "Lay Your Hands On Me" and "Wallflower" which while both are both very good tracks. "Wallflower" in particular is both passionate and heart wrenching. It's a real highlight of the album.

The real highlights of Security though are "The Family and the Fishing Net", which despite being one of the longest songs he's written since his days in Genesis, feels like it is a perfect length and "Kiss of Life", where we get the tribal rhythms one more time, but in contrast to most of the other tracks, the rhythm is very upbeat and it's a great way to end off the album.

Overall: Excellent album and very recommended. If you only know Peter Gabriel through tracks like "Sledgehammer", you should listen to this album now!

Report this review (#618610)
Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars The previous Peter Gabriel album was a work of art. As for this one -

"The Rythm of the Heat" - very strong track with very powerful afro rythm throughout. This track is a brilliant opener to the album. It is easy with this track to get the feeling of being amidst a group of tribal drummers. The other visualisation potential of this track is Voodoo ceromonial rythm.

"San Jacinto" - very oriental feel to this track although it apparantly applies to the Apache Indian and to a rite involving the mountain.

"I have the Touch" - This track is about the lack of physical contact that Gabriel observed among the English as opposed to other cultures and peoples apparantly. It isn't as strong as the previous two tracks.

"The Family and the Fishing Net" - A strange track this one. Peter Hammill on backing vocals here.

"Shock the Monkey" - Apparantly a track about jealousy. A very popular Gabriel track this one.

"Lay your hands on me" - A track about trust. Gabriel was at one time fond of stage diving. I like this track with its strong rythms.

"Wallflower" - About persecution and torture and getting through. Very nice emotive track.

"Kiss of Life" - Quirky track - like a weird cha cha.

This album for me has two very powerful tracks being "The Rythm of the Heat" and "Wallflower". There are no tracks that I dislike as they are all interesting in their own rights. I have to go with a 4 star rating as far as this album is concerned. Don't expect Gabriel as he sounded in Genesis here but do expect a wonderful plethora of rythms and experimentations. Do expect very good lyrics that will make you sit back and think.

Report this review (#947894)
Posted Monday, April 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I guess I'm not the only one with mixed feelings for this album, on one hand you got fantastic stuff like "San Jacinto", on the other hand there is some pop songs with the typical 80s sound we could live without. But unlike people usually think about Gabriel's fourth album, I would say this one is among the most progressive albums heīs done, with long songs and experimenting with african instruments and rhythms.

The opening song "The rhythm of the heat" is easily one of Gabriel's best songs, the title says a lot about the mood. Its dramatic, slowly escalating from exciting and mysterious to wild and majestic, just sitting down and listening to it gives you the feeling of chasing something through fire and flames. Its hot, not as sexy, but hot as warm. Next song "San Jacinto" is also one of the greatest songs heīs ever done. Its an epic at its very best, as the song starts out slowly with some strange, what is it? Keyboard-sounds? Sounds like electronic rain. Groove is building up slowly and then explodes into full drama before ending with more weird sounds, some breathing and something that almost sounds like spoken word. San Jacinto is more an experience than a song!

"I have the touch" is one of those 80s sounding pop songs I mentioned earlier, but actually this one isn't that bad. A great groove and some nice sound effects puts you more in a cool mood than in a mood of "ish, what a horrible 80s song". It makes you feel like you actually have the touch.

"The family and the fishing net" is a great example of how to mix african sounds and 80s pop with a successful result, its great and very weird. Lots of strange sounds and theatrical vocals! "Shock the monkey" is one of his earliest hits and it smells like 80s pop, yes I know, but its awesome! Watching the creepy video might have helped me getting used to it, but if you think about it, it really is a weird and creepy song with strange and screaming vocals. Its prog pop! "Lay your hands on me" is slow and atmospheric with a great chorus and some great drumming. Like most of the songs on this album, this song is mostly about experimental sounds and groovy rhythms.

"Wallflower" is the most beautiful and touching song of the album, with Gabriel using his most gentle and honest voice. Its very emotional and is probably the song that grows the most on you for each time you hear the album. "The perfect ending", I always say to myself before realising what comes after. Why in earths name would anybody think of something as terrible as ending a great album like this with a song like "Kiss of life". Its of course a bit funny, in the same way as David Bowies "Lets Dance" is a bit funny, but there is no way around the truth, this is an awful 80s song.

Except from having "Kiss of life" glued to your brain the rest of the day, Peter Gabriel 4 is always a great experience with lots of atmospheric and exciting songs. (Yeah, and that ugly album cover, what is that all about? Freaks me out!)

Report this review (#1164867)
Posted Thursday, April 24, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars The fourth of the albums called simply Peter Gabriel, or Security to differentiate themselves, closes a cycle in the music of the ex-vocalist of Genesis, to enter lands a little more accessible for the big market, but without losing its great composing quality.

Security shows us, like the 3 previous albums, a large number of collaborations by renowned musicians (Tony Levin, Robert Fripp among others), to deliver us small great speeches related to their concern about abuse of political prisoners (Wallflower), the near disappearance of American Indian culture (San Jacinto), or the importance of finally continuing to trust people (Lay your hands on me), the latter song that during his live performances, Gabriel threw himself with his back to the public and walked the front rows in this way, in a clear representation that despite everything we must trust.

All this within a wide spectrum of sound experimentations, taking Flockloric elements from different cultures, in what could be considered as an introduction to world music.

As for the songs themselves, I consider the highest points to be Wallflower, the sensitivity and depth with which she describes the confinement and the abuse, accompanied by a whispering piano and a melancholic and sad atmosphere, with Gabriel's almost bleeding voice is from the deepest part of the disc. Also San Jacinto, with that special voice, and accompanied by a dramatic narration that grows to become a kind of redemption for the American Indian. The aforementioned Lay Your Hands on Me, which despite being an apparently unnecessarily long song, shows us some verses and an evolution that far from boring allows us to enjoy a deep Gabriel, accompanied by instrumentation that complements and adds value to the song message. The The Rhythm Of The Heat, shows us a more than interesting participation of African drums.

Shock the Monkey must be one of the best known songs, if not the most, with a good rhythm and exploration of human jealousy through the observation of a monkey. Of similar style and rhythm we have I Have the Touch.

I consider that both The Family And The Fishing Net and Kiss Of Life, very good compositions that without reaching the level of the rest of the album, show Gabriel's interest in expanding his musical horizons.

In short, an excellent album and the end of the first part of his solo work.

Report this review (#2405319)
Posted Saturday, May 23, 2020 | Review Permalink

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