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Peter Gabriel - Birdy (OST) CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel

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3 stars Peter Gabriel music in instrumental form reworked for a film about the after effects of the Vietnam War on two childhood friends. The compositions are retitled but the sources remain obvious and easily recognizable to fans of his first four solo efforts. Some of the music which didn't make it into the film but is also included here. This project demonstrated the intensity & power of Gabriel's music to set moods and express itself in contexts other than that for which it was originally intended. A must for Gabriel completists and of interest to fans of electronic and instrumental arrangements in the vein of Vangelis and Tangerine Dream.
Report this review (#24027)
Posted Sunday, March 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars At the foot of the tracklist of Peter Gabriel's "Music From The Film 'Birdy'" sits a very telling footnote: "Warning: This CD Contains Recycled Material And No Lyrics." Really, on a factual level, that just about says it all. This all-instrumental, largely synth-based CD contains some new material, but significant parts of it are segments from past Gabriel tunes, recast in a new context.

But that dry description misses the point. The "Birdy" album shines significant new light on some of Gabriel's most brilliant compositions. It is a stark, emotional revisitation of themes from songs like "Family Snapshot," "Rhythm Of The Heat," "Wallflower," and "San Jacinto." More than that, it is a logical next step in Gabriel's progression: His prior album, "Security," was so dramatic and theatric that it was nearly a film score in itself. This new context only serves to emphasize the power inherent in that music.

The "Birdy" album is a stark, dark, emotional exploration well-suited to the themes of the film. For rock fans, it lacks many traditional pop/rock elements, and it may not be a satisfying, self-contained release. For more prog-oriented fans, however, fans who can appreciate ambient instrumental music, it is a gorgeous and compelling collection from a gifted prog artist. It is not quite the equal of the "Passion" (music from the film "The Last Temptation Of Christ") that Gabriel would later create, but it is a work of exceptional depth that should not be overlooked as merely "that instrumental thing that Peter Gabriel did around the same time he released 'Sledgehammer.'" It is not for everyone, but for some, it will touch you deeply.

Report this review (#24028)
Posted Thursday, July 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Peter GABRIEL started his soundtrack career with "Birdy", a riveting and emotional film about two young men that go off to war, starring Nicholas Cage and Mathew Modine. I remember the film and really didn't pay too much attention to the music playing in the background; I don't think that many folks really do unless it has a dominating presence. When I listened to this I could understand why it didn't get my attention. It's all atmospheric and meditative background music. This is not to say that this music has no value or purpose, it most certainly does. I am accustomed to being excited and totally mesmerized by GABRIEL's music, so this was disappointing. This is the first release by GABRIEL that I really didn't enjoy. I felt it was boring and uneventful.

Ratin: 2.5/5

Report this review (#24030)
Posted Monday, January 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Usually soundtracks don't work so well as their own. (If they do, they often differ a lot from the actual score heard on the film; Vangelis is a good example.) Gabriel's first film contribution shows Gabriel's talents in creating atmospheres. In film the music is used too sparingly, but as an album it's not for repeated listening. The decision to recycle material from Peter Gabriel albums 3 and 4 is not a bad idea at all; the songs really had this potential. In many cases it's just a fragment, e.g. piano intro of 'Family Snapshot' or outro of 'San Jacinto'. The most powerful track is 'Birdy's Flight' based on ending of 'Not One of Us' - the drumming is deliciously multiplied and the original song really pales in comparison. But as an album per se Birdy has quite little to offer in its shortness and such a cold, lonely, sad atmosphere. The film has a wider palette of emotions. And as a literature lover I must add that Alan Parker's film is not even closely as great as the novel by William Wharton.
Report this review (#24031)
Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I saw the film "Birdy" in a cinema in 1985 or in 1986, and I saw it again on TV years later. The story told in the film, as other reviewers wrote, is the story (if I remember well) of two childhood friends who are years later recruited to go to fight to the Vietnam War. One of them (Birdy)became obsessed with birds since childhood, and his friend looks at his behaviour with some surprise until both are hurt in the war and are send to the Military Hospital. In the Hospital Birdy`s fascination with birds leads him to think that he is one of them to the point that he retires from the real world adopting birds` behaviour. This strange (and fictitious, as the final credits of the film say) mental illness is shown in the film as the final outcome of the effects of war in the mind of Birdy. The final scene of the film is very funny, with Birdy jumping from the Hospital Room`s window, trying to fly, with his friend being frightened by this, but Birdy laughs at him as he really jumps to a roof which is below the window.

The music of Peter Gabriel for this film works very well with the scenes shown in the film. Gabriel has a lot of talent to make music for films like this. Most of the instrumental music for this film was done with Gabriel re-working the music of some songs from his third and fourth albums. The mood of the music is adapted very well to the scenes in this film. I particularly liked very much "Close Up (from Family Snapshot)" , "Birdy's Flight (from Not One Of Us)" and "Under Lock And Key (from Wallflower)" . The musical themes are reprised several times in the film working very well.

Report this review (#159992)
Posted Sunday, January 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Birdy is an 1983 soundtrack of the movie of the same name. It consists mainly of an instrumental reworking of themes and melodies of the two preceding albums, but there are also some new pieces composed for the occasion.

It's a mesmerizing and ambient album, with sparse instrumentation and lots of new sounds. The opening At Night only has some slow repetitive percussion and some dark dry chords on what sounds like flutes and a mellotron that was smothered under 10 blankets to muffle the sound. Brilliant. Pieces like Quiet and Alone, Slow Water, Slow Marimbas and Sketch Pad maintain a similarly gagging claustrophobic mood.

Most of the remaining tracks are derived from known songs. While they are certainly deserving, they list among the sort of things fans have more need for then anyone else. But when it comes to soundtracks this is up there with the best, Birdy is an amazing album but should be approached with an open mind. 3.5 stars

Report this review (#263656)
Posted Sunday, January 31, 2010 | Review Permalink

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