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Peter Gabriel - Long Walk Home - Music from The Rabbit-Proof Fence CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel

Crossover Prog

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2 stars At the moment that I write this review, this album has received one textless five star recommendation. The mind boggles.

This album is the soundtrack for the Australian movie Rabbit-proof fence. This setting is reflected in the use of indigenous instruments like the didjeridu. It's a fascinating album, much like some of Brian Eno's soundscapes of the late seventies are fascinating. Peter Gabriel shows once more what an incredibly versatile artist he is. As a soundtrack, I'd give it 4 stars, but then again, this is a prog rock site. In that context, I thnk two stars is closer to the value of this album.

Report this review (#24098)
Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars A fine album for the adventurous listener. I heard PG say in a radio interview years ago that he did the occasional commercial album so that he would have the money to do this kind of "serious" project (he was referring specifically to "Us" and "Passion" at that time). I was surprised to hear how dominant the electronics are here, at least for the first part of the album. Later, the world music all-star lineup gets in on the act, along with a number of classical musicians. I applaud PG for not resting on his laurels; he is definitely introduciing some new sounds into the mix, much like on "Up". Incidentally, this is essentially an instrumental album.
Report this review (#24099)
Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ambient is PETER GABRIEL's instrumental soundtrack album Long Walk Home summed up in a word. Don't buy this expecting a repeat of Passion, although there are some sections that do build up to that level of power. It may be that this has to do with the musical stylings of the Aboriginal peoples that GABRIEL is working with here, but I don't know enough about the music of that part of the world to be sure. Rather, this is an album that you might almost put on as a background while reading a book, and it works well that way. Because of the repetitiveness that appears in some parts, I had to subtract a star. However, if you do like more ambient music like later TALK TALK or CHROMA KEY's latest, then you should consider getting this film score to the movie The Rabbit-Proof Fence.

While some of the tracks are more indistinct and rather unstructured (though still flowing quite nicely) and some seem like short snippets or themes more than anything, there were certain songs that definitely stood out to me. "Stealing the Children" is perhaps one of the darkest, most violent-seeming pieces, and very appropriate considering the horrible injustice it's accompanying in the movie: it's very much a mechanical intrusion upon a purer world and one of the most memorable segments. One of the most moving sections is "Running to the Rain", a glorious, sweeping track that truly evokes the vastness of the open desert landscape and sky of the Australian outback. One of the most developed pieces on the album is "Go Away Mr. Evans", which is followed by the excellent "Moodoo's Secret" which makes wonderful use of Aboriginal chanting, and builds into a more "Western"-seeming piece...if that can be truly said of anything on this album.

Certain tracks experiment instrumentally with themes that appear on Up, most notably "Sky Blue" towards the end of the album in songs like "Gracie's Recapture", "Ngankarrparni", and "Cloudless" (some of the best moments on the entire album)...but a snippet of "Signal to Noise" also appears in the beginning of "The Return". The choral parts for the "Sky Blue" theme are movingly sung by the Blind Boys of Alabama, a gospel group from Talladega that's been around for a very long time. I do apologize for not doing as in-depth a review as I ordinarily do, but it's kind of tough to do that for an ambient, instrumental album like this.

Report this review (#24100)
Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars "The Long Walk Home" was another album I got during the PG revival in 2003, the year that the great "Growing Up Live" DVD was released.

"The Long Walk Home" is actually music written for the movie "The Rabbit Proof Fence". As a soundtrack I guess it does what it is supposed to do: support the movie. As an album all by itself it was another small disappointment for me, just like "OVO". The best part of the album comes in the later tracks of the album as we hear some humming which is derived from "Sky Blue". (or maybe it was done the other way around?). All instrumentation is top notch again and this album surely has its moments. Nevertheless I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. If you are looking for a great PG album buy "SO", "US", "UP" or "HIT". Better stay clear of this one, unless you are really a PG die hard fan.

Report this review (#109832)
Posted Tuesday, January 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album stands on its own as a masterpiece; the fact that it is a sound track is incidental. There is so little to compare to. It is enormously rich in unfamiliar other-worldly and frightening sounds; there is so much, sonically, to comprehend. One should first listen to this album without reading the titles of the tracks; they distract from the wholeness of this highly original composition. The entire project is highly experimental, and very abstract while yet remaining cohesive. It is just as interesting as "The Last Temptation Of Christ", but entirely different. The native percussion performances hold the entire piece together and keep it on a accessible emotional level.

"Long Walk Home" speaks volumes about how much potential there is in experimental music that combines modern & native instruments, and natural sounds. Gabriel succeeds at generating a subdued but raw emotional atmosphere throughout. The only human voices here are those from native throat singing and an occasional contribution from Peter himself. Interacting purely emotionally, one senses the simple yet powerful theme via the different moods. In the beginning, there is an authentic sense of conflict and sadness. The music passes through many parts that express fear, struggle, and desperation; then finally relief and resolution, ending in a joyous celebration of voices.

Describing this music is very difficult. It would do little to attempt to discuss impressions of each track. Furthermore, attaching a label to the album accomplishes nothing because "Long Walk Home" crosses so many boundaries. There surely have been other attempts at such compositions, but none of them bear the imprint of Peter Gabriel's powerful perspective and taste. To borrow a common phrase to describe a very uncommon work of art: "This is only the tip of the iceberg" and PG is pointing the way. We have here a real milestone in Progressive music and it is exciting to think who among today's composers could follow this path with as much skill.

It has subsequently come to the attention of this reviewer that "Long Walk Home" was one of five Golden Globe Nominees in 2002 for Best Original Score: recognition well-deserved. However, whether the following is related directly or not, it is unfortunate that the original CD cover has been changed from a very artful Aboriginal-looking pattern to a photo of the two main characters clinging to each other during their ordeal walking along the Rabbit-Proof Fence. The point has been raised often enough, that the artwork on album covers has always been an important symbol that music lovers associate with the music. Although touching, the new cover seems to magnify the label "sound track", which probably gives the visual impression that this score is "incidental music" and thus perhaps less serious. Such categorization could not be further from the truth. Thanks to the Administrators of Prog Archives for keeping the original cover on display!

Report this review (#149790)
Posted Friday, November 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars This album of the actual movie soundtrack for the Australian movie Rabbit-proof fence is quite a journey, just like the journey of the indigenous children in the film. The movie is stunning with powerful imagery of the outback as the children are hunted by a tracker and all they want is to be reunited with their mothers. The stolen generation is the theme of the film, how Aboriginal children were ripped away from their families and their cultures only to be turned into whites; appalling historical fact and the music seems to sum up the sadness, the heartbreak and the sheer emotional turmoil of the indigene.

I did not know at the time of seeing the film that Gabriel had scored the music and it is a surprise to hear he is tackling this type of music. Re-listening to this without the stark imagery is a test of endurance however. There are fascinating sections on didgeridoo and a ton of ambient keyboards but overall this is very stark, bleak music and nothing like Gabriel in his usual musical environment; it is not accessible at all. He jumps clear out of the box to produce some very unfriendly and rather electronic music. Percussion echoes are heard to enhance the mood of the children and there are long sustained keyboard pads and haunting sounds. The ethereal nature of the music does not have a rhythm at times, not even a melody; it is absolutely dedicated to the images on screen, but of course we do not see them making it difficult to connect.

At one point there are Aboriginal chants on Nganparnanni, the highlight of the album, and then a familiar tune to those who have seen the movie, continued on Cloudless, the main theme; I remember this scene as it was uplifting when the children ran back to their mother's arms after the long journey. I recommend the movie wholeheartedly but have reservations about this soundtrack. It is chilling, disturbing and at times rather tiresome. Unless you are into hardcore ambient soundtracks steer well clear of this. 2 stars only.

Report this review (#332798)
Posted Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of the most powerful soundtracks I've ever heard. This is an amazing, very powerful and emotional film--with an amazing performance from it's first-time lead actress--but the film is made so much stronger by the soundtrack. I was never sure if Rabbit Proof Fence's entire soundtrack was the music of Peter Gabriel, but I guess it is. Such an integral part of the movie. I can think of very few films I've seen in which the soundtrack plays such an integral part of its presentation and effectiveness, but this is definitely one of them. "The Return, Parts 1-3" are awesome companions to some truly powerful part of the film and "Cloudless," the soundtrack's finale running through the credits, with it's lead use of The Blind Boys of Alabama in a reprise of their performance from "Sky Blue" from his Up album, is undoubtedly much more powerful than the original and is one of Gabe's best songs ever (IMO).

Prog lends itself so well to soundtrack music. Even if this, like Gabe's Birdy soundtrack, is a patchwork re-working of many of Gabe's previously themes, soundbytes and guest performances, and Peter Gabriel is one of the genre's masters.

Report this review (#1005055)
Posted Wednesday, July 24, 2013 | Review Permalink

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