We're hoping to have news of live dates where Peter will be performing both his own and the songs from 'Scratch My Back' as soon as tomorrow. The sound of the album may not have escaped yet, but check back soon if you like your music live and direct - Peter Gabriel may be in the area with nothing but an orchestra and amazing songs.
A little more of 'Scratch My Back' has escaped into this month's video. Sadly one factual update is that the release date has now slipped back until February 15th, but that news is, we hope, tempered by Peter's other revelations around the project. Anyone for 'Scratch My Back' Live?
"There is as much magic in the sounds of things as there is in the notes," concluded Gabriel. "The studio can be the most boring place in the world, but when there's magic - when you open up a new vein - you wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
As this is World Philosophy Day, Helienne Lindvall's article in The Guardian around the conversation she had with Peter at the APRS Fellowship awards in London this week seems particularly apposite.
There's just 2 months and 9 days until you can get your hands on a copy of 'Scratch My Back'. The cover image remains a closely guarded secret, but we know we can trust you.
Peter will release his 'Scratch My Back' album on January 25th 2010 on Virgin Records in the U.K.
To help craft his recording of the album's eclectic array of cult favourites and classic tracks, Peter enlisted former Durutti Column member John Metcalfe as composer/arranger and the expertise of producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd's 'The Wall', Lou Reed's 'Berlin') and engineer, mixer and producer Tchad Blake (Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Tom Waits).
Peter describes this as a very personal record with twelve songs performed only with orchestral instruments and voice. The album's richly diverse sounds include the sparse romance of Lou Reed's 'The Power of the Heart', the powerful musical journey of Elbow's 'Mirrorbal' and an epic arrangement of Arcade Fire's 'My Body Is A Cage.'
Peter and his collaborators recorded the album at George Martin's Air Lyndhurst Studios and the Real World Temple with further editing and mixing at his own Real Worlds Studios in Wiltshire. The first public hearing of the album came when Peter opened his set at last summer's WOMAD Charlton Park festival with a performance of Paul Simon's 'The Boy In The Bubble.'
The track-list and running order as follows:
Heroes (David Bowie)
The Boy in the Bubble (Paul Simon)
Flume (Bon Iver)
Listening Wind (Talking Heads)
The Power of the Heart (Lou Reed)
My Body is a Cage (Arcade Fire)
The Book of Love (The Magnetic Fields)
I Think it's Going to Rain Today (Randy Newman)
Apres Moi (Regina Spektor)
Philadelphia (Neil Young)
Street Spirit (Radiohead)
A brief update from Peter, filmed before he headed off to a meeting of The Elders. We hear news of the 'Scratch My Back' album projects which is now nearing completion and pick up on Peter's current hot tips, Portico Quartet and Charlie Winston.
Take a look at this recording of 'All You Need is Love' by Bandaged Together - a collection of the great and the good in the music industry, radio and TV - in aid of this years BBC Children in Need appeal.
Peter Gabriel can be seen at the top and tail of the track.
At the 2004 WOMAD Rivermead festival, Duncan Bellamy and Nick Mulvey came across a Hang, a small Swiss pan drum like a flying saucer. They built a sound-world around the instrument, adding double bass, drums and saxophone with Milo Fitzpatrick and Jack Wylie to form Portico Quartet and produce a Mercury nominated album.
Their second album 'Isla' on Peter Gabriel's Real World Records builds on this sound.
"With 'Isla', produced by John Leckie, Portico have found their mojo: a thrumming, intensely textured and dynamic sound flowing between sax, bass, drums and hang. (Looks like a wok, sounds like a steel drum.) The subtle electronic shadowing and beefed-up bass recall EST, while the lead track traces a Balkan/Gypsy line and repetitious rhythmic measures reference Reichian minimalism without making you feel ill. All tracks are memorable and hang together like a suite. Brilliant."
The Independent on Sunday (UK)
So has just become one of the first albums to get the 'iTunes LP' treatment - it now comes with four videos, several 'B-sides' and the enhanced 'iTunes LP' content.
Herding cats and Lighthouse Keepers' parties all get a mention. Peter's back on your screens this October with the news that whilst there has been a brief outage here, others have been hard at work- it seems some satirical fun is being poked at the Moon Club.
Other news includes a look back at WOMAD Charlton Park, where Peter aired material from the forthcoming 'Scratch My Back' project in public for the first time. There's more on that project and other new music from Speed Caravan, Portico Quartet and David Rhodes amongst others. Recollections from the amazing Polar Music Prize award ceremony where Peter was presented with his award by His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden for 'groundbreaking, outward - looking and boundary-busting artistry'. This years other award winner, the Venezuelan conductor, composer and economist José Antonio Abreu is also discussed along with a new campaign to improve the rights of musicians - The Featured Artists Coalition.
"I have been busy working closely with Peter Gabriel on his 'Scratch My Back' project. This is a song swap with some of the world's most legendary artists and is due for release in the Spring. My role has been to re-interpret the music of the song's he has chosen to cover - quite honerous as some of the songs are among the best known in the last 40 years. The album will be acoustic, using only orchestral instruments (no guitars, drums or world instruments) and range in size from sparse chamber music to a much fuller orchestral sounds. We recently recorded the orchestra at Air Lyndhurst studios (George Martin's studio) in London which was an enormous thrill hearing my arrangements performed by some of the best performers in the UK. The producer of the album is Canadian legend Bob Ezrin who has recorded dozens of classic albums including Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' We performed one of the songs, Paul Simon's 'Boy In The Bubble' at Womad back in July. I have been working a lot down at Real World studios editing and mixing and will be continuing with that in the Autumn and it's been a huge privilege to work with the great man."
You can see John Metcalf at WOMAD at the Tower Festival in London this weekend performing with The Bays, The Heritage Orchestra and Simon Hale.
Images from the recording session at Air and John Metcalfe with Richard Chappell back at the Sony Oxford in the Writing Room at Real World.
The full moon is upon us, shining brightly in clear skies hear in Box. Unfortunately Peter has been unable to record the video that we intended to post this evening. Peter sends his apologies and says we will be back next month.
Until now David's been more than content to be the supporting artist in the shadows, a few paces back from the main attraction. As well as his lengthy tenure on the shoulder of Peter Gabriel, David's also been an in-demand session player, his fluid guitar lines adorning the records of Tim Finn, Talk Talk, Paul McCartney, T-Bone Burnett and even Roy Orbison. Then there's the sizeable soundtrack work he undertakes with musical partner Richard Evans, much of it for documentaries on the Discovery Channel and National Geographic. But Bittersweet is the turning of a crisp new page, a fresh chapter whose plot has yet to be written.
This month's full moon finds Peter floating in a small craft atop a large unstable liquid mass. The data connection to his location is pretty much non-existent, so there will be a hiatus in the video updates this month.
Here in Box, were not even sure there is a moon anymore as nothing but thick grey cloud and heavy precipitation has been experienced for quite some time. We hope it's still up there. Assuming it is, we'll be back with an update next month.
A new documentary entitled 'The Real World of Peter Gabriel' directed by Georg Maas and Dieter Zeppenfeld will be broadcast simultaneously in Germany and in France on Arte TV next Thursday, 6th of august at 11.20pm. The documentary will also be broadcast on Sunday 9th of August at 12.55pm.
The film was inspired by the 20th Anniversary of Real World Records and the release of last years long gestating collaborative album 'Big Blue Ball'. This record was a result of some of the legendary 'Real World Recording Weeks' which took place in the 1990's, where musicians from all over the world would get together and make music. The film gives an insight on the extraordinary atmosphere in which these sessions were held and also on the philosophy of Real World on the process of recording with producers and artists that come from different cultural backgrounds.
Peter Gabriel himself got personal insights on the social and political conditions and problems in many countries by working with musicians from all around the world. In consequence he initiated political initiatives for Human Rights, like 'Witness' and 'The Elders'
The filmmakers spent time at Real World going through the archives, filming interviews with key staff, including Peter Gabriel himself and also watching a recording session as it took place - 'Syriana' - a forthcoming project on Real World Records.
Follow the links below to the Big Blue Ball artist page and to Arte TV.
If you are in Europe on Thursday or Sunday make sure you tune in to this fabulous documentary!