OVO: The Millennium Show

Released 12th June, 2000

The Millennium Dome is Limited Edition 2CD release featuring the music that makes up the OVO album plus a 46 page The Story Of OVO colour, CD-sized storybook.

The Millennium Dome is Peter’s soundtrack to the Millennium Dome Show, the 160-artist extravaganza that underwent 999 performances during the 365 days in 2000 that the Dome was open. Helping to tell the story of three generations of the same family living through three distinct eras – the past, the present, the future – Peter’s soundtrack drew from deep, long-held tradition and from contemporary grooves.

The album boasts a stellar cast, including Cocteau Twin Elizabeth Fraser, Neneh Cherry, Alison Goldfrapp and Paul Buchanan from The Blue Nile.

Here’s Peter’s quote from the original Millennium Dome Press Release:

“A couple of months ago I was invited by Mark Fisher to join him to create a show for the Millennium Dome. Despite some initial doubts I was happy to get involved as it was clear that the project was going ahead and that something really unusual could be done.

Mark Fisher is an extraordinary designer, the best in his field, and I am really enjoying our initial brainstorming sessions. We are spending the first few months creating the narrative and concept, then he will focus on the design and I will work on the music. I hope to involve many others from different musical backgrounds in the process.”

And here, Peter talks about the inspiration behind the music:

“One of the ideas that interested me was trying to present two views of Britain. One is the British sensibility, with references from history and folk music. Against that we wanted to set a more contemporary Britain, which would be more multi-cultural and it would include Asian elements, African, Australian – as sort of broader mixture of influences. So that that end, the Dhol Foundation put in some Asian rhythms, we have some African rhythms from Adzido, there is some didgeridoo and Arabian rhythmic elements as well. The brass band grew out of the mining villages and in reference to the industrial era, the middle section of the record, they provided a very evocative and nostalgic sound.

Because we were telling a story with different characters, it seemed much more effective to have different people singing their parts. We have a lot of great vocalists working on this record, and that was exciting for us. Elizabeth Fraser is singing Sofia, the daughter. I loved her singing with the Cocteau Twins and more recently with Massive Attack and I was very happy that she was willing to get involved. There is a tenderness and vulnerability in her voice, which is very appealing, and I think she is very musical  – the way she was improvising in certain places was very strong.

The part of the father is sung be Richie Havens. I have known him for a couple of years and often come across him at human rights protests – he is a really warm man with a lived-in, rich voice. Paul Buchanan sings the part of Skyboy. When I first heard The Blue Nile many years ago now, I was blown away by the vocals and Paul, whom I met on a few occasions, was very happy to take the main part. I do Ion, the industrial megalomaniac from Act 2 on ‘The Tower That Ate People’, and that was fun because it was a bluesy distorted voice, which was a fun thing to sing.

One of the problems that we had early on in this quite impressionistic show was telling the story, and people were getting very little in terms of hard information as to what the hell is going on. So we thought about a narrator and I thought maybe we could do it as a rap. We were introduced to this rapper Rasco through BT, who was collaborating on some of the music and production on this project. BT is a sort of virtuoso programmer. I liked the idea and felt it would be even better is we added a female voice and Neneh Cherry was willing to come along and take part, which was great. I think the rap does a better job of telling the story than the album or the show does alone.”

NB: Quotes taken from an interview conducted in 2000.