The greatest surprise in this year’s SWU press conference was Peter Gabriel’s return to Brazil (after almost 18 years) – and this time, not with guitars or drums, but a complete orchestra: The New Blood Orchestra.
Here come the questions: “Can a rock idol’s concert work without the genre’s traditional instruments? With no beats? No loops or samples, which characterize his most popular phase in the 80′s as well as his albums So?
It’s worth noting that referring to Peter Gabriel as a rock idol may be considered a mistake, since he is one of the artists that thinks ahead the most in regards to pop music. Though having started as the vocalist to one of the pillars of progressive rock in the 70′s, Geneses, Gabriel is far from being just a “dinosaur”. He is the kind of restless artist, who believe we are entering a time in which beauty can be found in imperfection. With electronic drums, or a synthesizer you are able to reproduce perfect sounds, in other words something very distant from a natural, opaque instrumental sound.
Meanwhile, with a collection of cords and acoustic instruments, as found in as orchestra, you will find imperfections. Even when dealing with exquisite musicians, it is impossible for tone variations not to occur.
The emotion pressed through by every element in an orchestra, every individual instrument, will also alter the final result. In short, there is a vital vibration that arises from the acoustic instruments being performed live, in the heat of the moment. It is exactly this, which has lead Peter Gabriel to gear towards this new project and it should please everyone who will attend his long awaited performance at our 2011 SWU Festival.
Scratch My Back, the vocalist’s most recent bet on the human touch, is organic and real, during the apex of technological outbreak. In his intriguing album, Gabriel re-reads songs by other artists, filling them in with strings. Simply his voice, and the orchestra.
Other artists and current projects, such as Owen Pallett, These Puritans Nyman, are walking along the same line, flirting with classic contemporary music. Would this be the beginning of a rebellion against the presence of technology in music?
Peter Gabriel comments: “It is very difficult to look from the outside when your inside. When you think about it, when you have a lot of the same thing, other things start looking more attractive.” He said to the British magazine Classic Rock, three months ago.
About 1973, the rich sounds of Genesis resounded like a symphony of long suites of modern instruments, Peter Gabriel closed a cycle and created a new symphony, abandoning the electronic effects and betting again on the beauty of human imperfection.
The line-up of the SWU Music and Arts Festival in Paulinia (Nov. 12 to 14 2011) was published right now and PG was one of the 5 first names revealed (among Black Eyed Peas, Damian Marley, Snoop Dogg, and Megadeth.)