Peter Gabriel

Despite hundreds of imitations since, age has not wearied Peter Gabriel's Passion (1989) and it remains one of the most potent and beautiful albums of ethno-ambient/world fusion music ever made.

artist:
Peter Gabriel

country of origin:
UK

style(s):
Progressive rock, ambient rock, world music, ethno ambient

decades active:
70's - 10's

essential releases:

  • Passion (1989, Real World)

Reviewed by Mike G

As well as forging a successful career in the mainstream since the 1970's with his visionary, adventurous rock albums - check out the slick pop of So (1986) and the murky ambient rock of Us (1992) for outstanding examples - Peter Gabriel has long-held an interest in ethnic music. Arabic and African sounds were already embedded deep in some of his pop/rock material, and setting up the Real World label in the late 80's was the fulfillment of his long-held wish to bring the music of Third World artists to Western audiences.

And Real World's first release is the reason he appears here at Ambient Music Guide. It's one of Gabriel's own efforts: the magnificent Passion (1989). This is the soundtrack album to Martin Scorcese's gritty biopic The Last Temptation Of Christ on which Gabriel fully realises the integration of ethnic music into his own contemporary framework. His core ensemble plays guitar, synthesiser and double violin and is joined by a host of native percussionists, vocalists and other musicians from North Africa and the Middle East. And the result is stunning - a potent brew of exotic, atmospheric music ranging from intense high-energy dances to dark, ethereal atmospheres with spine-tingling Arabic wails. Despite hundreds of imitations since, age has not wearied Passion and it remains one of the most potent and beautiful albums of ethno-ambient/world fusion music ever made.

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