Peter Gabriel - Up - 2002


Is there anyone who doesn’t know this genius of music?. Is there anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to enjoy any of this so especial musician’s work?. To talk about Peter Gabriel nowadays and in progVisions is like trying to reinvent the gunpowder. I can not introduce for the first time something that has delighted us for years. Sometimes, it is harder to talk about something known than intending to account for something that we don’t know about. When you haven’t got a previous history of something, the writing tends to confirm what you are saying or writing.Peter Gabriel is a whole history himself and it’s impossible and also not fare to talk about what he is and what he has done for the modern music history in a few lines. It maybe possible to explain or try to give a brief description of his last work called "Up", although I still have my doubts.


It has been ten years since his last record, and people have been waiting for this moment very anxiously. After Us, a record that was not treated very well by the press. A record that didn’t host one of his best works but that I think it had its moments, with many hints of what we always had loved about his music.

It’s very far going backwards to the times of "PG2" and "PG3", isn’t it?; but it’s just that, it’s just time because I think that with "Up" he regains again some of those formulas, although there are some things from "So" or "Us". More introspective music, more intimate passages among some brilliant and shinny pieces. A magnificent voice for a very good album that has a bit of everything and a lot of everything too.

There are ten songs that elapses within 4 and 7 minutes. A record that is neither very short nor very long. We also can find great side musicians who play their instruments in order to carry out the Gabriel’s ideas as brilliant as they can. The main characters chance depending on the composition but we can see some big names such as Tony Levin (bass), Manu Katche (percussion), David Rhodes (guitars). The other instruments like the keyboards, the programming devises and the orchestras are taken over by some different people and they do it great, as the rest of the band.

“Darkness” is a piece that develops through two different ways. One is built on a noisy percussion and distorted keys retaking again the old exchange of ideas that Gabriel had with Robert Fripp by the end of the seventies and the beginning of the eighties. The other part is a fantastic melody of melancholic tune. Both ideas are shuffled framing the music perfectly well. “Growing Up” is a rythmic and fast composition similar to the songs in So or maybe Us. It is simple but with an interesting development right from the beginning. With “Sky Blue” he shows us his profound influences coming from the ethnic and tribal fields. A song that with a mid-low tempo moves like the “Biko” side of Gabriel but not reaching the unceasing and desperate cry of the latter. “No way out” sounds like "So" with strength, tempo and an excellent vocal work that reminds “In your eyes” or “Red Rain”. “I grieve” is the fifth piece and a nice song that makes a progression from the darkest musical night to a bright end. It is full of intensity and of wavy movements using pleasant and at the same time sad passages. “The Barry Williams Show” is the single. It is a cluster of synthetic and analog bits pushed by a funny melody and the choruses that turns the song into something like a dance song. He also introduces wind instruments here.

“My Head Sounds Like This” takes the record again to the intimate path where the keys and the voice of his does all the work. A composition that changes its color without being risky and that remind us again of his beginnings. “More than this” is very similar to “No way out” with a mid-tempo and a great vocal work. “Signal to Noise” is maybe the most spectacular song with an epic development full of beautiful sounding, with ethnic voices and an orchestra that fills the space lifting the music to high places. “The Drop” closes the CD with a simple melody of the master and his hands posing on the piano keys.

It is like a collection of musical happenings. I’ve always had this kind of sensation with Gabriel’s music, the sensation that every song is a happening not a piece of music, after every piece it seems that something has happen beyond the music.


To conclude I just would like to tell you that in progVisions we always rate the CD’s, but in this case the rating is something that you don’t have to pay much attention. I’m not able and I think very few people can make a valuation of the master’s work using some stars or some other way of rating. It’s a recommended record that I think it won’t leave any listener with a hint of musical sensibility unsatisfied, out or outside the prog-rock of course.

author - date - rating - label

Jordi Costa - October 2002 -   - Real World