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This album was created by Peter Gabriel as his musical contribution to the stunning acrobatic performances that took place in the old Millennium Dome.
The album is similar in many ways to Gabriel's masterpiece with Genesis, 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway'. Like 'The Lamb', OVO's songs are part of a larger story and includes actual characters and plots in what Gabriel describes as a structure of "three acts."
The story is quite complicated and thankfully the album includes a full explanation of the songs and the fairytale-like narrative that weaves them together. Gabriel was influenced in imagining the complete story by studying British folk myths and legends. The instruments used also are drawn from ancient traditional music traditions.
Gabriel takes lead vocals on Father, Son and on other tracks contributes backing vocals or has a guest spot. The other vocalists include Peter Buchanan (who sounds uncannily like Gabriel) and Elizabeth Frazer, whose rich voice is like that of a sorceress casting a spell on her audience. Funky Nenah Cherry also contributes.
There are some unique instrumental areas on this album - honestly like nothing I've ever heard before or since. Lyrically, the Father, Son lament is very moving and feels like a very personal and honest portrayal of family relations.
Downside-Up is a cute and energetic number which Gabriel would later cover himself in his live concerts. It moves from something that begins with a man whistling to himself quietly and in a carefree manner to something that is exploding with noise and passion and with voices that scream out in celebration. It is a stunning moment and probably the lightest (in terms of atmosphere) on the album.
Make Tomorrow is an epic ten minute track that has a mature message and really pricks the conscience. The refrain is haunting.
The CD is enhanced and contains the video of The Nest That Sailed The Sky, The Story of OVO.
This is definately an album you should listen to if you are a Peter Gabriel fan. Even if you aren't you will probably be emotionally effected by the story of OVO. It is clear that a lot of work went into making this album
This album is superb. If you saw the show at the Millennium Dome, you probably know that OVO by Peter Gabriel is the music for that show. If you didn't go to the Dome, but are a Peter Gabriel fan, you have probably heard of this album. If you had no interest in the Dome at all, and know nothing of Peter Gabriel apart from the hit single 'Sledgehammer', then you too should give this a go. The music is truly brilliant. A quote from the man himself, who describes his album better than I can: "As well as drawing on many references within our own folk traditions, the music also draws on the cultural origins of the many people that now comprise contemporary British culture. It layers Asian, African, Middle Eastern, Australian and European elements against a mostly contemporary British backdrop. From 12 century hurdy-gurdy to didgeridoo, from the pulsing rhythms of the Dhol Foundation and the nostalgic brass of the Black Dyke Band, from Arab laments over drum and bass to meditative moments with string section - the soundtrack is a really eclectic mix." I found this passage on the website www.petergabriel.com Hearing the music of my favourite artist played in the acoustics of the Dome was wonderful. I saw the show twice, and knew that the music was something really special. I bought the CD soon after, and have played it almost constantly since. The international album (NOT the Dome release) begins with 'The story of Ovo', a slow, rhythmic rap. This is really to set the scene for those who didn't see the show, and serves this purpose well. It is a great track, performed by Neneh Cherry and Rasco and accompanied by various sounds - didgeridoo, synthesisers, bodhran, and vocals from PG and Omi. From Track 2 onwards the music changes. You will hear many different vocalists as you listen to the album - my favourites being Alison Goldfrapp (tracks 3 and 5), Elizabeth Fraser (tracks 10
and 12) and PG himself (solo in track 6). Also featured are Iarla O Lionaird, Paul Buchanan and Richie Havens. Many many fine musicians have contributed to this album in one way or other - those of you who have the PG album 'Secret World Live' will recognise the fantastic drumming of Manu Katche (heard at its best in track 7), as well as the guitars of David Rhodes and the bass of Tony Levin. The ethnic musician Shankar is also on this, playing his double violin and adding backing vox to track 2. The haunting brass of the Black Dyke Band is heard on tracks 6 and 10, and the drumming of the Dhol Foundation appears frequently throughout. Everything about this music is amazing. The tunes are great, the lyrics clever and apt, the musicians first-class, and the sound phenomenal (play it loud on a good system, you'll see what I mean). It has been engineered/produced and mixed with great care and attention to detail. Although it fitted with the spectacle of the show perfectly, it also stands on its own as a piece of music. As a fan of PG I love to hear his voice, so track 6 ('Father, Son') is my favourite, but all the others come joint second! Track 5 contains 'The Weavers Reel', which includes all the elements mentioned in PG's quote above, and is a joyful romp through Celtic rhythms and Asian modal harmonies. Track 7 - 'The Tower that ate People' - is a typical PG song, given the OVO treatment and sounding fantastic. (If you want a taster of this one, a version of it can be heard over the closing credits of the recent film 'Red Planet'). Other highlights are Track 10 'Downside-Up', and 12 'Make Tomorrow' with its wonderful, hopeful lyrics. 'when it feels hopeless, make tomorrow today' I cannot recommend this album enough. Buy or borrow a copy and just listen.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Story Of OVO
2 Low Light
3 Time Of The Turning/Man Who Loved The Earth
4 Hand That Sold Shadows/The Time Of The Turning (Reprise)
5 Weavers Reel
6 Father Son
7 Tower That Ate People
9 White Ashes
10 Downside Up
11 Nest That Sailed The Sky
12 Make Tomorrow