.Its a good thing Gabriel took his time, too, because the final product benefits from contemporary mixing concepts and technology that simply were not on the map when the music was created as well as from the perspective hindsight brings.
More than 17 years in the making, Big Blue Ball is the brainchild of Peter Gabriel, who produced the jam sessions at his Real World studio in southwest England. Many of the songs were cut in the early '90s, but these cross-cultural experiments rarely sound dated.
Between 1991 and 1995, Peter Gabriel hosted a trio of "recording weeks" at his England studios that fostered collaborative environments for artists from around the world. The tapes from those sessions fell into disarray until producer Stephen Hague recently sorted out and completed selected pieces under the title "Big Blue Ball." The results are snapshots of a colorful landscape, an array of rich sonic patchworks from a palette so diverse that they are exotic to every ear.
Sixteen years in the making, Peter Gabriel's Big Blue Ball is now out on Real World Records. This all-star collaboration began in 1992 during a "Recording Week" at Real World Studios when Gabriel opened the doors to 75 international artists from over 20 countries. This series of weeklong residential sessions continued over three years. "The idea was to put rock musicians together with musicians from all over the world and see what happened," Gabriel says. "We ran the studio like a dating service with a 24-hour cafe."
The 11 tracks on Big Blue Ball offer a world-view of music, a snapshot of the music-making continents at that time. Featuring Gabriel on lead vocals on several tracks, performances also include Karl Wallinger, Tim Finn, Sinead O'Connor collaborating with Japanese percussionist Joji Hirota, Natacha Atlas singing with an Egyptian string section brought in by Hossam Ramzy, The Holmes Brothers with Billy Cobham on drums, and Papa Wemba's extraordinary vocals paired with the flamenco guitar of Juan Manuel Cañizares.
During the 1990s, musicians from around the world gathered for recording weeks at Real World studios. On this volume, 18 years in the mixing, Peter Gabriel sings on several tracks: Whole Thing is wonderful Real World fellow-travellers are represented: Papa Wemba and Juan Canizares mix rumba and flamenco; Sinead OConnor delivers an earnest hymn, and Natacha Atlas sings with Natacha Atlas sings with Hossam Ramzys Egyptian orchestra.
Notables include Natacha Atlas, American vocal wonders The Holmes Brothers and African legend Papa Wemba. The result is a cross-cultural blend arty Western rock, Eastern textures and African funk with moments of brilliance
Over three summers in the Nineties, Peter Gabriel assembled a wide range of musicians at his Real World Studios for sessions .The results were stunning: A global melting pot of music, we even hear the great man himself singing on four tracks. Artists including Sinead OConnor, Billy Cobham and Jah Wobble, styles include dub, rock, rap , electro and jazz with plenty of African and Asian flavours.
A mere 16 years in the making, Peter Gabriel's "Big Blue Ball" (Real World, B) has finally been judged suitable for release by the artist. It's the end result of a lengthy world-music party that brought talents from more than 20 countries to Gabriel's Real World Studios.
Gabriel sings lead on several tracks, trading licks with Karl Wallinger, Joseph Arthur and the Holmes Brothers, but mostly keeping the ball in his court. Other notable contributions include a sparking, Afro-flamenco pairing of vocalist Papa Wemba with guitarist Juan Canizares and the lovely, techno-folk-Celtic merger of Deep Forest, Arthur and Iarla O Lionaird.