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Peter Gabriel
PLAY: THE VIDEOS
(WARNER MUSIC VISION)

A collection of somebodyís old videos ó who cares? Well, if that somebody has done as much to revolutionize the medium as Peter Gabriel, you should. Few artists have so consistently wedded their music to such rich visuals, most of which defy easy interpretation. The promo clip for "Shock the Monkey," with its freaky tribal face paint and trio of malicious dwarves, burned itself into this writerís brain back in 1982; more than two decades later, itís lost none of its charge. Of course, the most famous selection here is 1986ís phantasmagoric "Sledgehammer," made in collaboration with Aardman Animations (the folks responsible for Wallace and Gromit). But thereís a lot more to Play, including the time-lapse-garden creepiness of "Digging in the Dirt," the evocative chiaroscuro studies of "Red Rain," and Gabrielís very first video, 1977ís "Modern Love," in which he wildly gesticulates on an escalator while wearing a modified fencing outfit. More-recent clips reveal this art-rock iconís transformation into a chubby bald guy with a white goatee, which takes a little getting used to. Still, one look at the featureless floating embryos in "The Drop" proves that Gabriel and his collaborators continue to craft haunting images.

By Mac Randall


Issue Date: December 31, 2004 - January 6, 2005
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