Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Soundtrack of My Life. (Peter Gabriel)

petergabriel

In any other instance, I would view the confluence of details with skepticism. I think Peter Gabriel’s music is something so otherworldly, something approaching sacred, and yet something so easily recognizable, that of course his last name is also that of an archangel.

At times, the conviction of his compositions, coupled with the sincerity and clarity of his vocals, registers within me like some form of futuristic gospel, hymns from a civilization far in the future, after all the theologies have evolved and spread themselves wide among the populations living under the fire of Alpha Centauri. Echoes of their ancestors still swimming in the curves of the ancient consonants. Here is the music that the universe absorbs on rainy afternoons. It influences nebulae, it plays politics with metaphysics. Peter Gabriel’s music is on speaking terms with entropy, a fractal form working its way slowly to the center of time.

And yet, it all seems so distinctly damned human. For as much as I hear his music shooting out into the cosmos, it also remains acutely aware of the single planet we inhabit, of the oneness of the species. It delves into the abyss of the human soul, unearthing our greed, our hatred, our inherent human flaws, lays them bare to the light and attempts to repair them before tossing them back in. It also comes up with love, with a passion that is pure without being utterly sexless, it celebrates the subtle permanence of childhood and the perpetual test of age. Peter Gabriel seems to understand mortality on a level few can grasp. His music bursts with hope even in the face of inevitability.

In the world right now there is an incomprehensible number creeping towards us from a hazy horizon, there are stirrings of apocalypse. There are tears that do not stop flowing, there are enough coffins floating in water to hold up to the face of a loving god and say “I read your book. You promised this wouldn’t happen again.”

In the midst of that, I need Peter Gabriel’s music. I need him to explain to me; not why or how something as horrible as wrathful tsumani can occur, but why it is that such a thing does not destroy the survivors as utterly as it destroyed its victims.

I need him to remind me of the miracle that is us. The uncommon combination of divinity and tangible substance within all of us, that which makes us take enough notice of ourselves to notice when so many of us are simply no longer there.

I need his music fortifying my spine. And it does. And I thank him.

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This entry was posted on December 30, 2004 by in Critique, Music, Politics, Soundtrack.
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