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Big Blue Ball
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Manufacturer: REAL WORLD
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5

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Binding: Audio CD
EAN: 0884108014523
Manufacturer: REAL WORLD
Number Of Discs: 1
Publisher: REAL WORLD
Release Date: 2008-06-24

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Editorial Reviews:

Big Blue Ball is the long-awaited, much-anticipated collection of stand-out tracks culled from the all-star, pan-global collaborations that took place over three years of Peter Gabriel s legendary Recording Week gatherings at his state-of-the-art Real World Studios in the English countryside.

Produced by Peter Gabriel, Karl Wallinger (of World Party, Waterboys) and Stephen Hague (Pet Shop Boys, OMD), it s a nonstop stream of poignant, sterling performances by a truly stellar lineup of artists-- including Gabriel, Wallinger, Sinead O Connor, Natacha Atlas, Iarla O Lionaird and James McNally (both of Afro Celt Sound System), Papa Wemba, Joseph Arthur, Tanzania s late music legend Hukwe Zawose, Hungary s Marta Sebestyen, Tim Finn, Cameroonian starFrancis Bebey, Vernon Reid, Justin Adams, Jah Wobble, Billy Cobham, Rupert Hine, gospel group the Holmes Brothers, flamenco guitarist Juan Canizares, Japanese percussionist Joji Hirota, and many more...in all totaling 75 artists from over 20 countries.

It s like a wall of sound coming at you, listening to the planet from outer space, says Karl Wallinger of the final mix. It s a real world-view of music, a snapshot of the music-making continents at that time. It s a more apt time to release it now than ever before. I think it s actually gathered weight with time, because it s people from all over the world playing together, just getting on together. There s an iconic aspect about that which is probably more important now. Things have become more partisan. It s a timely reminder of how you can cooperate.

Big Blue Ball s songs were created and recorded between 1991 and 1995, but the album has been an active work-in-progress at Real World ever since, a labor of love with ace producer Stephen Hague working closely with Peter Gabriel and Karl Wallinger. Holding the disparate elements in place is the powerful backbone of big drum tracks underpinning many of the songs. Wallinger says, Everyone was in orbit around this groove, and there is a universal language of dance, of dance grooves. That groove is the one bit that s non-denominational on the album.

Says Peter Gabriel, It s a fine wine ready to be drunk. It was the most fun music making I ve ever had. I d love to do it again.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Around the World in 11 Songs
Comment: "Big Blue Ball" is a compilation culled from Peter Gabriel's three Recording Weeks in the '90s (1991,1992,1995). Gabriel invited world music artists as diverse as Egypt's Natacha Atlas, Ireland's Sinead O'Connor, Madagascar's Rossy and Hungary's Marta Sebestyen to his home studio in Wiltshire for freeform music. Thousands of recordings were made... and these 11 made into the whole wide world.

"Big Blue Ball" is an amazing collaborative work. "Whole Thing" is an inspirational opening song. Natacha Atlas and Hossam Ramzy provide the intoxicating,sensual "Habibe (Beloved)",evocative of an amorous night in the shadow of the pyramids. "Altus Silva" blends African and Celtic music. Sinead O'Connor powerfully sings with Chinese flautists in "Everything comes from you",a powerful plea for peace and against terrorism. When you consider it was sung in '95,it was eerily prophetic. "Forest" and "Rivers" are organic pieces weaving together many musical styles. The closing song, "Big Blue Ball" is an inspirational,powerful piece. In a way,it shares sentiments with John Lennon's "Imagine." It sums up the purpose of Gabriel's Recording Weeks-to unite people through music,since we live on one "big blue ball."

"Big Blue Ball" is tantalizing as well. There are recordings still in the vault--or perhaps Gabriel should revive Recording Weeks at his Real World Studio. "Big Blue Ball" is a musical journey for the mind and the soul!

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: An enjoyable "Real World Sampler" as good as Plus From Us
Comment: First of all, the listener should know that Peter Gabriel's Big Blue Ball isn't the Next Peter Gabriel Album his fans have been waiting for. The album is the result of a series of annual musicians' festivals that Gabriel's Real World Studios threw in the early 1990s. During these "Recording Weeks" (as they were named), he and a whole bunch his talented friends got together at his studio to have fun, party, play music, and record whatever came out. The result of this was a musical motherlode that Gabriel spent over ten years editing and producing, a bit at a time, until finally the results see the light of day in "Big Blue Ball." Because of this, the album is more of a sampler of the different kinds of music produced at Real World Studios, rather than a carefully-planned concept album. In addition to a trio of his own pieces ("Whole Thing", "Burn You Up Burn You Down," "Exit Through You"), we get to hear the Real World musicians putting their own musical works together, with Gabriel's production providing the glue that binds them all together. And fortunately for us all, what could have been a mish-mash of musical mush becomes instead a sampler of the best moments from Real World Studios. If you're looking for the Next Peter Gabriel Album, you're likely to be disappointed. But if you've enjoyed the Real World compilation albums such as "Plus From Us" or the Real World Sampler promo CD released back in 1999, then "Big Blue Ball" is a delightful hodge-podge of ambient world music fusion.

When listening to music in a foreign language, I find the best way to enjoy it is to sit back and wait for a likeable beat...which is why I was hooked immediately on "Habibe," the second track; the traditional Middle Eastern instruments used here made me want to go and listen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan again. On the other hand, there's "Forest," an ambient-techno track that would fit perfectly at home on any Afro Celt Sound System album (which I love, especially their first three discs), and in between are the Celt-influenced "altus silva" and "Everything Comes Through You." Something about Papa Wemba's vocals doesn't seem to appeal to me, and I tend to skip over "Shadow" and "Jijy" as a result; but your ear for music is probably different from mine, and you may disagree on this. That's your prerogative, and I'm pleased that there are many great moments on Big Blue Ball that I can listen to over and over.

Even though Gabriel's' "Us" was fresh and new when these "Recording Weeks" took place, his own trip of songs here sound closer to "Up" than "Us"; but there's a freshness to them that is very enjoyable, a feeling that was often buried in the over-production of several tracks on "Up." I'm immediately hooked on "Exit Through You," and his (slight) remix of "Burn You Up Burn You Down" is an improvement over the first version of the song that popped up around the time of "Up." Even though he took nearly fifteen years to finish editing and producing "Big Blue Ball," Gabriel makes the album worth the wait. It's a burst of energy from Gabriel and his friends that makes me hope - once again - that the Next Peter Gabriel Album appears soon, and that it recalls the emotional and mysterious musical soundscapes of Peter Gabriel in his prime.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Not the best Gabriel album of all time, but it really isn't one
Comment: If I were to rate this as a pure PG album, it would not be on the top of the list, but as a Gabriel inspired and directed project I think it does quite well. The semi-consistant world drum groove in the background of most of the tunes helps provide a general consistency and vibe to the whole album. Burn You Up Burn You Down is a fun tune, as is the title "whole thing". This seems like more of an album you have on in the background than one you actively listen to (like 3, security or melt), but Gabriel fans won't be disappointed, and by the time you get to "Big Blue Ball" at the end, the album will already feel like an old favorite.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: Peter Gabriel's big blue ball
Comment: Having listened to the free samples, I can safely conclude that this figurative ball sack of songs is a mixed bag, as it were. The songs seem to be organized around the theme of being unable to satisfy one's deepest desire--hence, "Big Blue Ball"--and indeed, I walked away from the samples with a very real case of big blue balls (actually I merely rolled over). I wanted satisfaction but what I got only made me hurt more.

However this veritable mid-life crisis of world music is notable for highlighting the barbaric chants and whoopings of primitive countries, which lends the album a certain poignancy. I cannot listen to certain tracks without being filled with great sadness that luxuries as simple as margarine or 80/20 polyester blends have yet to reach most of the developing world.

In closing, I would advise Peter Gabriel to tackle a bigger subject next time--not to imply the size of Gabriel's own bullocks is somehow lacking, as I have no evidence despite years of unanswered fan letters in which this subject came up more than once.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: World Music at it's Best
Comment: this collection, albeit various artists and times, is quite riveting. I couldn't get it off my CD player for weeks...Every listen warranted a new attention to each song...The one constant I've learned from Peter Gabriel, you need to listen to him with a new ear. If your expecting more of the same, your not going to get it. I've always appreciated his boldness in being a pioneer in sounds, and his honesty in sharing himself. I share in his Dream of Us being One World...Idealism at it's best.

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