Monday, December 1, 2008

Genesis-The Peter Gabriel Years

Long before the band Genesis brought to mind images of Invisible Touches, puppeteering, and white guys who "can't dance"; they were progressive rock pioneers. I was flipping through the channels last week and landed on VH1 Classic which was showing a great documentary called Genesis-A History. It made me realize how great they were in those years before "ABACAB". Not to discount the work of Phil Collins; but the Peter Gabriel-era of Genesis is like Woody Allen compared to Kevin Smith.

As a huge fan of Peter Gabriel's solo work, I had never been able to penetrate the music he made during those early Genesis years (1970-1975). I thought the music always sounded too busy and abstract with no melodies. I thought the words sounded too much like the ramblings of a lunatic with a fetish for gnomes and gardens.

After listening to the spectacular new remasters of these 5 early albums I realized I was actually right. However, since those years ago that I gave up on early Genesis, my ears have been opened to a host of artists that have changed how I listen and process music. Music shouldn't always be easy to digest or accessible.

Stuff like Sonic Youth, Phish, Primus, Rush, Wilco or the excellent Fleet Foxes all use elements that I hear in those early Genesis discs. I've come to realize that my favorite albums are albums that take some time to process. Albums that present new things each time you hear them.

These early Genesis albums have so much going on in the music and lyrics that it is hard to "get into" them. But on repeated listening, I began to realize how innovative and musically inviting the material is. My favorite of all of them so far is 1970's "Foxtrot" which ends with the epic 24 minute "Supper's Ready". But if you had to own just one to start with, the one to get is 1973's "Selling England by the Pound". It is a masterpiece from start to finish and showcased the band at the peek of their innovative powers.

The remastering on these discs is simply spectacular. 1970's "Foxtrot" sounds like it was recorded in the best studio in the world just yesterday. Every nuance of the music just jumps out of your speakers in brilliant clarity.

This music may be hard to get "into", but if you play these with some headphones on and get lost in the music, you will find a truly rewording experience. A sample of some of my favorite tracks are below. I hope you enjoy these as much as I've been lately.

No comments: