Jung Hearts Run Free

Looking out the window
I see the red dust clear
High up on the red rock
Stands the shadow with the spear

The land here is strong
Strong beneath my feet
it feeds on the blood
it feeds on the heat

Oh Yes! Greetings from a very soggy, stormy Liverpool day – some of my chums are going to watch Peter Gabriel tonight which got me playing Peter Gabriel.  Okay so I know that’s not much help, since all his best albums are called Peter Gabriel, but I’ve been playing Peter Gabriel – not that Peter Gabriel, or that Peter Gabriel or even, Peter Gabriel.  Good to get that all cleared up*.

Freaky-ass cover art, doesn't scream 'Security' to me
Freaky-ass cover art, doesn’t scream ‘Security’ to me

Funnily enough I don’t listen to Peter Gabriel a huge amount, not nearly as much as I should do.  I tend to find his first four albums sonically very dense, you really have to work at them in order to pick the best out of them.  That’s no criticism at all, or maybe just criticism of my own limited attention span and need for obvious kicks.  However all the Peter Gabriel albums repay any investment you make, umm, fourfold and particularly this one.  I had an indecent amount of fun listening to this album last night with the lights off.

You know what you’re getting here right from the off, Gabriel had long since eschewed anything resembling trad rock and pop composition and there’s a very good, but very much of its’ time documentary on the making of the LP which shows him gleefully smashing windscreens, banging pipes and recording as many African rhythms as he possible can and then Fairlighting and playing about with them to within an inch of their life.

Peter Gabriel Security 07

A case in point is the opener ‘Rhythm of the Heat’, based on that old rock and roll cliché of Carl Jung’s experiences confronting his own subconscious in Africa – basically ‘Jung Hearts Run Free’.  This is Gabriel at his most potent, portentous and pretentious**; it’s freaking amazing.  The sinister, sinuous rhythms pulsing below that voice, which he alternates between angelic yowl and spoken.  It’s difficult to write about because the impact of this track is an emotional, rather than an intellectual one.  I’d never read up on what the song was about until yesterday and knowing doesn’t either add, or detract from that at all.  The section that precedes the rhythmic freak-out where Gabriel intones ‘Smash the radio / No outside voices here’, gives me goosebumps*^.

Peter Gabriel Security 01

But let’s not blow all my word allowance and enthusiasm on the opening track, as usual.  The steamy, sparse ‘San Jacinto’ is next up, the delicate marimba-based backing building masterfully throughout to a plateau and then dying away to an uneasy coda with a rasp of affirmation,

We will walk – on the land
We will breathe – of the air
We will drink – from the stream
We will live – hold the line

The song is about the overwhelming of native American culture by mainstream modern American culture and in lesser hands could become the aural equivalent of the hackneyed poster featuring the stoic brave and his single tear, but due to the unorthodox instrumentation and passion Gabriel brings to the song, we avoid any such pitfalls.

Pre-shocked monkey
Pre-shocked monkey

My other real favourite here is ‘Shock The Monkey’, although I find the video genuinely disturbing but that’s probably more to do with having a bit of an ape problem^, rather than a fear of face-painted man writhing around an office trying to reconcile the animal and the intellectual in his nature; possibly.  If you look at the lyrics a lot of the album seems to be about dichotomy, old/new, animal/intellectual, conscious/unconscious and life/death.  These themes knock through into the music too.  On ‘Shock The Monkey’, I love the way this track, probably the most accessible on the album, reaches such a funky sound, entirely from left-field.  There’s a good argument to be made by more erudite folks than I about Peter Gabriel being a great soul singer and this track is definitely evidence to support the motion.

Post-shocked monkey
Post-shocked monkey

There are a couple of tracks on Peter Gabriel that don’t float my boat, I’ve never seen much in ‘Lay Your Hands On Me’, or ‘Kiss Of Life’, but overall it is an excellent and intriguing listen if you have the appropriate time and attention to give it.  The musicianship is, you will know already, pretty damn perfect; a crack crew involving Jerry Marotta, Tony Levin, David Rhodes and Larry Fast, as well as Peter Hamill adding backing vocals on three tracks.  Watching the documentary on the making of the album it was very interesting to see just how much Peter Gabriel was involved in every single miniscule aspect of the sound, it really was a solo album albeit projected through others’ skills at times.

Peter Gabriel Security 06

The parallels between this album and Kate Bush’ The Dreaming, which she wrote starting from a similar point^^ is striking.  Two, towering, very English musical talents, straining to leave the shores of Albion through the means of rhythm and succeeding.

Peter Gabriel Security 03
PTSD monkey

Plus, monkey that I am, I’m a bit of a sucker for smart-ass lyrics,

Fox the fox
Rat the rat
You can ape the ape
I know about that
There is one thing you must be sure of
I can’t take any more
Darling, don’t you monkey with the monkey

482 Down.

P.S – I didn’t even give you chapter and verse on ‘The Family & The Fishing Net’ and it’s macabre comparison of the marriage ceremony and voodoo rites – that’s almost a whole other post.

*Okay spoilsports this is Peter Gabriel 4/Security/IV if you must know.
**and possibly other words beginning with ‘P’.
*^or to give them their full Latin name, Greatuneius Bumpinious.  True story.
^I’m not keen.
^^being, as she says, very influenced by Gabriel, Eno & Byrne.
P.P.S – Mr Gabriel doesn’t appear to be down with the whole Spotify thang, so this is the best I can offer you.

43 thoughts on “Jung Hearts Run Free

  1. He’s never to far from the listening machine. Good review. I’ve been listening to him for a long time and I always pick up some Roger Chapman in his voice. Similarities on things they do. Maybe CB’s hearing things.

      1. That’s a hard one. I’m a fan of all their music. It’s hard to pigeon hole. I think they were popular on your side but never get the love CB thinks they deserved. Maybe an acquired taste because of Chapman’s vocals. Try ‘Bandstand’. Also I really like Streetwalkers (‘Red Card’) the band Chapman and Whitney formed after. Knowing your tastes a bit, the later band has a hard rock edge plus they have album covers I think you’ll like. Both these bands will be turning up on CB takes if anyone gives a shit.

      1. See that’s the problem, giving them the attention. I’ve just discovered a band called the Kinks. Maybe you’ve heard of them? I’m 42 years old and just now getting around to the Kinks. But by God do I suddenly love the Kinks!

      2. It’s all so much easier when you were a kid, I used to spend days listening to certain LPs – I mean that quite literally, days.

        I put Victoria on a ‘please go out with me’ compilation for my wife once!

      3. OH COOOL. I hope she has that tape still. I found the first CD I made for my wife.

        I know what you mean. I remember listening to the original Zeppelin box in one massive 5 hour session. I might have taken a break to eat some lunch. Then knowing me I probably dove in to listen to more music a few hours later.

      4. A tangent: imagine an ex-girlfriend finding one of our old mix tapes and posting about it on THEIR blog. Because you know we would do that if we found a tape they made for us!

      5. I sincerely hope that all my ex’s threw out my mix tapes. None of them liked good music anyhow 😉 They didn’t appreciate Savatage, Marillion, Jethro Tull and the rest.

      6. Dude. No kidding.

        I did put Cinderella Search on quite a few mix tapes, Jigsaw too. One girlfriend received new Marillion mix tapes regularly until she confessed she listened to them only once and didn’t like Marillion.

        But at least she played them once!

        She HATED Jethro Tull. I was like, seriously? How can anyone hate Jethro Tull.

        Sorry to have highjacked your thing here.

      7. Was it love in your eyes I saw, or a reflection of mine? I’ll never really know for sure, we never really gave it time!

        It’s one of my fave tracks of theirs, period.

        If this were an Oprah/Springer style show, this is where we’d bring her on screen – the writing underneath reads ‘Chrissie HATED Mike’s mixes’.

      8. Never the nets, never the nets, never the nets, nevertheless nevertheless!

        Fish is a poet and I don’t give a crap what the critics say. His stuff resonates with me and that’s the important thing!

        Thankfully I never dated a Chrissie. The most embarrassing name was Jazzy.

  2. I really don’t know enough of Peter Gabriel’s stuff. This sounds utterly magnificent, though. I definitely gotta be checking this out …

      1. Oooo I have a vinyl of that one. I second the recommend!

        I was just talking with Rich about Gabriel-era Genesis. Dammit now I need to get going on his solo career too!

  3. I don’t know if it’s because I just had my performance review at work but P. Gab and Katie B’s “Don’t Give Up” have been earworming in my brains.

  4. How about this for a description of Gabriel’s voice:
    “A voice that emerged from way down deep in his throat, and could go from barking violence to wilful ugliness to something that went beyond beauty because beauty wasn’t what it was gunning for.” [Tom Juno, “Out, Angels Out” in Yes Is The Answer; Barnacle Books, LA, USA 2014]

  5. I really am Peter Gabriel-deficient. The doctor even told me I needed to increase my Gabriel weekly intake by at least one or two songs, preferably pre-‘Us’.

    I had the ‘Peter Gabriel’ album that had the song “Intruder” on it, as Primus did a hell of a cover of it on their ‘Miscellaneous Debri’ ep way back in 1991. I enjoyed the Gabriel version(his was even weirder), but didn’t listen to the album all that much. I had ‘Us’ on cassette as well and liked it quite a lot.

    I should heed my doctor’s advice.

    1. Make sure you get your dose. I hear a rumour that in particularly bad cases Gabriel-deficiency can only be rectified by suppositories. So please, for the sake of all dignity, get hold of some soon! This is a good one to stream.

Leave a Reply