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Secret World Project

Secret World Project

Immerse yourself in the secret world of Peter Gabriel


Preface:

The Secret World - Immerse yourself in the secret world of musician Peter Gabriel. The Polish music project of the same name has nothing less in mind with its interpretation of the artist's songs. With partly minimalist, partly symphonic music, it aims to take listeners on a journey into Gabriel's soundscapes, which are characterised by feelings, atmospheres and images.

 

Background, album and project title

Piotr Grausch is the mastermind behind the project. Even at a young age, he was fascinated by Peter Gabriel's music and always wanted to hear his pieces interpreted only on piano. He is a building contractor and has set up a foundation to promote culture (DIFA). The DIFA made it possible to create a concept for financing the project, among other things. When it came to realising Piotr's dream, more and more musicians joined him alongside pianist Szymon Siwierski. The idea of a collective collaboration was born. If you're not just going to make music as a soloist, why not release the resulting music on a recording with an elaborate graphic design?

Piotr Grausch is known as a quiet, introverted person. So it can be no coincidence that he chose this title. The choice of tracks is also reflected in this. Around the songs Here Comes The Flood and Mercy Street, lesser-known pieces from Peter Gabriel's oeuvre were selected. Songs that are also partly instrumentals in the original. Some of them come from the film scores for Birdy and Passion.

Oh, we haven't even mentioned that there are no vocals at all.

 

Cover artwork:

Secret World Project CoverCool, lonely, Nordic landscapes bear witness to dreamlike, dark depths of the soul. They are interspersed with transparent cubes. These cubes sometimes glow bright yellow, sometimes erotic red, but also black like a piece of coal, or white like cotton wool or snow. One recognises shadowy figures, dives into worlds that lie in worlds that ...

These are breathtaking photographs that congenially accompany the pieces. The music in combination with them could turn an installation, an exhibition into a highlight. Brian Eno's ambient video installations come to the reviewer's mind. He would like to see a vinyl edition with a larger booklet.


Musicians:

Szymon Siwierski: grand piano, synths
Patryk Rynkiewicz: trumpet
Agnieszka Kowalczyk: cello
Piotr Jaraszkiewicz: drums
Maciej Pruchniewicz: guitars
Marcin Pater: vibraphone
Paulina Frackowiak: bass
Piotr Jaraszkiewicz: drums
Jakub Mizeracki: guitars
Adam Fordon: drums
Agnieszka Kowalczyk: cello
Mieszko Nowacki: handpan
Katarzyna Fiebiger: crystal harp


Songs:


Start 1:25

What a bizarre beginning! In the original on PG III, the fragment-like piece introduces I Don't Remember as a saxophone solo on synthesiser carpets, or does it? Isn't it rather a short musical fragment on its own? Here it becomes an equally short cello solo piece. It is carried by a wonderful melancholy. While the original is characterised by the groovy saxophone with its extroverted jazziness, here it is magically suggestive. As if spellbound, we are drawn into the secret world ...


Here Comes The Flood 5:02

... to let the flood crash over us. Piano, cello, caressed drums and a wonderful trumpet, which takes over the vocal part, flow along. The melody is drawn out in an almost unbearably beautiful way until it reaches a crescendo and gently fades away.


Mercy Street 4:00

A gently floating piano sings the melody in high notes that have something otherworldly about them. A trumpet breathes in. The cello takes the music to distant and yet close (inner) worlds. Anne Sexton's suffering, her loneliness and her despair are interpreted incredibly beautifully here. The reviewer loves the original and has now been joined by an alternative that moves him to tears - a highlight!


With This Love 4:01

Like raindrops, the piano sparkles, the cello begins to celebrate the melody, supported by the piano. If the original of Passion is already characterised by a lamenting sadness, this version plunges us into deep despair, which is released in a deep cry from minute 3:33. This is modern, almost minimalist chamber music.


Wallflower 3:48

The song from PG IV is touchingly beautiful in its naively simple sound painting. Yes, the piano captures this fragile, brittle beauty. The cello sings the hymn to the disenfranchised. Together they let the music speak as an indictment of the injustices in the world.


Lead A Normal Life 4:51

We return to PG III, the album with which Peter's sound playfulness began. The original is characterised by staccato-like dabs of vibraphone. Synthesisers and distorted voices awaken the madness. Here, the intro is taken over by a piano accompanied by cello and a wonderfully jazzy guitar. Then, at last, come the vibraphone dabs, but pitched higher. The interpretation may lack the drive of the original at first, but as the song progresses, it becomes wonderfully jazzy. A fantastic sound collage literally explodes at the end. This could also have come from an ECM album. Another highlight!


Love To Be Loved 4:14

The path leads us to US. Impressionistic sounds, created by keyboards and guitar, calm the listener. Soft drums lead us into the melody. The piece now takes on a wonderfully jazzy drive. However, the melody only serves as the basis for jazzy excursions by the guitar and piano. With a wink, this "therapy piece" is interpreted very freely by US - simply cool.


Slow Marimbas 3:38

The ambient piece originally comes from the Birdy soundtrack. This interpretation is similarly floating. The marimba is replaced by a handpan (a brass instrument).

Here, the Secret World Project stays very close to the original.


Soft Dog 5:24

The song is the B-side of the single Shock The Monkey. If the original is already bizarre (a kind of bass line around which strange vocals, synthesiser carpets, saxophone outbursts and noises are grouped), this version is even more so. Here, too, the instruments are distorted, the bass line is provided by a weird guitar over which a clarinet plays. The drums drive the piece forward until everything descends into chaos. Mmm, is this free jazz with klezmer and metal sounds?


Of These, Hope 4:51

Nine musicians now play together to make the fantastic piece by Passion sound like a dense, grand symphonic romantic film music masterpiece. A piano solo provides a brief respite before the trumpet calls for the grand finale. An electric guitar solo brings it to a proggy end. The third highlight.

A worthy conclusion to the album? Not at all, because we still have the B-side of the single Big Time...


Curtains 1:28

The original is an unfortunately little-known quiet meditative song with barely audible vocals from Peter. This version beguiles with a breathy piano that forms a short epilogue to the album and closes the circle.


All In All

In the booklet, Peter Gabriel is cited:

"I love music that takes me to the unknown."

The Secret World Project have fulfilled this motto. They lead the audience into the unknown with both the selection and the interpretation of the pieces. They immerse themselves congenially in Peter's secret world and even create a new one out of it. Their range extends from chamber music to jazz, rock and ambient. While the album begins in a restrained, almost minimalist manner, it builds up to the symphonic anthem Of These, Hope, only to fade out again in a minimalist manner with Curtains.

This dense, intense music forces us to concentrate and listen. If you let yourself in for it, it spreads a hypnotic power that draws you into a fabulous unknown land - that of music.

A critical remark is allowed at the end. The complex music and the selection of pieces will limit the circle of those interested to Peter Gabriel nerds and lovers of serious music in the style of Johann Johannson or the "ambient jazz" albums of the ECM label. But maybe the project only wants to appeal to them?


Author: Thomas Jesse


Secret World Project is availavle on steaming platfoms and digital distributors. Physical copies (CD, Vinyl) are harder to find, we are only aware of JustForKicks in Germany.


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