City Of Last Things
The world of Pieter Gabriel's songs is not necessarily a sunny place. Even if they seldom touch on the political dimension of the dystopian nightmare our (western) world has become. „I killed a man and i don't believe in god. He pulled his knife. I pulled the trigger of my gun.“ („Algerian Limbo“)
Pieter Gabriel, born 1981 lives in Vienna. His father picked his name intentionally, using the dutch spelling of the first name to make sure people really get the association with Peter Gabriel. Music mattered to his father.
Music matters to Pieter, who grew up listening to tons of stuff, „fortunately on vinyl“. Reading about it almost as passionately as he used his ears to explore the secrets and the beauty, the texture and the grammar of various sounds. By 2006 the self-taught musician started to write his own songs, today referencing greats like Nick Drake, Radiohead, Slint, Jeff Buckley or My Bloody Valentine who informed his own stlye and vision. Not to forget a long-lasting love affair with thinking men's pop-sensation Talk Talk. Or Tom Waits.
Pieter does not always or foremost chronicle his own pain in his songs, or analyse his own depression and uneasyness with a world going out of hand. Yet as an musical artist he is drawn to scenes and settings with a strange, alienating undercurrent. In the 8 songs of his first album „City Of Last Things“ you might find traces of writers like Paul Auster or Albert Camus, or a mood of impending doom not unlike the one dominating that great movie „Blade Runner“. Some might even hear voices („They shouted: Don't shoot! Just run!“ – „Voices“). There's even love, it's end and the endless doubts that come packaged with it. There's the desire to leave it all behind, to make a clean cut and leave it all on the outside. („Keep It All Inside“).
Yet we do not need worry about the person Pieter Gabriel. He deals with it all just as good as we all do – or just as bad …
„These are the last things existing around here. One by one they vanish. Away. I can tell you of those, of those that i've seen. And of those that no longer exist“ („City Of Last Things“).
At the beginning of his songs is a mood, an atmosphere, and a hint, a trace of a sound that might capture it. After long years of working a steady job Pieter Gabriel took a break and focused on developing his music, writing songs, home-recording them, playing them live, with a band and as a solo-performer. His girlfriend insisted on Pieter taking part in a music competition partly hosted by Radio FM4, austria's very important radio station when it comes to, yes, „good“ music. Winning that competition gave him the budget to realise „City Of Last Things“ the way he envisioned it.
It took 15 days in Herwig Zamernik's „Fuzzroom“ to get these songs on tape, Zamernik (Naked Lunch) helping to add the finishing touches to an already very much formed musical vision. Playing various instruments – Guitar, Syths, Piano, Organ etc – Pieter and Herwig created the sonic settings, the soundscapes where these 8 songs can come to life. It's the voice that guides us through „City Of Last Things“, from the openening „When I See You“ (also Pieter's first ever song) to the haunting beauty of „Time“ at the end. 37 minutes that touch on quite a few worlds.
And yes, most of them might be rather dark, dimly lit, even bleak at times. But then there's also light, moments of transcending beauty. Like the refrain of „Remains“ – „I'm sliding away from it all“.
Or when „Algerian Limbo“ reaches it's otherworldy, almost anthemic climax with the words „This ocean it knows no tides“. „Kitsch“ Pieter states rather dry. But that brilliant, addictive sort of „Kitsch“ one rarely gets to hear in such a subtle and musically well-balanced guise …
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