Peter Gabriel's "OVO"

L. Anton Dencklau

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It's the soundtrack he oversaw (produced?) for the "Millennium dome" show. (Note: I am from Iowa. I haven't the foggiest clue what the dome is, when the show took place, or pretty much anything else to place the album in context.)
I can say its got a couple of really good Gabriel-esqe tunes on it: particularly "the tower that ate people" and "father,son".
maybe someone from the UK has more info?
I'm just hoping to hear "Up" before the end of this millennium.
 

Sam Hatch

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Although an import, this album is freely available from most online stores. I usually see quite a few copies in Borders as well.
As others have said, it's Peter's soundtrack for the Millennium Dome. It's a concept album based on a story of tension between two races - and the child (OVO) borne from an interracial union. There's CD-ROM material on the disc that allows you to watch the whole saga in a storybook fashion.
Music-wise, it's pretty much what you'd expect from Mr. Gabriel. The big difference is that this is a large collaborative effort, so Peter doesn't actually do much of the lead vocals. Still, his melodies are so trademarked that most of the guest vocalists end up sounding identical to him anyhow. I'm a big BT fan, and was surprised to see him teaming up with Peter here, since he wasn't listed among the artists on the back label. But his style merged really well with Gabriel's - I'd love to hear them work together again soon.
So overall it's a fairly strong effort. Not quite a Peter Gabriel album (a la 'So' or 'Us') and not quite a soundtrack (a la 'Birdy' or 'Passion'). But a little bit of both is surely a lot better than none at all!
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Mikael Soderholm

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If you've seen the pre-title sequence for the Bond move The World is not enough, you've seen the Dome, as this is where Bond and the girl crashes from the balloon.
There is lots of Ovoinfo and other PG info on http://www.petergabriel.com.
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Iain Lambert

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Get it. Now. If you call yourself a Peter Gabriel fan, then not buying the best thing he has done (imo, obviously) since Passion is plain silly. Downside Up and Make Tomorrow in particular are wonderful.
While we are answering questions, there is a version of 'Ovo' with the kid in a green field (my one), and one with a zooming shot of the tower from the centre of the Dome (that the live piece is performed on), labelled 'The OVO Show' if memory serves. Is this just a different cover, a live version, one with the booklet or what?
 

Sam Hatch

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The green field/boy cover is for the regular release, and the dome tower cover is for an early limited edition release. What's different about that release I have absolutely no idea... I assume it has a beefier booklet or something?
Did anyone get the free 'OVO' story book? My disc said the first thousand or so people to return the cover card would get a free book. I was way too late to the party for that one, but I wonder how nifty it was.
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Harrison Shinn

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I received my copy of the "OVO" story book sometime in May or June of this year after emailing REAL WORLD last year around October.
The book itself is roughly the same size as a CD booklet, and too thick to fit in a jewel case. Perhaps it would fit in one of those large double CD jewel cases, but I haven't bothered. It's printed on thick stock and very colourful.
It's done in the form of a comic book and is divided into three parts and can be read while playing the album. There is also a page that identifies each of the characters (Skyboy, Ovo, Sofia, Beth, Theo and Ion).
ACT I: THE MAN WHO LOVED THE EARTH
ACT II: THE TOWER THAT ATE PEOPLE
ACT III: THE NEST THAT SAILED THE SKY
It took so long to receive this book that when it came I had all but forgotten about it and seeing the postmark from the UK, I thought that it was a notice from the Kate Bush Club that she was finally releasing a new album...but no such luck!
Still, I love the "OVO" disc and also love his contribution to the Afro-Celt CD that came out a few weeks ago, "Fallin'"
(I think it's called).
Cheers!
Harry
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Ted Lee

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this is one hard album to find. i went to two best buys and a tower and couldn't find it.
anyway, is there two different albums? it looks like there's one called "milennium" (sp?) and then a regular release?
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Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

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It is inconceivable to me that this album has not received a wide US release. That is the only thing keeping me from buying it. I have a minidisc copy from my brother that I was using to tide me over until the eventual US CD, but it looks more and more like this isn't going to happen.
As for the quality of the album, I disagree that this is his best work since Passion. I find Ovo to be pretty hot-and-cold. There is a little too much rhythm and not enough melody (which I have found to be the case with PG for years), and I just skip by the tracks of drums only. They are interesting; don't get me wrong, I really love the world music flavor PG's music has acquired, but I like some melody in there.
No one has mentioned Richie Havens' gorgeous vocals or my favorite song on the disc, "Time of the Turning." It's a good album, and definitely something for all PG fans to pick up, but $35 for a disc that's half Gabriel and half African drummers without words or melodic instruments is pretty steep, IMHO.
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Just to bring you guys up to speed on the Millennium Dome. The Dome is an enormous dome-shaped (duh...) structure in Greenwich (a district of London and home of the Greenwich Observatory, where Greenwich Mean Time 'originates'). It was built at vast expense to house an exhibition celebrating the last 1000 years. Various corporate sponsors helped to pay for assorted exhibits on history, the body, etc, and every day there was the show for which Peter Gabriel did the music.
It's safe to say that the Dome was an unmitigated disaster. People didn't turn up in anything like the expected numbers, and on a couple of occasions, the Government had to shell out millions and millions in taxpayers' money to keep the Dome from closing. At the end of the year, the exhibition closed, and the contents were auctioned off. The idea was that the Dome would then be used as a prestigious set of offices or a factory, but to the best of my knowledge, nobody has taken up the idea. The reason people stayed away was that: (a) ticket prices were exorbitant; (b) the exhibits were generally agreed to be pathetic (imagine a dull museum); and (c) the majority of Brits who lived outside London weren't prepared to travel to a pretty inaccessable part of London. Nobody could claim that the govt hadn't been warned - even when it was being built, the majority of the country was against it.
Having said all that, OVO is pretty good and worth getting if you like Peter Gabriel's work.
 

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this is one hard album to find. i went to two best buys and a tower and couldn't find it.
anyway, is there two different albums? it looks like there's one called "milennium" (sp?) and then a regular release?
It is hard to find. I am told our local Wherehouse Music has the regular version for $30+. I ordered the 2 disc "Limited Edition" from Amazon for just over $30. At the time they had a $10 off $50 coupon so I ended up getting "OVO" and "Dr. Zhivago" on DVD for about $46 shipped. They are supposed to arrive tomorrow. I will give my feedback.
BTW, I have no idea what the difference is between the one disc and two disc "Limited Edition." I'll find out tomorrow.
 

Ted Lee

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thanks john -
i'm really curious and eagerly await your review!

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Mikael Soderholm

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Like I said before, I bought this when it came out (early summer 2000) but did not manage to get the Millenium edition with the CD-ROM.

My copy however had a reply note with which I could request 'the story of OVO' to be sent to me, and also subscribe to information from Real Wolrd. I sent it in, and didn't think much of it, until this thread popped up, and I realized I had not received anything.

Oh well, I thought, probably wasn't eligible, as I live in Sweden.

Today, late november 2001, more than a year an half later, an envelope lands in my mailbox, it's the story of OVO, with a note from the Real World Team saying they're sorry it has taken so long!

Whaddaya know?!
 

Ted Lee

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fudge! i give up. i still can't find this...
 

JohnRice

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Well, I got this CD about 4 weeks ago and I have given a good listen at least 4 or 5 times. I probably would have posted earlier, but my ISP lost their local (for me) access line, so I have actually been connecting long distance while I decide what to do. I decided to jump up to DSL, but I still have 2 weeks to wait until it is activated. If anyone has any questions for me about this album, you probably won't get a response until after 12/12.

The first thing I want to say is that there are two versions of this album, the regular single disc version and the limited edition "+1" version that has a second disc with one track and a quicktime movie. The track is a Rap "tune" that is just painfully bad and the quicktime movie is also on the regular disc. So as far as I am concerned, the extra $5 for the "+1" disc is a total waste of money. It also comes in a slip sleeve that really doesn't fit on the outer sleeve that holds the CD and book.

Gabriel solely composed all but one tune on the album, but he only sings solo on two tunes and shares singing on two others. The rest of the singing is done by Richie Havens, larla î Lion‡ird (Afro Celt Sound System?,) Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins) who reminds me a bit of Kate Bush with a bit less edge, and a couple others.

The album is a "Program" piece that follows the story in the included comic type book. The story is idealistic and honestly a little silly. Fortunately, that doesn't take away from the music.

This is one of the mostly widely varied albums I have heard in quite some time. The first track, "Low Light" is a pretty traditional, late PG type of tune. The second track, "The Time of the Turning" is a little more melodic with some nice vocals by Havens. The third track, "The Man Who Loved the Earth..." is a great, mostly percussion piece with no vocals with an obvious Afro Celt Sound System influence. Next is "The Time of the Turning/Weaver's Reel" which evolves into a very enjoyable Irish Jig. Be sure to crank up those last two! Track #5 is "Father, Son" which is a nice, melodic tune with just PG singing and playing piano. The next track, "The Tower that Ate People" is really a pretty aggressive, progressive rock piece. The last six tracks tend to be a little more traditional PG, though more melodic than anything I have heard from him since his third album.

On the whole, I definitely enjoy this album. Personally, it is probably my favorite PG since "Security" which is saying a lot. It is more varied than anything I have ever heard from him, or virtually anyone for that matter. I don't regret for one second the $30 I spent on it, except that I could have gotten the regular version for $25 instead. It is only available in the UK, so it is an import in the USA. The last I checked, both Amazon and CDNow had it.

This is good stuff!!!
 

Ted Lee

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nice review john...you've renewed my interest. guess i'm gettin' it through amazon. i'm tired of looking all over town.
 

Ted Lee

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i just placed my order - yay!

if anyone else is interested, the "+1" version is on sale at amazon for 20 bucks right now.

they said they only had one cd left of the regular version and it cost more!

go figure...
 

Ted Lee

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i received this about two weeks ago. i only had a chance to listen to twice, but from what i heard i really like it.
as already stated, it'll remind any peter gabriel fan of his 'passion' cd - which is one of my all-time favorites.
so, needless to say, i really like this cd. the packaging was also really cool. it came with this little booklet...kind of like a mini comic-book. it did a good job explaining the story of ovo.
 

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