Ambient/ film score
Film scores can be a tricky thing to discuss, especially if the film in question (Alan Parker's "Birdy", starring Nicolas Cage and Matthew Modine) is one you haven't actually seen yet. Enter Peter Gabriel, who crafts such an incredibly visual soundtrack that actually watching the movie isn't as important, as he creates scores that function as proper albums in their own right. This was his first, and predecessor to the acclaimed "Passion" soundtrack for Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ", which I'm sure I'll be going on about at length some time in the future. However, just because the "Birdy" album is less renowned means nothing, this album functions on the same high level of AMAZING as its successor, presenting a moody and subtle soundscape that is perfect for drowning one's head in true ambient fashion. This was also the first time Gabriel worked with producer Daniel Lanois (U2, Eno and others), who brought his own ideas to the table regarding texture and ambience, and who would later go on to produce Gabriel's breakthrough "So" album the following year.
The unique feature of this album is that about half of it consists of "recycled material" as displayed on the cover. The material in question is taken from Gabriel's previous two self titled albums (better known as "Melt" and "Security"), including such tracks as "Not One of Us", "San Jacinto" and "The Rhythm of the Heat". Don't let this discourage you however as this is no cut and paste job, the chosen songs deconstructed and reworked to astonishing effect as instrumentals, blending in perfectly with the new pieces. Speaking of those, they are well worth hearing too. "Floating Dogs" is one of my own favourite Gabriel compositions and "Sketch Pad with Trumpet and Voice" is VERY "Passion"-esque featuring his wordless vocal incantations and the muted trumpet playing of Jon Hassel. I don't like to go on and on about individual tracks so much when discussing records so the rest is down to the listener to discover. Whether you've seen the film or not this is an essential album for those interested in (mostly) dark and (always) moody soundscapes.