It's taken 15 years, but Peter Gabriel has finally completed the "Big Blue Ball" album, a multi-artist project that started during a series of sessions at his Real World studios in the early 1990s.

It's taken 15 years, but Peter Gabriel has finally completed the "Big Blue Ball" album, a multi-artist project that started during a series of sessions at his Real World studios in the early 1990s.

"The idea was to put rock musicians together with musicians from all over the world and see what happened," Gabriel says from his Wiltshire, England, base. "We ran the studio like a dating service with a 24-hour cafe."

Recording took place over three years in a series of weeklong residential sessions. "But," Gabriel says, "the tapes were left in a mess and it's taken this long to sort out." Eventually, producer Stephen Hague (Pet Shop Boys, New Order) was recruited to pull the album into shape.

Gabriel takes several lead vocals on the album, while other singers include Sinead O'Connor, Karl Wallinger of World Party, Natacha Atlas and Papa Wemba. They are backed by a mix of western, African and Asian musicians.

"Big Blue Ball" is due globally on Real World/EMI this fall. "The size of the cast means it's not something you can tour," Gabriel says. "But if it sells, maybe we can record a follow-up."

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