Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.
Peter Gabriel has made some of the most groundbreaking clips of the video era.
Now fans will get a chance to study his work with "Play," the British artist's first career-spanning DVD collection. The 23-track set includes such videos as "Sledgehammer," "Red Rain," "Biko," "Digging in the Dirt," "Shock the Monkey," "Games Without Frontiers" and "Don't Give Up," remixed in 5.1 surround sound.
"It is wonderful to be able to re-release this material with new mixes," says Gabriel, who oversaw the remixing in his Real World studios with Canadian producer Daniel Lanois. "The surround sound puts people at the center of the sound, rather than squeezing them in a stereo world."
The set is due Oct. 25 on Warner Vision worldwide, except North America, where it will arrive Nov. 16 through Warner Special Marketing/Rhino.
The project allowed Gabriel and Lanois to get reacquainted. They worked together on two of Gabriel's albums, 1986's "So" and 1992's "Us."
"I haven't worked with Daniel in 10 years, and we get on very well," Gabriel says. "He is really passionate and tends to push people further than where they want to go."
Gabriel says the remixes will offer consumers the opportunity to listen to his repertoire with new ears. "Daniel is doing mixes that sometimes sound better than the originals," he adds.
Lanois is a fan of the 5.1 technology. He says it allows listeners "to discover the different layers of sound. It's almost like revealing the architect's plans-you can really appreciate the foundation. My work with Peter always had some kind of visual sense. It is kind of a fun thing to play with. It gives a more panoramic and cinematographic sound.
"It feels great to work on material I did not originally work on," Lanois adds. "I enjoyed those [songs] a lot."
Ray Still, London-based executive producer of "Play" at Warner Vision, is also enthusiastic. "What Lanois has done in terms of sound is simply extraordinary," he says. Still worked with Gabriel on his "Growing Up Live" DVD last year.
Some videos will be re-edited, and in some cases new images will be added, according to Gabriel. "We won't touch the better ones," he says, "but on some others we will have new material."
Each video has a short introduction that includes "making of" footage and/or comments from Gabriel. Fans can also customize and save their own 18-video playlist.
Bonus material ranges from videos for "Modern Love," "The Nest That Sailed the Sky" and a 2004 live version of "Games Without Frontiers" to trailers for prior Gabriel video releases "Secret World Live" and "Growing Up Live."
Gabriel says the process made him look back at all his videos. His favorites are "Sledgehammer," "Mercy Street" and "Digging in the Dirt."
"With videos, it is not always about budget," he says. "There are some small-budget videos I did that I really like. Sometimes it is good to be restrained by time and budget -- it forces you to be creative.
"Because we did not use computer-generated images, 'Sledgehammer' has a funky feel to it," he adds. "Technology can produce perfect stuff, and we humans are good at imperfection. I like to see the evidence of human touch."
Additional reporting by Jonathan Cohen
Excerpted from the Oct. 16, 2004, issue of Billboard. The full original text is available to Billboard.com subscribers.
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