Peter Gabriel eschews traditional rock'n'roll instrumentation on his new album, "Scratch My Back," due Feb. 15 from Virgin. The project sports orchestral covers of material originally recorded by David Bowie, Paul Simon, Neil Young, Radiohead and Arcade Fire, among others.
All of the artists whose songs Gabriel covers on "Scratch My Back" will return the favor by reworking his songs on a future album, dubbed "I'll Scratch Yours."
"I explored a few different ideas for arrangements using only homemade instruments [and] choral groups," Gabriel says on his Web site (PeterGabriel.com). "But in the meantime, [I] was introduced to a wonderful arranger, John Metcalfe, who was doing some great work with Real World. I really liked his scores, which seemed original, soulful and fresh. When we met, I felt we also had enough of an overlap of taste around such composers as Steve Reich, Arvo Part, Stravinsky etc. I asked John to keep the arrangements simple, stark but always emotional, so the songs could be really heard and felt."
Gabriel will perform selections from "Scratch My Back" with an orchestra at four March shows: March 22 in Paris (Palais Omnisports), March 25 in Berlin (O2 World) and March 27-28 in London (The O2). Special packages with soundcheck access are available from Gabriel's Web site.
"Scratch My Back" is Gabriel's first studio album since 2002's "Up," which peaked at No. 9 on The Billboard 200.
Here is the track list for "Scratch My Back":
"Heroes" (David Bowie)
"The Boy in the Bubble" (Paul Simon)
"Flume" (Bon Iver)
"Listening Wind" (Talking Heads)
"The Power of the Heart" (Lou Reed)
"My Body Is a Cage" (The Arcade Fire)
"The Book of Love" (The Magnetic Fields)
"I Think It's Going To Rain Today" (Randy Newman)
"Apres Moi" (Regina Spektor)
"Philadelphia" (Neil Young)
"Street Spirit" (Radiohead)