critic's pick 198

peter gabriel: new blood

Upon approach, Peter Gabriel’s New Blood album seems like a rehash of some very old music – specifically, songs that defined the artist’s post-Genesis career over the past 35 years. But Gabriel’s new visitation is a considered and innovative one, a revision that tosses out the prog-flavored band arrangements of years past in favor of new, purely symphonic facelifts.

That idea in itself may make long time Gabriel fans wince, as all of his previous recordings (save for the recent Scratch My Back covers project, which began Gabriel’s orchestral obsession) sported extraordinary ensemble support – a mix of prog flavored mysticism and world music earthiness. Such designs also sported the support of several longtime Gabriel allies – including bassist Tony Levin and guitarist Michael Rhodes.

So the question persists: a Gabriel album without any of that or any of them? Luckily, Gabriel finds remarkable reinvention in this material – a mix of familiar hits (In Your Eyes, Solsbury Hill and Digging in the Dirt), longtime concert favorites (San Jacinto, Mercy Street and Red Rain) and comparative obscurities (Wallflower, Downside Up and Intruder). The most obvious blast from the past, Sledgehammer, is excluded.

San Jacinto, one of the more fascinating revisions, becomes a ballet of wintry piano, percussion and staccato strings that makes the song, as the album title suggests, new. Similarly, Digging in the Dirt sheds the dark, reflective skin of its original version to become a more mischievous merger of winds and brass that eases into wonderful orchestral warmth during its chorus. The results recall some of Paul Buckmaster’s majestic string arrangements for Elton John’s early ‘70s recordings.

Another fine reinvention is Intruder, one of Gabriel’s coarser works, which now fits into a Kronos Quartet-like string setting before broader orchestral colors, Gabriel’s whispery singing and even some distant whistling take over. Still, it sounds every bit as menacing as when Gabriel first recorded it in 1980 – so much so that when he works his way to the one of the more revealing verses (“this sense of isolation inspires me”), the effect is remains efficiently chilling.

Wallflower, on the other hand, allows the orchestration to embellish a mood of affirmation inherent in the song’s original version. The same holds true for Mercy Street, which still uses a chiming triangle as its heartbeat, although the song is now colored with more glowing mallet percussion. It’s also one of the few instances on New Blood where the vocal melody line of the original version is left almost entirely intact.

Less enchanting is Solsbury Hill, a song Gabriel himself seemed reticent to include judging by the liner notes – hence its designation as a “bonus track.” Still, it serves as an encore – a merry blast of familiarity (complete with a bow to The Beatles’ Penny Lane) that caps off a brave, bloody fine serving of orchestral pop invention.

Groupon Appoints New COO

Manufacturing Close-Up April 30, 2011 Groupon announced that Margo Georgiadis will assume the role of COO.

Georgiadis will oversee the company’s global sales, marketing, and operations.

Georgiadis most recently served as Vice President, Global Sales Operations at Google, where she drove sales operations across regions and channels and the global technology teams that commercialize Google’s products such as AdWords, AdSense and display among advertisers and publishers. She also led the local and commerce businesses, working to extend services like Checkout, Google Places and product search. Georgiadis previously served as EVP of Card Products and CMO of Discover Financial Services and was a partner at McKinsey and Company. She is currently a board member of The Jones Group and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. go to site groupon san diego

“Margo is a strong leader with a passion for helping small business owners and consumers,” said Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon. “We’re thrilled to have her on our team.” Dubbed the “fastest-growing company of all time” by Forbes magazine, Groupon pioneered the local e-commerce space and is revolutionizing the relationship between customers and local merchants around the world. In two years Groupon has grown to serve millions subscribers in 46 countries and thousands of cities. The company employs more than 7,000 people globally and is headquartered in Chicago, Ill. go to site groupon san diego

Groupon features a daily deal on the best stuff to do, eat, see and buy in more than 500 markets around the world.

More Information:

www.grouponworks.com ((Comments on this story may be sent to newsdesk@closeupmedia.com))

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