(fcc) The full moon, Saturday 28 October, sees the release of the penultimate track of Peter Gabriel’s new album i/o. This month the song is And Still and the first version to be heard is the Dark-Side Mix, by Tchad Blake.
Written and produced by Peter Gabriel, And Still is arguably one of the most skin-prickingly personal songs that Peter Gabriel has ever written. It is not just an elegy, it’s also an exploration of the nature of memory: how it tethers us, how it secures us.
‘I wrote a song for my dad a number of years back, which I was actually able to play him, which was ‘Father, Son’. When my mum died, I wanted to do something for her, but it's taken a while before I felt comfortable and distant enough to be able to write something.
‘I was trying also to write a little bit in the style of the music that my parents responded to, so I think there is some music from the 40s probably that had an influence on the song. In the middle I wanted to write my mum a beautiful melody. She loved classical music, so we have a beautiful cello playing there. It took a while to get that right, it can't be too emotional or too underplayed, but I think we got there in the end.’
And Still has been a stand-out moment in the recent i/o tour, with the cello part played by Ayanna Witter-Johnson, but in the studio recording the solo cello comes courtesy of the New Blood Orchestra’s Ian Burdge.
This October full moon release comes with artwork from the artist Megan Rooney and one of her trademark large-scale paintings ‘And Still (Time).’
‘The art this month is from one of my favourites, an artist called Megan Rooney.
I first came across her when she was doing these very fast faces. She'd do one a day and they had so much character, I fell in love with those. Megan was the first person that was approached about this project and she showed me some of the abstract work that she'd been doing, which I thought was beautiful.
There was one piece that I think we both thought felt right for the song, for the mood. Then, in fact, Megan said, "I really want to create something new for this," and she started it, but just like with my creative process she got to a point where she didn't think she had quite nailed it. I know from my own work that sometimes I have to leave it and come back to it to find the right path.
In the end Megan suggested "maybe we should use this existing one, instead," which is what we have done. I'm still hoping that we'll get to the end with the other one, but this is a beautiful piece.
Megan Rooney, adds: ‘First only working from the memory of Peter’s song so that I could find my way into the world he had created. And slowly, as I started to listen to sections of the song, a feeling of longing grasped hold of me and I was transported back to my mother’s garden. I typically paint in rapid, concentrated bursts and Peter’s song has a slow, undulating pace to it. The song really cradles you in its arms as much as it lets you soar, so I had to be patient to find a way to respond.’
And Still comes with differing mix approaches from Tchad Blake (Dark-Side Mix), released on the full moon 28 October, and also Mark ‘Spike’ Stent (Bright-Side Mix) and Hans-Martin Buff’s Atmos mix (In-Side Mix), released in mid-November on the next new moon.