Hear Peter Gabriel’s New Song ‘Four Kinds of Horses’ Featuring Brian Eno
Peter Gabriel creates a slow-building metaphor for radical terrorism on “Four Kinds of Horses,” the latest single he’s released from his upcoming album, i/o.
On the song, which made its debut Friday as a remix (the “Bright-Side Mix,” by Mark “Spike” Stent), he sings, “Your mind is made up so certain what is right/But when they ordered everything/Will they see you were born so bright.” The music, which features some keys courtesy of Brian Eno, feels atmospheric, swirling and sparkling around Gabriel’s voice. Different mixes of the song will arrive this month in accordance to the phases of the moon (Tchad Blake’s “Dark-Side Mix” and Hans-Martin Buff’s Atmos “In-Side Mix”). Gabriel still hasn’t announced a release date for i/o.
Gabriel took inspiration from a Buddhist parable, also called “Four Kinds of Horses”: “The first horse gallops merely at the sight of a whip,” Buddha said, according to the Berkeley Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple. “The second horse gallops when the whip touches its hair. The third horse gallops when the whip touches its skin. The fourth horse only begins to gallop when the whip touches its bones.”
Gabriel said in a statement that he followed that prompt to write about “the interesting overlap of religion and peace on the one hand and violence and terrorism on the other. There was also a wonderful film by Hany Abu-Assad, called Paradise Now, which shows two young men who end up being trained to become terrorists and it’s a real insight into where the head goes.”
The song began as part of XL Records founder Richard Russell’s “Everything Is Recorded” project, which found Gabriel and Russell writing and recording together. “I came up with some chords, melodies, and words on top of a groove he was working on,” Gabriel said. “We tried a few things that didn’t altogether work and so it lay dormant for quite a while. Then I started playing around with it again and changed the mood and the groove and something else began to emerge with a better chorus.” Eno’s contribution, Gabriel said, “sounded like electric worms to me.” Composer John Metcalfe provided the string arrangement.
Even though Gabriel hasn’t yet announced when i/o will emerge, he will begin what he’s calling “i/o the Tour” on May 18 with a gig in Krakow. North American dates begin in Quebec on Sept. 8.
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