I recall, ages and ages ago, reading or hearing an interview with Peter Gabriel where he said that, if someone were unfamiliar with his work and wanted an introduction, he'd send them the Birdy soundtrack, rather than one of his regular studio albums.
Musically, I think this is his best record. Freed from the demands of having a verse/chorus or beginning/middle/end, it provides a rich exploration of texture (aided by Daniel Lanois, in his first production with PG) and rhythm (aided by the likes of Morris Pert and the Ekome Dance Company). The dynamics and drama of Birdy's Flight and The Heat, in particular, are more exhilarating than the vocal pieces from which they are adapted.
On the downside, you don't get much of PG's wonderful voice: it only appears in a couple of non-verbal wailings. That's a loss, but at the same time I dont miss his cod-Jungian lyrical obsessions very much.
I saw the film in 1985, and again in early October '86. I liked it at the time — not sure what I'd make of it now — and probably bought the record around then.
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