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musik artikel (Interpretation und charakterisierung)



Phil collins' - his music

1. Konzert
2. Jazz

On the following pages I will talk about Collins\' musical style and how it changed over the years.

3.1 The seventies
The early music of Genesis is not easy to characterise. It must be seen in context with the musical style of this time. The sound of Genesis had similarities with The Doors or Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Collins\' drums were still a bit \'fidgety\', but not without \'drive\' as you can hear on \"Nursery Crime\", \"Foxtrott\", \"Selling England By The Pound\" or the \"Broadway\"-albums. The arrangements on these albums were complicated, and very complex. The drums not only had to make the beat but also had to support the mood of the songs. Because of that, Collins\' sound contained percussion work on the drum set. His singing is a bit flat and weak but it sounds clear and precise. Not surpris-ingly, the critics saw the end of the band when they heard in \'75 that Collins was to re-place Gabriel. But they had to revise their opinion after they had heard \"Trick Of The Tail\". Collins voice was at least as dramatic and powerful as Gabriel\'s had been. With this album, Genesis still maintained their status as an art-rock band. I think \'art-rock\' has to be explained. The style of Genesis\' music was normally called pomp-rock. Pomp-rock was in modern music what baroque was in classical music. Gabriel, Banks and Ruther-ford had an intellectual image partly because of their abstract lyrics and partly because of their public school origins. These combined with Peter\'s masks, gave the listeners the impression that Genesis was art. The result was \'Genesis, the art-rock band\'. On the fol-lowing albums, the group went through a stylistic change. For \"Wind and Wuthering\", Banks made many of the arrangements which resulted in a softer sound. But still every song was a collection of single \'sound pictures\', of bits and pieces. It is interesting to see that the list of instruments grew with every record. \"Nursery Cryme\" had an organ, a mellotron, a piano, an electric piano, a bass, bass pedals, an electric guitar, a 12 string guitar, a flute, drums and percussion. On \"Wind and Wuthering\" there were in addition a kalimba, an auto-harp, and in Banks\' repertoire, several synthesisers, samplers and a Steinway grand piano followed by a big \'etc.\'.
\"...And Then There Were Three\" was the second album that showed the change. While they carried on with the sound of the last album , the songs got shorter. Only one song reached the seven-minute mark, the average length was about 4 minutes. There were easy to whistle melodies and a repetetive chorus in every song. \"Follow me follow you\" was no longer rock but a pop single that shocked the old fans of Peter Gabriel. Was Genesis going mainstream ? I don\'t think so.

3.2 The eighties
\"Duke\" was the next release. The music was easier to swallow. It could be played on the radio. The single \"Misunderstanding\" even sounded like a song of Toto. But it was not mainstream, because there still were many lengthy solos on the synthesiser, a left-over of the sonorous organ flourishes of the early suites. Everything had become more ener-getic. The maxim of the new Genesis: less is more. The ever increasing audience was appreciative. But still Genesis were outsiders; they were not trendy.
But Collins was. His pop ballads had a bit of easy listening, mixed with strong drums and horns. I think that describes \"Face Value\" quite well. \"In The Air Tonight\", for ex-ample: in the beginning a soft synthesiser modulated by breathmaster - a machine that changes the filters of a synthesiser by breathing into a microphone that is connected with it - accompanied by a guitar that turns into a feedback. The rhythm is done by a drum machine, very soft and spacious. Then the voice, alienated by a vocoder repeats some phrases. And then suddenly Collins beats the drum-set from the top to the bottom and proceeds into a stomping rhythm. The voice shouts the phrases it has spoken before, un-til, finally, the thunder is repeated and everything is quiet - a legend is born. The first number on the first album is a smash hit. The other songs on the album have a bit of New Age pop and The Beatles in them. The ballad \"If Leaving Me Is Easy\" is a typical Collins\' lovesong. All in all the record is dominated by melancholy arising from Collins\' divorce.
The following Genesis album, \"Abacab\", was quite similar to \"Duke\", with more funky influences and some crazy things like \"Who Dunnit\", which seemed to be a musical ex-periment. It should be pointed out that the different sounds Banks used were always produced on the latest instruments, so that every album has a bit of the feeling of the current music. In the seventies, for instance, he had all sorts of organ sounds and a mel-lotron, like The Doors or Yes had. With the development of the synthesisers, the songs got more varied, like those of Pink Floyd. Due to these different instruments every song can be attached to a certain period. All this influenced Collins for his solo projects.
His next album \"Hello, I Must Be Going\" was another jumble of simply-structured pop ballads, fast and terse with beating drums as in \"Like China\" or calm and slow with strings and piano as in \"Why Can\'t It Wait \'Til Morning\". An unusual exception was the cover-single \"You Can\'t Hurry Love\" where Collins captured the atmosphere of the six-ties perfectly. The racy strings, the whispering background vocals that make you forget that the original is sung by women, and almost dancing rhythm of the pulsating drum pattern revived the Motown feeling.
A totally different kind of music was what he did with \'Brand X\'. That was fusion jazz, with rock influences, music you will not hear on the radio. I have listened to two of these albums, but I could not find into; it is hard to swallow.
In \'83, Genesis came back with \"Genesis\". The songs of the album had an even more commercial sound than everything else before. Like in his solo projects Collins used a drum machine to have a basic rhythm in the background. Many rock fans missed the natural sound of real drums. Collins:\"I think that drummers shouldn\'t be threatened by the advent of these drum machines, [...] They are only as good as the people who pro-gram them.\"24 By now it was more and more obvious that Collins\' voice sounded differ-ent on his albums. In the song \"Mama\" his voice is really dramatic as he plays a part like in many previous Genesis songs.
\"No Jacket Required\" (\'85) was the high point of Collins\' inset of drum machines. In al-most every song there was one. All in all the record is cheerful. At that time Collins\' music consisted of a brass section, the fast rhythm of the synthesiser drums combined with real drums, a simple sequence of piano chords and of course Collins\' voice. \"Sus-sudio\" and \"Who Said I Would\" are examples for this music. Another typical Collins song is \"One More Night\" with its strings, the Rhodes piano and the silent guitar fill-ins.
By the time Genesis came together for \"Invisible Touch\", all three members had spent a lot of time on their solo careers, and so they decided to compose all the music together in order to get the group sound back. In my opinion, \"Invisible Touch\" has very much of an old Genesis album. There are longer songs and more instrumental parts; the differ-ences are the result of the modern sound of the instruments, and of the fact that the lyr-ics no longer tell any horror stories - instead they criticise society in a sarcastic way.
Quite opposite was Collins\' \"... But Seriously\" album. Collins sounded more natural now, without the usual synthesiser battle that was so common in the mid-eighties. Ex-perts know that synthesisers got better and better in producing more natural sounds in those days. Collins\' songs were still simple: three or four stanzas, a chorus and a bridge. But his songwriting had advanced, his melodies were superb, his lyrics were applied to political issues like the Northern Ireland conflict. They were also serious and not hu-mourous, as they would have been with Genesis.

3.3 The nineties
In 1991, Genesis released \"We Can\'t Dance\". The title showed their intention. Every-body was producing dance music at that time except Genesis. Their role as outsiders lasted. \"No Son Of Mine\" was a rock hymn, \"I Can\'t Dance\" and \"Jesus He Knows Me\" were both smash-hits, full of life. You could hear that Banks, Collins and Rutherford were having great fun. Today I can say that it must have been Collins that made hits out of the songs. The latest Genesis album \"Calling all stations\" (\'97) is lacking something as Collins has left the group.
Collins\' solo career continued with \"Both Sides\"(\'93). The music must be seen as classi-cal Collins music. He wrote all of the songs alone, played all the instruments himself and recorded them at home. I\'ve been listening to Collins for a very long time and I can say that one can hear the difference. The arrangements are very simple. Bass and guitar sound as if he had played them on a Korg synthesizer. There were more drum machine tracks, no real brass and more quiet songs. It is a very thoughtful music - his second di-vorce was lying ahead.
On his latest album, however, Collins sounds very happy. \"Dance Into The Light\" is in-flunenced by African rhythms, fast harmony changes and animated melodies. \"\'This time, it all started from the basis of guitars,\' he illustrates. \'And because I\'m playing all the drums myself, rather than using machines like I did the last time, it\'s a lot more rhythmic - almost tribal.\'\"25
Collins\' music has always depended on the period in which he was writing, whether he was writing for Genesis, Brand X or himself.



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