— PETER’S RABBIT Fourteen years after writing Passion, his Grammy-winning soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ, Peter Gabriel is finally ready to go back to the movies. The new album, called Long Walk Home, accompanies Australian director Phillip Noyce’s critically acclaimed Rabbit-Proof Fence and is due for Stateside release on June 18. The film, already a hit Down Under, tells the true story of three kidnapped Aboriginal girls and their daring cross-country escape. Gabriel’s ambient score integrates sounds from nature to create an organic representation of the land. ”I’ve always wanted to build a soundtrack out of sound effects, because often, they’re quite separate processes,” he says. ”Birdcalls were slowed down and manipulated to become strange atmospheric melodies.” Gabriel also combined songs performed by the Aboriginal actors with newly recorded vocals by the Blind Boys of Alabama for the elegiac, emotional ”Ngankarrparni.” ”The spirit really meshed,” says Gabriel of the piece. ”There’s a bit of black experience in both.” The musical journeyman will remix the song for his own album, due in the fall. He gauges his solo CD’s sales potential with typically self-deprecating flair. ”If there’s still a few fans alive,” he quips, ”then hopefully they’ll have enough money in their pockets to buy a few.”
— ROOTS REVIVAL We hope you didn’t need to complete the Roots’ course in Phrenology to graduate this summer. The album, originally scheduled for June 25, has been postponed until October to accommodate a slew of late-arriving guests. ”Everyone started coming out of the woodwork, saying ‘I wanna be on your record!”’ reports bandleader Ahmir ”?uestlove” Thompson, who says the final disc may include last-minute cameos from Musiq, Jill Scott, and co-Smokin’ Grooves Tour headliners OutKast, in addition to earlier collaborations with Talib Kweli, Project Pat, and Beat poet Amiri Baraka. ”As usual, we get a little neurotic during the fourth quarter,” adds Thompson. ”We won’t turn in any record unless we do a minimum of 40 songs, and out of that 40, we’ll give you the best 15 that we got. It’s gonna be a brilliant album.” Sign us up.