Saturday, December 14, 2002

BONOBO BAND

After years away from studio, Gabriel 'Up' for it again
By Richard Harrington
WASHINGTON POST

...Gabriel's next album could be with the bonobo apes. That's not a band, but a breed of notoriously intelligent chimps from the Congo. Gabriel, whose 1982 hit "Shock the Monkey" attacked animal research, has made a half-dozen trips to Georgia State University's Language Research Center, where scientists are studying how apes react to symbols and sign language. Working with a male and female bonobo, Gabriel tested their musical intelligence, convinced that music could be a bridge between humans and apes, just as it was for humans and aliens in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Echoing one of that film's most famous sequences, Gabriel played an electric keyboard, searching for a direct response.

"The male was much better at the rhythmic stuff -- he was playing these great triplets," Gabriel reports. "I asked the female to play with one finger, mainly in the white notes, which she did; she was searching around for notes that would harmonize and there was very simple melody."...