Gearing up for a lengthy release with a series of slow trickles connected to the moon, madman Peter Gabriel continues on with his recent project. The Court (Bright-Side Mix) is an inevitable release in a long-form progression of bright and dark connotations that will, eventually, presumably, find themselves on the album to contrast one another. But minimal contrasts make it hard to find much difference to sift through, and with such a time passing between the release of each version, Gabriel appears hopeful that the forgettable first mix of The Court is replaced by this mixture. Listening to them back-to-back is not much of a choice since they sound so similar, but here it is. Another version of a fundamentally unchanged track.
Enough of a change to warrant a separate release? Absolutely not. This is the sort of mix that goes on the B-Side back in the days of 7” singles. Gabriel still has a consistent track on his hands, The Court is as unchanged in its meaning as it is in the mixing. Minor changes to which instrument takes precedence do not make much difference at all. Gabriel still enjoys some nice wordplay, of money going up the nose and the repetition of a court rising, it does well to dawn on some emotional and message-ready interplay, despite the dwindling final third. Even in the occasional moment that does sound unique, the string quartet underlying the vocalisations after the first minute, turn out to be an unchanged passage. The Court (Bright-Side Mix) shines in the same places as the Dark-Side Mix.
What it then makes for is a redundant half-and-half. There is no real difference to be charted here other than minor contemplations from the ears of someone else. But Gabriel must be strict with how this interpretation of unchanged lyricisms is defined and constructed. His final say over how the track releases will inevitably have squared up this Bright-Side Mix as a song that travels the same route as the previous release. If the study of symphonic rock is at the heart of these slow trickle releases, then that is all well and good. But the differentiation from track to track and the Bright and Dark mixtures is a colossal failure so far. Not enough momentum behind it to actively showcase or even understand why the changes are made, not for a listener, but for an active artist. One of the few changes is that the Dark-Side Mix, in hindsight, is a muffled and staggered release.
Gabriel is still releasing some of his finest work here. As a collective, i/o appears as essential as it is promising. Inevitably, listening to the same track twice over the course of an album, fragmenting it as the audience prepares, time and time again, to hear a slightly altered track, may kill off the momentum. A millisecond shorter than the Dark-Side Mix hints at some actual changes made but hearing them and drawing from the two versions is a tricky task. Not because The Court is a bad track, both editions are very nice and solid workings, but because there is minimal difference between the pair. An equivalent is Pink Floyd and their necessity of remastering their finest albums every few years. Even then, Gabriel does nothing to challenge the simplicity of the good and evil power struggle. His tracks may be fun, but the implementation of a message is as weak as it was for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Simplicity at its core, but Gabriel pushes on.