Peter Gabriel Releases New Album “i/o (Bright-Side and Dark-Side Mixes)”
British singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel released his tenth studio album “i/o” on December 1, 2023 via Real World Records.
It is his first album in 12 years since the 2011 album “New Blood”.
The album consists two stereo mixes, Bright-Side handled by Mark “Spike” Stent and Dark-Side as reshaped by Tchad Blake, featuring a 24-track.
All songs were written and produced by Peter Gabriel.
Peter Gabriel said of the album, “After a years-worth of full moon releases, I'm very happy to see all these new songs back together on the good ship i/o and ready for their journey out into the world.”
He added, “We have two of the greatest mixers in the world in Tchad and Spike and they definitely bring different characters to the songs. Tchad is very much a sculptor building a journey with sound and drama, Spike loves sound and assembling these pictures, so he's more of a painter.”
Throughout the album the intelligent and thoughtful - often thought-provoking - songs tackle life and the universe.
- Peter Gabriel explained track-by-track for the album.
“The first song is based on an idea I have been working on to initiate the creation of an infinitely expandable accessible data globe: The Panopticom. We are beginning to connect a like-minded group of people who might be able to bring this to life, to allow the world to see itself better and understand more of what's really going on.”
“I had this idea for 'the court will rise' chorus, so it became a free-form, impressionistic lyric that connected to justice, but there's a sense of urgency there. A lot of life is a struggle between order and chaos and in some senses the justice or legal system is something that we impose to try and bring some element of order to the chaos. That's often abused, it's often unfair and discriminatory but at the same time it's probably an essential part of a civilised society. But we do need to think sometimes about how that is actually realised and employed.”
“Playing For Time”
“'Playing For Time' is a song that I have been working on for a long time and have performed live, without lyrics, so some people may be familiar with it. It's been an important song for me. It's about time, mortality and memories and the idea that each of us has a planet full of memories which get stashed inside the brain.”
“The song is i/o and i/o means input / output. You see it on the back of a lot of electrical equipment and it just triggered some ideas about the stuff we put in and pull out of ourselves, in physical and non-physical ways. That was the starting point of this idea and then trying to talk about the interconnectedness of everything.
The older I get, I probably don't get any smarter, but I have learned a few things and it makes a lot of sense to me that we are not these independent islands that we like to think we are, that we are part of a whole. If we can see ourselves as better connected, still messed up individuals, but as part of a whole, then maybe there's something to learn?”
“Four Kinds of Horses”
“Four Kinds of Horses actually began on Richard Russell's project 'Everything Is Recorded'. He's a friend (and founder of XL Records) and he asked me to pop in to his studio. I came up with some chords, melodies and words on top of a groove he was working on. We tried a few things that didn't altogether work and so it laid dormant for quite a while. Then I started playing around with it again and changed the mood and the groove and something else began to emerge with a better chorus.
There were a number of things that triggered ideas for the song as it developed, including the Buddhist parable of the Four Kinds of Horses, which describes different ways a student can approach their spiritual practice.
There is also a focus on 'the interesting overlap of religion and peace on the one hand and violence and terrorism on the other. There was also a wonderful film by Hany Abu-Assad called 'Paradise Now' which shows two young men who end up being trained to become terrorists and it's a real insight into where the head goes.'”
“Road to Joy”
“I'm working on a project which is partly a story focused around the brain and how we perceive things and this song connects to that. It deals with near-death experience and locked-in syndrome situations where people are unable to communicate or to move. It's an amazingly frustrating condition. There have been some great books and films about this subject, but at this point in our story the people looking after our hero manage to find a way to wake him up. So, it's a lyric about coming back into your senses, back to life, back into the world.
It was actually very late in the record that we got to this. There had been a song that musically I'd started, I think, around the OVO project called Pukka. It was very different to this, but it was actually the starting point for coming back to this song. I just felt there was a good groove there, and I wanted something else with rhythm and so we tried a few things when I was working with Brian Eno. The excitement and energy in the song was something that I was getting off on. I felt we didn't have enough of that for this record.”
“I was trying purposefully not to be clever with this. I wanted to get a very simple chorus but one which still had some substance to the harmony and melody. Something that was easy to digest but still had a bit of character to it. So Much is about mortality, getting old, all the bright, cheerful subjects, but I think when you get to my sort of age you either run away from mortality or you jump into it and try and live life to the full and that always seems to make a lot more sense to me. The countries that seem most alive are those that have death as part of their culture.
The reason I chose So Much as a title is because I'm addicted to new ideas and all sorts of projects. I get excited by things and want to jump around and do different things. I love being in a mess of so much! And yet it also means there's just so much time, or whatever it is, available. Balancing them both is what the song is about.”
“I don't think there was any deep significance to the title, but I can look around and try and invent some! In some ways I do think we are part of everything and we probably have means to connect and communicate with everything that we often shut off. We only want to see and listen to the things that seem important and relevant to us and shut out the noise of everything else when, probably, hidden in that noise there are all sorts of things that can help us realise our place in this future world. I wanted it to have some speed to it but I also wanted some mystery, too. I think it is a celebration in a way and there's a real sense of being alive.”
“Love Can Heal”
“Love Can Heal was written around 2016 and I did start playing it midway through the tour and dedicated it to Jo Cox, who was the British MP brutally murdered by an extremist and someone that I had met at a leadership conference. I think the song fits right in to the themes of the album in the sense that i/o is about feeling and being connected to everything and in a way, the next evolution of being connected to things is a feeling of love for everything... it sounds trite just to say 'love can heal', but I really believe that it is a key element and that when people feel interaction, warmth, giving, part of something alive and not isolated, that they're much more likely to do well and be able to offer more themselves. The music began with this meditative, repeated sequence and the essence of all these sounds was trying to create a sensual palette.
With the work that Hans-Martin Buff's been doing on the immersive mix too, you're getting this sense of being touched in many places and it should be a place just to drift off into. That was my aim.”
“This Is Home”
“It's a love song. It began with inspiration from some of the great Tamla Motown rhythm sections so we're trying to recreate that in a modern way, complete with the tambourine and handclaps. The groove I like a lot, Tony Levin does a great bass part there. I did an unusual thing for me in that I tried doing this low voice / high voice thing, so you get this almost conversational voice at the beginning and the second part is a higher, more emotional voice. I thought that would be both intimate and emotive to put the two side by side.”
“I wrote a song for my dad a number of years back, which I was actually able to play him, which was 'Father, Son'. When my mum died, I wanted to do something for her, but it's taken a while before I felt comfortable and distant enough to be able to write something.
I was trying also to write a little bit in the style of the music that my parents responded to, so I think there is some music from the 40s probably that had an influence on the song. In the middle I wanted to write my mum a beautiful melody. She loved classical music, so we have a beautiful cello playing there. It took a while to get that right, it can't be too emotional or too underplayed, but I think we got there in the end.”
“Live and Let Live”
“Music can be like a box of mood pills that we can use to treat ourselves and a lot of the work of the Reverberation project is focused on that sort of idea. When someone suggested that forgiveness might be a topic to write about, at first, I thought, 'that's not interesting to me,' but then I remembered two things. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was the chair of The Elders and a real mentor for me, led the Truth and Reconciliation Committee in South Africa and that really allowed people to expose, report and maybe feel again some of the horrors of the apartheid era. I remember he always said that listening made a huge difference, just making sure people felt heard and recognized. Then, sometimes, it created a space for forgiveness.
There's also a description that Nelson Mandela gave when he was released from jail after 27 years in prison and found himself about to become president of South Africa, standing next to some of the people who'd been responsible for keeping him in jail all that time. He said he felt some of the old fear and hatred swelling up inside him but when he thought hard about it, he realized that he needed to find a way to work with these people, to build what he called his rainbow coalition. He needed to feel their humanity and ultimately to find a way to forgive them. He was quite sure that if he couldn't forgive them and find a way to work with them, that he would remain their prisoner for the rest of his days.
Now, I know if we look at what's happening in the Middle East now or in Ukraine, all sorts of places around the world where there's still violence and brutality, to walk around with a bunch of flowers, preaching forgiveness seems trite and pathetic, maybe. But in the long run, I think people have to find a way. 'Peace only happens when you respect the rights of others' is a quote from the Peace University in Costa Rica and I think that's a really important message for me and for my life. You either belong to that hurt or you free yourself and forgiveness is clearly a super effective way of freeing yourself.”
Photo by Nadav Kander
- source : Apple Music