Released: December 1
Presented in dual configurations, ‘i/o’ is the most curious project of Peter Gabriel’s career and an insight into the mind of a musical genius.
Since January 2023, the musician has been releasing a new song from the record on the occasion of every full moon – roughly every four weeks – allowing each single the opportunity to resonate before another follows.
What’s more, the Bright-Side and Dark-Side mixes cast different light on the recordings and add to the atmospheric undercurrents on the record, with the former breathing more openly than the darker, more intense other side, which bears more of a tone of urgency.
With songs tackling life and the universe, and subject matters including injustice, surveillance and the roots of terrorism, the album itself – a largely mid-tempo and often stripped-back affair, with more a focus on feeling than building vast soundscapes to be admired – is accompanied by a series of artworks that have been released alongside each track, enhancing the offering further.
Of the creative approach and the dual presentation – the Bright-Side Mix handled by Mark ‘Spike’ Stent and the Dark-Side Mix reshaped by Tchad Blake – Gabriel says: “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.”
A lengthy affair – the majority of tracks clock in over five minutes – it’s a heavy listen and not one to be undertaken lightly, particularly given the subject matters, which are occasionally a little on the nose and steer the music perhaps more than necessary.
But over a decade since he last released music, ‘i/o’ feels like less of an album and more a creative project he needed to undertake, and in the context of its themes and innovative roll-out, is a testament to Gabriel’s enduring artistry.