i/oReleased 6th April, 2023
i/o is the fourth song from and title track of the forthcoming album by Peter Gabriel. This is the Bright-Side Mix by Mark ‘Spike’ Stent. Released on the full moon, 6 April 2023
Written and produced by Peter Gabriel, i/o was primarily recorded at Real World Studios in Wiltshire and The Beehive in London. The song features Soweto Gospel Choir, who were recorded at High Seas Studios in South Africa.
This month 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?
i/o as a potential album title has long-been known within fan circles, and is now the name of the current project, the album and the forthcoming tour, but as Gabriel says, “It’s been around for a long time as a title for this project. I always knew I was going to write a song called i/o, but the title came first.”
i/o sees Gabriel working again with Soweto Gospel Choir, who previously featured on the song Down to Earth that was recorded for the film Wall-E and who he’s also performed with twice in South Africa at events for Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu;
I didn’t always hear the Soweto Gospel Choir on this song, but every time I’ve worked with them it’s always been fantastic. You can just feel the energy whenever they sing on this record, and on the song I did for Wall-E, it’s just joyous. It hits you in the heart.
Continuing the theme of working with a different artist for each song release, this month’s track is accompanied by a cover image featuring the work of Olafur Eliasson, who is someone Gabriel first met when the artist was launching his Little Sun Project.
Olafur Eliasson is an extraordinary artist who, in many ways I think, is the king of light. A lot of his work is to do with light and with nature and I really felt that for this song in particular he would be absolutely perfect and I was delighted when he said, yes. This piece is called Colour experiment no. 114, from 2022.
I think Olafur is a mixture between artist, scientist and magician. He always has a mission and something to say about the world and nature and light and our experience of it and that helps us to reconsider how we interact with our environment.
Just like the previous full moon releases, i/o will come with differing mix approaches from Mark ‘Spike’ Stent (Bright-Side Mix), released on 6 April. Tchad Blake (Dark-Side Mix) and Hans-Martin Buff’s Atmos mix (In-Side Mix), released on 20 April.
Words and Music Peter Gabriel
Engineering by Oli Jacobs, Katie May
Additional engineering by Dom Shaw
Assistant engineering by Faye Dolle, Dom Shaw
Pre-production engineering by Richard Chappell
Produced by Peter Gabriel
Mixed by Mark ‘Spike’ Stent
Mastered by Matt Colton at Metropolis
Recorded at Real World Studios, Bath, The Beehive, High Seas Studios, South Africa
Cover image: Colour experiment no. 114, 2022 by Olafur Eliasson
Oil on canvas, ø Diameter 80 cm
Courtesy of the artist; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles; neugerriemschneider, Berlin
Photo: Jens Ziehe
Drums: Manu Katché
Rhythm Programming: Peter Gabriel, Oli Jacobs
Percussion: Katie May
Bass: Tony Levin
Electric Guitars: David Rhodes
Rickenbacker Guitar: Katie May
Acoustic Guitar: Katie May
Piano: Peter Gabriel
Synths: Peter Gabriel
Additional Synths: Katie May, Oli Jacobs
D Whistle: Richard Evans
BVs: David Rhodes, Peter Gabriel
Choir: Soweto Gospel Choir
Soprano: Linda Sambo, Nobuhle Dhlamini, Phello Jiyane, Victoria Sithole, Alto Maserame Ndindwa, Phumla Nkhumeleni, Zanele Ngwenya, Duduzile Ngomane
Tenor: George Kaudi, Vusimuzi Shabalala, Xolani Ntombela, Victor Makhathini
Bass: Thabang Mkhwanazi, Goodwill Modawu, Warren Mahlangu, Fanizile Nzuza
Musical Director / Vocal Arranger: Bongani (Honey) Ncube
Choir Engineer: Jacques Du Plessis
LVs: Peter Gabriel