Listen to the new Peter Gabriel single Playing For Time

Peter Gabriel headshot
(Image credit: Nadav Kander)

Peter Gabriel has released the third new single from his upcoming new studio album, i/o, again to coincide with the new moon, as he has with previous singles Panopticom and The Court. You can listen to the new Dark Side Mix of the plaintive, slow-building and lushly orchestrated ballad Playing For Time below.

"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," Gabriel explains. "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.  

"It is more of a personal song about how you assemble memories and whether we are prisoners of time or whether that is something that can actually free us. I do think it’s good to push yourself towards more bold or interesting experiences because then you will have richer memories to feed you when you get to my age. You also get taught by every meaningful experience that you go through."

Recorded at Real World Studios in Wiltshire and The Beehive in London, Playing For Time features Tom Cawley, who played piano on Gabriel's New Blood Tour, and an orchestral arrangement, by Ed Shearmur (who had handled the orchestration on Randy Newman's That'll Do, on which Gabriel sang), was recorded at British Grove Studios in London with a number of players who previously featured in the New Blood Orchestra. 

Playing For Time was, in part, influenced by the work of the Long Now Foundation, and Danny Hillis’s extraordinary invention, The 10,000 Year Clock, which is an idea designed to try and encourage us to think long-term.

"I'm sure that if we have a chance of surviving the existential problems that we now face we have to start thinking much bigger and longer to make some real headway," Gabriel says. "So, I think what they do is enormously valuable and there are some amazing talks on their website, so for those that want a deep dive into the role of time and long-term thinking, the Long Now Foundation is a wonderful place to start." 

As with Gabriel's the two previous full moon releases, Playing For Time will come with differing mix approaches from Tchad Blake (Dark-Side Mix), released on 7 March, and from Mark ‘Spike’ Stent (Bright-Side Mix) and Hans-Martin Buff’s Atmos In-Side Mix, released later in the month. 

Gabriel will tour Europe later this year, while dates in North America will be announced shortly. Full details below. 

Peter Gabriel i/o Tour – Europe 2023

May 18: Krakow Tauron Arena, Poland
May 20: Verona Arena, Italy
May 21: Milan Mediolanum Arena, Italy
May 23: Paris AccorHotels Arena, France
May 24: Lille Stade Pierre-Mauroy, France
May 26: Berlin Waldbuehne, Germany
May 28: Munich Koenigsplatz, Germany
May 30: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
May 31: Stockholm Avicii Arena, Sweden
Jun 02: Bergen Koengen, Norway
Jun 05: Amsterdam  Ziggo Dome, Netherlands
Jun 06: Antwerp Sportpaleis, Belgium
Jun 08: Zurich Hallenstadion, Switzerland
Jun 10: Cologne Lanxess Arena, Germany
Jun 12: Hamburg Barclays Arena, Germany
Jun 13: Frankfurt Festhalle, Germany
Jun 15: Bordeaux Arkea Arena, France
Jun 17: Birmingham Utilita Arena, UK
Jun 19: London The O2, UK
Jun 20: Nottingham Motorpoint Arena
Jun 22: Glasgow OVO Hydro, UK
Jun 23: Manchester AO Arena, UK
Jun 25: Dublin 3Arena, Ireland

Tickets are on sale now

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.