Peter Gabriel has unveiled the first single from his forthcoming studio album, i/o. Panopticom (Bright Side Mix) is now available on all streaming platforms and you can listen to it below. Its release coincides with the first full moon of 2023.
The long-awaited record comes 21 years after Up, Gabriel's last studio album of original material, and his release schedule will correspond to the lunar phases with new songs being unveiled on each full moon.
"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," says Gabriel. "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."
The track was written and produced by Gabriel, and recorded at Real World Studios in Wiltshire and The Beehive in London. It features electronics from Brian Eno and backing vocals from Ríoghnach Connolly of The Breath, as well as longtime collaborators Tony Levin, David Rhodes and Manu Katché. The lyrics are inspired by the work of Forensic Architecture, Bellingcat and the Gabriel co-founded pioneering human rights organisation WITNESS.
"Some of what I’m writing about this time is the idea that we seem incredibly capable of destroying the planet that gave us birth and that unless we find ways to reconnect ourselves to nature and to the natural world we are going to lose a lot," says Gabriel. "A simple way of thinking about where we fit in to all of this is looking up at the sky… and the Moon has always drawn me to it."
Each new track will be accompanied by a piece of art and Panopticom features the work Red Gravity by David Spriggs, which can be seen in the streamed clip
"It was the theme of surveillance that connected me with the work of David Spriggs because he’d done a piece relating to that," says Gabriel. "David does this amazing stuff using many layers of transparencies so you get these strange creations with a real intensity to them. Part of what he does is imagine what art might look like a few years in the future and then try and create accordingly and I think he’s done that very successfully in this particular piece."
Although no release date has been announced yet for i/o, Gabriel will be touring the new album from May 2023. Five shows confirmed for the UK and Ireland in June, and North American dates are expected to be announced soon.
Stream Panopticom (Bright Side Mix) below.