Peter Gabriel has released “Panopticom,” the lead track from i/o, his first album of original material since 2002. The song features contributions from familiar names such as bassist Tony Levin, drummer Manu Katché, and guitarist David Rhodes, as well as “electronics” from Brian Eno and backing vocals from the Breath’s Ríoghnach Connolly.
Gabriel says the song’s name mirrors that of “an idea” he’s been working on “to initiate the creation of an infinitely expandable accessible data globe. 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.”
Gabriel goes on to lost potential uses for the Panopticom in a message on his web site, which concludes, “I am certain something like this will have to exist in the future. Let’s create the Panopticom together in an open, benign, and generous way that informs, inspires, and protects all the passengers on this big blue ball.”
No release date for i/o has been confirmed, but Gabriel says “the lunar phases will guide the release plan in 2023, with a new song revealed each full moon.” Each will be accompanied by its own artwork, with “Panopticom” featuring a cover image by David Spriggs.
“It was the theme of surveillance that connected me with the work of David Spriggs, because he’d done a piece relating to that,” Gabriel says. “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.”
As previously reported, Gabriel will begin his first European tour in nine years on May 18 in Krakow. As-yet-unannounced North American shows will follow in late summer and fall.