Peter Gabriel's long-awaited new album i/o is finally expected to come out this year, and he just released its first official single, "Panopticom." The song features longtime Peter Gabriel collaborators Tony Levin, David Rhodes and Manu Katché, as well as electronics by Brian Eno and additional backing vocals by Ríoghnach Connolly of The Breath.

"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," Peter says. "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."

He also explains why he released the song on a full moon: "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. 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 song released from this album will also be accompanied by a piece of art, and "Panopticom" features Red Gravity by David Spriggs. Peter says, "It was the theme of surveillance that connected me with the work of David Spriggs because he’d done a piece relating to that. 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."

Listen:

Here's Peter's lengthier statement accompanying the new song:

See the world!

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.

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.

* More and more data is being created and very little is visible. The Panopticom platform is a constantly changing satellite fed globe which will be the central tool that allows people to upload and monitor appropriate and meaningful, personal, social, economic and political data along with all manner of scientific and environmental information. It should allow the world to see much more of itself.

* Any data that has a geographical component will be logged into its global location and colour coded according to the degree of verification. The data, once it has passed reasonable tests of validity, will be written into the surface of the world via the Panopticom in indelible ‘digital ink,‘ so never again should threats to the planet, it’s people, flora and fauna, be invisible, denied forgotten or erased.

* The tools for navigating the Panopticom will allow any citizen to search, using any point of reference: e.g., issue, date, location and even allow the enquirer to roll the planet back in time to when maps were first being drawn, or to see what’s happened to the Amazon basin or icecaps since we had satellite imagery.

* On a personal level it could store where you first fell in love, where you were born, where you love to travel to.

* I imagine that somewhere a huge physical globe will show all the data activity on its surface, along with a personal version for mobile, tablet and computer. I can also picture an interface like a slice of a sphere that could fit on a dinner plate and allow a more physical relationship with the data which would then appear on a screen.

* By easily animating data, the Panopticom could, for example, enable us to monitor what is going on with climate and with the biosphere as it happens.

* For human rights, it would enable every single transgression or human rights abuse, to be indelibly logged into the fabric of this digital planet, hopefully with a personal video account. It could also show when and where justice is achieved.

* The Panopticom can evolve into a giant living library of human and planetary experience, but also shine a light on and hopefully deter, the dark, the mal-intentioned and the dangerous.

* The ability to visualise, to see what is really going on, transformed medicine. It could do the same for the planet.

These are just a few initial ideas. 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.

Peter Gabriel -- 2023 Tour Dates
Thursday 18 May Krakow, Poland TAURON Arena
Saturday 20 May Verona, Italy Verona Arena
Sunday 21 May Milan, Italy Mediolanum Arena
Tuesday 23 May Paris, France AccorHotels Arena
Wednesday 24 May Lille, France Stade Pierre-Mauroy
Friday 26 May Berlin, Germany Waldbuehne
Sunday 28 May Munich, Germany Koenigsplatz
Tuesday 30 May Copenhagen, Denmark Royal Arena
Wednesday 31 May Stockholm, Sweden Avicii Arena
Friday 2 June Bergen, Norway Koengen
Monday 5 June Amsterdam, Netherlands Ziggo Dome
Tuesday 6 June Antwerp, Belgium Sportpaleis
Thursday 8 June Zurich, Switzerland Hallenstadion
Saturday 10 June Cologne, Germany Lanxess Arena
Monday 12 June Hamburg, Germany Barclays Arena
Tuesday 13 June Frankfurt, Germany Festhalle
Thursday 15 June Bordeaux, France Arkea Arena
Saturday 17 June Birmingham, UK Utilita Arena
Monday 19 June London, UK The O2
Thursday 22 June Glasgow, UK OVO Hydro
Friday 23 June Manchester, UK AO Arena
Sunday 25 June Dublin, Ireland 3Arena

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