At 73 years old, Peter Gabriel is defying expectations and raising his middle finger to mortality. The iconic Genesis rocker is set to release his long-awaited album, i/o, and is using the occasion to explore themes of life, death, and the power of forgiveness. With each track accompanied by a striking image commissioned from renowned visual artists, Gabriel's album offers a compelling and accessible blend of conventional instruments, electronica, African-inspired rhythms, choirs, and orchestras. In an illuminating email exchange, Gabriel discusses his inspiration, his thoughts on artificial intelligence, and his collaborations with other talented musicians and artists.
The significance of the middle finger
It may come as a surprise, but Peter Gabriel and Liam Gallagher have at least one thing in common: a fondness for the middle finger gesture. Gabriel explains that the use of the middle finger in his album artwork is a salute to the power of death, as well as a symbol of defiance against abuses of power. The striking images, including the work of Chinese activist Ai Weiwei, provide a powerful visual representation of Gabriel's exploration of mortality and the human experience.
Exploring the full moon and the natural world
Peter Gabriel has always had a deep connection with nature, and he uses the symbolism of the full moon to mark the release of each song from i/o. He encourages fans to look up at the stars and reconnect with the natural world that created us. Gabriel believes that as we enter an age of increased virtual existence powered by artificial intelligence, it is important to remember our place in the natural world and the passage of time. He sees the themes of his album as a way to remind us of the importance of nature in our lives.
The power of forgiveness and the pursuit of peace
One of the standout tracks on i/o is "Live And Let Live," which draws inspiration from Gabriel's involvement with The Elders movement, founded by Nelson Mandela. The song features the Soweto Gospel Choir and references other influential leaders such as Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King, Jr. Gabriel explores the idea of forgiveness as a means to move forward and find peace, drawing on Mandela's personal journey of forgiveness. He emphasizes the importance of forgiveness in resolving conflicts and achieving peace, particularly in the Middle East.
Collaborations and the making of i/o
i/o is the product of years of creative work and collaboration. Peter Gabriel has assembled a talented team of musicians, including Brian Eno and Skrillex, to bring his vision to life. The album incorporates a wide range of musical styles and influences, from African rhythms to Tamla Motown-inspired grooves. Gabriel also highlights the contributions of visual artists who have added an extra dimension to each song, creating a multi-sensory experience for listeners.
As Peter Gabriel prepares to release i/o, he continues to defy expectations and explore new creative frontiers. His album offers a unique blend of musical styles and thought-provoking themes, inviting listeners to reflect on their own mortality and the power of forgiveness. With its striking artwork and collaborations with talented musicians and artists, i/o promises to be a standout release in Gabriel's storied career.