I figured I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it's my blog! So there!
It was almost 11 months from the release of "Panopticon", the first new work in 21 years from Peter Gabriel, and the actual release of his album i/o. (I'd link you to his website, but the it seems to be down.)
Normal cycle is usually 6-8 weeks from first "single" release to the full album. Gabriel even completed a world tour to promote the album before the it was even released in December 2023.
Honest to g-d, I had forgotten about i/o completely, and if there was any promotion for the disk, it was completely under the radar. I'm not 100% sure the disk even charted anywhere.
Normally, this behaviour would be a record company trying to bury a bad album. But.....it's Gabriel. Even his worst material isn't bad. Allegedly, he's been working on this disk for the last 20 years. It might be closer to him tweaking it to death than anything else.
Perfection is the enemy of good.
To add to this: there are three versions of i/o (of which I know): The Bright Side. The Dark Side. The In Side. All have the same 12 songs, just different mixes. It's a good way for you to part with your $$$.
For the record, I'm reviewing the Bright Side mix. I sampled the Dark Side - and honestly there doesn't seem to be a lot of difference, but I didn't delve into it either.
"Olive Tree" works well, until it doesn't. It starts off so great, and then the horns (or the synth made horns?) take over the song - more so than they should or needed. "Playing for Time" is eerily like a Randy Newman song from any Toy Story movie - in voice and style. It's not bad, but, it's not for me.
There are stand-outs, of course, "Panopticon", "the Court", "Love Can Heal" and "Four Kinds of Horses".
Those looking for "Sledgehammers" or "Big Time" need to look elsewhere. There is much more in common with his first four solo disks than that, though it does infuse a bit of So.
Sonically, the recording is excellent. But when you tinker with is so much, it will either be great or horrible, with no in between. Allegedly at least one song has between 120-150 tracks that had to be mixed together. Even with the gadgetry, most of the songs are understated and very calm.
I like i/o a lot. I'm not over the moon about most of it.