Peter Gabriel’s much-anticipated new album i/o is expected to come out this year, though it still doesn’t haven an official release date. Gabriel has, however, been sharing a bunch of songs that will appear on it: “Panopticom,” “The Court,” “Playing For Time,” “Four Kinds Of Horses,” the title track, and now, “Road To Joy.” (Gabriel actually debuted “Road To Joy” a couple of weeks back during the kickoff of his i/o tour at Poland’s Tauron Arena.)
Written and by Gabriel and produced by Gabriel and Brian Eno, “Road To Joy” features the Soweto Gospel Choir, a string arrangement from John Metcalfe, and contributions from a number of Gabriel’s touring band and longtime collaborators: bassist Tony Levin, guitarist David Rhodes, and drummer Manu Katché. It also features newer band members Don E on bass and keys and Josh Shpak on trumpet and was recorded at Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Bath, the Beehive and British Grove in London, and High Seas Studios in South Africa.
Of “Road To Joy,” Gabriel says:
I’m working on a project which is partly a story focused around the brain and how we perceive things and this song connects to that. It deals with near-death experience and locked-in syndrome situations where people are unable to communicate or to move. It’s an amazingly frustrating condition. There have been some great books and films about this subject, but at this point in our story the people looking after our hero manage to find a way to wake him up. So, it’s a lyric about coming back into your senses, back to life, back into the world.
The song is one of the last tracks to emerge for the i/o record, but it has some DNA from an earlier project; it was actually very late in the record that we got to this. There had been a song that musically I’d started, I think, around the OVO project called Pukka. It was very different to this, but it was actually the starting point for coming back to this song. I just felt there was a good groove there, and I wanted something else with rhythm and so we tried a few things when I was working with Brian Eno. The excitement and energy in the song was something that I was getting off on. I felt we didn’t have enough of that for this record.
i/o is expected out later this year.