|Studio album by|
|Recorded||April 1995 – present|
I/O is the working title of a planned studio album by British musician Peter Gabriel. It was initially intended to be the follow-up to his 2002 album, Up. It has continued to be developed through 2021, and is currently being recorded.
The history of I/O is closely connected to that of making the album Up, which notoriously took Gabriel almost 10 years to complete, with some of the songs being first recorded during the Us recording sessions. After the Secret World Live World Tour, Gabriel spent much of the 1990s writing new material, and in interviews circa 2002 he said that four albums would come out of this period of writing (he reportedly wrote and prepared over 130 songs during this time, of which ten were selected for Up).
Originally the album was set to be released in 2004, or 18 months apart from Up, yet extensive touring (the Growing Up Live and Still Growing Up Live tours in 2003 and 2004) pushed the release far ahead.
According to a Rolling Stone magazine article from 2005, Gabriel had 150 songs in various stages, which he had been working on with engineer Richard Chappell and percussionist Ged Lynch. He also talked about the possibility of completing the songs, arranging them for a band, touring first and only then recording and releasing them. He also said of a tour possibility: "I would like to try maybe just me and a percussionist, or a percussionist and bass. It's good sometimes to let go of your crutches."
In the last quarter of 2008, Gabriel (via his monthly Moon Club Video Updates on his official website) mentioned that he has been back in the studio on a more regular basis, shifting focus toward the recording of I/O and his covers project Scratch My Back (which was released in 2010). However, as of March 2012, Gabriel announced on his video updates that he has been working on twelve "brand new" song ideas.
In 2013, Gabriel uploaded pictures of himself and Ged Lynch in the recording studio. While a release date has not been announced, Gabriel intended to put more focus on this project before committing to anything else. In a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, he mentioned that he had 20 songs in the works. "I really need to stop doing other things and lock myself away for a while. It probably hasn’t moved nearly as much as I would have liked to in the intervening time. The songs are still there, but some of them I would redo now and there’s some new stuff as well. I keep arranging until the cows come home, which is sometimes a weakness.."
In a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Gabriel revealed he was working on "some happy stuff" because "it’s very easy for me to fall into some moody stuff." He also spoke about how he had been writing some songs over the last two weeks that might end up on an "organic dance record". When asked if that was for I/O, he said he wasn't sure it will still be called I/O, noting there are already multiple albums with similar names. He also released a Facebook post in 2014 revealing he was working on a song called "Here Comes Love".
Throughout 2015 and 2016, Gabriel continued to post many Facebook and Instagram posts about working on the new album alongside Ged Lynch and Richard Chappell. He also revealed another song with the working title of "In and Out". In 2016, he released two new singles: "I'm Amazing" and "The Veil".
In March 2018, Gabriel posted on his Facebook that the new album was in the "comping" stage. In April 2019, Gabriel mentioned on BBC Radio that he had taken a break from music making to care for his then-ill wife, but had gotten back into it once she had fully recovered. He said he was working on about 50 ideas, with the intention of finishing the songs by the end of 2019 to then "open them up to the band" by early next year then "get a record out". In 2019, he released a new single titled "This Is Party Man".
In March 2020, Gabriel wrote back to an article in The Times and revealed he was working on a song about aging, called "So Much".
Gabriel was interviewed by UNCUT magazine for their July 2020 issue. In this interview, Gabriel was asked about new music to which he said "I'm excited by what is being cooked at the moment - I have been slowed down quite a lot by lockdown, we've not been able to have Dickie my engineer here - but I have enough songs that I like to make a record I'm proud of." Gabriel was then directly asked, "So we can expect a new studio album anytime soon?" to which he replied, "It would depend on how you define 'soon', but the answer is yes!"
In October 2021, Genesis News reported that Gabriel, in an interview with Italian news magazine SPECCHIO, said that he and his band had recently worked on 17 songs in the studio for 10 days. Later in the month, Peter was asked about his new album during an event in Milan, Italy, while promoting his daughter Anna's book. He mentioned that he had been in the studio two weeks ago, recording 23 songs alongside Manu Katche and his "usual" band. Soon after, Gabriel posted to his Facebook and Instagram a series of photos containing himself, Katche, bassist Tony Levin, and guitarist David Rhodes in the recording studio at Real World Studios.
As of 2021, the album still remains unreleased.