Legendary Peter Gabriel has unveiled the track “Road to Joy” Dark-Side Mix by Tchad Blake from upcoming album “i/o.” Stream the track through the YouTube player below:
Written by Peter Gabriel and produced by Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno, “Road to Joy” features Soweto Gospel Choir, a string arrangement from John Metcalfe and contributions from a number of Gabriel’s current touring band; long-time collaborators Tony Levin (bass), David Rhodes (guitar) and Manu Katché (drums) as well as two newer members Don E (bass keys), ‘he did the funkiest bass line that you can imagine’ and Josh Shpak (trumpet), ‘beautiful playing, a super musical guy.’ The song was recorded at Real World Studios, Bath, The Beehive and British Grove, London and High Seas Studios, South Africa.
“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.“
As with previous full moon releases, “Road to Joy” comes with an artist of the month, and for this June release that artist is Ai Weiwei and his work “Middle Finger in Pink.”
“I’m a big fan of Ai Weiwei, both as an artist, as a designer and as a human rights campaigner. He’s an incredibly brave man and regularly risks the wrath of the Chinese government. But his work is exceptional, often political and quite extraordinary.
When I was hustling him, I think he had absolutely no idea who I was, so it was an uphill battle at first, but he was open to talking and we got to know each other and hang out a little bit.
I was delighted when he agreed to being a part of the i/o project and generously sent us three designs. He has this middle finger image that he uses a lot in his work, and it is often directed to those in power.
He’s definitely been at the root end of power, as his father was before him. So that’s an important symbol for him and I guess in the context of the story I am now working on, death is the dominant power, and the hero is coming back to life and raising his finger to death.“
Ai Weiwei: https://www.aiweiwei.com
Cover image: Middle Finger in Pink by Ai Weiwei
According to Peter‘s official newsletter:
“We’ve been happy to read how much you’ve been enjoying Road to Joy this month, so here we are again with the Dark-Side and the In-Side mixes, from Tchad Blake and Hans-Martin Buff.
The song came late in the recording of the i/o album, but has it’s origins from a previous project, “there had been a song musically I’d started, I think, around the OVO project called ‘Pukka’. It was very different to this, but it still had some bits, which I may still explore, but it was actually the starting point for coming back to this song.“
Purchase and Stream the track here: https://lnk.to/PG21
“We had a chance to catch up with Hans-Martin Buff this week to chat about his work on the In-Side mix of Road to Joy and he told us that initially he was just sent a hard drive full of songs when Peter first asked him to get involved in the i/o project.
… the first song I played was Road to Joy, then still called Pukka, and that grabbed me instantly as something that would be cool in 3D.
It is, I think, the only one where some of my overdubs made it back to the stereo guys as well… some percussion and stuff like that. There was a huge mix where I had to take stereo decisions like the duelling low-end of Don E and Tony Levin… how to make that really funky. That big splash at the end, we used the millpond in front of the Big Room at Real World to do that. I used the strings in a really creative way, like cutting them up and putting them all over the place.
It was like a 10-day adventure, which is a long time for a mix in any format.”
Purchase and Stream the In-Side Mix here: https://lnk.to/PGSAT28
“In case you missed it, below is Peter’s full moon update from earlier in the month. “Back in the world is in the lyric and back in the world is what I am as well”, says Peter. “It’s been a while since I’ve been touring, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. We’ve had lovely audiences and I think it is a really extraordinary band, so I am delighted with that.“
“i/o” The Tour – Some tickets still available: https://petergabriel.com/live/
“Thanks, as always, for getting all the way down here. Hope you like the Dark and In-Side Mixes of Road to Joy and we’ll get ourselves ready for the next full moon in a couple of weeks time.” – Peter Gabriel