Panopticom

Album: i/o (2023)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Panopticom" is a track from i/o, Peter Gabriel's first collection of original material since 2002's Up. He released a version of the song entitled the "Bright Side Mix" as the album's first single on January 6, 2023.
  • Gabriel released "Panopticom (Bright Side Mix)" on a full moon and planned to drop future songs from the album also on the night of a full moon. "Some of what I'm writing about this time is the idea that we seem incredibly capable of destroying the planet that gave us birth and that unless we find ways to reconnect ourselves to nature and to the natural world we are going to lose a lot," explained Gabriel. "A simple way of thinking about where we fit in to all of this is looking up at the sky... and the moon has always drawn me to it."
  • Panopticom
    Let's find out what's going on
    Panopticom
    Let's see where clues are leading
    Panopticom
    Won't you show us what's going on?
    Panopticom
    So how much is real?


    So what is Panopticom? According to Gabriel, it is a proposed data globe that would allow for the limitless accumulation and accessibility of information. The singer-songwriter is assembling a team of like-minded individuals to bring this idea to fruition and help the world gain a greater understanding of current events.

    Gabriel cited three organizations that partially inspired the lyric: research group Forensic Architecture, investigative journalism group Bellingcat and the Gabriel co-founded pioneering human rights organization WITNESS.

    It's kind of a benign version of Panopticon (with an N at the end instead of an M), a concept of a prison where a central tower can see into every cell. The Panopticon has since become a metaphor for overreaching surveillance and a lack of privacy, particularly in the age of big data.
  • Gabriel wrote and produced "Panopticom" and recorded it at Real World Studios in Wiltshire and The Beehive in London. It features the musical talents of longtime Gabriel collaborators Tony Levin on bass, David Rhodes on guitar, and Manu Katché on drums plus Real World Studios engineer Katie May on acoustic guitar. Brian Eno's atmospheric electronics underpins the track, and Ríoghnach Connolly of The Breath provides additional backing vocals.

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