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Peter Gabriel has been a recording artist for over 50 years, starting as the lead singer of the British band Genesis before going solo in 1977. It has been over 21 years since he released Up, his previous album of new material. Gabriel likes to jump-start his creativity by setting restrictions for himself, such as, in a previous album, not allowing the drummer to use any cymbals. The result is that he has to work to create the kind of sound he wants without some of the tools many artists use. He also has been a proponent for what is known as world music, highlighting artists from other parts of the world that westerners don’t get much chance to hear. All of these things contribute to making his albums thoughtful, interesting, and unique.

I/O is no exception. The title refers to the input and output, and in the title song he says, “I/O! I’m coming out. I’m going in. I’m just a part of everything.” That is one of the themes he continues to come back to; how we get along with others. In “Live and Let Live” he sings, “It takes courage to learn to forgive, to be brave enough to listen, to live and let live.” While there are upbeat songs on I/O, the standout tracks are the moody ones with “Love Can Heal” as a prime example. There is a lot to explore in this album and Gabriel’s expressive voice and intricate arrangements invite us to spend time with the fascinating songs and sounds of I/O. (Real World Productions)

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