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Richard Barbieri: Planets + Persona

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Shafts of Light"

Prominent British keyboardist Richard Barbieri (Porcupine Tree, Japan, David Torn) and an impressive support lineup give true meaning to the conventional ambient-electronic allusions of space exploration. But the keyboardist ups the ante by incorporating groove-based settings amid pristinely recorded textures, streaming layers and the use of acoustic instruments for augmentation and expansion-type initiatives. Here, every note resonates and provides x-amount of significance.

Working with the world class prog rock band Porcupine Tree and numerous solo and side projects, the leader of this date forges a polygonal soundscape, charted on concise melodies and colorful tonalities. An added treat is the concurrent release of the 360° video for the track "Solar Sea," that is imagined via "colliding planets, ice crystals inside a hollow comet, volcanic asteroids spewing molten lava into open space and a breathtaking finale."

Certain movements may spark imagery of the dawn of mankind, but various motifs are fused into other patterns via the leader's radiant thought-processes. Essentially, Barbieri doesn't focus on just one clear-cut storyline. However, he does imbue darkness with sax and horns overlays, contrasted and outlined by his synths and programming endeavors.

"Shafts of Light" is an enticing composition that commences with Christian Saggese's amped acoustic guitar phrasings that summon imagery of the vastness of nature. Here, trumpeter Luca Calabrese follows with bluesy incantations and accents, along with Barbieri's subtle synth layers and sparkling lead lines, casting a prismatic vibe to the moving parts. He also imparts some ambient, Brian Eno-like chord voicings as the guitarist springs into a folk-ish melody during the mid-section. It's a piece that forges a cosmic electro-acoustic vibe that is a consistent modality interspersed throughout the entire program.

Track Listing: Solar Sea; New Found Land; Night of the Hunter; Interstellar Medium; Unholy; Shafts of Light; Solar Storm.

Personnel: Richard Barbieri: synthesizers, Fender Rhodes, grand piano, sampler, electronic percussion programming, sound design; Lisen Rylander Löve: voices, saxophone, omnichord, kalimba, sound design; Luca Calabrese: trumpet; Kjell Severinsson: drums; Klas Assarsson: vibraphone; Christian Saggese: acoustic guitar; Grice Peters: kora; Axel Croné: bass guitar; Percy Jones: bass guitar.

Title: Planets + Persona | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Kscope Music

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