Under A Spell

Richard Barbieri

Kscope, 2021


REVIEW BY: Mark Kadzielawa


Richard Barbieri is a seasoned keyboard player responsible for the sounds of Japan and Porcupine Tree. Both bands are extremely significant and very accomplished in their respective fields. Barbieri was also involved in plenty of other projects and has released several solo records. His contributions to the world of music are significant at this point. The man can easily be considered a s legendary.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Under A Spell is a very strange record. It takes a while to get used to, so it’s definitely meant for the listeners who enjoy being challenged. In may ways, these would be the Barbieri contributions once you take the big chords away and strip it down to basics. It is a very minimalistic approach, but as they often say, less is more. Barbieri proves it’s definitely the case here.

There are many musicians listed here, but when you listen to the record you barely hear them. It all blends into one clear sound. In some way, that’s the beauty of this record. Everything is navigated in one direction and the sounds supplement each other, creating a single massive landscape. The music here could easily illustrate a movie, and at times, it is very easy to imagine as to what could be taking place if in fact it was a motion picture. A perfect example would be a track like “Serpentine,” but it could easily be just about any composition on this release.

The album is of course instrumental, with some vocalizations acting more like another instrument rather than an actual singing voice. I absolutely love how it all blends in. You see one picture and no separate components. Also, the album generally has a very dark nature, once again related to the title. In many ways, every little detail – from music to artwork and the titles – are completely connected.

Under A Spell is not an album for everyone. If you know Richard Barbieri from his previous work, you will have no problem connecting with what he does. If you are new to his world, it takes few listens to understand where he is coming from, but at the same time, it is a rewarding listen. This album gets under your skin in a very gentle matter, and you find yourself quickly absorbing it into your senses.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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