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Barbieri with Porcupine Tree at the State Theater, Falls Church, VA, 12 October 2007.
|Born||30 November, 1957|
Richard Barbieri (; bahr-bee-AIR-ee) is an English musician and songwriter. Originally a member of new wave band Japan (and their brief 1989-1991 reincarnation as Rain Tree Crow), more recently he is known as the keyboard player in the progressive rock band Porcupine Tree, which he joined in 1993.
Barbieri started his musical career with the group Japan who formed in 1974; Barbieri joined in 1975 following earlier attendances at rehearsals as a friend of the group. In 1977 the band was signed to the Hansa/Ariola label and began work on a debut album, which was released in 1978.
Japan went on to record five studio albums culminating in Tin Drum which stayed in the UK Albums Chart for a year. They were one of the most successful chart bands in Europe and Asia in 1982. The band split up in December 1982 at the height of their popularity after a world tour that year.
After the break-up of Japan, Barbieri continued his association with David Sylvian, playing on the latter's early solo albums (and on the 1988 In Praise Of Shamans tour). During this time he worked alongside such other innovators as Holger Czukay, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Robert Fripp.
In 1984 he started a long musical association with another Japan colleague, Steve Jansen. This has produced six collaborative albums to date, under the name The Dolphin Brothers (Catch the Fall, 1987) and later as Jansen / Barbieri (including Worlds In A Small Room, 1985, Stories Across Borders, 1993, Other Worlds in a Small Room, 1996, and Stone to Flesh, 1997).
In late 1989, the members of Japan (minus guitarist Rob Dean) reunited under the name Rain Tree Crow to make new recordings for Virgin. This resulted in a single eponymous album which extended the work of late Japan and the solo/collective work of all four members, featuring a variety of influences from pop to art rock, jazz, ambient and world music. Other contributors to the album included Bill Nelson. Rain Tree Crow charted in 1991 in the UK Top 25 and brought critical acclaim.
The group parted company shortly after recording the album, for which there was no supporting tour. However, the project was key to the reuniting of Jansen, Barbieri and Karn as a creative unit (sometimes referred to as "JBK").
The next work by Jansen, Barbieri and Karn was as the rhythm section for British art-pop band No-Man, who recruited them for a 1992 UK tour and for recordings which later appeared on the Loveblows & Lovecries album and on the "Painting Paradise" and "Sweetheart Raw" EPs (one of these EP pieces, the 20-plus-minute "Heaven Taste", later appeared on the album of the same name). This marked Barbieri's first work with Steven Wilson, with whom he would then go on to work in Porcupine Tree.
In 1993 Barbieri formed the Medium Productions label in 1993 with Jansen and Karn. They commenced with the Jansen/Barbieri/Karn album Beginning to Melt (a collection of varied pieces including some trio work and other recordings featuring various permutations of the basic trio with other collaborators including David Torn and Robbie Aceto). Thirteen diverse albums were released during a ten-year period; Jansen and Barbieri's collaboration with DJ Takemura on the album Changing Hands being one of the highlights.
During this period Barbieri also made two other collaborative albums, one with his wife Suzanne J. Barbieri under the name Indigo Falls (1996), and one with Tim Bowness from the band No-Man titled Flame (1994).
In late 1993 Barbieri joined the progressive rock band Porcupine Tree (having previously played as a guest performer on the album Up the Downstair). The band released eight studio albums to increasingly greater chart success, and toured in support of many of them. Initially employing many aspects of psychedelic rock, they later transitioned to a more pop-oriented style before settling on progressive metal. Their first major success was the album In Absentia, which enjoyed chart success around Europe with sales of over 120,000. The following studio albums Deadwing and Fear of a Blank Planet met even greater success, charting highly worldwide. Increased radio airtime and favourable mainstream magazine reviews and interviews further increased their public exposure. The band transitioned somewhat away from metal with their last album, The Incident, with leader Steven Wilson expressing a desire to enter a different genre. The band members are currently concentrating on solo projects and have no immediate plans to work together in the future.
Richard Barbieri collaborated with Steve Hogarth on the album Not The Weapon But The Hand, which was released by Kscope Records in 2012, but a proposed tour was cancelled for financial issues. Barbieri wrote the music and Hogarth provided the lyrics for the album.
Richard Barbieri has released three solo albums to date, Things Buried, 2004/5, Stranger Inside, 2008, and Planets + Persona, 2017.
Aside from recording and touring, Barbieri has written articles on analogue synthesis for various publications; composed music for film; programs for music software and synthesizer manufacturers. He guests with The Bays, an electronic improvisational group. Recent work with The Bays includes two Radio One sessions for the late John Peel and concerts at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Brighton Dome. Richard and The Bays performed an improvised soundtrack to Run Lola Run in Darling Harbour, Sydney in 2009. He also undertakes occasional keyboards duties for the live outings of Marillion vocalist Steve Hogarth's fronted H-Band, appearing on the 2002 Album 'Live Body, Live Spirit'.
(Also included on Virgin Japan CD release of Catch The Fall)