Richard Barbieri - Planets + Persona album review
Japan and Porcupine Tree alumnus makes stellar solo work.
Richard Barbieri’s contributions to the development of synth and electronica sounds have not gone unrecognised, but the full extent of his influence is undervalued. With Japan, his music switched the flow of much early 80s music from gaiety to introspection. For many, the sight (and sound) of Ghosts – eerie, heartbreaking and the most unlikely top five hit single ever – on Top Of The Pops was a life-changing experience: as revelatory for one generation as Bowie’s Starman was to the previous. It proved the gateway drug for those not yet converted to Japan “deep cuts” like Alien or In Vogue. As well as his own projects and collaborations since (such as Steve Hogarth and Tim Bowness), Barbieri handled keyboards for Porcupine Tree for two decades.