Richard Barbieri

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Richard Barbieri
Barbieri with Porcupine Tree in 2007
Barbieri with Porcupine Tree in 2007
Background information
Born (1957-11-30) 30 November 1957 (age 64)
London, England
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
  • Keyboards
  • synthesiser
  • programming
Years active1974–present

Richard Barbieri (born 30 November 1957) is an English musician, composer and sound designer.[1] 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.[2] Aside from the founder Steven Wilson, he is the longest tenured member of Porcupine Tree.


Japan (1974–1982)[edit]

Although initially perceived as a 'hyped' band, Japan went on to record five studio albums culminating in Tin Drum which stayed in the UK charts for a year. The painstaking approach to synthesiser programming by Richard Barbieri and David Sylvian and the original rhythmic patterns of Steve Jansen and Mick Karn produced a sound that remains original to this day. They were the one of the most successful chart bands in Europe and Asia in 1982 despite the increasingly experimental nature of their music.

The band split up at the height of their popularity after a world tour in December 1982.

Guest appearances and Dolphin Brothers (1983–present)[edit]

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).

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).

Rain Tree Crow (1989–1991)[edit]

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.[3]

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").[4]

No-Man (1992)[edit]

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 and Tim Bowness with whom he would later record the collaborative album "Flame".

Medium Productions (1993–2003)[edit]

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.[5]

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).

Porcupine Tree (1993–2010, 2021–present)[edit]

Barbieri in 2007

In late 1993, Barbieri joined the progressive rock band Porcupine Tree (having previously played as a guest performer on the album Up the Downstair).[6] 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, and picking up two Grammy Nominations.[7] Increased radio airtime and favourable mainstream magazine reviews and interviews further increased their public exposure. The band transitioned somewhat away from metal with their 2010 album, The Incident, with leader Steven Wilson expressing a desire to enter a different genre. After years of speculation and diffusion of rumors from Wilson, the band announced its reunion in 2021.[8]

With Steve Hogarth (2012)[edit]

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.[9] Barbieri wrote the music and Hogarth provided the lyrics for the album.[10]

Solo recordings (2004–present)[edit]

Richard Barbieri has released four solo albums to date, Things Buried, 2004/5, Stranger Inside, 2008, Planets + Persona, 2017[11] and Under A Spell, 2021. Barbieri also released a series of 5 EP's on cd and vinyl under the title "Variants". These releases featured new compositions, improvisations, live performances and reworkings of older material.[12]

Other activities[edit]

Aside from recording and touring, Barbieri has written articles on analogue synthesis for various publications and programs for music software and synthesizer manufacturers.[13] He has guested many times 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.[14] 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.[15]


with Japan[edit]

with Rain Tree Crow[edit]

with Jansen/Barbieri[edit]

  • 1985 – Worlds in a Small Room (Pan East (UK) / JVC Victor (Japan))
  • 1991 – Stories Across Borders (Venture / Virgin)
  • 1995 – Stone To Flesh (Medium Productions)
  • 1996 – Other Worlds in a Small Room (Medium Productions)
  • 2015 - Lumen (Kscope)

with Jansen/Barbieri/Karn[edit]

  • 1994 – Beginning to Melt (Medium Productions)
  • 1994 – Seed (Medium Productions)
  • 1999 – ISM (Polydor / Medium)
  • 2001 – Playing in a Room with People (Medium Productions)

with The Dolphin Brothers[edit]

  • 1987 – Catch the Fall (Virgin Records)
  • 1987 – Face To Face (Japanese T.V.C.M. 7" single) (Virgin Records)

(Also included on Virgin Japan CD release of Catch The Fall)

with Jansen/Barbieri/Takemura[edit]

  • 1997 – Changing Hands (Medium Productions)

with Indigo Falls[edit]

  • 1996 – (Richard Barbieri/Suzanne Barbieri) (Medium Productions)

as Richard Barbieri/Tim Bowness[edit]

  • 1994 – Flame (One Little Indian)

with Barbieri/Roedelius/Chianura[edit]

  • 2001 – T'AI (Auditorium)

with Steve Hogarth/Richard Barbieri[edit]

  • 2012 – Not The Weapon But The Hand (K Scope)
  • 2014 – Arc Light (Racket Records)

Richard Barbieri[edit]

  • 2005 – Things Buried (Intact Records)
  • 2008 – Stranger Inside (K-Scope/Snapper)
  • 2017 - Planets + Persona (K Scope)
  • 2017 - Variants.1 (K Scope)
  • 2018 - Variants.2 (K Scope)
  • 2018 - Variants.3 (K Scope)
  • 2018 - Variants.4 (K Scope)
  • 2018 - Variants.5 (K Scope)
  • 2021 - Under a Spell (K Scope)[16]
  • 2021 - On High (Bandcamp/Orange Asylum Records)

with Porcupine Tree[edit]

As Producer[edit]

  • 1982 Lustans LakejerEn Plats I Solen (Stranded / Polar Records) (Sweden). In 2017, he joined them on a Swedish tour to perform the album in its entirety.[17]
  • 1983 Akira MitakeOut Of Reach (Epic/Sony Records) (Japan)
  • 1985 Die Werkpiloten – Faith (Dean/Ariola Records) (Germany)
  • 2003 Adom - Idiot Savant (Storm Records/Universal) (UK)
  • 2009 - Endless (with Stefano Panunzi, Nicola Lori, Mick Karn, Gavin Harrison, Tim Bowness) (Forward Music Italy)


  1. ^ "Richard Barbieri - Biography | Billboard". Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  2. ^ Hayes, Kelvin "Richard Barbieri Biography", AllMusic. Retrieved 17 August 2014
  3. ^ Rain Tree Crow - Rain Tree Crow | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic, retrieved 31 March 2021
  4. ^ "JBK". JBK. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  5. ^ Changing Hands by Jansen Barbieri Takemura - RYM/Sonemic, retrieved 31 March 2021
  6. ^ "Up The Downstair". Steven Wilson. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  7. ^ "Porcupine Tree". 23 November 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  8. ^ Krol, Charlotte (1 November 2021). "Porcupine Tree return with new single 'Harridan' and 'CLOSURE/CONTINUATION' album announcement". NME. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  9. ^ "Not The Weapon But The Hand". Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  10. ^ Humphries, Stephen (8 April 2012). "Marillion's Fantastic Power: An Interview with Steve Hogarth". Popmatters. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  11. ^ "RICHARD BARBIERI Interview - The Electricity Club". The Electricity Club. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  12. ^ Teinert, Dieter. "Richard Barbieri - Variants 1 + 2 - KSCOPE1012".
  13. ^ " Artist Interview". Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  14. ^ "Preview: The Bays With Richard Barbieri & Matt White, Queen". The Independent. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Steve Hogarth Discography". Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  16. ^ "Richard Barbieri announces new solo album for 2021". Louder Sound. 15 December 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  17. ^ "Lustans Lakejer – inför En Plats i Solen: "Det ligger vanligtvis inte i mitt DNA att återuppliva något"". 12 October 2017.

External links[edit]