Richard Barbieri has announced a follow up to his 2017 release “Planets + Persona” with a fourth solo album “Under A Spell.”
“I wrote and recorded it in my studio at home, with all this strangeness going on outside,” says Barbieri of Under A Spell. “It became something completely different: this weird, self-contained dream-state album,” say Barbieri.
“Under A Spell” captures the atmospheres and moods that Barbieri’s disconnected brain was conjuring during the Covid lockdown rather than slaving over arrangements and melodies. Songs such as “Flare,” “Serpentine,” “Sleep Will Find You” and its companion piece-of-sorts “Darkness Will Find You” are sharply defined despite their dream-inspired genesis. He points to the evocative opening and closing tracks, “Under A Spell” and “Lucid,” as the keys that unlock the album.
“Those two tracks have the whole meaning within them,” he says. “The first song, ‘Under A Spell’, is leading you down a path, moving into places where you’re not sure what’s going on. There are whispers in the background, spells being cast in a deserted wood. Then the final track, ‘Lucid’, is the opposite. You’re in this comforting lucid dream, but then you’re drifting further away from it, trying to come out of it. There are voices saying: ‘Wake up, wake up, come back alive…’”
Listeners will be able to make out those voices but there are no vocals, these voices, collaborators, include Marillion frontman Steve Hogarth and Swedish singer Lisen Rylander Love (who co-wrote “A Star Light“).
The album’s title encapsulates the haunting and evocative world Barbieri has created. Songs such as the skittering, billowing “Clockwork” and “Sketch 6” dub-inspired soundscape hang suspended in that strange half-world between sleep and waking – a subconscious reflection of the surreal state the planet has found itself in over recent months.
“I was having a lot of bizarre, recurring dreams that were hanging around after I woke up,” says Barbieri. “They were based around this woodland pathway, which is really summed up by the album cover – this surreal, deserted, Blair Witch Project type of environment. You’re going through these woods, heading towards this light, almost like you’re leaving life. That’s where the title Under A Spell came from – it was a feeling of not being totally in control. Almost as if your dreams are pointing you in directions that sometimes you can control and sometimes you can’t.”
1. Under A Spell [07:19]
2. Clockwork [02:33]
3. Flare 2 [08:51]
4. A Star Light [03:50]
5. Serpentine [06:22]
6. Sleep Will Find You [02:51]
7. Sketch 6 [06:30]
8. Darkness Will Find You [04:58]
9. Lucid [06:14]
“Under A Spell” will be released on Kscope on February 26, 2021 on CD, gatefold double black vinyl LP, limited edition gatefold double red vinyl LP (exclusive to the Kscope store) and digitally with pre-orders available here: https://RichardBarbieri.lnk.to/UnderASpell