May 26, 2013

Sundaze 1321

Hello, the Championsleague final was an all German one, the best team won although unfortunately there was a big mistake by the referee who should have send off Dante with a second yellow, against 10 Bayern Dortmund might have overcome their tiredness and win the game. Meanwhile in Monaco it's F1 weekend again, Rosberg for the third consecutive time on poll, he doesn't expect to win the race as the previous two times he was chanceless in the race. ...more tomorrow.

Today two men from the background, generally unassuming but really present so many times ..... N'Joy

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Steve Jansen (born Stephen Batt, 1 December 1959, in Beckenham, Kent, England) is an English drummer, percussionist, singer and composer. He was educated at Catford Boys' School, Catford, South East London, where he failed academically, leaving at 16.
He is best known as a founding member of the group Japan, along with his brother David Sylvian (vocals, guitars and keyboards), Mick Karn (bass guitar), Richard Barbieri (keyboards), and Rob Dean (guitar).

After Japan broke up in 1982, Jansen recorded with bandmate Richard Barbieri under the name The Dolphin Brothers, with Jansen handling lead vocals as well as drums and percussion. In 1991, Jansen, Barbieri, and Karn formed Medium Productions as a venue for releasing their own music, as well as releases by other artists.

Jansen has worked extensively as a session musician and in collaboration with a wide range of international artists, such as Yukihiro Takahashi and Italian singer-songwriter Alice. His most recent project is Nine Horses with David Sylvian and Burnt Friedman. Jansen played drums and percussion on tour with Sylvian through the latter half of 2007. On his first solo album, entitled Slope, Jansen "approached composition attempting to avoid chord and song structures and the usual familiar building blocks. Instead I wanted to piece together unrelated sounds, music samples, rhythms and 'events' in an attempt to deviate from my own trappings as a musician.

Richard Barbieri (born 30 November 1957, in London, England)  was educated at Catford Boys' School, Catford, South East London. Originally coming to prominence in the late-1970s and early-1980s as a member of new wave pioneers Japan (and their brief 1989–1990 reincarnation as Rain Tree Crow), he is now best known as the keyboard player in the progressive rock band Porcupine Tree, of which he has been a member since 1993. Despite being known for work in bands with prominent musicianship, Barbieri's key skill lies not in virtuoso instrumental performance, but in developing and processing synthetic electronic sound. This is either generated entirely by keyboard input or by processing a sound source from a musical collaborator.

During his time with Japan, Barbieri worked (with the assistance of lead singer/occasional keyboard player David Sylvian) on programming the band's analogue (and early digital) synthesizers to create original sounds and textures. On record, these were played by whichever member of Japan could interpret the performance best (generally drummer Steve Jansen, as "he had the best timing.") Barbieri would, however, perform the bulk of the keyboard playing live. His keyboard-playing role in Porcupine Tree is similarly split with frontman/producer Steven Wilson, with Barbieri processing the sound of other musicians in the band as well as playing more orthodox keyboard parts.

Despite his emphasis on sonic experimentation, Barbieri is also an accomplished keyboard player who has become more overtly traditional in his playing during his years with Porcupine Tree (and who currently plays electric and acoustic pianos and Mellotrons in addition to his analogue-styled synthesizer work).

After the break-up of Japan, Barbieri continued his association with David Sylvian, playing on the latter's early solo albums (and on the 1986 In Praise Of Shamans tour). During this time he worked alongside such other innovators as Holger Czukay, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Robert Fripp. In 1987 he started a long musical association with another Japan colleague, Steve Jansen. This has produced six collaborative albums to date, initially under the name The Dolphin Brothers (Catch the Fall, 1987) and later as Jansen & Barbieri (including Stories Without Borders, 1993,Worlds in a Small Room, 1996, and Stone to Flesh, 1997).

The Rain Tree Crow collaboration was short-lived due to David Sylvian's assumption of control over the project (which he claims was necessary for financing but which the other members saw as controlling arrogance). 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").

In 1993 Barbieri formed the Medium Productions label in 1993 with Jansen and Karn. Their objective was to enable themselves to create music and collaborate with fellow musicians on projects without record company interference and restriction. They kicked off the label 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. 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. 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. They are currently inactive, though with plans to eventually reform.

The new album 'Not The Weapon But The Hand' from Steve Hogarth and Richard Barbieri was released by Kscope Records February 2012. Hogarth is best known as the frontman of Marillion.'Not The Weapon But The Hand' was completed in late 2011 and features appearances from Danny Thompson on double bass, Arran Ahmun (John Martyn) and Chris Maitland (ex Porcupine Tree) on drums and Dave Gregory (XTC) on guitar, bass and string arrangements.

In 2005 he released his debut solo album Things Buried. Although he has made many albums as part of a group, trio or duo, surprisingly this is his first solo work. The instrumental album also features the distinctive performances of Andy Gangadeen on acoustic and electronic drums, and Percy Jones on fretless bass.

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Back in 1984, Shortly after the Demise of the Group Japan, Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri were Asked by Jvc to Compose a Soundtrack to One of a Series of 'ambient Videos' to Be Released by the Multi-national Company. Recorded and Mixed in Tokyo, 'worlds in a Small Room' was a Quintessential Ambient Album, Complementing Footage from Space Shuttle Missions, Courtesy of Nasa. The Album Has Become Something of a Rarity. Jansen and Barbieri have Therefore Decided to Re-issue Selected Tracks from the Original Recording, Combining them with New Pieces Specifically Written for this Period. The Resulting 'other Worlds in a Small Room' Combines Original Analogue Recordings (Digitally Re-mastered) with Three New Instrumental Pieces. These Are, in Essence, Solo Recordings Since the Duo Worked Separately Throughout, and were Written and Recorded in Medium's Own Digital Studio.

Jansen and Barbieri - Worlds In A Small Room + Other ( flac 317mb)

01 Breaking The Silence 3:40
02 Toys 2:42
03 Blue Lines 4:13
04 Mission 4:52
05 The Way The Light Falls 5:10
06 Balance 3:46
07 Moving Circles 4:29
08 Distant Fire 5:29
09 Move In Circles 3:51


10 Remains Of A Fragile Illusion 9:38
11 Light Years 12:32
12 A Disturbed Sense Of Distance 8:01
13 Breaking The Silence 3:39
14 Blue Lines 3:36
15 The Way The Light Falls 5:07
16 Distant Fire 5:22

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The Dolphin Brothers feature Steve Jansen, and Richard Barbieri,on their second album together. They released one album Catch the Fall under this moniker in 1987, with Steve Jansen on drums, percussion, keyboards and lead vocals, and Richard Barbieri on keyboards and synthesizers. Additional personnel were: Phil Palmer, David Rhodes (acoustic and electric guitars); B. Heinrich-Keat (electric guitar), Clive Bell (Thai flute, khene, crumhorn); Carrie Booth (piano); Danny Thompson (double bass); Matthew Seligman, Robert Bell (bass); Martin Ditcham (percussion); Suzanne Murphy, Katie Kissoon, P.P. Arnold (backing vocals).

Steve Jansen shows his flair for song writing, and unique approach to vocals, Richard Barbieri doesnt disappoint either, with his wonderful approach to sound and texture. "Catch The Fall" is a collection of both "pop", and some amazingly moving introprosective tunes. The title track opens the album beautifully, I kind of wished they continued the album in this vein, but the following four tracks change the mood to a more uptempo/pop feel. The final three tracks are flawless, totally wonderful, and are the highlight of this album. The mood swings back to the opening track, and you can easily loose yourself in the truley blissful sounds.

The Dolphin Brothers - Catch The Fall ( flac 206mb)

01 Catch The Fall 5:26
02 Shining 4:57
03 Second Sight 3:44
04 Love That You Need 5:57
05 Real Life, Real Answers 3:36
06 Host To The Holy 5:22
07 My Winter 4:43
08 Pushing The River 4:49

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One of Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri's most atmospheric recordings and a good starting point for those unfamiliar with their work, Stories Across Borders is principally a night album in mood -- only two pieces, "When Things Dream" and "Lumen" (Latin for light) are lighter. There is some stunning material, particularly from Barbieri on the penultimate cut, "Nocturnal Sightseeing."

An excellent album of experimentation and improvisation from messes Barbieri and Jansen, of prior Japan fame.  Of all the Japan related solo works and collaborations, this duo seemed the tightest knit and sadly as with a lot of material of this ilk, the album is highly rare and collectable and it seems a shame that such a brilliant record should be forgotten about in this fashion.  Stories Across Borders excels in several fields by virtue of its gorgeous synth soundscape backing and excellent levels of creation and implementation.  Each track sounds suitably different to the next, with the (apt for me at least) The Insomniac's Bed being my favourite because of its menacing piano backbone.

Jansen and Barbieri - Stories Across Borders ( flac 170mb)

01 Long Tales, Tall Shadows 5:14
02 When Things Dream 2:52
03 Lumen 3:37
04 The Insomniac's Bed 3:57
05 The Night Gives Birth 3:54
06 Celebration 3:14
07 Nocturnal Sightseeing 6:21
08 One More Zombie 5:41

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the effort you put into this post. Japan and all its offshoots were certainly of anoyher world. Keep up the good work!

Norm de Plume said...

Hello rho-xs,

Thank you for the Jansen and Barberi, however it would forever enhance my musical taste(s) if you could possibly post a new link for Stories Across Borders.

Anonymous said...

Hello! Would you be so good as to re-up The Dolphin Brothers? The link seems to be down unfortunately. Thank you.

yvesdi said...

Dear Rho,

Could you please re-up "Jansen and Barbieri - Worlds In A Small Room + Other"?

Thank you very much,
Yves D.