Seminal keyboardist from Porcupine Tree, Richard Barbieri has released his second solo album of atmospheric aural canvases to what should be critical acclaim. Stranger Inside evokes what the title might suggest – mysterious, dark and brooding pieces that strive to capture the essence of their titles. Certainly, Barbieri's past projects (Japan, Rain Tree Crow, Blackfield) have served him well as a culmination of this CD.
The opening track sets precedent allowing the title inform the piece. "Cave" is exactly that – dark and undulating, cold and dense. "Decay" is both disturbing and beautiful with it's fine use of tension and release and haunting vocal sampling. "Retina Blur" has a wonderfully spooky melody with a funky groove underneath. The title track uses space to maximum effect as it sounds like a soundtrack to a dressing horror flick.
Barbieri is a master in creating pieces that are ethereal and moody without venturing into the land of "new age" schlock! He does this by infusing rhythm and purpose behind the atmospheric washes. Simple and complex at the same time, Stranger Inside is a perfect CD to turn on in the background to work to and NOT to sleep by.
2. All Fall Down
8. Retina Blur
9. Stranger Inside