David Barnes: Pieces (self-released, 2022)

January 22, 2023 at 5:08 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

David Barnes: Pieces

David Barnes has released over three dozen recordings since he first began making tapes in the late ’80s. This album incorporates recordings made back then, as well as newer instrumentation and compositions, and it’s an inventive, genreless set of tracks that cut across time and space. “Pragmatica” merges Charles Cohen’s Buchla synth playing with breakbeats blasting from the past, found object percussion, and wisping guitar solos. “Autumn Col Legno” features violas played with drumsticks along with guitars and pianos, somehow conjuring up mental images of boats drifting about in a shore. “Artesian Rhythms” is more of a homemade Fourth World exploration, with African instrumentation mixed with iPad synths, sampled drums, more found instrument percussion, and many other sounds. “Woodland Meadow” is a zither-based drone that inevitably brings to mind Laraaji, and “The Bells of Vauxi” also seems to find spiritual peace within nature, though in a slightly more psychedelic way. “Traveling Song” is a more rustic but still gently atmospheric violin-based piece. “Hovering Above” is a more cinematic, guitar-heavy psych-drone, while “Adagio for 2020” is a more ethereal neo-classical piece made more haunting with some whistling and vocals. Finally, “A Taste of Lavender” is a change of pace in the form of a bit of a live psych rock jam recorded in the ’80s, with newer guitar parts seamlessly layered on top.

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