People that matter answering questions that don't. This month: Richard Barbieri
The burning questions of the hour, faced with fortitude - this month by Richard Barbieri.
Richard Barbieri played keyboards in early '80s pop pioneers Japan, but you knew that already. What you may not know is that Richard has formed a production company and record label called Medium, with Japan colleagues Steve Jansen and Mick Karn. Designed to afford complete artistic control, Medium has already released the Jansen-Barbieri-Karn CD Beginning To Melt, available by mail order from Medium Productions, (Contact Details) (UK price £12.00). More will follow.
1 What was the first synthesiser you ever played?
2 Who is your favourite musical pioneer?
"Eno, of recent times, and before that Karlheinz Stockhausen."
3 What's the difference between Take That and Stravinsky?
"Similar to the difference between tiddlywinks and chess. Seriously though, I don't think people will be listening to Take That in a hundred years' time."
4 What's the difference between a drum kit and a drum machine?
"Obviously the drum kit has more interesting possibilities sonically and dynamically. However, a drum machine in the hands of a gifted musician can contribute greatly to a piece of music."
5 Playing live: why bother?
"Well, it gets the adrenalin flowing, which is good for the body and the mind. Also, it's the most direct way of communicating your ideas to an audience. I guess instant reaction is what it's all about."
6 Which record says most to you about music technology?
"'Kontakte' by Karlheinz Stockhausen, recorded around 1958/59 - a very big influence on me."
7 What does the phrase 'multi-media' mean to you?
"I guess it means we will be experiencing music in a number of different ways very soon. When virtual reality becomes more sophisticated, there could be some interesting interactions with music."
8 How do you react to hearing a sample of your music on someone else's record?
"If it's used tastefully to embellish a piece - and it's credited - that's fine. If it's used as the basis for a piece, then it's time for the lawyers to get involved."
9 What is the next piece of equipment you would like to buy?
"Indian harmonium/organ, plus a few additional modules for the System 700."
10 Will technology become invisible?
"When I listen to what I would call an inspired piece of music, the whole process of how it was created is not the first thing that occurs to me. The 'idea' and spirit of the music is what comes through. In this case, the technology becomes invisible. Most of the music around at the moment is pretty vacuous, however, so the technology used to make it is quite evident - especially as there's nothing happening musically to take your mind away from it."
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