Richard Barbieri


Richard is the only musician, apart from Mick Karn, unsurprisingly, who creates sounds I didn't know existed. I think the unique way these boys grew and learned together cannot be underestimated. It's wonderful Richard is still pushing boundaries and creating at an extraordinary rate. He's a very special and unique musician and also a very kind and lovely human being. Vote Richard! Penelope, TMK

A great keyboard player is not necessarily the greatest virtuose. He must have a "sound creativity" and somewhere a "sound composer" or an arranger. In this list, I can't see Steve Neeves (Elvis Costello) who played some great piano lines... But Richard Barbieri is not the best virtuose but a great sound creator, what is very important for this is about "keyboard" and not piano player. In his Japan experience, he was really great and as important as Mike Karn's fretless bass sound for the band's identity!

No one creates atmosphere and ambience like Richard does. He is a huge influence on me. Some of the sounds he creates are just pure bliss as far as I'm concerned. His work in Porcupine Tree and JBK is just so so good, that sometimes I will just yell out "Richard! How are you so good!? His atmosphere and ambience paralyzes me sometimes. Richard is a pure innovator, and should be recognised as a crucial part of the electronic and progressive music scene development.

No-one beats Barbieri for atmosphere. Whether it is the innovative sounds of Japan, the more progressive Porcupine Tree, his solo work or his long running collaboration with Steve Jansen, Richard brings an ambience others can only hope for.

Richard's playing was the first time I heard encompassing environments and subtle, emotional tone being created on a keyboard and not just an electrification of the piano. His playing has a narrative quality, like movies in sound. -Jason (San Francisco)

To live is to dream is to play... Richard sculpts aural landscapes with gorgeously textured tonal sublimity and engages the listeners with authority that transcends disobedience yet transports one to other dimensions of musical appreciation...

Subtle in creating a sound, an atmosphere alone or alongside other musicians that will get truly get deep into your soul - an unsung hero usually in the background, but was vital to Japan's unique sound - easily my favourite keyboardist.

Japan were off the scale of ahead of their time. Tin Drum probably one of the best albums of all time but horribly underestimated by music cognoscenti.

Richard is a natural born talent! Real pioneer and great unique artist!

Richard Barbieri IS the main Keyboardist who has put Keyboard Synthesizers on the map! Several keyboardists on this owe their position to him for influencing them!

One of the great keyboard pioneers, Richard started his musical life in the group Japan and was a vital part of their distinctive sound. He's probably most famous for their hit single, 'Ghosts' but he's gone on to have continued creative success with JBK, Porcupine Tree, Barbieri/Hogarth to name but a few and is currently producing, mixing and performing both master classes and solo gigs.

Richard, former Japan guitarist Rob Dean, David Torn, Bill Nelson and many other friends are members of Team Mick Karn and you can find out more about Japan and all their solo projects there, you will warmly welcomed.

If you haven't listened to Richard's magnificent keyboard playing and sounds then you must check out all of Japan's music catalogue along with Porcupine Tree and JBK. That should be more than enough to convince you Richard is at the top of his game and deserving of a very very high ranking in this poll.

He really understands analogue synthesis and is a truly original sound creator - Tin Drum by Japan being a fine example of this.

Carefully crafted sounds, deep understanding of process, and always striving for beauty

Innovative, creative, amazing walls of sound, The Quiet Man from Japan who gets very little credit. It wasn't all Sylvian who made Japan sound like they did. Richard was an integral part.

THE master of atmospherics! Just listen to his contributions and you will be left in awe! Marco Netherlands.

An extremely tasteful player with a unique ability to deliver tons of sonic magic from his instruments.

A wonderful self taught musician who knows how to create emotions and innovative sounds with his music.

A supremely talented and innovative musician...A genuine unsung hero!

He's a real innovator with textures and atmospherics and writes great melodies too.

The most elegant and subtle playing style of all synth exploring artists I've heard is definitely Mr. Barbieri's. Be it in Japan, Porcupine Tree, solo or in numerous collaborations, he's the one knowing the natural approach, complex or simple when it's needed.

A member of my favourite band and another legend along with Mick Karn! Say no more!

Hauntingly beautiful work... Encapsulated Japan and how the band were perceived.

One of the most innovative keyboard players of all time.

Amazingly talented synth programmer, sound designer, composer and artist. Phenomenal body of work.