Dan Barrio

"The music of This Physical World (2005) is intimate, beatless and mostly tonal. Barrio has realised his ideas with absolute clarity; even when he plays with soft airy tones like on "Warmth And Pause" we never get lost in a sonic fog."

artist:
Dan Barrio

country of origin:
USA

style(s):
Ambient, experimental, environmental

essential releases:

  • This Physical World (2005, Praxis Mundi)

Reviewed by Mike G

This fine collection of nocturnes, cinematic moods and environmental ambience was circulating on CD-R for some years until Californian composer Barrio finished it properly in 2005. He's added three more tracks, remastered them all and re-released the album in a striking CD package with curious anatomical drawings and photos of plants and human body parts.

The music of This Physical World (2005) is intimate, beatless and mostly tonal. Barrio has realised his ideas with absolute clarity; even when he plays with soft airy tones like on "Warmth And Pause" we never get lost in a sonic fog. There's a sense of structure and purpose in all 13 of the album's tracks and he segues between melodicism and abstraction with exceptional skill.

The sound is predominantly synthesised, with some plucked strings here, some tinkling piano there. Unusually, the dark and lonely moments here are as touching and intimate as the lovely ones, in contrast to the vibe of cold alienation usually given off by dark ambient. A fantastic debut and sadly his only album to date.

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