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'Not The Weapon But The Hand', the new album from Steve Hogarth and Richard Barbieri will be officially released on Kscope on the 27th February.
Hogarth is best known as the frontman of Marillion, the progressive rock legends that he joined in 1989, following spells in The Europeans and How We Live. In addition to the 12 albums Marillion have released in this time he has also recorded and toured as a solo artist, under the name h.
In recent years Richard Barbieri has been a core member of Porcupine Tree playing keyboards on all the band's albums since 1993 as well as releasing two solo albums, 'Things Buried' and 'Stranger Inside'. Prior to this, it was in the new-wave pioneers Japan that he originally came to prominence, helping to create the groundbreaking synthesiser sound that defined the band and influenced the likes of The Human League, Duran Duran, Gary Numan, Talk Talk and a whole raft of artists to follow.
The band also influenced Hogarth, at that point playing keyboards in The Europeans; 'when I was in my mid-twenties Japan's 'Tin Drum' album was a firm favourite and truly a groundbreaking work... Japan were one of those rare bands where each musician seemed to have reinvented his instrument overnight. Central to this sound was the unmistakable synthesiser programming/playing of my, now, chum Mr B.'
Many years later Porcupine Tree played some shows with Marillion and Steve invited Richard to be part of The H band on his 'Ice Cream Genius' album and subsequent tour ('I asked him "Can you make me a sound which starts off like a gong and turns into a jet engine?" - it took him roughly 2 minutes...') and this association developed into what Hogarth describes as 'an easy working relationship which rapidly became an understanding beyond music.'
It wasn't surprising then that the duo decided to collaborate on a joint project, a venture initiated by Barbieri as Hogarth recalls; 'I remember where I was when the email from Richard arrived airing the possibility of a collaboration. I was in Starbucks in Leeds on tour a few years back. From that day forward it was on my mind fairly constantly. The only problem was finding the time to collaborate in between my Marillion schedule and his Porcupine Tree schedule. This year - a week here and a week there - we have managed to do it. Richard has sent me a number of beautiful and unusual instrumentals and I have found lyric ideas to create sometimes songs, sometimes narratives against his musical landscapes.
'It also goes beyond what you might expect from the two of us... The album consists of music which is at times moving, complex, multilayered (both instrumentally and vocally) spooky, goofy and of course, very personal to me.
'I am now as excited about this album as I was at the prospect of the collaboration in the first-place. Ain't it great when a plan comes together?!...'
'Not The Weapon But The Hand' was completed in late 2011 and features appearances from Danny Thompson on double bass, Arran Ahmun (John Martyn) and Chris Maitland (ex Porcupine Tree) on drums and Dave Gregory (XTC) on guitar, bass and string arrangements.
1. Red Kite
2. A Cat With Seven Souls
5. Your Beautiful Face
6. Only Love Will Make You Free
7. Lifting The Lid
8. Not the Weapon But The Hand