ALBUM REVIEW: Kirk Barley – Marionette | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

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Odda Recordings

Released: 24.11.23






Marionette is Kirk Barley’s second solo album. It was intended as a collection of static images – nine self-contained landscapes (Landscapes was, incidentally, the name of his 2019 album). The Yorkshire-born musician, now based in London, mainly works with field recordings and synths.

Visions of the rain, of a storm brewing: there is something at once vague and ominously strident about Barley’s music. Its mood reminds me a little bit of Harold Budd’s The Pavilion of Dreams – only faster and less contemplative. Marionette also evokes Nala Sinephro’s oneiric, ambient jazz compositions. But Barley’s music is inhabited by a unique tension and sense of crisis – it is raw, occasionally dark, and discomfortingly real. Barley has seen the other side of the dream.


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