The pieces combine cold, icy and sometimes intentionally sterile electronic elements with deeply organic and expressive analog/natural ones. The beguiling synthesis of the two feels like an unhurried, relaxed take on the sort of thing David Byrne and Brian Eno did on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Percy Jones’ fretless bass only reinforces that vibe. “Darkness Will Find You” could just as easily be an outtake from Another Green World. Subtle hints of early Porcupine Tree – especially the extended work Voyage 34 – crop up in tracks like “Flare 2.”
Because of the semi-ambient nature of Under a Spell, most listeners won’t come away form the listening experience with the tunes resounding in their heads. But that doesn’t seem to be Barbieri’s intention with this set of compositions. Experienced wholly in the moment, however, Under a Spell is a rewarding listen.