Posts Tagged ‘Robert Rich’

“Phaedra” at 40 in Echoes Podcast

February 21, 2014

Hear an Homage to Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra in the Echoes Podcast

Tangerine Dream circa 1974

Tangerine Dream circa 1974

On February 20th, 1974, Tangerine Dream released the album that changed electronic music for the next 40 years.  It takes its name from Greek mythology and its sound from the imaginations of Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann and Christoph Franke, the three members of Tangerine Dream at the time.  Phaedra was their fifth album, coming on the heals of Atem in 1973 and Zeit in 1972.  Both of those albums were abstract improvisations of floating sound fields.  Zeit in particular was a minimalist, Ligeti-like exploration in texture and sustain with a mixture of electronics and a cello quartet.   Phaedra had some of those elements, but on the side-long title track they were linked to sequencer grooves like rubber bands being twanged in space.  It’s the sound you hear in every retro-space band, a lot of techno and dance hits like Donna Summers’I Feel Love.”

PhaedraOn the Echoes Podcast, we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Phaedra with commentary from several artists influenced by this recording.  Moby, Ulrich Schnauss, Mark Shreeve, Ian Boddy, Robert Rich, Steve Roach, and Alan Howarth sing Phaedra’s praises and Edgar Froese reveals the thought behind the introduction of sequencers into the band.  We’ll also hear two tracks off the album and a set of music from Tangerine Dream influenced artists.  You can trip into space on Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra in the Echoes Podcast

Five  years ago, I compiled a list of the 10 Best Tangerine Dream albums.  Phaedra is at the top of that list.  Here’s the rest.

10 Best Tangerine Dream Albums From Number Six of 20 Icons of Echoes
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On the air I said I’d pick five, but I decided to go with ten.

1-Phaedra
2-Rubycon
Phaedra and Rubycon have always been a pair for me and  that pair is half of a quartet with Ricochet and Stratosfear.   These are the signature Dream albums, the blueprint for every retro-space artist out there, the sound that influenced ambient, techno, and more.   The classic trio of Edgar Froese, Christoph Franke and Peter Baumann found the secret of rubber band sequencer patterns discovered by Tonto’s Expanding Headband 2 years earlier.  The Dream   bound them in  interlocking patterns, mellotron chords and synthesizer textures.    Phaedra is transitional, retaining some of the avant-garde Ligeti-esque texturalism from Zeit on the mellotron drenched “Mysterious Semblance at the Strands of Nightmare,” but the title track and Rubycon, an album length composition were definitive journeys into inner space.

3-Logos
Tangerine Dream was an exciting live band in the 70s and half of the 80s.  Listening to Logos, from 1982, you can hear why.  This was the Dream working with a precision and structure that earlier works didn’t have, but they were still creating in long-form with a fair amount of improvisation.  Johannes Schmoelling had been in the group for a while at this point and his influence is felt in gorgeous melodies and rhythms that have you ricocheting off your seat and between your headphone cups.  This was really the truly last live recording from the group.  Subsequent live albums would be more pre-programmed performances.

4-Zeit
It’s been called their most experimental CD, but I think it’s their most thoughtful, controlled and uncontrived album.  Playing with a cello quartet, it’s a journey of interwoven tones phasing through each other from acoustic to electric to something entirely new.  Ambient before ambient, but owing much to Gyorgy Ligeti pieces like “Atmospheres,” synths, gliss guitar, organ and “noise generators” unfold in undulating, slow motion patterns across what was a double LP.  This 1972 recording is a drone zone manifesto, and a beautifully enveloping work free of melody, rhythm and just about any other conventional music signpost.

5-Tangram
This is one of the last long-form Dream recordings.  Originally a two sided work, Tangram is a  multi-movement opus sometimes sabotaged by episodic writing, but still with some haunting themes amidst the pounding sequencers and more melodic invention than most prior Dream albums.

6-Stratosfear
Part of the classic quartet of albums, this was their most commercial release to date and the first album with real melodies.

7-Ricochet
The other album in the classic quartet.  Ricochet was their first live album, although it was all new materiel and sounds like a studio recording.  Another two-sided excursion that moves from the quietest solo piano spot to thundering sequencers from the heavens.

8-Goblins’ Club
Goblins’ Club recalls the 80’s sound of Tangerine Dream when they were just adding more aggressive rhythms and clearly defined melodies to their fanciful spacescapes.  But unlike so many of their post-Virgin releases, this 1996 albums doesn’t bludgeon you with canned synthesizer bombast.  There seems to be more exploratory fun and a more personal sound   as they drop in surreal free falls in the midst of their dramatic compositions.

9-Force Majeure
Something of an anomaly in that it features a drummer, Klaus Krieger, and gives the Dream a more fluid and aggressive sound, especially in the screaming side long title track.

10-Optical Race
I know that consensus opinion has it that the Private Music years sucked, and they did, except for Optical Race the first album they made for the label, owned by former Tangerine Dreamer, Peter Bauman.  With just Froese and Paul Haslinger, they create dense, rhythmically charged excursions that stand up to some of their best works and hold up better than albums like Le Parc.

Finally an album that should be on the list, Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, the third solo album from Edgar Froese and a Dream album by any other measure.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

TimelinesCDcoverJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Erik Wøllo’s Timelines is our February CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

LRC19-250pxGIVE THEM THE GIFT OF TRANSMISSIONS:
THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album. Or Follow us on Twitter@echoesradio.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line. Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

 

 

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Tangerine Dream’s “Phaedra” at 40

February 20, 2014

PhaedraOn February 20th, 1974, Tangerine Dream released the album that changed electronic music for the next 40 years.  It takes its name from Greek mythology and its sound from the imaginations of Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann and Christoph Franke, the three members of Tangerine Dream at the time.  Phaedra was their fifth album, coming on the heals of Atem in 1973 and Zeit in 1972.  Both of those albums were abstract improvisations of floating sound fields.  Zeit in particular was a minimalist, Ligeti-like exploration in texture and sustain with a mixture of electronics and a cello quartet.   Phaedra had some of those elements, but on the side-long title track they were linked to sequencer grooves like rubber bands being twanged in space.  It’s the sound you hear in every retro-space band, a lot of techno and dance hits like Donna Summers’I Feel Love.”

Tonight on Echoes, we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Phaedra with commentary from several artists influenced by this recording.  Moby, Ulrich Schnauss, Mark Shreeve, Ian Boddy, Robert Rich, Steve Roach, and Alan Howarth sing Phaedra’s praises and Edgar Froese reveals the thought behind the introduction of sequencers into the band.  We’ll also hear two tracks off the album and a set of music from Tangerine Dream influenced artists.  You can trip into space on Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra tonight on Echoes

Five  years ago, I compiled a list of the 10 Best Tangerine Dream albums.  Phaedra is at the top of that list.  Here’s the rest.

10 Best Tangerine Dream Albums From Number Six of 20 Icons of Echoes
Bookmark and Share
On the air I said I’d pick five, but I decided to go with ten.

1-Phaedra
2-Rubycon
Phaedra and Rubycon have always been a pair for me and  that pair is half of a quartet with Ricochet and Stratosfear.   These are the signature Dream albums, the blueprint for every retro-space artist out there, the sound that influenced ambient, techno, and more.   The classic trio of Edgar Froese, Christoph Franke and Peter Baumann found the secret of rubber band sequencer patterns discovered by Tonto’s Expanding Headband 2 years earlier.  The Dream   bound them in  interlocking patterns, mellotron chords and synthesizer textures.    Phaedra is transitional, retaining some of the avant-garde Ligeti-esque texturalism from Zeit on the mellotron drenched “Mysterious Semblance at the Strands of Nightmare,” but the title track and Rubycon, an album length composition were definitive journeys into inner space.

3-Logos
Tangerine Dream was an exciting live band in the 70s and half of the 80s.  Listening to Logos, from 1982, you can hear why.  This was the Dream working with a precision and structure that earlier works didn’t have, but they were still creating in long-form with a fair amount of improvisation.  Johannes Schmoelling had been in the group for a while at this point and his influence is felt in gorgeous melodies and rhythms that have you ricocheting off your seat and between your headphone cups.  This was really the truly last live recording from the group.  Subsequent live albums would be more pre-programmed performances.

4-Zeit
It’s been called their most experimental CD, but I think it’s their most thoughtful, controlled and uncontrived album.  Playing with a cello quartet, it’s a journey of interwoven tones phasing through each other from acoustic to electric to something entirely new.  Ambient before ambient, but owing much to Gyorgy Ligeti pieces like “Atmospheres,” synths, gliss guitar, organ and “noise generators” unfold in undulating, slow motion patterns across what was a double LP.  This 1972 recording is a drone zone manifesto, and a beautifully enveloping work free of melody, rhythm and just about any other conventional music signpost.

5-Tangram
This is one of the last long-form Dream recordings.  Originally a two sided work, Tangram is a  multi-movement opus sometimes sabotaged by episodic writing, but still with some haunting themes amidst the pounding sequencers and more melodic invention than most prior Dream albums.

6-Stratosfear
Part of the classic quartet of albums, this was their most commercial release to date and the first album with real melodies.

7-Ricochet
The other album in the classic quartet.  Ricochet was their first live album, although it was all new materiel and sounds like a studio recording.  Another two-sided excursion that moves from the quietest solo piano spot to thundering sequencers from the heavens.

8-Goblins’ Club
Goblins’ Club recalls the 80’s sound of Tangerine Dream when they were just adding more aggressive rhythms and clearly defined melodies to their fanciful spacescapes.  But unlike so many of their post-Virgin releases, this 1996 albums doesn’t bludgeon you with canned synthesizer bombast.  There seems to be more exploratory fun and a more personal sound   as they drop in surreal free falls in the midst of their dramatic compositions.

9-Force Majeure
Something of an anomaly in that it features a drummer, Klaus Krieger, and gives the Dream a more fluid and aggressive sound, especially in the screaming side long title track.

10-Optical Race
I know that consensus opinion has it that the Private Music years sucked, and they did, except for Optical Race the first album they made for the label, owned by former Tangerine Dreamer, Peter Bauman.  With just Froese and Paul Haslinger, they create dense, rhythmically charged excursions that stand up to some of their best works and hold up better than albums like Le Parc.

Finally an album that should be on the list, Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, the third solo album from Edgar Froese and a Dream album by any other measure.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

TimelinesCDcoverJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Erik Wøllo’s Timelines is our February CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

LRC19-250pxGIVE THEM THE GIFT OF TRANSMISSIONS:
THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album. Or Follow us on Twitter@echoesradio.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line. Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

 

 

Echoes 24 Years Ago Today!

October 2, 2013

In 1989 the World Wide Web was invented
The Berlin Wall fell.
The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Denmark legalized civil unions between same-sex couples

They were all ahead of the curve.

And so was Echoes which launched on this day 24 years ago, on October 2, 1989

Today on Echoes, you’ll hear all the music from that very first show, from beginning to end, in sequence.  Has Echoes changed?  Sure.  Has the music lasted? Definitely.

Andreas Vollenweider & John Diliberto on Echoes

Andreas Vollenweider & John Diliberto on Echoes

Let’s look at some of the artists.  The first track you’ll hear is Tangerine Dream’s “Tiergarten” from their album, Le Parc.  The Dream is still going after all these years.

Swiss harpist Andreas Vollenweider was at his peak in 1989 when we played  Down to the Moon.  He’s appeared on the show many times with interviews and live performances.

Japanese American shakukachi player Masakazu Yoshizawa is one of only two musicians on this list who isn’t still with us.  The other artist who left us is Colin Walcott.  He was the world music soul of the band, Oregon, the gold standard of chamber world fusion.  Ralph Towner, Paul McCandless and Glenn Moore continue the Oregon tradition to this day.

Pat Metheny on Echoes

Pat Metheny on Echoes

George Wallace was pretty obscure in 1989 when we played his electronic album, Communion, and he still is although he also continues making music with a 2013 album, Soul Ascending and a reissue of his Sacred Earth recording.

And speaking of ahead of the curve, Pat Metheny has always been in his own orbit. He was the first interview run on Echoes.  He’s been a perennial on Echoes playlists and still continues to surprise.  His 2013 Tap album will be near the top of my best CDs of 2013.

Three of what we considered to be the California electronic quartet appeared in this Echoes. Michael Stearns was one of the leading lights of new electronic music in 1989 with expansive recordings Like Planetary Unfolding and Encounter.  His Floating Whispers album was one of his prettiest and most melodic.  Steve Roach was something of a protege of Stearns for a moment and Stearns played on at least one of Roach’s albums..  He wasn’t actually played on the first show, but Roach wrote the theme song we used back then.  There was a stretch into the early 21 century when Roach always had an album in rotation on Echoes. We’ll hear from one of the classics from the year before Echoes launched, Dreamtime ReturnRobert Rich was often mentioned in the same breadth as Roach and they recorded two albums together.  Rich went on to develop his own rhythmically propulsive, melodically sinuous, organically woven music and that sound really began with his album Rainforest, which was also released in 1989. All three played the Ambicon Festival this past summer. (The 4th member of this quartet was Kevin Braheny).

Michael Stearns

Michael Stearns

Robert Rich Recording for Echoes in his studio.

Robert Rich Recording for Echoes in his studio.

John Diliberto & Steve Roach

John Diliberto & Steve Roach

 

Jonn Serrie is often considered part of that group of 1980s space/New Age/electronic artists. He was plugged into the electronic zeitgeist in 1989.  His second album,  Flightpath was released that year and it remains my favorite of his.  He’s also still recording and released a nice album called Sunday Morning Peace in 2011.

The other John & Vangelis

The other John & Vangelis

And all of those musicians bowed at the feet of Vangelis.  He was one of the reasons we created Echoes.  His mix of classical orchestration, choral voices and wild space synthesizer provided music of one of the most varied careers that includes film scores and his massive orchestral-choral work, Mythodea.   Mask remains one of his most dynamic albums.

Progressive Rock is in the Echoes DNA and you hear it with King Crimson’s “Sheltering Sky” one of the most timeless pieces recorded by this long-lived, continually shifting band.  And in 2013, Robert Fripp has announced a new edition of the group.

Will Ackerman & John Diliberto

Will Ackerman & John Diliberto

Would their be Echoes without Will Ackerman and Windham Hill Records.  I’m not so sure.  He launched the finger-style revolution taking it out of the folk domain of Leo Kottke and John Fahey and into the popular consciousness.  Ackerman is still at it.  He won his first Grammy in 2004 and continues to make music and produce notable artists like Jeff Oster and Todd Boston. We’ll hear something from Ackerman’s album of duets, Past Light.

Philip Glass’s minimalism was a big part of Echoes early on and Glass is ever-prolific, releasing several new albums a year.   1000 Airplanes on the Roof is one of his lesser known works, but it’s epic.  Singer Meredith Monk emerged form the same downtown New York scene as Glass, creating a music that tapped into primal spirits.  And she’s still doing it.  Dolmen Music remains my favorite album from her.

Roger Eno in Clerestory

Roger Eno in Clerestory

Probably the most influential album we played 24 years ago was Peter Gabriel’s Passion, his score to the movie, The Last Temptation of Christ.  Who knew in 1989 that this album would influence so many musicians, virtually creating the techno-tribal and world fusion genres.

Patrick O’Hearn’s Eldorado was also released in 1989.  It’s a brilliant recording of electronic world fusion with O’Hearn using Middle Eastern modalities and musicians on several tracks, presaging the whole Persian fusion movement of artists like Vas, Niyaz, Axiom of Choice, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Transglobal Underground and more.

And speaking of world fusion, there was Yas-Kaz, a Japanese multi-instrumentalist who put out some beautiful recordings in the 1980s.  Steve Roach created a collection from them called Darkness in Dreams on the Celestial Harmonies label.

Peter Buffett’s The Waiting is one of the more quintessentially New Age albums here, while Roger Eno’s Between Tides was one of the early signpost albums of ambient chamber music.  Erik Wollo was among the first of the onslaught of wonderful Norwegian electronic musicians and he has been a continuous presence on Echoes.  Traces is from 1985 and it holds up so well that Spotted Peccary re-released it in 2012.

I think the best thing I can say about this playlist is, as much as Echoes has changed, there is nothing on here that I wouldn’t play on the show today.

So enjoy this flashback to the beginning tonight on Echoes.  Thanks to all the radio stations who have run the show, whether they are original stations like WXPN, Philadelphia, or newcomers like WDET, Detroit.   And a special thanks to all of you who have been with us on the journey, whether you were there in 1989 or just discovered us tonight.

See tonight’s playlist here.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Choose either a one time $1000 or on-going $84 Monthly PaymentSupport Echoes by becoming a member of the Echoes Sound Circle.  We can only continue another 24 years with help from listeners like you.

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Echoes is a non-profit 501(c3) organization just like your local public radio station. And all donationsare tax deductible. You can support Echoes with a monthly donation that will barely disturb your credit card.

Join the Echoes Sound Circle and keep the soundscapes of Echoes flowing!

WorldsBeyondSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.   CD of the Month Club members will be getting Akara’s The World Beyond.  Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club and see what you’ve been missing.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00BIUOH1O/echoes

AMBIcon Full Concert Videos – Micus, Roach, Stearns

May 24, 2013

ambicon2013-stars-780x207Videos for the full concerts of AMBIcon 2013 are currently up on youtube.  You”ll find them all on the  AMBICON youtube page.  Here’s a bunch of them with Stephan Micus, Michael Stearns, Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Jeff Pearce, Tim Story and Hans Christian.  A rare confluence of ambient artists.  I knew I was missing a great show.







~John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Echoes On LineStoriesSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club. With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like Rhian Sheehan’s Stories from Elsewhere Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club and see what you’ve been missing.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line. Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album.

Robert Rich’s Ambient Dreams for Your iPod/iPhone.

July 20, 2010

Robert Rich enters the Echoes Chamber and launches the ultimate Ambient soundscape App.

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There’s been a lot of Robert Rich on Echoes this year.   He was one of 20 Icons of Echoes.  His album Ylang was a CD of the Month.  He played live on the show this year and he’ll be featured tonight, July 21, in an Echoes Chamber sesssion.  But he’s just quietly released something new that may be my most used iPhone App besides iTunes.

Back in 2001, Robert Rich released the DVD, Somnium.  No images.  Just 7 hours of ambient landscapes slowly shifting over the course of the DVD, replicating the effect of one of his all night sleep concerts.

Now he’s turned that into an iPhone/iPod app.  For 99¢ you can download the app, turn off your mind and float downstream.  Except the App is better than the DVD in that the DVD is frozen music, while the Somnium App is always changing.    The music consists of long loops from the original Somnium recording that are reconfigured into new combinations.  Evertime you step in, it’s at a different point and going to different places.

The Somnium App has a simple-to-a-fault interface.  The only interactive controls are for pace, a slider that goes from Slow to Slower, and a start button. The directions say to use iPod volume buttons to adjust volume, but my first gen iPod Touch has no such buttons and if you want to go back and readjust the pace while it’s playing,  the sound stops and doesn’t begin again until you hit start.

But once you set Somnium in motion, you won’t want to mess with it anyway.  Slow motion melodies undulate like the long arcing waves of sand dunes, wafting through environments of electronic nature sounds and virtual dreamscapes.   Flutes thread the textured soundscapes like sprites observing the tableau.  Sometimes it’s exotic and mystical like a Tolkien landscape, sometimes dark and unmoored, like ships adrift in an abandoned harbor.

I’ve already listened to the Somnium App more than I ever listened to the original DVD after my initial review.   The iPod/iPhone platform is more suitable than the DVD which forced you into a listening space.  With the Somnium App, I can alter any space I’m in, whether it’s the media room or the grocery store. It may be the best 99¢ you’ve ever spent.

For more on Robert Rich, listen to his Echoes Chamber session tonight 7/21/2010 or this coming weekend on Echoes.  Or check him out at Echoes On-Line.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Robert Rich Video Interview

July 5, 2010

Came across a nice video interview with electronic composer Robert Rich.

Robert Rich steps into the Echoes Chamber on July 20.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Five Essential Robert Rich CDs Plus Two.

June 16, 2010

The Best from Robert Rich, One of 20 Icons of Echoes.
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Robert Rich @ Echoes

Few artists have cut a creative swath over the last thirty years as consistently and with as much innovation  as Robert Rich.  Each one of his nearly 40 albums is a meticulously crafted, creatively conceived work that reveal the fingerprints of an obsessive mind and deep soul. Whether playing analog synthesizers, blowing into PVC flutes, or stroking the the strings of a lap steel guitar through waves of processing, Robert Rich approaches each work with a conceptual grounding and an understanding of the sensuality of sound.  Robert Rich was voted #14 of 20 Icons of Echoes.  We’ll be featuring an interview with him tonight, June 15 on Echoes.

Picking out five  Robert Rich albums is difficult, and picking out a number one CD out of dozens of perfect CDs is impossible.  But here’s the Robert Rich albums that have moved me over the last three decades.

1- Propagation
For me this is Robert Rich’s techno-tribal manifesto.  He mixes primal, earth shaking percussive rhythms, flute melodies that weave in smokey contrails and lap steel solos that alternately descend like gossamer wings from the heavens and arise like avenging angels from hell. It’s a powerful and defining album that laid the groundwork for other great CDs like Seven Veils and Ylang.

2-Electric Ladder
Rich dials up the electric juice on Electric Ladder, creating deep cyclical patterns, churning analog atmospheres and paying homage to some of his influences, especially Terry Riley. Riley’s “A Rainbow In Curved Air” cycles are echoed in the title track against feedback lap steel guitar and on “Poppy Fields” soprano saxophone from Paul Hanson nods to Riley’s “Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band.” But while the influences are there, it also reveals how much Rich has subsumed them into his own aesthetic.

3-Rainforest
This is the album that really established Robert Rich. It’s a zen garden walk as Robert Rich takes you deeper from gamelan Bach cycles on “The Forest Dreams of Back” to deep sonic meditiations on “The Raining Room.” Even in 1989, Rich was avoiding the usual cliches. Instead of using environmental sounds like every other space/ambient composer at the time, he created his own jungles of insects, birds and streams electronically.

4-Trances/Drones

This is a bit of a cheat on my part.  This package pairs Robert Rich’s second and third albums, Trances and Drones from 1983, but also includes a track from his 1982 debut, Sunyata. It’s hard to believe that Sunyata was recorded nearly 30 years ago when Robert Rich was only 19. He was involved as a researcher with dream studies at Stanford University and was already performing his sleep concerts. These were all night affairs, true “chill out” rooms where the audience came with sleeping bags and curled up to Rich’s subtle, shifting soundscapes, providing a soundtrack for their dreams. His first 3 albums emerged from this experience.  These are  remarkably detailed soundscapes which, like looking at a forest carpet, reveal more and more the deeper you go.  For a contemporary iteration of this sound, listen to Rich’s 7-hour DVD, Somnium, or the more concise, 3-CD set, Humidity.

5 Ylang

Appropriately for an album named after a tree, Robert Rich goes back to some of his roots but also expands them into new branches. You can hear many of Rich’s influences including psychedelic rock, German space music, Brian Eno ambiences and global trances. The album abounds with murky, trancey percussion grooves and long undulating melodies that owe a debt to Hassell.  Arabesque flute melodies, throbbing hand drum rhythms, and lap steel guitar wailing a siren cry, like Jimi Hendrix sent into infinite sustain make this album an epic of 21st century music. Ylang was the Echoes CD of the Month in April

PLUS TWO
I’ve only included Robert Rich’s solo albums above, but he’s also made some extraordinary collaborative releases. Here are two of the best.

Strata
Robert Rich and Steve Roach are often spoken of in the same breadth, but the two have only collaborated on a full album twice, and both are brilliant. Strata was the first and it’s the definitive techno tribal album mixing primal rhythms, churning, canyon ripped layers  of texture and melodies that are etched from flutes, lap steel and digeridoo.

Outpost
Robert Rich has gotten together on three CDs  with synthesist Ian Boddy. They explore analog electronic grooves and symetrical structures on their first outing, Outpost. It shows how far post-Tangerine Dream electronics can go when you leave Berlin behind and push for the edges of the universe. Kinetic grooves, enveloping textures and soaring melodies make this a must-have for any navigator of space music.

Tonight, June 16 on Echoes, we’ll feature a retrospective interview with Robert Rich, one of 20 Icons of Echoes.

You can read a complete review of Ylang and  hear an audio podcast with music from Ylang here.

Sign up for the Echoes CD of the Month Club

John Diliberto ((( echoes)))

Karaoke Koncerts Konversation @ Hypnos

June 5, 2010

There is a lively conversation going on in the Hypnos forum regarding my Blog on Karaoke electronic music concerts,  Metheny Mecanique and Karaoke Koncerts.  It’s in the topic called Robert Rich Tour Blog and starts toward the bottom of the first page.

Echoes Top 25 for April-Robert Rich Ylang Sprouts to Top

May 1, 2010

Echoes Top 25 for April.

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The Echoes Top 25 CDs for April is up.  Of course Robert Rich‘s Ylang, our Echoes CD of the Month, tops the list.  Right behind him is the album of intimate duets between guitarist Ralph Towner and trumpeter Paolo Fresu, Chiaroscuro.

You can see the complete Echoes Top 25 for April here.

Under the Ylang Ylang Tree with Robert Rich

March 31, 2010

Robert Rich’s YLANG:  Echoes CD of the Month for April

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The ylang ylang is a flowering tree from South Asia, and it provides the name for Robert Rich‘s latest album, Ylang.  Appropriately Robert Rich goes back to some of his roots but also expands them into new branches.  You can hear many of Rich’s influences including psychedelic rock, German space music, Brian Eno ambiences and global trances. He got into electronic music on the heels of minimalism and especially the looping cycles of Terry Riley.  That element emerges on Ylang as well as that of post-minimalist and Fourth World music creator Jon Hassell.  The album abounds with murky, trancey percussion grooves and long undulating melodies that owe a debt to Hassell.

In many ways, Ylang picks up on the intoxicating melodies and rhythms of his 1990s albums, Propagation and Seven Veils.  You can hear the sinewy flute melodies, the throbbing hand drum rhythms, and one of Rich’s signature sounds, the lap steel guitar.  He doesn’t play the lap steel with aloha Hawaiian sweetness or country and western twang.  Instead, it’s a siren cry, like Jimi Hendrix sent into infinite sustain on tracks like “Ambergris.”

With his electronic processing and analog synthesizers, Robert Rich can forge the darkest, most sonically warped sounds around. But there is a melodicist lurking in this experimenter and he lets it out on Ylang whether it’s the smoke-like flute undulations of “Translucent” or the Keith Jarrett-inspired piano of “Attar.”

Ylang, like most Robert Rich albums, trawls the dark side like a midnight stalker. The rhythms are often foreboding and the melodies seem to come from a dark tribal rite, as alien insects, created electronically by Rich, scutter through the sound field.  But Robert Rich also has a touch of exotica. Think Les Baxter getting his Ph.D. and spinning through a time warp of 30 years of technology and world music knowledge.  That exotica provides a key to Robert Rich’s surreal orchestrations that sound like ancient ritual music from another planet.

Robert Rich’s Ylang is the Echoes CD of the Month for April.

John Diliberto ((( echoes)))

You can hear an audio podcast of this review with music from Ylang.

Sign up for the Echoes CD of the Month Club


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