I often make it a habit at bed time to drift off to some good ambient music. I love giving this kind of music the sort of deep listen that can only happen when there are zero sensory distractions, just as much as I love the experience of ‘falling into the music’ as I glide off to dreamland. If you haven’t tried this yourself, I heartily encourage it. Just take care to ensure you aren’t listening at too high a volume.
Anyway, last night I was looking for something different to drift off to and decided to listen to some Robert Rich and semi-randomly picked Filaments, his extraordinary 2015 release.
Needless to say, I did not get much sleep, because the music transfixed me. I’m a long-time fan of Robert’s music and have heard pieces from Filaments many times, but never before have I listened end-to-end, nor have I ever before listened to this level of depth.
Folks, all I can say is that Robert Rich clearly qualifies as a genius. There are layers of structure in this music that can only be heard when you thoroughly immerse yourself in it. The bass lines that build slowly over minutes so you notice they repeat only when you focus on them. The astonishing vocal quality of Robert’s steel guitar play. And those scales! The mature and remarkably deft analog sequences that never seem to repeat and always sound fresh and new, familiar and yet exotic. I could go on and on.
Put simply, Filaments is a master work. If you haven’t heard it, you need to …
Twas so cool to be able to do a deep dive on the music of one of my very favorite musicians: Robert Rich.
We had a great time this evening taking a trip backwards through time with Robert’s music, spanning 35 (!) years of music, as well as chit chatting and goofing off in the chat room. Every show is fun, but tonight was something special.
This playlist represents some of the best music I’ve heard from Robert over the decades. However, it represents only a small fraction of the greatness there is to be heard in his catalog. He has released so many albums, with such exceptional quality, that the only way to really hear him is to spend many days on end with a large number of his albums. Alas, we have only three hours in my program, so I selected a sample that represents some of my favorite tracks. Please visit Robert’s web site, and if you’re so inclined, show some love and pick up an album or three.
I hope to see you next week!
Filaments – Spotted Peccary (2015)
Ylang – Soundscape (2010)
Music From Atlas Dei – Soundscape (2007)
Glint in Her Eyes
Night Spinning Inward
Electric Ladder – Soundscape (2006)
Seven Veils – Hearts of Space (1998)
Numena + Geometry – Hearts of Space (1997)
Primes, Part 1
Primes, Part 2
Gaudí – Hearts of Space (1991)
Sunyata – Soundscape (1982)
One of my very favorite artists in any genre is Robert Rich. Not only is he one of the superlative ambient composers and performers of all time; he is also one of the creators and definers of the very genre I love so much. Only a master of a genre actually influences the genre itself, and Robert Rich is one of those masters.
On my Blue Water Drift Dive program this week, I’ll be doing a deep dive into Robert’s music, exploring the extremely diverse landscape of sounds that he has created, from light ambient to analog electronica to dark tone poems to abstract ambience and back again. We have a lot of ground to cover …
Also, I’ll be performing a live ambient train wreck that represents Robert’s influence upon me. I won’t measure up to Robert, but I’ll do my very best.
I hope to see you there! The show starts Friday November 10th at 7 PM Pacific Standard Time / 10 PM Eastern Standard Time (which is 3 AM UTC on November 11th). If you tune in, be sure to stop by the chat room and say hello … we’d all love to see you.
Listen at https://www.radiospiral.net/listen
Join us in chat: https://mrspiral.slack.com
I’m sure every other Robert Rich fan in the universe already knows about this video, and I’m just now catching up, but I stumbled across this today: a beautiful video of a wonderful live performance Robert did on a California FM radio station a few years back.
As a fellow ambient artist who tries to play live sometimes, it was cool to watch “how he does it” and to discover that he truly does have just two arms and two legs like the rest of us, and yet somehow creates such grand sound designs while performing live, such gorgeous music made with a relatively straightforward equipment setup. As if there was any doubt, this is conclusive proof that it truly is the artist, not the equipment.
My favorite moment? The very start of the performance when he checks his phone while the drone commences. Like I’ve never done that … 🙂
Anyone who is a fan of ambient music, especially those who love Robert Rich’s music as I do, should give this video a thorough watch and listen. It’s a testament to his singular talent, as one of the grand masters of ambient music.