Across three decades and over 30 albums, Robert Rich has helped define the genres of ambient music, dark-ambient, tribal and trance, yet his music remains hard to categorize. Part of his unique sound comes from using home-made acoustic and electronic instruments, microtonal harmonies, computer-based signal processing, chaotic systems and feedback networks.
This CD is published as a companion piece to Michael Somoroff‘s installation Illumination, originally created for the famed Rothko Chapel, on the occasion of the installation’s move to The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield (CT) and as the audio track to Somoroff’s Illumination, a multimedia installation at BravinLee Programs in Chelsea (N.Y.C) during the summer of 2007.
“Robert Rich seems to do well drawing on visual artists for his inspiration. Three of his recent recordings, Echo of Small Things, Atlas Dei, and now Illumination were derived from, in turn, still photography, computer graphics, and a multimedia installation. What amazes me is how Robert has been turning out some of his strongest work after what could easily have been a career-ending hand injury. Any limitations he experiences seem merely to focus laser-like sharpness on his ability to create minimal soundscapes in a variety of creative ways. Listening to Illumination, as well as other recent recordings by Rich, one marvels at his ability to make music out of the barest elements. Deep, cavernous echoes and resonant drones are the order of the day. I’d be hard pressed to identify the instrumentation used, and Rich isn’t saying in the liner notes. Barely audible whispers can also be heard in the background at times, adding to the haunting quality. Much of it has a metallic or ringing character as well, sometimes sounding similar to Steve Roach‘s The Magnificent Void. Though Rich‘s tones can sometimes have melody, Illumination is all about textures and tone. Near-nothingness never sounded so good.” Phil Derby / Electroambient Space